Most Canadians from coast to coast look forward to Spring arrival as we get excited about warmer weather and watching mother nature show her stuff. Those Canadians living in Ontario however can be both happy and sad about Spring arrival as it has the bad habit of generating increased costs for one of life’s necessities which is energy with an emphasis on the cost of electricity.
Two recent happenings on March 19, 2023, bring the focus on the sad part of Spring arrival. The first is more sunshine which creates more energy from those solar panels which under the McGuinty led government received contacts at ridiculous guaranteed rates as high as 0.80/cents a kWh. Now apparently, they have embarked on more hits to our pocketbooks as the first six (6) hours of March 19th suggests they can now produce power even when the sun isn’t shining as this screenshot from IESO demonstrates!
Solar Panel Generation When the Sun isn’t Shining?
As if the foregoing wasn’t enough weird news, on the same day as solar power was generated in darkness, we note IESO data supplied more bad news. Normally at this time of year as the snow melts and water flows Ontario benefits from more generation from our hydro facilities which are also our cheapest and cleanest source of generation. As it turns out IESO data disclosed more bad news as the first three (3) hours of March 19th (two days before spring arrives ) those IWT (industrial wind turbines) generated more electricity than our hydro plants as evidenced in the following two screenshots.
Wind Generation Beats Hydro Generation!
To accentuate the foregoing those IWT did the same thing in the last three hours of the day as the following screenshots clearly show!
IWT Generation Hours 22, 23, 24!
Hydro Generation Hours 22, 23, 24!
Over the full 24 hours IWT generated a total of 92,447 MW or approximately 78.6% of their capacity and only slightly less than hydro which generated 94,511 MW but could have easily produced more. Ontario was busy selling off the unneeded power which we (logically) should attribute to IWT generation to our neighbours at an average price of $14.86/MWh. We exported 53,308 MW so generated revenue of around $792K while we paid $135/MWh for it, so it cost Ontarians about $6.4 million for unneeded power. We should also suspect IESO were busy telling OPG to spill hydro (we are obliged to also pay for) as demand was low and only peaked at 17,057 MW at hour 20.
The ups and downs of those intermittent IWT and solar panels are in the bad habit of generating lots of unneeded power during the spring and fall seasons when Ontario demand is low. They are the principal reason the Province of Ontario stiff taxpayers with annual additional costs of $6.5 billion in an attempt to hide the mess our electricity system is actually in.
Just one day’s data makes it obvious both of the foregoing sources of intermittent and unreliable electricity generation should be tossed in the garbage!
Ontarians should be thankful Sunday March 12, 2023, was both a weekend day and also kind of an early spring day which contributed to a relatively low electricity demand day. Ontario’s peak demand came at Hour 19 (hour ending at 7 PM) and was only 17,614 MW. While the below screenshot of IESO data shows (at the top) the output of all electricity sources at 8 PM the coloured graph ends at Hour 20 and it shows the peak hour occurred at Hour 19 and at that hour all those IWT (industrial wind turbines) generated was a miserly 244MW or 5% of their capacity and 1.4% of peak demand.
Now squint at the coloured graph above and focus on the green, yellow and red lines at the top which are respectively IWT, solar and biomass generation to recognize why they can’t ever hope to replace flexible natural gas (dark blue), hydro (light blue) or nuclear generation (orange).
Over the full 24 hours of the day total wind generated was 7,215 MW which represented 6.13% of their capacity and at their low point at Hour 15 they only managed to generate 163 MW (3.3% of their capacity). At Hour 1 (ending at 1 AM) they hit their high for the day generating 484 MW (9.9% of their capacity).
Ontario’s natural gas plants stepped up to meet our needs yesterday generating 43,653 MW or six (6) times what those IWT generated. What the foregoing makes obvious is that Ontario would need another 29,400 MW of IWT capacity to replace what our gas plants generated in addition to the 4,900 MW of existing grid connected capacity. Adding that capacity to the grid would also increase the need to upgrade the transmission system and both of those additions would drive up the cost of energy further.
As yet another addition to the foregoing Ontario would need a minimum of approximately 7,500 MW of BESS (battery energy storage systems) with the capabilities to deliver stored power to replace what those gas plants generated. That 7,500 MW of battery storage would need to store their power in the days before the wind disappeared and it wouldn’t happen if the wind wasn’t blowing.
Blackouts would be the alternative to the above.
Now try to imagine how much more IWT generation coupled with BESS units we would need on a hot summer day when demand peaks at over 22,000 MW!
Just two days ago, on March 1, 2021 at Hour 22 (hour ending at 10 PM) Bruce Nuclear’s Unit G-3 with a capacity of 784 MW was shut down for major component replacements (MCR) and will not return to service until sometime in 2026. Daily that unit has been supplying enough generation for 12% (627,000) of Ontario households with (18,800 MWh) their electricity needs. The refurbishment of that unit brought down Ontario’s nuclear baseload to just under 8,000 MW so coupled with all of Ontario’s run of river hydro it is insufficient to meet our peak needs and we can’t count on Quebec to always be there to cover our shortfalls. The Society of United Professionals pointed out why we can’t count on Quebec to help us out in a February 2021 report in which they stated: “importing firm baseload power from Quebec is not as simple as signing a contract and flipping a switch. As a result of bottlenecks in Ontario’s transmission system, pressures on Quebec’s power supply and Ontario’s ongoing reliance on Quebec for summer peak power, there are multiple reasons that imports are not the simple solution they may seem.“
Likewise, even though Ontario has grid connected IWT (industrial wind turbines) with a reported connected capacity of about 4,900 MW (6 times the G-3 unit) their average annual generation is only in the 29/30% range. Further because of their intermittency they cannot be counted on to generate power when it is actually needed. March 2nd is a perfect example as over the full day they only generated 11.6% (13,619 MW) of their capacity with a peak at Hour 18 of 957 MW (19.5% of capacity) and a low of 275 MW (5.6% of capacity) at Hour 1.
Fortunately, yesterday was a relatively speaking; a mild winter day in Ontario and Quebec and peak demand came at hour 20 when it reached its high for the day at 18,579 MW and those IWT contributed only 2.6% (486 MW) of demand at that hour. Because it was a somewhat mild winter day Hydro Quebec was able to supply around 38,000 MWh while we were busy selling about 24,000 MWh to Michigan. Had it been a cold winter day Quebec would have needed the power they supplied Ontario via our intertie connections. As it turned out we were a net importer of power for twenty-two hours and a net exporter for only two hours of the day which is a big turnaround from when our nuclear baseload was higher in the 10,000 MW range only a month or so ago.
What really stepped up to the plate for Ontario yesterday was our natural gas generation thanks to its flexibility and over the 24 hours it supplied us with 68,552 MWh or about what 2.3 million average Ontario households (45% of Ontario households) consume daily. At our peak hour it provided 3,957 MWh or 21.3% of demand and over eight times what those IWT generated. It should also be noted the abilities of natural gas generation to be so flexible presumably resulted in the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) remaining relatively stable throughout the day in the $30/MWh range.
The good news is Bruce Nuclear’s Unit 6, the first unit to be refurbished under the MCR project, is scheduled to return to service later in 2023 and its life cycle will be extended to the early 2060s! Perhaps by then politicians will have abandoned the concept of wind and solar being a reliable supply of electricity and the eco-warriors will have returned to their caves!
Inspired by a recent National Post article entitled; “A U.K. ferry company spent hundreds of millions on hybrid vessels that can’t be plugged in” and living close to two islands in the Bay of Quinte serviced by ferries proved to be an inspiration. The two islands are Wolfe Island and Amherst Island where 1,400 and 400 people respectively live and are dependent on ferries to reach the mainland for shopping, healthcare, etc. etc. Both of the islands are plagued with those IWT (industrial wind turbines) with Wolfe Island suffering from the 198 MW capacity of the 86 turbines owned by TransAlta and Amherst Island from the 26 turbines with a 75 MW capacity owned by Windlectric. Needless to say both projects were unwanted by those living on the two islands and the residents tried to stop them from getting approval. Nevertheless, due to the nature of the GEA (Green Energy Act) brought into being by the McGuinty led Ontario Liberal Government (with Gerald Butts as his principal advisor) the residents of both islands were unable to stop the projects.
Perhaps to soften the blow on March 16, 2018, the Ontario Liberal Government under Kathleen Wynne as Premier together with the then recently elected Federal Liberal Government under PM Trudeau stepped in to make a major announcement presumably meant to win back Liberal support from the citizens living on both islands.
The Press Release issued started off saying: “Ontario is building the first fully electric non-cable vessels in Canada with two new ferries to connect the mainland with Amherst Island and Wolfe Island.“ Later in the press release under “Quick Facts” it goes on saying: “Ontario is investing approximately $94 million and the Government of Canada is contributing up to a maximum of $31,271,905 towards building the new ferries through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component“.
Those statements suggest the two ferries were to be built in Ontario and as well the press release bragged: “Those ferries will now be electrified, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 7.4 million kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, the same as taking 1,357 cars off the road, compared to conventional diesel ferries.“
The interesting part of the foregoing Provincial Press Release is, just four months earlier on November 6, 2017, two Liberal MPs, Mark Gerretsen and Mike Bossio along with Ontario Liberal MPP, Sophie Kiwala, had made a similar announcement. Included in this article was the following: “The new ferries will also take advantage of propulsion technologies and will run cleaner and quieter than the existing ferries,” said Kiwala”, Liberal MPP for Kingston and the Islands. Sophie Kiwala, went on to state “the province has awarded the contract for the two new ferries to Damen Shipyards from the Netherlands at a cost of $61 million.“ The article also said newly elected Liberal MP, Mark Gerretsen announced the federal government had committed to one third of the funding for the two vessels and it could be as much as $30 million. Additionally, the article noted, “The ferries – set to arrive in December, 2019 for Amherst Island and December, 2020 for Wolfe Island – will help alleviate tensions during service interruptions and inspections.“
Should one compare the November 6, 2017, announcement to the March 16,2018 press release you notice several major differences between the two!
1.The March 16, 2018, press release claimed the two ferries would be built in Ontario whereas the earlier announcement claimed they would be supplied by Damen Shipyards from the Netherlands!
2.The November 6, 2017, announcement claimed the cost for the two ferries would be $61 million whereas the March 16, 2018, press release stated the cost would be $94 million!
The cost for the two ferries was $94 million or more, not the $61 million originally announced. Additionally the new ferries created a need for major dock works perhaps to charge their batteries.
3.The November 6, 2017, announcement stated the ferries would take advantage of “propulsion technologies” (think Sea Doo) whereas the March 16, 2018, press release stated they would be “electrified”!
It is true the ferries are both “electrified” however, they both have twin diesel generators installed to allow hybrid and full diesel propulsion for maximum redundancy.
4.The November 6, 2017, announcement stated the Amherst Island ferry would arrive in 2019 and the Wolfe Island ferry would arrive in December 2020.
They are running well behind schedule as it was reported: “The Amherst Islander II and Wolfe Islander IV arrived at the Port of Quebec City yesterday, Sept 26, 2021.“ Since moving from Quebec City they have been moved to Picton Harbour where they still are docked presumably to allow time to upgrade the docks. Recall from above; that back on November 6, 2017, those politicians appear to have told the reporter; “The ferries – set to arrive in December, 2019 for Amherst Island and December, 2020 for Wolfe Island – will help alleviate tensions during service interruptions and inspections.“
5.The November 6, 2017, announcement also stated two of the existing ferries would remain in service to backup the new ferries during the busy tourist periods of the year.
Once again we should note the three Liberal politicians back in 2017 look to have made promises that were false as an article a few days ago noted in respect to the Wolfe Island ferry; “The Ministry of Transportation says that when the new ferry arrives, they won’t be able to run both ferries at the same time due to staffing issues“.
It is readily apparent those three Liberal politicians (presumably backed up by many bureaucrats), involved in making the critical decisions in respect to the acquisition of the two ferries messed up badly or kept key information locked up. We should also suspect the price paid due to the “hybrid” nature of the two ferries was well above the costs of diesel ferries with the same passenger/automobile capacity. The push to reduce those “greenhouse gas emissions” came at a huge cost with lots of delays. Word on the street is, they may be in operation by the current spring. So far, no emissions have been reduced!
This is another clear message to us taxpayers that our politicians have no regard for how they waste our tax dollars and prove that by continuing to spin those Ferry tales.
The below screenshot of IESO data for the past several days clearly demonstrates why Ontario needs the reliability of natural gas to fill in for when the sun’s not shining and/or the wind’s not blowing. At the bottom left of the screenshot the “Generation by Fuel Type – Hourly” highlights Ontario’s baseload capacity which is principally nuclear and hydro in the orange and blue colours. Most hydro is classified as baseload but part of it is considered as “variable” generation so is able to ramp up or down as needed when grid demand rises or falls. Nevertheless daily demand frequently is well above what those two sources are able to provide so natural gas plants need to be at the ready when those renewable energy sources are in the doldrums.
The foregoing is demonstrated by the large and small hourly generation from the green (industrial wind turbines or IWT) and yellow (solar) portions of the chart which at times generate as much as hydro and at other times very little! Simply looking at the daily peak demand hours it is readily apparent from the visual observation of the chart that wind and solar often are missing. Natural gas generation (dark blue) and its rammable ability are required to fill in the gaps as is obvious once again from just a quick glance.
Just looking at one days IESO data contained in the above chart clearly shows why we cannot live without natural gas plants and their ability to step up when needed. Looking at February 24th at peak hour 19 (hour ending at 7 PM) natural gas generated 4,907 MWh, hydro 6,088 MWh but solar was absent and those IWT only generated 715 MWh versus their peak generation of 2,516 MWh for the day at 3 AM when peak demand was at its low point for the full 24 hours.
The above is a clear demonstration of the unreliable nature of IWT and why natural gas generation is needed unless the objective is to create blackouts!
The Toronto Sun newspaper had a February 23, 2023 article written by Lorrie Goldstein noting a report released by the CCI (Canadian Climate Institute) disclosed Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2021 by 19 million tons or 2.8%. Goldstein pointed out correctly that the results fly in the face of past assurances from the likes of PM Trudeau and former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson that they would decline! The article went on to point out the impossibilities to achieve the goals they had set unless they shut down Canada’s complete industrial sector along with our oil and gas sector. In other words unless they cripple the Canadian economy the goals, they have committed to will be unachievable!
While Goldstein correctly points out the negative place Trudeau and his minions now find themselves, the picture painted by the CCI’s report was actually spun differently by them! To wit: The CCI press release about the results had the following quote from Rick Smith, President of CCI:
“It’s promising to see Canada starting to make tangible progress in reducing carbon pollution, especially coming out of the pandemic. Time is short, and our goals are ambitious.Hitting those goals is crucial to Canada’s future security and prosperity.
Perhaps the foregoing quote from Smith (formerly head honcho at Environmental Defence) is simply a take on the old idiom; “don’t bite the hand that feeds you“ based on the CCI’s charitable status. A review of their year-end March 31, 2022 filing with the CRA indicates their employees are well paid and we should suspect Smith is at the top of the following chart from their filing:
It is also worth noting Rick Smith and Gerald Butts (PM Trudeau’s former Principal Advisor) are closely connected as both were the heads of two of the Strathmere Group’s 12 members as outlined in a series of articles. Smith also has a close relationship (they even co-authored a book) with Bruce Lourie, one of the CCI’s directors and he is also listed as the Secretary-Treasurer of the CCI in the CRA filings.
If one examines their CRA filing as a “charity” it discloses gross revenue of $2,487,656 with $2,433,119 (97.8%) of it simply our tax dollars handed to them by the federal government. Please note they didn’t claim any of their total expenditures of $3,646,724 as being “on charitable activities”.
It is apparent based on the numbers above the CCI overspent their revenue by about $1.159 million. Rest assured they will seek additional taxpayer funding and a recent search on the Government of Canada’s “Grants and Contributions” website indicates they were handed $500,000 on December 5, 2022 by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change where Minister Steven Guilbeault now hangs his hat! The grant is reputedly to do a “Policy analysis and stakeholder views on climate and environmental impacts of inactive oil and gas wells“.
If one seeks financial information on the CCI website the only information one can find for their 2021-2022 year is the following one page “snapshot” and it’s in their “Annual Impact Report”:
I would think based on the foregoing, 99% of all Canadians would not consider anything the CCI contributes to Canada and Canadians to be what can be considered charitable.
The question that anyone examining the financial aspects of this “charity” called the Canadian Climate Institute should immediately ask is:
Why in hell should the CCI be considered a charity when here in Canada and in so many other places around the world we are seeing “energy poverty” skyrocket? Charitable food banks are pressed to help families suffering from poverty caused by increased costs of energy in the form of intermittent and unreliable renewable energy as well as carbon taxes on fossil fuels needed in so many aspects of our day to day living from farming to delivering the food to your local grocery store. Paying our tax dollars to ENGO such as the CCI amplifies the unjust treatment we are now experiencing!
To paraphrase Rick Smith’s ramble: Hitting the goals to reduce emissions is crucial if the plan is to increase energy poverty!
Time to right the wrongs and rescind the charitable rights of these hundreds of ENGO here in Canada using our tax dollars to further escalate energy poverty!
OPG recently announced they are buying GM Canada’s former head office building in Oshawa which GM indicated has been virtually empty since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. OPG states the building will be refurbished before they move from 700 University Ave., Toronto late in 2024. Back on November 10, 2022, OPG released their 3rd Quarter results and they were quite favourable but not so much for ratepayers as revenue was up year over year for the nine months by $585 million (11.3%) despite generation only increasing by 2.4 TWh (4%). Net income increased by $199 million or 16% so more than double the inflation rate.
Hydro One recently released their year-end results and their revenue, net of purchased power (up by only 827 GWh or 2.7%), increased by $410 million (up 11.2%). Net profit was up by $91 million or 9.2% which also was 46% higher than Canada’s inflation rate of 6.3% for the year.
Despite the foregoing with OPG and Hydro One reporting results surpassing our inflation rate it is worth noting, the Ontario Energy Board’s “Vision” reputedly still is: “To be a trusted regulator who is recognized for enabling Ontario’s growing economy and improving the quality of life for the people of this province who deserve safe, reliable andaffordable energy.“
Melancthon Wind Contract Extended
For some unknown reason Ontario’s Minister of Energy issued a directive dated January 27,2022 to IESO instructing them to renew expiring contracts and IESO did; under the “Medium-Term Request for Proposals“ meaning the contract holder; TransAlta Renewables Inc were granted an extension to 2031. That particular IWT (industrial wind turbines) project has “a long and controversial history, due to hundreds of complaints of noise pollution from residents, so severe that some people abandoned their homes” and it was further stated: “Our own findings from documents received under Freedom of Information is that the Melancthon power project was number one in Ontario for noise complaints related to the turbines and a transformer.“ The foregoing happened despite the promise by the existing Minister to cancel IWT projects before his party gained power!
Joe Oliver retiring as IESO Chair
It was with acute disappointment reading recently former Federal Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver was retiring as Chair of IESO’s Board of Directors as he was only appointed in March 2019! Mr. Oliver has certainly come across as a climate change skeptic recently having penned an article for the Financial Post wherein, he stated: “To justify enormous expenditures and punishing taxes Canadians are endlessly bombarded with apocalyptic climate scaremongering whose main effect is to terrify children and convince the credulous. Even though Canada cannot make a measurable difference to the global climate, the Liberals doggedly push a net-zero agenda that will cost $2 trillion by 2050.“ He reemphasized that point in another article in the FP in early February stating “Canadians are awakening to the terrible harm the government’s destructive climate initiatives inflict on their livelihoods and freedom, without achieving anything meaningful for the environment.“
Based on the very short press release from IESO should we suspect the Ford Government was not happy with what he said and perhaps asked him to retire as they are attempting to stay on the good side of PM Trudeau and his minions pushing the “Just Transition” agenda? We taxpayers should hope not but we should be suspicious!
Prince Edward Island
Back in late 2021 the PEI government announced they would provide free heat pumps for any island household with income of $35K or less and since then they have raised the household income level to $55K but its not working! Their reasoning was because electricity and oil costs (the two main sources of heating households in the province) were very high they would pay to have the pumps installed as PEI seeks to reach “net-zero energy consumption” by 2030! In a province with only 59,000 households, thousands of them indicate they have been waiting for the installations for a long time so the province has now increased the household income to $75K. It certainly appears their provincial politicians are working hard to increase the backlog. It’s becoming harder and harder to find any politicians in Canada or elsewhere that exhibit even a little common sense!
Down Under to Australia
Back in early 2019 the government of NSW (New South Wales) granted approval for a 2,000 MW proposed pumped storage facility at a then estimated cost of US$3.62 billion with commissioning expected in 2024. The approval was granted as the province sought to shut down their coal plants and move to zero emissions and the pumped storage capacity would reputedly be capable of generating 2,000 MW per hour for 175 hours. Sounds like a dream by the politicians in NSW and recent events have perhaps, highlighted their dreams have been shattered! Apparently, the initial costs have ballooned (some estimates are as high as US$9 billion) and the commissioning date in now anticipated to be December 2027 or even later. To make matters worse, recent news was the 2,400-ton boring machine has become stuck under a cave-in so has ground to a halt! Sure looks to be yet another group of politicians and bureaucrats with a shortage of common sense! It appears to be Australia’s version of Muskrat Falls!
Oil City battery energy storage project ‘dead in the water’: mayor
The captioned article in the Sarnia Observer a week ago could be construed as an “ironic” happening as it occurred near to where oil was first discovered in North America back in 1858 when James Miller Williams was drilling for water. The location of the well at that time was called Black Creek but was subsequently changed to Oil Springs and is located about 30 kms southeast of Sarnia, Ontario. Renewable Energy Systems Canada (they claim they are the world’s largest renewable energy company) asked for support from the local council as a requirement to seek a blessing from IESO for a proposed BESS (battery energy storage system) but the mayor and council declined to support them. Perhaps nostalgia played a role as those BESS units are seen as support for the unreliable and intermittent nature of renewable energy from wind and solar which our politicians seem to believe can replace fossil fuels. Nice to see some politicians have basic common-sense!
Over to Germany
It is worthwhile to visit a website titled “NoTricksZone” and a recent visit to the site had a short, sad, but true story about Germany’s electricity and gas prices in a revelation by P. Gosselin. The headline read: “My Household Electricity And Gas Prices Rise 87% And 178% Respectively!“ The article went on stating; “my own household had made a contract in 2021 that locked the heating gas and electricity prices for 2 years, our rates had stayed reasonably low. But that contract expires on April 1st, 2023, and last week we got the long-awaited letter announcing the new prices from our gas and electric utility.“ Many are aware Germany, under Angela Merkel, went full bore on what was labelled as “Energiewende“; simply defined as, “the ongoing transition by Germany to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply“. As it turns out Energiewende has pretty well failed on all of its objectives due to their push for wind and solar, elimination of their nuclear baseload generation coupled with their shutdown of their variable coal generation plants. They have become the perfect example of what “not to do” but many countries have emulated them and are finding themselves in a similar situation with energy poverty climbing.
An article from October, 2022 stated: “One in four Germans are currently energy impoverished, up from one in six in 2018.“ Those are very dismal results and a reflection on how unconnected from society elected politicians and their bureaucrats have become in their push to achieve the “net-zero” emissions target. In the meantime China, India and many other countries have rejected the call to move in the same direction, so they are lifting many of their citizens out of energy poverty.
The above short stories hopefully highlight the apparent disregard most of our elected politicians have for all but the elites in our democratic countries but it is time to call them out. Join the fight and let them know how they are failing the majority of voters and in the process are causing energy poverty.
There is nothing “just” about the “Just Transition”!
Yesterday, Ontario’s IWT (industrial wind turbines) were humming and supplied the Ontario grid with 81,736 MW despite IESO appearing to have curtailed another 5,600 MW of their potential generation!
Due to the fact it was a Sunday with businesses shut for the weekend coupled with a mild winter day, demand was light so the peak reached at Hour 19 was only 16,478 MW. Because of those factors, IESO were busy selling off our surplus power to our neighbours in Michigan, New York and Quebec for pennies of its cost to Ontarians. Total exports were 69,070 MWh or 84.5% of the accepted IWT generation and the sale price averaged $5.45/MWh or just over a half a cent per kWh (kilowatt hour).
To put the foregoing in perspective the 69,070 MWh is about what 2.4 million Ontario households consume daily and represents around 46% of all Ontario households.
Based on the foregoing data from IESO it is obvious that generation by the IWT were fully responsible for the 69,070 MW that was exported. What that illustrates is with the guaranteed contracted prices of $135/MWh that generation cost Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers $9.324 million and adding the cost of the 5,600 MW of curtailed generation (at a cost of $120/MWh) it brings the additional costs to $9.996 million.
Oh yes, and we exported those 69,070 MW for the HOEP market price of $5.45/MWh, so we earned $376K (3.8% of their costs) reducing the overall costs to $9.620 million.
So one might ask, so how much did it cost us per MWh for the 12,666 MWh we didn’t export, and they would be shocked to find out it works out to $759.51/MWh or 0.76 cents/KWh.
Going “green” sure hurts the ratepayers and taxpayers in Ontario but our neighbours are surely delighted we are providing them with our highly subsidized “emissions free” electricity!
Now, try to imagine if we did the foregoing every day of the year and shake your head at the $3.5 billion it would cost us!
In fact, the taxpayers in Ontario are actually burdened with an annual cost of $6.274 billion for “Electricity Cost Relief Programs” associated with those renewable energy contracts as outlined in the very recent 2022-2023 Third Quarter Finances update from the Provincial Ministry of Finance.
From the Update:
Now try to imagine how that money could have benefited our health sector or built out some needed infrastructure!
Southern Ontario is currently experiencing what the eco-warriors would call “global warming” with lots of wind so it led to a IESO DATA look and it was a bit shocking to see what was going on. The wind was doing a great job at generating intermittent and unneeded IWT (industrial wind turbines) generation that wasn’t needed but with their “first-to-the-grid” rights IESO were forced to accept both lots of it on February 14th and 15th as the following highlights.
As a co-incidence a Provincial press release about the provinces 2022-2023 finances hit the in-box and in in it they disclose the province was projecting a deficit of $6.5 billion for the year. In a quick look at the financial information it was interesting to note that $6.6 billion in expenses for the Energy base ($327.6 million) plus $6.274 billion allocated for “Electricity Cost Relief Programs” brought the total to the $6.6 billion of expenses in the press release. Imagine, without the latter the province would be forecasting a small surplus of $100 million and that would have been something to brag about!
As many Ontarians may not know the Electricity Cost Relief Programs were established by the Ford led government to absorb the above market costs of the pricy wind and solar contracts signed by the McGuinty/Wynne governments. Those governments; in the push to “green” the electricity sector; was what they bought into when eco-warriors were demanding the world must stop using fossil fuels due to the “global warming” (now referenced as “climate change”) scare.
The IWT generation for all of Tuesday and part of today (Wednesday) makes it obvious why the almost $6.3 billion of costs for the “Relief Programs” exists!
February 14, 2023
IESO’s wind generation forecast for the full 24 hours was 44,037 MWh but they cut the output to 41,251 MWh suggesting about 2,700 MWh were curtailed. That resulted in a total cost for the IWT generation and curtailment of $6.279 million for the day ($135/MWh for accepted generation and $120/MWh for curtailed). Total exports to our neighbours throughout the day were 46,938 MWh so one could easily suggest all of it was either IWT generation or caused by it! The average market price (HOEP) over those 24 hours was $10.74/MWh meaning it earned a miserly $504K reducing the cost of IWT generation to $5.775 million.
February 15, 2023
IESO DATA for the first 18 hours disclosed they forecast generation of 75,648 MWh but the output recorded was 54,881 MWh meaning 20,767 MWh were curtailed. That suggests the first 18 hours of the day cost $9.901 million and as the average HOEP over those 18 hours was a tiny $2.22/MWh the exports of 49,095 MW returned only $109K of those costs paid to the owners of the IWT.
The taxpayers/ratepayers of Ontario were forced to absorb $15.567 million to provide our neighbours in NY, Michigan and Quebec with those 93,255 MWh over those 42 hours. Those MW we basically gave away is about what 3,2 million average Ontario households would consume in one day!
Hopefully the foregoing brings to light why the Ford government allocates the $6.274 billion for “Electricity Cost Relief Programs”. It also suggests we should all wonder why they haven’t cancelled those IWT contracts instead of now indicating they will extend their contracts. They recently extended the Transalta Melancthon 200 MW IWT development near Shelbourne, Ontario which stands out for having a long and controversial history.
We should wonder as taxpayers if that $6.274 billion cost will only get larger in the future as the past 42 hours suggests it won’t diminish!
The Ford led government had a chance to balance the budget but instead seems content with burdening Ontario taxpayers in supporting our neighbour’s electricity costs! Not sure how that will attract jobs to the province?
It is apparent no one noticed from Hour 9 to Hour 11 on February 11, 2013 Ontario’s baseload power decreased by 814 MW of capacity as Bruce Power’s G-8 nuclear reactor was tripped off. It’s not clear why it was tripped, but in terms of security to avoid blackouts in the province; that baseload power would generate over 7 TWh (terawatt hours) over a full year or about what 800,000 average Ontario households consume.
The above should be of concern to the Ontario Ministry of Energy but so far, they haven’t noticed! The Ministry are instead excited about the recent announcement triggered by a November 24, 2022, Ministerial directive from Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith to IESO. That directive instructed them to complete negotiations with the proponents of the Oneida Energy Storage Project, a 250 MW BESS (battery energy storage system).
Needless to say when the announcement was finally made the Ontario Conservative Party were excited and Global News reported in a February 10, 2023 article, Premier Ford stating; “It’s equivalent to taking 643,000 cars off the road,”. The article went on to note the project “is being supported by the Canada Infrastructure Bank which has earmarked some $170 million to the initiative.“ The CIB’s press release contained slightly different information than the Ford quote claiming: “The Oneida Energy storage project is expected to reduce emissions by between 2.2 to 4.1 million tonnes, equivalent to taking up to 40,000 cars off the road.“
Hmm, the foregoing suggests someone’s math is askew as taking 643,000 cars off the road is a multiple of 16 times what the CIB said was 40,000 cars! Who should we taxpayers believe?
The CIB’s press release had numerous quotes in it from both federal and provincial government politicians as well as the partners; Northland Power Inc., NRStor, Aecon*NB: and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC).
As an example of the excitement displayed, here is what Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources had to say: “The Government of Canada is pleased to collaborate with partners to unlock the energy storage solutions needed to store clean energy while meeting increasing electricity demands,” and he went on further stating: “The Oneida Energy storage project represents a significant Indigenous-led development that will create good jobs for Canadians while reducing emissions. The Government of Canada is pleased to invest $50 million in building this project with Indigenous partners — resulting in one of the world’s largest battery storage projects.“
Premier Ford said: “I’m thrilled to see so many great partners come together to build this world-class project that will provide affordable, clean energy for generations to come,”.
The other quote, in my mind, that stood out, was from Mike Crawley of Northland Power Inc. as Crawley was reputedly the former Ontario President of the Liberal Party and following that served as President of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Crawley’s quote was: “The Oneida Energy Storage Project is a milestone for Ontario’s burgeoning energy storage sector. It will make the province’s electricity grid more efficient, stable and reliable. For Northland, this project marks our first storage investment. We recognize the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada for their continued support of energy storage initiatives. Finally, we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with NRStor and the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, without whom this project would not have been possible.”
We should suspect Crawley’s attribution to “Ontario’s burgeoning energy storage sector” is a subtle call for support (financial and regulatory) from the CIB and the Ford government to grant approval for a storage project Northland Power have been chasing for over a decade. That project is the Marmora pumped storage project utilizing the abandoned iron mine in Marmora, Ontario. Crawley has somehow managed to entice OPG into joining Northland in their pursuit of that contract perhaps believing it will convince Ontario’s Energy Minister, he must give it his blessing.
Mike Crawley was called out by Bob Runciman, a Conservative MPP, who sat as a member of Ontario’s parliament for 29 years and in 2004 was opposition leader. The Hansard report indicates in Runciman’s examination of the then Minister of Energy, Dwight Duncan in 2004, he raised “conflict issues” about Crawley and his position as President of AIM PowerGen while being the Ontario President of the Liberal Party of Canada. The issue was in respect to a $475 million contract awarded to Erie Shores Wind Farm owned by AIM PowerGen. According to the Hansard records Crawley was also President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association at the time. Needless to say nothing came of the issue raised by MPP Runciman when he asked Duncan to “put the contract on hold” pending an investigation by the Ontario Integrity Commission. Duncan refused! Crawley still maintains influence with the Liberal Party and his influence seems to now also involve the Ontario Conservative Party.
Mr. Crawley is registered as a Lobbyist with the Federal government and in June of last year he met with Jonathan Wilkinson who stated the Government of Canada “invested $50 million” in the project. We should wonder if the $50 million investment came about as a result of Crawley’s lobbying efforts?
Looking quickly at the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) it is difficult to find complete information related to their “green energy portfolio” other than the claim; “itis capable of producing over 1000MW of clean energy through involvement in 18 solar or wind projects either directly (Equity Interests) or indirectly (Community Benefit Agreements). Their website identifies their portfolio’s capacity as 297 MW of “wind” and 145 MW of “solar”! They recently announced they were upset the Lake Erie Connector Project had been suspended for which the CIB had planned to “invest up to $655 million or up to 40% of the project cost. ITC, a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., and private sector lenders will invest up to $1.05 billion, the balance of the project’s capital cost.“
As if the furore from the proponents along with provincial and federal politicians wasn’t enough the Federal Minister of Finance and Deputy PM, Chrystia Freeland rang out with her rants on twitter about the project and how “it will create good jobs, help build Ontario’s 21st century electricity grid, and make electricity more affordable for Ontario families.”
As Minister of Finance she should recognize handing out $220 million of our (Federal) tax dollars for a project destined to raise the cost of electricity and create a few jobs to occasionally power homes or businesses for a few hours annually is not the panacea she hyperventilates about.
The time has come for all of Canada’s politicians to cease the madness of their “net-zero” targets and recognize how eliminating the 6% to 7% of emissions from the electricity sector will have no impact on Canada’s fossil fuel reduction but will result in the loss of well-paying jobs throughout our economy.
Time for sanity to return to our elected politicians!
*Aecon has been awarded a $141 million Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract by Oneida LP.
NB: One of my contacts informed me John Beck CEO and President of Aecon is a big supporter of the WEF where our Finance Minister Freeland also hangs her hat! I went to the WEF website and searched his name and it popped up many times and he sits on one of their “Steering Committees. We should all wonder what in hell is going on!