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; “it is 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!