IESO Creates and Promotes Hybrid Electricity Generation-What could go wrong?

Who knew?

IESO recently claimed by simply combining very old technology mankind would create hybrid electricity generation! 

The foregoing was stated recently by IESO in their September report “Enabling Foundational Hybrid Facility Models in the IESO-Administered Markets ”.  One example cited by IESO in the 46 page report, says combining batteries (invented in 1800 by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta) with electricity generated by wind turbines (created by Professor James Blyth in 1887) is “hybrid” generation.  The following from the report states: “Expiring wind and solar contracts along with declining technology costs for battery storage is expected to drive hybrid facility development over the next decade.”

It appears to be similar to mating horses and donkeys to create mules.  Considering how long batteries and wind generated electricity have been around perhaps IESO should name this new “hybrid” they claim now exists in Ontario?  The words “double-dealing” and or “chicanery” added to wind/battery or solar/battery would be a good descriptive for these hybrids!   

The foregoing implies IWT (industrial wind turbines) and solar with FIT (feed in tariff) contacts brought to us in Ontario by the McGuinty/Wynne governments will be renewed as long as battery storage is added by the owners. One should wonder if the Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith has been played by Mark Carney, Vice Chair of Brookfield? A Brookfield subsidiary recently proposed a $300 million 161 MW (megawatts) battery storage unit that will reputedly contain four hours (644 MWh) of dispatchable energy and those batteries will be charged in the middle of the night and dispatched during the day when demand is high.  The benefit to Brookfield will translate to selling the power when the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy prices) market price is high while downloading it when prices are low. 

What looks to be somewhat confusing about this “hybrid” issue is the Energy Minister’s letter of August 23, 2022 wherein he states:  “I am pleased to see that through the first Medium-Term RFP (MT1 RFP) our government’s approach of competitive procurements has secured supply at a cost about 30 per cent lower than previous contracts.” It one believes he was referencing IWT contracts which are paid $135/MWh that would reduce the price for grid accepted wind to $94.50/MWh without including what we are also paying for “curtailed” generation of $120/MWh! 

Interestingly enough it appears the “30 per cent lower” quote from the Ministry letter is related to comments in the 46 page September 2022 report from IESO titled:  “Enabling Foundational Hybrid Facility Models in the IESO-Administered Markets”! The IESO report has the following two sentences: “Post-market renewal, there will be a locational marginal price (LMP) for the storage injecting resource and another LMP for the storage withdrawing resource. The LMP values may be different for the two (2) resources (e.g., $20/MW for the storage withdrawing resource and $21/MW for the storage injecting resource).”

The question becomes; had IESO negotiated the additional payment(s) with the IWT owners and made the Minister aware of the agreement reached before he penned his letter as it infers; due to the date of his letter proceeding the IESO report by one month?

Despite the foregoing question it seems interesting that the two additional payments added to the 30% reduction would bring the total cost of wind generation to $135.50 ($94.50+$20.00+21.00=$135.50).  The other question is whether the IWT owners can pick and choose when to sell their stored energy and if they will be allowed to choose hours when the HOEP market price is higher than the guaranteed price?

Another very recent announcement from Capital Power in Windsor suggests Ontario’s natural gas fired plants are keen to get in on the “battery” storage action as the September 21, 2022 article in the CBC suggests.  Capital Power is proposing to add a 40 MW battery storage unit particularly as IESO has forecast “demand in southwestern Ontario as a whole is expected to double over five years to about 2,000 megawatts”.  The article highlights a report from Power Advisory which amusingly recommends the City of Windsor ironically investigate “importing power from Michigan” whom the EIA (US Energy Information System) note in 2021 got their largest share (32%) of electricity from coal generation.

One of the principal reasons for the IESO projected demand increase is; “the announcement of the $4.9-billion Stellantis-LG Energy Solution electric vehicle battery plant, a massive facility slated to open in 2024.” The press releases from the Provincial and the Federal Governments don’t disclose how much taxpayers will be providing as the Federal Press Release notes: “Details of this agreement are subject to commercial confidentiality and cannot be disclosed at this time”.  Needless to say we taxpayers should expect government grants will be several hundred million of our tax dollars! Both press releases tout the wonders of converting from manufacturing ICE to EV automobiles in line with PM Trudeau and his minions seeking to achieve his target of “100% zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035”. The only announcement about grants was from the City of Windsor who have committed $68 million with the help of a $45 million loan from Infrastructure Ontario an Ontario taxpayer owned entity.

As IESO and the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments here in Canada continue the push for batteries to be manufactured in Ontario and to also provide electricity it is interesting to note California has similar targets as those proposed by our various government bodies. Very recently PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) experienced yet another major battery fire at a large battery storage unit (182.5 MW) and that plant has now been shut down indefinitely!  

From the above summary of ongoing events here in Ontario and elsewhere it seems, in the minds of our bureaucrats and politicians charged with running our energy system (whose objectives should be reliable power), their view is:

“everything old is new again”!

Witness Wind Cash Gobblers on September 22nd

What Ontario ratepayers expect in the Spring and Fall seasons started on the very first fall day (September 22, 2022) in the current year.  

The 4,900 MW (about) capacity of grid connected IWT (industrial wind turbines) spread throughout the province could have generated 74,442 MWh (63.3% of their capacity) if the approximately 8,800 MWh of curtailed wind is included with the IESO accepted generation.

As it turned out IESO accepted 65,642 MWh and were busy finding a home for those MWh with our neighbours in Michigan, New York and Quebec who eagerly snapped up 61,757 MWh at the average bargain basement HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) market price of $8.56MWh (0.86 cents/kWh).

The foregoing happened as we ratepayers/taxpayers are obliged to pay $135/MWh (13.5 cents/kWh) for the grid accepted IWT generation and $120/MWh (12.0 cents/kWh) for its curtailed generation given their “first-to-the-grid rights!  What the above translates to is a total cost of $9,891,000 will be paid to the IWT owners. IESO had to sell off that unneeded generation to avoid overloading the grid and cause blackouts. IESO sold the bulk of it to our neighbours who paid about $529,000 which translates to a net cost to us Ontarians of $9,362,000 for power we didn’t need.   

While it’s not unusual to see those IWT operate at levels of 40/60 % of their capacity it tends to always be during the spring and fall when Ontario’s peak demand is low. Yesterday was no exception as peak Ontario demand occurred at Hour 20 and was only 15,584 MW whereas on those warm summer days peak Ontario demand frequently hovers around the 20,000MW+ mark but wind generation is frequently missing or completely absent.

Those peak demand summer days is when the IWT take a holiday proving all they do is add to the costs of our energy supply with their intermittency and unreliability!

Pretty sure most Ontarians will be happy when those contracts given by the McGuinty/Wynne led government(s) finally expire and those IWT are shut down.  Migrating birds and bats and households in rural communities affected by the high decibel noise and the infrasound affecting their health will, no doubt, be delighted!

To paraphrase the Dire Straits song; IWT owners get “money for nothing, but it sure ain’t free”!

Generating Less Electricity Benefits Ontario Ratepayers

The OEB (Ontario Energy Board) on September 12, 2022 finally posted “Ontario’s System-Wide Electricity Supply Mix: 2021 Data” and it was the latest posting ever from them in the last seven years!  The OEB takes the TX (transmission connected) generation, ie; IESO data* they provide (usually within two weeks of the prior year-end) and add the DX (distribution connected) generation provided by the local distribution companies in the province. We assume it is a slower process to obtain the latter info from the 58 distribution companies but 8 ½ months seems longer than needed!

The foregoing combined data from the OEB report indicates generation from TX and DX generators fell from 154.7 TWh (terawatt hours) in 2020 to 150 TWh in 2021 or 3%.  The 4.7 TW drop equals the annual consumption of about 525,000 Ontario households!

As one would suspect some generation sources fell while some increased but not enough to offset the drop.  The biggest drop was from our nuclear plants which generated 4.8 TW less and our hydro plants also fell generating 2.8 TW less. Combined the 7.6 TW is about what 850,000 average Ontario households (16% of all Ontario households) would consume in a year.  The only generation source to significantly increase generation was Ontario’s grid connected natural gas plants who supplied 12.2 TW an increase of 2.5 TW from 2020 (up 25.7%) and about what 290,000 average households annually consume. The only other categories to show increases were wind; up 100 GW (gigawatts) or about what 10,000 households consume annually and “Non-Contracted” which increased by 500 GW or what 50,000 households would consume annually.  The OEB states the latter “represents a variety of fuel types that the IESO is unable to categorize”! We should suspect those “Non-Contracted” sources are mainly small gas plants operated by manufacturers and sub-contracted to supply generation when the local grid is potentially short of demand!  

The only bright star shining out from the report is related to Ontario’s “net exports” (exports minus imports) which declined by 6.6 TW and had the positive effect of pushing up the market price ie: HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) from an average of 1.39 cents/kWh in 2020 to 2.85 cents/kWh in 2021. While that doesn’t sound like much it did decrease our costs by $118 million on our Net Exports in 2020 of 8.5 TWh. The increase in the HOEP would also decrease the taxpayer liability amount for those intermittent and unreliable non-hydro “renewable energy contract costs” (wind and solar) as referenced by IESO* and slightly reduce the GA (Global Adjustment) component!

We shouldn’t believe what has finally shown a positive year over year result to continue however, due to the push by the Minister of Energy, Todd Smith’s August 23, 2022 “directive” to IESO containing the following instructions:  “to evaluate a moratorium on the procurement of new natural gas-fired generating stations in Ontario and to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system”.

Get prepared for the future which like many European countries will include orders to turn off your air conditioners in the summer and reduce your thermostat in the winter to avoid blackouts. Oh, and don’t charge your EV (electric vehicles) until we tell you, you can!

Energy reliability is no longer a target our politicians promote! The word “reliability” is being replaced by the word “transition” and the OEB is front and center in executing the change with their just released “Energy Transition” post containing a poll we must all take!

*Note on IESO data release: As of January 1, 2021, Global Adjustment costs for all electricity consumers are being reduced because approximately 85 per cent of non-hydro renewable energy contract costs are being shifted from the rate base to the tax base. Savings will vary, depending on consumers’ electricity consumption, ICI participation, and location.

Perhaps Voters Should Demand IQ Tests for Anyone Running for Public Office

Numerous events recently have caused yours truly, and hopefully many more, to wonder; are we are being led by elected politicians, federally, provincially and municipally with IQs (intelligent quotients) that would easily qualify them for a place in the “Dumb & Dumber” cast of the movie of the same name!  Those politicians take it upon themselves to direct bureaucrats; responsible for managing public services (entities paid with our tax dollars), to do what they are told. The bureaucrats do as they are told as they are well paid with lots of perks so they don’t “pushback” no matter the stupidity of the directives!

Let’s have a look at a few issues related to mankind’s need for “energy” firmly under control of politicians. Energy, until recently, has caused the world to become a better place; reducing poverty, climate related deaths, increasing lifespans, and damage from weather anomalies i.e.; not “climate change”!

Ottawa is a Great Example of Municipal Idiocy

With municipal elections just around the corner, Ottawa’s Mayoralty Candidates are having “eco-debates”!  The candidates include Bob Chiarelli a former mayor of Ottawa and when he was Ontario Minister of Energy is famous for suggesting the $1 billion cost associated with moving the planned Oakville gas plant was the cost of a Tim Horton’s coffee. It should come as no surprise the debates relate to the city councils approved; “Energy Evolution”, an 86 page document forecast to cost $57.4 billion and will reputedly transition Ottawa to a “net-zero” city by 2050. With a population of about 1.1 million that represents a cost per resident of about $52K or more than $200K for a family of four. An earlier article about Ottawa’s plan to get to “net-zero by 2050” strongly suggests it was written by Pollution Probe a group dedicated to convincing us all to abandon our use of fossil fuels to achieve the COP-26 targets. As if to exacerbate the push to spend those billions of dollars the City of Ottawa contracted Innovative Research Group to conduct a survey* that seems destined to produce favourable results for the Ottawa politicians due to the skewing of the questions. Perhaps Pollution Probe also had a hand in generating those survey questions?  It would be great if those municipal politicians running for mayor or council took the time to look at what has happened in the UK or Germany where energy prices have skyrocketed due to their push to “green” the electricity sector. This winter they plan to control the temperature households set to heat their homes! It seems apparent research isn’t something those seeking reelection or election to the City of Ottawa have bothered to do!

Province of Ontario Demonstrates Provincial Idiocy

From all appearances it seems almost conclusive the Premier Ford led government is simply carrying on with what Ontario experienced under the McGuinty/Wynne led government which brought us an almost tripling of the cost of electricity in the province.  While Ford did cancel the GEA (Green Energy Act), it is obvious they are still committed to eliminating fossil fuels completely which affects reliability and will surely drive-up generation costs. 

Beyond the announcement OPG would be adding a 300MW SMR (small modular reactor) which may be in service in 2028 at the Darlington site we have seen nothing from the current Ontario government aimed at ensuring we have a reliable supply of electricity in the future!  With the approximately 3,000 MW of the Pickering Nuclear plant scheduled to close by 2025 the Ford government (via his Minister of Energy, Todd Smith) is pushing the Pathways to Decarbonization (P2D)” which fearfully, doesn’t seem to project reliability. The latter is concerning, as via a recent directive Minister Smith “asked IESO to evaluate a moratorium on the procurement of new natural gas-fired generating stations in Ontario and to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system.”  From all appearances the directive has led to the upcoming (September 19, 2022), Ontario Energy Conference “Navigating to Net Zero” classified as “Ontario’s Energy Transition”!  According to the page describing the conference a key issue is; “Energy customers are demanding clean energy solutions with some urgency” but doesn’t disclose who those “energy customers” are. My (personal) guess would be they are not small/medium sized businesses or households suffering from inflation but may include eco-warrior charities like Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, etc. etc.  In reality, it appears to be simply Ontario’s politicians complying with the wishes of Prime Minister Trudeau and his Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault; famous for his actions when he was an eco-warrior climbing on the roof of former Alberta Premier, Ralph Klein’s home and scaring his wife as well as his criminal action of climbing the CN Tower!

It is worth noting that IESO had previously been asked by Minister Smith to evaluate the phaseout of natural gas and their report indicated the cost to eliminate it by 2030 would be $27 billion and raise electricity prices by 60%.  Interestingly on the page with the link to the foregoing report IESO note; “Did you know that natural gas provides just 7% of Ontario’s electricity needs, but on the hottest summer days can provide up to 30%?”  This was a clear message from IESO that without natural gas, Ontario would have to increase its generation considerably to ensure reliability and prevent blackouts.

A clear message about vulnerability totally ignored by Minister Smith and the Ford Government!

Only a Few of Many Examples of Federal Idiocy

Looking back to August 19, 2021 and viewing a video of Trudeau announcing one of his handouts before the upcoming election is an interesting exercise! At the press conference in BC he promised to provide funding “to support the training of 1,000 new community-based firefighters and the purchasing of new equipment to continue to fight the impacts of climate change across the country”. A question presented to him asked about inflation and the Bank of Canada possibly loosening inflation controls and his response was: “You’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy”!  We should also suspect his Minister of Finance and Deputy PM, Chrystia Freeland, is of a like mind so, spending our tax dollars on the “net-zero” pledge requires no thoughts about the consequences on Canada’s future despite the federal deficit having reached $314 billion in the year that had just ended on March 31, 2021.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently visited Canada with the presumed hope Canada might be able to supply some natural gas via LNG shipments but all he got was a promise that maybe, sometime in the future, we might be able to supply Germany with “green hydrogen” generated by IWT (industrial wind turbines) out of Newfoundland. An article out of Germany however about the latter titled“Will rescue come from Canada?”casts serious doubt on that possibility as the following from the article notes (from the Google translation):  “So does this prove the feasibility of LH2 imports from Canada? The technical possibility may be given. However, the profitability is more than questionable. If you look at the whole supply chain: wind energy – electricity – electrolysis – liquefaction – ship transport – distribution – storage – generation in fuel cells – feeding into the grid – then you have to be very skeptical. It would be maddeningly expensive. Maybe then the LH 2 tax will be introduced in Germany and the kilowatt hour will ultimately cost one euro.” This was the best PM Trudeau could offer as the Liberals have stifled the generation of fossil fuels and the pipeline that would have brought them to export terminals.

The Trudeau led government during their reign in Canada have continued their efforts to achieve “net-zero” crippling our natural resource sector, advocating for EV to replace ICE vehicles by subsidizing their purchase and increasing the carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuels. He and his minions such as Steven Guilbeault, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, despite having some of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, have refused to allow the building of the infrastructure needed to export our oil and gas resources!

TheBuild(ing) Back Better” advocacy pushed by the WEF (World Economic Forum) has become the recent version of the former communist “Five Year Plans” by the Liberal Government and enshrined in past budgets of the Trudeau government. It appears they haven’t realized Russia abandoned those Five Year Plans many years ago!  Canadians are now experiencing the results of those plans with inflation climbing, record Federal Debt, taxes rising and investment fleeing the country despite Canada’s abundance of resources.  It sure appears “Building Back Better”, by eliminating Canada’s exploitation of our natural resources is cripplingly us and harming those citizen’s who are not members of the elite’s of the Canadian Liberal Party.    

We should all find it fascinating a couple of months ago PM Trudeau was in Nova Scotia for a staged presence once again handing out $255 million of our tax dollars with $125 million destined for wind projects and $130 million for battery storage.  While making the announcement he was standing in a farmer’s field and in the background were several wind turbines that were totally dormant. We should doubt Trudeau actually noticed how those IWT demonstrated their intermittency and unreliability!  

The foregoing event occurred shortly after Trudeau displayed his new haircut patterned after Jim Carrey when Carrey stared in the movie series, Dumb & Dumber.  Now isn’t that ironic in how his new haircut and those dormant wind turbines enunciate how incredibly incompetent our current crop of elected leaders appear!

The time has come for politicians to take off the blinkers and do basic research before accepting what the eco-warriors incorrectly see as the end of the world unless we achieve “net-zero” emissions.

*Full disclosure:  I completed the survey twice using my e-mail address without pushback so eco-warriors from Pollution Probe or others may well have completed it dozens of times.

Vestas Wind System Awarded Top ESG Score by Corporate Knights

A recent and very long article in The Oregonian titled “How an airborne blade exposed broader problems at PGE’s flagship wind farm” went into considerable detail on the effects of a turbine blade that was spinning and suddenly was launched in the middle of the night plowing a four-foot furrow in the wheat stubble where it landed.  The foregoing led to a full shutdown of the 217 wind turbines in the Biglow Canyon by PGE (Portland General Electric) and lots of responses from locals pointing out many other issues associated with those IWT (industrial wind turbines). The article elaborates on six major reported issues which included oil spills, metal debris appearances, etc. etc. and also states, how over the years, those turbines (manufactured by Vestas and Siemens) underperformed in respect to generation they originally promised. The article reports on more unfavourable information about the Vestas turbines versus the Siemens ones but both are criticized. It is somewhat surprising the article does not even mention how those IWT also kills birds and bats or how their associated noises (both high decibel and infrasound) affects humans and animals in a negative way.

Vestas is a company with their head office in Denmark and is touted as the world’s largest supplier of IWT.  It may seem oxymoronic to many that Denmark has the highest household electricity prices in the EU currently at “0.3448 euro per kWh”!  The prior fact illustrates what many around the world have experienced due to the favourtism, tax dollars and tax benefits accorded companies awarded contracts to erect IWT to save us from “climate change”! The end result of those IWT installations is much higher electricity prices and unreliability due to the intermittent nature of wind versus dependable energy generation from nuclear and fossil fuels!

Interestingly, Vestas was favourably recognized by Corporate Knights of Toronto* in their January 2022 ESG (environmental, social and governance) assessment of 6,914 companies with more than US$1 billion in annual revenues.  Corporate Knights ranked Vestas Wind Systems as the world’s most sustainable corporation, granting them as the only company, to achieve an A+ rank! Needless to say Vestas tout that ranking in their 74 page  2021 Sustainability Report stating they were “The most sustainable company in the world”. One should wonder about the qualifications of Corporate Knights staff and their ability to examine those 6,914 companies as it relates to ESG accounting standards.  Those ESG accounting standards have been widely criticized as being far too vague as noted in a recent article by Bloomberg.

So, one should wonder did the “top of the heap” award by Corporate Knights spotlighting Vestas ranking higher than the other 6,913 companies provide a benefit to Vestas’s shareholders? The quick answer is no!

If one looks at the Vestas share price on January 3, 2021 it was US$17.23/share but by September 9, 2022 it was US$8.17/share having dropped by 52%.  Looking at the share price on the Corporate Knights release date of the “World’s 100 most sustainable corporation” on January 19, 2022, the Vestas share price was US$9.21 but as noted it fell to US$8.17/share by September 9th down by 11.3%. 

It seems obvious those involved in investing our funds through assets management companies or private pension plans** are not convinced renewable energy is a sound investment.  A recent article notes fossil fuel companies have out performed renewable energy companies by a factor of ten in the current year. Renewable energy companies beat the S & P by an average of 4.3% whereas fossil fuel stocks have outperformed the S & P by an average of 43%.

From all appearances it should be apparent the population who view the possibilities of renewable energy providing the world with all the energy we need are in short supply no matter what Corporate Knights or politicians tell us minions!

*Corporate Knights describe themselves as “The Voice for Clean Capitalism” but seem quite happy to take tax dollars from the Federal Government for their “magazine” as well as obtaining contracts from them to report on “decarbonization trends in Canadian industry sectors”.

**Public pension plans have jumped on board to support renewable energy and have suffered the consequences as pointed out in a recent article about Caisse de Depot and OMERS who took a pounding on just one of their investments.

Was Hour 16 on September 8th a Future Blackout Signal?

Pleased to confirm if your lights flickered at Hour 16 yesterday it had nothing to do with a power outage in Ontario.  At that hour the market price or HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) was $180.67/MWh and the grid was in a shortfall position from Ontario electricity generators.  As a result, we were importing power from NY, Manitoba and even Michigan at that hour. 

Ontario is almost constantly in a surplus position and either exporting power or curtailing those IWT (industrial wind turbines) or spilling hydro but not yesterday!  In all we were net importers for six (6) continuous hours starting at Hour 16 and Quebec also were called on for imports during those hours.

Ontario’s peak demand came at Hour 17 (hour ending at 5 PM) and was 19,731 MW but didn’t qualify for one of the top 10 demand hours in the current year.  At hour 16 those approximately 4,900 MW of grid connected IWT managed to generate only 254 MWh and for Hour 17 they only managed to produce 235 MWh meaning they generated less than 5% of their rated capacity.

For the full 24 hours IWT generated 5,287 MWh, operating at an average of 4.5% of their rated capacity while our natural gas plants generated 72,505 MWh over the same period. What that suggests if those natural gas plants were non-existent, we would have needed another 67,000 MW of wind capacity to avoid blackouts and produce the 72,505 MWh the gas plants provided.  An additional 67,000 MW of IWT capacity is almost double Ontario’s current total grid connected capacity of 38,079 MW IESO reported we had at the end of 2021.

One should wonder, is the foregoing what Minister of Energy, Todd Smith has in mind with his recent directive to IESO wherein he states: “I asked IESO to evaluate a moratorium on the procurement of new natural gas-fired generating stations in Ontario and to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system. I asked IESO to report back to me with its analysis and results by November 2022.”

It should be recognized with the forthcoming closure of the Pickering Nuclear Plants in 2025 and their hourly generation of 3,000 MWh (72,000 MWh per day) it’s not clear what he anticipates will provide that replacement power.  If its IWT we may need another 67K of those IWT to perhaps provide reliability to prevent blackouts or we will all be forced to reduce our electricity consumption to much lower levels. 

We should also be concerned about the future of our manufacturing and business sectors who will be impacted by the lack of reliable energy! 

From all appearances it seems our politicians lack planning skills so we should expect in the near future “blackouts” may well be a common occurrence.

The Sun Shines in the Middle of the Night in Ontario

It’s unclear how Ontario’s Minister of Energy got it to happen but he somehow managed to get some of those solar panels hooked up to the grid to generate power after the sun set starting late on September 3rd and through the early morning on September 4th as IESO data disclosed.

On September 3, 2022 during hours 20 to hour 24 (hour ending at 12 PM) those solar panels managed to generate 9 MWh each of the five hours and they continued to generate power during the early hours on September 4th managing to continue generating 9 MWh for the first four hours and in hour 5 they fell and only produced 6 MWh and fell further over the next hour producing only 2 MWh in Hour 6 but jumped to 7 MWh in hour 7.  The total generation of those solar panels over the 12 hours of darkness was 96 MWh or about the average annual consumption of 10 Ontario households. If they managed to produce that much solar generation during just one of our summer days, we should try to imagine how much they could produce during the low sunshine winter months!

One should wonder if some new technology developed in Ontario has allowed the foregoing to happen or was the early Spanish model used? 

In Spain’s early adaption companies operating solar farms under lucrative contracts somehow managed to generate solar power in the middle of the night but they were called out:  “Spanish newspaper El Mundo found that between November and January, 4500 megawatt hours (MWh) of solar energy were sold to the electricity grid between midnight and seven in the morning.

It has been suggested that some plants in the regions of Castilla-La-Mancha, Canarias and Andalucía have been using diesel generators connected to their solar panel arrays to illegally benefit from government subsidies.

Perhaps the concept of nighttime solar generation was what was visualized by the Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith in his directive to IESO instructing them “to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system”!

Were the results of September 3rd and 4th a demonstration of new technology developed that Minister Smith believes will help to achieve zero emissions in the electricity system or is someone firing up those “diesel generators” to take advantage of the “lucrative contracts” our past and present politicians have signed onto?

PS: What I got back on my query to IESO about this:

“Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.  We had to reach out to a few people for this.  There were issues in receiving data from Northland Power.  These issues have been resolved on the IESO’s end.

I hope this answers your questions.

Regards,

IESO Customer Relations

Conservative Conflicts Begets Confusion

Plato is credited with saying, “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.

A couple of recent events occurred that when viewed, should strike us all as “strange” but depending on one’s perspective who is telling the truth and who is the “lunatic and fool” may well differ.

Joe Oliver, former Federal Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Finance under the Harper led Federal Conservative Party penned an article in the Financial Post on September 1, 2022 and it castigates the Justin Trudeau led Federal Liberal Party about the damaging consequences of its green policies. 

The opening two sentences of Oliver’s article were words of wisdom and common sense as he stated: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be feeling isolated in his campaign against fossil fuels, especially Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), as leaders around the world reduce their countries’ reliance on inadequate renewable energy and tone down their own rhetoric about lowering GHG emissions. But for political and ideological reasons his government cannot admit to the terribly damaging consequences of its green policies and the urgent need to fundamentally change course.”

When Greg Rickford was the Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines he appointed Mr. Oliver to the Board of Directors of IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) and a couple of months later he was elected as Chair of the IESO Board of Directors. IESO is responsible for managing Ontario’s power system and defines their responsibilities as: “The IESO is the coordinator and integrator of Ontario’s electricity system. Our system operators monitor the energy needs of the province in real time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – balancing supply and demand and directing the flow of electricity across Ontario’s transmission lines.”

Ontario’s current Energy Minister, Todd Smith, (appointed June 18, 2021)  and formerly the critic on the “energy” portfolio when the Ontario Conservative Party were in opposition) on August 23, 2022 issued a directive to IESO which contained some surprising instructions to the President.  Needless to say, the directive was also copied to the Hon. Joe Oliver, P.C., Board Chair!

The directive from Minister Smith babbles on about how “Ontario is on track to acquire the electricity generation we need to power our government’s success in driving electrification and strong economic growth, including unprecedented investments that are creating new jobs in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing and green steel.”

Anyone who has followed the news about the foregoing investments in EV and battery manufacturing and green steel will be aware both the Ford led Provincial government and the Trudeau led Federal government joined hands and have handed out billions of our tax dollars to achieve those “unprecedented investments”.  It is also worth noting those “new jobs” are not new as the handouts to the various companies were simply to “retain” the jobs associated with the automotive and steel manufacturers that were already here in the province. 

The concept of a “net-zero” buy-in by Minister Smith seems evident with the push to both declare a moratorium on gas generation and “replacing natural gas with green fuels such as hydrogen and renewable natural gas, or the development of utility-scale carbon capture and storage” as a directive from October 27, 2021 via his “Pathway to Achieve Zero Emissions in Ontario’s Electricity System” suggests.  The above seems to have been confirmed based on his comments in a recent CBC article where he clearly states:

I’ve asked the IESO to speed up that report back to us so that we can get the information from them as to what the results would be for our grid here in Ontario and whether or not we actually need more natural gas,” Smith said Tuesday after question period.

I don’t believe that we do.”

No estimation of the costs of the “Pathway” are noted and no castigation of the Trudeau government by Minister Smith would strongly suggest he is on the same page as Trudeau and those in the Trudeau cabinet such as Steven Guilbeault, the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. The comment above: “I don’t believe that we do” implies he is obviously conflicted with the Honourable Joe Oliver, Chair of the IESO Board.

As Plato suggests and we Ontarians should wonder; is Oliver “the person that dares to tell the truth” and Smith the one who is calling him “a lunatic and fool” or is it the other way around?

Wow, was Hour 20 a Look at the Future cost of electricity?

The market price, referenced as the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price), at Hour 20 on August 29th reached $571.93/MWh or 57.2 cents/kWh and that doesn’t include the GA (global adjustment) which would push the price to over 60 cents/kWh. 

One should wonder have Ontario’s politicians bought into PM Trudeau’s commitments at COP 26 and are seeking to emulate what the UK and EU countries are experiencing with their push to reach “net-zero” emissions. As just one example energy price forecasts suggest in the UK they could top £7,000 per household from April 1st, 2023 or about $10.5K in Canadian dollars.  

It’s not entirely clear why the HOEP price reached the level it did at Hour 20 as it was a windy day in Ontario with storms in many areas meaning less sun generation but an exceptional day for the IWT (industrial wind turbines) owners. 

Those IWT generated 64,130 MWh over the full day which meant they were operating at 54.5% of their capacity and well above their annual average generation of about 30%. What the IWT were generating in the middle of the night was unneeded power (17,484 MWh or 59.5% of capacity) and the HOEP for the first six hours averaged a piddly $14.20/MWh. The bulk of the surplus was purchased by Michigan and New York meaning Ontarians were picking up the difference between what we paid for those six hours of IWT generation and what we sold it for.  It cost Ontarians $2,360,000 @ $135/MWh and we sold it for $248K @ $14.20/MWh meaning we lost $2.1 million in just six hours.

So, what happened at Hour 20 is a bit of a mystery as the peak Ontario demand hour occurred at Hour 17 reaching 21,871 MW and is now ranked as the third highest peak hour for the year.  IESO were wrong in their wind forecast for Hour 20 overestimating by almost 20% as they suggested IWT would generate 2,453 MW but they fell short with only 1,993 MW actually generated so that may have caused some upward push to the HOEP. At the same hour however, natural gas generation ramped up from 4,055 MW in Hour 19 to 4,711 MW in Hour 20 so easily covered the drop in IWT generation.  It may have been the variability of IWT generation over the hour as their generation bounces up and down based on wind speed and gusts causing the HOEP to reach higher levels in the 5 minute intervals of demand and trading volumes.

While the spike in the HOEP may have been an anomaly the concern should be what the upcoming future will be! The major concern should be due to the very recent IESO directive from Todd Smith, Minister of Energy wherein he “asked IESO to evaluate a moratorium on the procurement of new natural gas-fired generating stations in Ontario and to develop an achievable pathway to phase out natural gas generation and achieve zero emissions in the electricity system.

With the planned shutdown of the Pickering Nuclear Plants by 2025 and their almost 3,000 MW of capacity coupled with the current 8,500 MW capacity of our natural gas plants we should all wonder how Ontario will avoid blackouts or restrictions on electricity use in the near future? 

At the same time, we should also anticipate electricity rates will skyrocket in a similar fashion to what we are witnessing in the UK and the EU countries and drive out our businesses while creating “energy poverty” for all but an elite group of Ontarians.    

One should ask, is that the game plan for the Ford led Provincial Government?

Norway and Canada, Hmm, Which One Benefits from Net-Zero Targets?

Norway, in respect to “energy” is very similar to two of Canada’s provinces and the two provinces are Quebec and Alberta.

Similarities to Quebec

Norway are more similar to Quebec than Alberta as almost all of their electricity generated is hydro power and much of it is exported to the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UK. In 2020 Norway generated 154.2 TWh (92% hydro) and exported 20.5 TWh.  Quebec has also been blessed with hydro power and in 2020 Hydro Quebec generated 202.7 TWh and exported 33.3 TWh to the USA. 

Another similarity is both Quebec and Norway have embraced EV (electric vehicles) and Quebec have pushed sales via grants (including the Federal grant) and in Norway’s case by a stack of other incentives including free parking, approval to use bus lanes, etc. In addition, buyers pay no taxes as the following chart illustrates. One should find it humorous that the “scrapping fee” is identical in the chart but perhaps Norwegians have figured out how to deal with those EV batteries at end of their life?

Cost of EV versus ICE Automibles in Norway

In 2021 plug-in (EV + Hybrid) sales in Norway represented 90% of all auto sales. In Quebec EV sales were 9% of auto sales and the only province in Canada who beat them was BC whose EV sales were 11.6%. Quite the difference from Norway but the chart certainly shows why!

Yet another recent occurrence in Norway has led to the creation of another similarity to Quebec. it’s related to the lower snow and rainfall in the current year meaning Norway may reduce Its electricity exports to the countries with whom they have interties which are; Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland and the Netherlands. As noted in a recent article just several days ago, “reservoirs in Norway are less than half full, even though the average for this time of year is 74.4%.”

While Quebec doesn’t appear to currently have the “reservoir” problem Norway’s experiencing they nevertheless ask their consumers to reduce consumption during peak periods which occur during winter because most Quebec households heat their homes with the “emissions free” hydropower. In Quebec’s case they have firm contracts with US energy companies guaranteeing them supplies so it’s Quebecers who are affected rather than buyers of their electricity. Perhaps Norway is concerned all those EV owners will want to charge their batteries so to hell with the other European countries that will be in a power shortage come the winter?

Similarities to Alberta

Norway’s similarities to Alberta are related only to the fact they produce oil and gas and export much of it.  In Norway’s case they have eleven (11) gas pipelines to Germany, the UK, France and Belgium and also have an LNG terminal as well as a number of oil pipelines. Pretty well all of these pipelines emanate from the offshore Norwegian continental shelf where Norway mines it’s oil and gas. Their access to oil and gas has benefited them to the extreme particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine war!  To wit: “In the last months of 2021, the value of Norway’s oil and gas exports amounted to more than 100 billion kroner (€10 billion) per month. That is almost three times more than in the same period in 2020. In the course of the year, production of oil increased to 102 million standard cubic meters and natural gas to 113 billion cubic meters.” Norway’s world ranking for oil and gas reserves are respectively 22nd (13th in annual production) and 17th (3rd in annual production).

Canada’s oil and gas reserves respectively rank; 3rd (4th in annual production) and 18th (6th in annual production) in the world however, Canada’s principal market for both is the U.S.  The latter is unlikely to change as it is almost impossible to get pipelines approved and built due to control by Federal regulations and certain provincial politicians such as those in BC and Quebec as well as the Biden administration in the US who in his first day as President, cancelled the Keystone pipeline. Canada also doesn’t have an LNG export terminal yet built, meaning gas is for Canadian consumption only or sold to the US via pipelines far below market prices.  US buyers convert it to LNG for sale to European and Asian countries at much higher prices. Canada also imports oil and gas for our eastern provinces as the one and only LNG terminal in Canada operates for import purposes only.  Canada’s eastern oil refineries use mainly imported oil including a small amount from Norway with the highest imports from Saudi Arabia.

Due to Canada’s almost complete lack of pipelines to ports on both its Atlantic and Pacific shorelines we were, and still are, unable to achieve the benefits current world prices for both oil and natural gas could provide! We could have assisted European and Asian countries in obtaining those energy supplies if we had those pipelines but all except one of those planned were cancelled by the Trudeau government.

A recent editorial in the Sun newspaper chain referencing the lack of Canadian pipelines stated; “Estimates are this costs the Canadian economy $15 billion annually in discounted oil prices and $9 billion annually in discounted prices for natural gas.” Collectively the value of those two exports (two of Canada’s top three exports) in 2021 were US$97 billion but they could have been US$24 billion or 25% higher which could have gone a long way to, increasing revenue for oil and gas companies while producing additional taxes to service debt and (slightly) help reduce the Federal deficit. 

Our politicians do this to Canada, a country 30 times larger than Norway, and watch them generate huge benefits from fossil fuels allowing them to reduce their debt while increasing benefits for their citizens while our leaders harpoon our economy!

The question is; why is our Federal Government under leadership of Justin Trudeau and his minions so intent on destroying the Canadian economy by pushing the “net-zero” emissions agenda?  Canada represents 1.6% of global emissions which China and India will replace in a couple of months.