Pickering Nuclear Vacuum Building Outage (VBO), a Look at the Future, or a Demonstration of Ontario’s Energy Vulnerability?

Many around Ontario are probably unaware all the units at the Pickering Nuclear plant have been shut down to perform an VBO.  A VBO is usually conducted on a periodic basis for the purpose of confirming the integrity of the equipment and infrastructure of the vacuum buildings.  In the past, VBOs have been cycled with one or two units out for three to four weeks in the Spring or Fall when Ontario’s “peak demand” is generally low, but the wind is frequently blowing.  On this occasion OPG has apparently shut down all the Pickering Nuclear* units for the VBO. 

The question becomes: is it the intention to demonstrate the viability of extending their life or to show the vulnerability of the energy system without the approximately 3,000 MW capacity of Pickering or both?

Since all the units have been fully shut down (the last units were shut early on October 6th), IESO data clearly shows even though Ontario peak hourly demand on October 6th was only 16,375 MW and 16,303 MW on the 7th we were importing significant power from Quebec. We imported the power despite the fact IWT (industrial wind turbines) eventually ran well above their annual average of about 30% of capacity and natural gas peaked at Hour 11 on the 6th at 3,147 MW while wind was on an upward move and generated 925 MW.

On the 6th, Quebec supplied 22,354 MWh and on the 7th we imported 26,731 MWh from them. As a matter of interest, the latter is about what 1,000,000 average Ontario households consume daily.  It is worth pointing out Quebec is a “winter peaking” province principally due to the fact most households in the province heat with electric powered furnaces or baseboard heaters. Hydro Quebec therefore asks their customers to reduce demand during cold winter periods. For that reason, Ontario may well find its neighbour unable to supply any power during the winter so it would be expected Ontario might experience rolling blackouts without the Pickering units up and running.

The other interesting fact is; the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) market price over the two days has averaged over $60/MWh which will presumably affect the ICI (Industrial Conservation Initiative) ie: even picking some or all the top five peak hours over the year may not generate the same savings as in the past for those companies using a minimum of 500 KW per hour or as much or more then 5 MW per hour should the HOEP climb further.

From all appearances it seems the intention of the Pickering Nuclear shutdown for VBO purposes is clearly to signal the necessity of retaining the 3,000 MW of their capacity or subject the province to potential rolling blackouts as California has experienced.

The full “electrification” of the province as advocated by the Ford led Ontario Conservative Party may not be looking like the shining star to make the eco-warriors happy while bringing grief to the rest of us Ontarians.  The Ford led government should remember we Ontario voters went through a similar experience under the Ontario Liberal Party and turned them into the “minivan” party and it was related to the “energy” file!

We should hope Ford and his Minister of Energy, Todd Smith have seen the light about the “net-zero” push and realize it may be the train in the tunnel heading for us Ontarians and will wipe out their current majority come the next election! 

*I was informed by two knowledgeable engineers the Pickering Units must all go through the VBO process at the same time.

Winds Absence is a Good Thing as October 4, 2022, Demonstrates

Anyone who read the short article about the output of those IWT (industrial wind turbines) on October 2nd when they operated at 52% of their capacity for the first 16 hours and cost us Ontario ratepayers/taxayers several million dollars for unneeded generation will be pleased with what happened yesterday!

Over the full 24 hours yesterday IWT were basically useless generating only 2,322 MW which was less than 2% of their capacity and averaged less than 100 MW per hour!  Who knows, they may have been consuming more power than they produced?

The good news for Ontarians was the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) market price was fairly robust and over the 24 hours averaged $57.32/MWh versus the $1.57/MWh they averaged over the first 16 hours on the 2nd meaning our losses on exported power (which was much less) was tiny in comparison.

One of the issues also impacting the price was total consumption was higher as was the peak Ontario demand hour which was Hour 19 reaching 16,753 MW versus the 15,320 MW at Hour 20 on October 2nd.  This latter point drives up demand for surplus generation when those intermittent and unreliable IWT fall flat meaning our neighbours in NY, Michigan and Quebec pay much higher prices for any power including that which may be surplus to our demand. The other good part of the foregoing is related to the cost paid for any exported natural gas generation as the price we pay is only fuel costs plus a small additional price per kWh (kilowatt hour). The latter is well below the average cost we pay daily per kWh!

We need more days like yesterday to stop the accumulation of taxpayer debt under the Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER) program which the Ford government launched.  The FAO (Financial Accountability Office) estimated the OER will cost taxpayers $38.6 billion over the full remaining term of the renewable energy (wind, solar and biomass) contracts.

Perhaps the Ford government via the creation of the OER believes an electricity consumer and a taxpayer are two different individuals, but they are generally one and the same. 

One would hope they will soon recognize the foregoing fact and rethink the push for net-zero due to its impact on current and future taxpayers and ratepayers.

Ontario Expanding Energy Efficiency to Help Families and Businesses Keep Costs Down

The following is a copy of the e-mail I sent to Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith October 4, 2022, seeking information related to the captioned press release. If, and when I receive a response, I will post it!

“Minister Smith,

Your recent press release starts with:  

The Ontario government is increasing funding for the province’s energy-efficiency programs by $342 million, bringing the total investment to more than $1 billion over the current four-year electricity conservation framework.

I have read this over several times and fail to find anything other than the following that suggests rates will decline:  

This funding will support a new voluntary Residential Demand Response Program with an incentive for homes with an existing central air conditioning or heat pump unit and smart thermostat to help lower energy use at peak times and lower bills.

So turning up our air conditioners and turning down our electric furnaces (etc.) along with walking around in the dark will reputedly deliver these savings ($650 million) according to the following  in your press release!  

“By 2025, this expansion of energy-efficiency programs will help deliver enough annual electricity savings to power approximately 130,000 homes every year and reduce costs for consumers by over $650 million

The release also says:  

Our government’s success in driving electrification of industry and transportation and strong economic growth is increasing electricity demand

So demand will supposedly increase with the foregoing “electrification of industry and transportation” but by using less we Households “reputedly” will see a reduction in costs!  

Am I missing something or will this annual “$650 million” of “reduced costs” be allocated to taxpayers or has your ministry suddenly discovered some cheap source of electricity generation via new technology or some “net-zero” imports from our neighbours for a cheap price?

As my local MPP and a taxpayer I sure would appreciate a little clarification!

Yours truly,

Parker Gallant,

A concerned resident of your constituency”

Response from Ontario Ministry of Energy:

“Dodsworth, Michael (ENERGY) <Michael.Dodsworth@ontario.ca>   
to me, Todd

Good morning Parker,

Minister Smith forwarded me your message which I am pleased to respond to on his behalf.

Energy efficiency programming is a fast and cost effective measure that can save families money and reduce demand for electricity from the grid. These programs, which include supports for energy efficiency retrofits, Distributed Energy Resources and the Residential Demand Response Program you referenced, all will mean reductions in demand for electricity.

These programs are a complement to the government’s comprehensive plan for addressing increased demand for power due to economic growth and electrification, including ongoing capacity resource procurements, rather than an alternative.

By reducing demand and in particular peak demand, we can offset the need for some new electricity generation resources. This will mean a cost reduction for ratepayers and a net system benefit of ~$300 million (the cost reduction of $650 million less the increased investment of $342 million).

I hope this addresses your question satisfactorily.

Best,

My response to the Ministry:

Michael,

Thank you for your response but I fail to see how it will, as you state: “mean a cost reduction for ratepayers and a net system benefit of ~$300 million”!

Let’s examine your response bit by bit!

Energy efficiency (1.) programming is a fast and cost effective measure that can save families money and reduce demand for electricity from the grid. These programs, which include supports for energy efficiency retrofits, (1.) Distributed Energy Resources (2.) and the Residential Demand Response Program (3.) you referenced, all will mean reductions in demand for electricity.

1.Your claim on how “energy efficiency” will save families money ignores the fact “supports” for the programs are provided by taxpayer funds.  I would guess ratepayers without the ability to provide the additional funds from those taxpayers will be unable to afford their portion of the costs.  I would point out most ratepayers are also taxpayers so those unable to come up with the additional funds will be unable to invest in those “energy efficiency retrofits”

2.Distributed Energy Resources are those such as: “rooftop” or “ground mounted” solar, “wind turbines” “battery storage”, “small hydro” etc. and are contracted at rates well in excess of those of the likes of OPG, Bruce Power, etc. as they exist outside the purview of the OEB!

3.From my personal observation point this is the only one not supported by other ratepayers or taxpayers however the “installed cost” of a “smart meter” is a higher cost than an analog meter and the costs of those are spread throughout all ratepayers. It is also a fact smart meters have a shorter lifespan than an analog meter meaning they must be replaced sooner adding to the costs of this endeavour.

These programs are a complement to the government’s comprehensive plan for addressing increased demand for power due to economic growth and electrification( 4.), including ongoing capacity resource procurements, rather than an alternative.

4.While you and Minister Smith reference “electrification” and the OCP’s full support of the concept it appears the cost of that objective and the new capacity required by Ontario to meet that target have not had any serious focus.  To look at just one study; NREL, a national laboratory of the US Department of Energy, in their study stated “Widespread electrification increases 2050 U.S. electricity consumption by 20% and 38% in the medium and high adoption scenarios, respectively and relative to the reference.” For Ontario let’s focus on the “medium” scenario!  At the end of 2021 IESO reported total grid connected capacity in Ontario was 38,079 MW. If we assume Pickering Nuclear gets approval to extend its life that reflects the need to add 7,600 MW of NEW capacity (20% of 2021 capacity) or 10,600 MW (28%) should Pickering renewal not receive the green light! Please note the study states “consumption” which means both wind and solar plus storage would need to be at least triple that capacity level!

By reducing demand and in particular peak demand (5.), we can offset the need for some new electricity generation resources. This will mean a cost reduction (5.) for ratepayers and a net system benefit of ~$300 million (the cost reduction of $650 million less the increased investment of $342 million).

5.Should we assume a cost study has not been done based on the claim there will be a “cost reduction for ratepayers” or is this a false claim?  Many of us ratepayers lived through the McGuinty/Wynne days and constantly were fed similar stories from them related to the GEA. Under pressure from the largest manufacturing companies in the province they reacted to the false message and came up with the ICI (Industrial Conservation Initiative) which allowed those companies to benefit from significant cost reductions by reducing demand during just five (5) annual “peak demand” periods which still exists today. The incentive was so great those companies invested heavily in a variety of gas generators to take advantage of the incentive.  It should come as no surprise, due to this push by Ontario and many other jurisdictions around the world opining for “net-zero” that manufacturers of those generators have benefited greatly as a quote from a recent article suggests: “The global gas generator sets market is expected to grow from $7.82 billion in 2021 to $8.3 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.48%. The gas generator sets market is expected to grow to $11.15 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.57%.”  It is equally important that you and Minister Smith should be aware that many stand alone administered “public sector” corporations such as colleges, universities, etc. are now ICI beneficiaries which equates to an indirect and hidden form of taxation. 

In summary, I and my blog followers, would love to see some proof the recent moves by the Ministry of Energy (reputedly endorsed by IESO) will achieve that “net system benefit of $300 million” you allude to in your response!

Looking forward to your response,

Regards,

Parker Gallant,

Parker Gallant Energy Perspectives

Wind Generated Electricity’s Big Fall Discount for Our Neighbours

Yesterday, October 2nd, 2022, once again, demonstrated how IWT (industrial wind turbines) generate wasted costs for Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers. Their “first-to-the-grid” rights is akin to us simply going outside and throwing our after-tax dollars into the wind! The contracts IWT owners have continues to drive up our energy costs due to their propensity to deliver unneeded power more frequently than they deliver “needed” generation! Reliable Power is not something we should expect from IWT as is again evidenced by how they perform!

During the first 16 hours yesterday the IWT were humming and produced 32,400 MW and also had another 8,300 MW curtailed which collectively was about 52% of their capacity. Combined those IWT owners will see $5.470 million delivered to their bank accounts for those 16 hours as they are paid $135/MWh for grid accepted generation and $120/MWh for curtailed generation. 

During those same 16 hours none of the wind generation was needed as when demand peaked over those hours at Hour 16 it was only 13,296 MW and the daily peak at Hour 20 only reached 15,320 MW!

The unneeded 32,400 MW those IWT generated in the first 16 hours, along with the curtailed power, drove down the market price or HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) to an average of $1.57/MWh.

The low price was loved by our neighbours in New York, Michigan and Quebec as they snapped up 38,743 MW generating a miserly $60.8 thousand for what cost us Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers north of $5.4 million just for the IWT generated power.

We Ontarians were also dinged for the remaining 8 hours but the HOEP was at least higher averaging $39.57/MWh meaning it didn’t cost us the $166.94/MWh we had to absorb for the first 16 hours of the day selling off the IWT generation. During those 8 hours wind delivered another 10,223 MW (26% of capacity) so we were forced to absorb another $404K.

We should continue to wonder; why doesn’t the Ford led Ontario Conservative Party end the madness (stupidity) of those IWT contracts by passing legislation eliminating their “first-to-the-grid” rights?

Industrial Wind Turbines Obvious Fail September 29, 2022

Yesterday was another example of a low peak demand day in Ontario which frequently occurs in the Spring and Fall. The Ontario peak hour occurred at Hour 19 (hour ending at 5 PM) and only reached 16,083 MW.

Wind at that hour generated 167 MWh which was 4.4% of their (approximate) grid connected capacity (4,900 MW) and 3.4% of peak demand.  Thankfully Ontario’s natural gas generators were at the ready and produced 10.5% (1,701 MWh) of peak demand while nuclear and hydro delivered the rest.

Had Ontario eliminated natural gas generation as the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) has convinced 34 municipalities, one should wonder; where would the 1,701 MWh of electricity natural gas plants produced have come from or, in its absence, what might have happened?

Looking at the foregoing and assuming Ontario was without variable natural gas generation which can be ramped up or down; how much IWT capacity would we have needed to avoid a blackout at that hour?  Based on how those IWT performed at that hour we would need almost 50,000 MW of their capacity (10.2 times current levels) just to have avoided a blackout.  The 50,000 MW capacity would represent the 167 MWh existing IWT provided along with the generation (1,701 MWh) we received from those natural gas plants at the 4.4% level the IWT generated at hour 19.

Currently Ontario has around 2,500 IWT (average of about 2 MW capacity per turbine) sprinkled throughout the province and the additional 45,000 MW capacity would add another 20/25,000 of them just to replace the power our natural gas plants provided during that peak hour yesterday.

Now try to imagine how many birds and bats those additional 20/25,000 IWT would kill and how much harm they would cause us humans when they are spinning and generating high decibel and infrasound?

As if the foregoing wasn’t bad enough start imagining how many of them would be needed during our summer and winter peak hours which frequently reach 20K MWh or more! With the push for electrification of our transportation and heating sources by our politicians and the eco-warriors we should see those peak hours at much higher levels in the future meaning more dependence on IWT, and an incredible cost for battery storage. The result would bring the cost of a kWh (kilowatt hour) to levels the UK, Europe are now experiencing or higher and bring widespread “energy poverty”! It would also bring blackouts or restrictions on our use of electricity as is currently happening in Europe.

The time has come for politicians of all stripes to recognize the damage their push is causing and will continue to cause! 

As elections for our municipal politicians loom next month, we much ask them (emphasis on the 34 municipalities) if they understand and appreciate the harm intermittent and unreliable electricity generation from IWT and solar panels will cause in their push to reputedly save the world from “climate change” by advocating and supporting the harmful “net-zero” UN target!

Tell them it is a fallacy as mankind is not the control knob for climate change!

Once Again Ontario Ratepayer Dollars, are Blowing in the Wind

September 26th was another day where Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers were burdened with paying lots of our after-tax dollars to IWT (industrial wind turbines) owners for energy surplus to our demand!

The approximately 4,900 MW of IWT cranked out 64,726 MW (55% of their capacity) and received the contracted price of $135/MWh. Additionally, it appears IESO also had them curtail 6,100 MW (5.2% of capacity) for which they received $120/MWh.  In total the cash they will be paid is about $9,470,000 ($8,738,000 for grid accepted generation plus $732,000 for curtailed generation).

The annoying part of the foregoing costs to us Ontarians is, we didn’t need the IWT generation as so frequently happens during the Spring and Fall seasons when demand is low.  The peak demand yesterday occurred at Hour 17 (hour ending at 5 PM) which was 15,657 MW versus the 20,000 MW plus peak demands we frequently see during warm summer days. The latter is when those IWT often generate a miserly 5 to 10% of their capacity.

As it turned out IESO was busy yesterday selling our excess generation to our neighbours in Michigan, New York and Quebec who gobbled up 61,181 MW (94.5% of IWT generation) of the unneeded surplus. What normally happens when those IWT are generating those unneeded megawatts is the market price is always low. Yesterday was no exception as IESO sold off the foregoing for the average HOEP (hourly Ontario export price) market price of $13.36/MWh so it produced revenue of only $817,000 meaning it barely paid for the cost of just the curtailed generation!

Those “first-to-the-grid” rights the McGuinty/Wynne led Ontario Liberal Party gave to the IWT owners via the FIT (feed-in-tariff) contracts continues to harm us and impacts the costs of electricity in the province eating up family and business money during these inflationary times.

Just more “money for nothing” from us compliant ratepayers/taxpayers doing nothing to reduce emissions while picking our pockets!

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.