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”!

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.

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?

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.

Lion Electric, King of the EV Jungle Grants?

A recent article in the Financial Post titled: “Lion Electric posts profit as sales and subsidies pick up speed” was eye-catching simply for it’s inference on how it was worded, and suggesting “subsidies” played a role in it posting a profit. The article went on to quote their chief executive as follows; “We delivered the highest quarterly number of vehicles ever with 105 deliveries in Q2,” said Marc Bédard, Lion’s chief executive. The article went on to state: “The good fortune is set to continue, at least for the next little while. As of Aug. 4, the Quebec company’s order book was flush, with 2,357 vehicles valued at $575 million and 226 charging stations representing $3 million.”

Curiosity piqued, a look at how Lion Electric’s stock has performed on the TSE was a must and as it turned out the price over the past year fell from $18.47 CAD a share on August 9, 2021 to a close of $6.95 CAD on August 5, 2022 for a drop of $11.52 (-62.4%) a share over the past year.  Hmm, wonder why, as one would assume a company roaring to a profit would attract investors but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Lion Electric?  Maybe it’s not the king of the school bus and truck EV jungle?

Taxpayer subsidies

An article two weeks before the above article appeared in the FP and headlined “Lion Electric CEO predicts Ottawa’s new EV-truck subsidy will boost demand”.  The following quotes from the article might explain (partially) why Lion suddenly achieved profitability!  The article stated:“Stacking the Quebec subsidy of $144,000 on top of the federal grant would result in a total rebate of nearly $250,000 on the Lion6 model, putting it on par, price-wise, with a comparable diesel-powered truck.” And a further sentence said: “Similarly, stacking the Quebec rebate of $200,000 on the federal grant for the Lion8T would result in a total rebate of $350,000, making it just slightly more expensive than its non-electric competitors.”

An article two weeks before the above article appeared in the FP and headlined “Lion Electric CEO predicts Ottawa’s new EV-truck subsidy will boost demand”.  The following quotes from the article might explain (partially) why Lion suddenly achieved profitability!  The article stated:“Stacking the Quebec subsidy of $144,000 on top of the federal grant would result in a total rebate of nearly $250,000 on the Lion6 model, putting it on par, price-wise, with a comparable diesel-powered truck.” And a further sentence said: “Similarly, stacking the Quebec rebate of $200,000 on the federal grant for the Lion8T would result in a total rebate of $350,000, making it just slightly more expensive than its non-electric competitors.” 

Yet another article appearing in e-magazine Sustainable Bus in March 2022 was about how the Quebec government was investing $18 million into 120 school buses and stated “The subsidy for each bus is worth $150,000. The government’s plan is to electrify 65 per cent of its school buses by 2030.”  It also noted: “Quebec announced last year that the government will fund the majority of the $5 billion purchase of electric buses with $3.65 billion of the contract supplemented by the federal government”! If one goes back to examine the 2nd Quarter results for Lion you note the 105 deliveries consisted of 90 school buses and 15 trucks generating revenue of US $29.5 million  and if we use the $150K per school bus grant and $300K per truck grant the government subsidies amount to approximately CAD $15 million representing approximately 40% of gross revenue in the quarter. Without those subsidies the “operating loss” would have amounted to CAD $43 million!  With those kinds of subsidies, we shouldn’t be surprised Lion is receiving more orders.

Source of Grant Money

As noted above the grants to Lion are sourced principally from the Federal taxpayers with additional funds provided by Quebec taxpayers but in the latter case we should probably surmise it also is funded in large part via those same Federal taxpayers via the “equalization” payments the Federal government pass out.  As noted in the undated letter from Finance Minister Freeland sent to the Quebec Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, Quebec will be handed $13.666 billion or 62.35% of the total equalization payments to the five provinces who receive them, for the 2022-23 year.  Surely that kind of a handout goes a long way to allowing the Province of Quebec to be able to provide grants without tapping into their own tax revenues!

School Bus Orders

One of the largest orders received by Lion for those electric school buses came from First Student a company whose head office is in Cincinnati, Ohio with operations in the US and seven of Canada’s provinces.  Back on May 17, 2021 a press release they issued announced the “largest zero-emission school bus order of 260 buses”.  Assuming the Quebec government handed out the $150K per bus would suggest $39 million will go or has gone to Lion Electric for those buses. 

Another order for Lion’s buses came from Transdev Canadaa public private transport company limited with a Board of Directors and jointly owned by the Caisse des Depots Group (66%) and the Rethmann Group (34%) a German family owned company.  It should be noted CDPQ is the Quebec version of the Canada Pension Plan so they invest the contributions of all Quebec taxpayers to the plan. The order from Transdev Canada was made in early July for another 30 Lion electric school buses in addition to the 27 previously ordered and reputedly already in service.  So, at the $150K per school bus handed out by the province another $8.6 million will find its way into the Lion Electric bank account and future recipients of CDPQ pension payments should cross their fingers those school buses will be as efficient as those fossil fueled ones or Transdev might turn out as a negative investment.

It seems obvious that Lion Electric has twigged the politicians into being convinced electrifying everything is the way to go and will create jobs and benefits to the Quebec economy (possibly via Quebec Hydro for charging those buses)?  As a result Quebec politicians have somehow decided they need to hand out taxpayer funded grants to save the world from “climate change” while picking what they consider new technology and the companies that will benefit!  As an observer over several decades, I am skeptical politicians have ever been able to pick winners but have often picked losers’!

My vote for “King of the EV Grants” goes to Lion Electric!

Marc Patrone Show on Sauga 960 AM on August 3, 2022

Marc had me on his show today and my chat with him was preceded by his conversation with Jocelyn Bamford the Chair and founder of the CCMBC (Coaliation of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada. You can listed to her discussion with Marc starting at 48:00 of the podcast followed by yours truly at 1:04:12 and ending at 1:18:24.

Jocelyn covered lots of subjects related to what the Trudeau led government is doing that is negatively affecting the economy and businesses in Canada and my chat with Marc was related to renewable energy here in Ontario and how it has badly affected the EU and in particularly Germany and the UK. Naturally we also talked about industrial wind turbines and EV (electric vehicles) reflecting on a couple of my recent articles.

You can listed to both Jocelyn’s and my chat here at the times noted above:

The EV transition in the eyes of the Beholden Part 3

Part 1 of the EV transition highlighted some of the costs associated with it and Part 2 of this series outlined some of the negative issues of EV and their batteries. In an effort to keep it readable at less than 1,500 words it was stated a Part 3 would be a requirement so here it is!

EV Fires

Should one do a simple Google search using the words “tesla car fire” and then hit the video button you will get dozens of videos of intense fires (presumably caused by the batteries) including some simply parked in a garage or stopped at an intersection. Some news story with videos where deaths have occurred note Tesla is being sued.  It surely makes one hesitant to consider their next vehicle should be an EV as it’s not just Tesla EV catching fire as another Google search discloses. As these happenings gain more publicity the push-back on the government decrees in the developed world, including here in Canada where the decree is; “all vehicle sales (cars and trucks) by 2035 will be electric” will surely grow!

Battery Storage Fires

An article by S&P Global on May 31, 2022 titled; “Battery blazes, breakdowns underscore ‘growing pains’ for energy storage” highlights the problems associated with battery storage and the fire occurrence in Southern Australia back in 2021 when it was claimed to be the largest battery storage unit in the world.  The article also outlines the latest problem with the 400 MW unit in California (Moss Landing Energy Storage) and now the largest unit in the world which recently experienced their second incident.  The article notes: “The breakdowns are among more than 50 known failures at medium- to large-scale battery storage projects in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. Daily outage reports from the California ISO, which has more battery storage on its network than any other grid operator, point to additional frequent “plant troubles” curtailing capacity that the state is counting on to keep the lights on during critical periods of peak demand.” The article goes on to state: “Ranging from limited operational hiccups to catastrophic explosions, such incidents are likely to continue to accompany the proliferation of battery peakers, technology and safety experts said.” This certainly suggests the continued use of natural gas plants to back up the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind and solar generation will be with us for a few decades unless our politicians and the bureaucrats advising them are OK with frequent blackouts.

Transit EV Bus Fires

As the push to eliminate fossil fuel use for all the developed world continues the concept of electrifying all transit and transport vehicles gathers steam so, with lots of government support many transit authorities are working to convert their bus fleets.  As just one example the City of Ottawa under its $57.4 billion “Energy Evolution” transition plan, have a target aiming to have a zero-emission transit sector by 2030. One should presume the 944 transit buses currently in Ottawa will be converted to battery operated ones by that date. Ottawa isn’t the only city in Canada or around the world with these plans and many European cities are much farther ahead.  One example is Stuttgart (check out video) with two of EV transit buses and in the fall of 2021 one of them “is believed to have been the source of a massive fire that destroyed 25 buses in the city and also heavily damaged part of the depot they were parked in.” Once again there are dozens of videos and stories of EV bus fires from various locations around the world including one a few days ago in Connecticut which would make one somewhat reluctant to step on board for a trip or be content to allow your child to take an EV school bus.  Needless to say, investigations into these fires are going on wherever they occurred and many of the fleets have parked their EV buses until the investigations determine the cause of the fire(s) is complete and the cause known.

Child Labour mines for Cobalt in the Congo and Zambia

Cobalt is one of the principal ingredients in an EV lithium-ion battery and the Congo has the highest known cobalt reserves in the world representing close to 70% and another African country, Zambia has the 2nd highest known reserves.  Interestingly enough CNN back in May 2018 did some investigative work resulting in them posting a video titled “CNN FINDS CHILD LABOUR IN COBALT TRADE.” The video highlights the use of child labour to mine the cobalt and supply those EV battery manufacturers in China, the U.S.A, Europe and shortly, presumably Ontario. The latter have joined hands with PM Trudeau and the Province to provide grants for a new $1.5 billion plant to be built in Windsor with our tax dollars. Obviously, those tax dollars will be supporting the continued use of child labour in the Congo and in Zambia.

Supply Shortages Loom

Another major problem with the whole “energy transition” push is the probable upcoming shortages of key components required for the electrification of everything and one of those is copper.  As noted in an article in the Financial Post a couple of weeks ago, “Numerous metals and minerals have been hawked as “the next oil,” but according to veteran energy historian Daniel Yergin, only one metal represents the linchpin of the energy transition away from fossil fuels — copper.“ Yergin “sees a looming supply-demand gap in copper that risks “short-circuiting” the energy transition and stalling global ambitions to slash greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.” The article cites a report estimating copper supply would need to double from current production of 25 million metric tons to 50 million metric tons by 2035. The report concludes: “copper shortages could delay how long it takes to reach net-zero emissions; Yergin also acknowledged that various other critical minerals — lithium and cobalt, for example — could well have an impact on climate goals too.”

It sure looks as if the electrification of everything is a pipe dream that will continue to exhibit dire consequences on mankind except perhaps for the small but very rich segment of the population. The time has come to kill the wishes of the eco-warriors and those politicians who have consumed their Kool-Aid.

Wow, a Municipal Mayor has Determined Natural Gas is a Necessity

Back on November 23, 2020 the City of Windsor at their video Council Meeting passed: “Motion 7.1.6 Request that Council pass a resolution calling for the Province of Ontario to move toward phasing out gas-fired power plants”.  The motion came about as the result of a plea by Jack Gibbons of the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance).  The motion called to “phase-out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030 to help Ontario and the City of Windsor meet their climate targets.” As a result, they became one of the 33 municipalities the OCAA had conned into their way of thinking and endorsed the“gas power phaseout”!

Now fast forward to March 23, 2022 and a gathering of municipal, provincial and federal politicians was held but it was not to discuss the gas power phaseout!

The politicians along with representation from LG Electronics North America and Stellantis were at an event to announce a CAD$5 billion joint venture (NextStar) EV battery manufacturing plant.  The Windsor Star on June 2, 2022 posted an article describing the joint venture and also stated: “The federal and provincial governments have also committed to investing hundreds of millions in the project while the City of Windsor will assemble the approximately 220 acres of land necessary for the plant and some additional servicing of the site.”*  The article went on to note: “The plant will be capable of producing 45 gigawatt hours of electricity and will employ 2,500 people” but doesn’t elaborate how it will produce those 45-gigawatt hours.

As a follow up to the announcement a contact informed me that Enbridge Gas had made a submission to the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) requesting approval to construct two pipelines to supply natural gas and on page 49 of the 604 page submission is a letter dated March 31, 2022 from the Mayor of the City of Windsor, Drew Dilkens, endorsing the $200 million cost of the pipelines to supply NextStar which presumably will allow the new battery plant to “produce those 45 gigawatt hours”.

Now, as Alanis Morissette might say; “Isn’t it Ironic”! 

Looking further at the submissions to the OEB one notes a submission by Elson Advocacy on behalf of ED (Environmental Defence) requesting they be allowed as an intervenor in respect to the Enbridge Gas application.  While ED are an eco-warrior group who frequently act as intervenors in respect to applications before the OEB involving fossil fuel applications this one has a twist!  The letter asks that the OEB also deliver electronic copies of “the pre-filed materials and all other documents in the proceeding be delivered to the following consultant” who is none other than Jack Gibbons of the OCAA!

No doubt Gibbons will shed a tear or two over the turnabout of the City of Windsor who may have suddenly realized without natural gas the city would lose jobs and the benefits of the tax dollars they will receive from NextStar and their employees as well the hundreds of millions from federal and provincial taxpayers helping to create those jobs.

Perhaps the other 32 municipalities who have endorsed the “gas power phaseout” will also come to their senses and the OCAA and Gibbons can rest in peace knowing they haven’t destroyed the livelihood of millions of Canadian workers as they have been trying to do as a (prepare to laugh) charity!

*The amounts committed by the Federal and Provincial governments have not been released.

The EV transition in the eyes of the Beholden Part 2

Part 1 of this series outlined some of the costs related to the push by the Trudeau/Singh led government to eliminate the sale of ICE powered light-duty vehicles and replace them with electric vehicles (EV). Their plan aims to have EV represent 100% of new light -duty sales (2 million annually) by 2035.  The goal appears to have been concocted without a cost/benefit analysis or consider other aspects that will have dire consequences.  Let’s explore the latter!

Car Battery Replacement

We start with a short story out of St. Pete’s Florida where a father bought his daughter a used EV with only 60,000 miles on it for $11K for her to use to drive to school and back. After only six months the battery died on the Ford Focus and they were informed by the local dealership a new battery would cost $14K or $3K more than they paid for the car and the cost estimate didn’t include labour or installation costs. They were also told the batteries weren’t even available. Another story making the rounds was how a Tesla owner out of Norway found out it would cost him $22K for a replacement battery and repairs so he blew up his car rather than pay the price to repair it.  Stories like these will certainly make people question the EV transition and cause them to simply keep and maintain their ICE vehicles as long as they can. Stories like the two aforementioned ones suggest EV have only scrap value once their batteries die and need replacement.

What happens to those Dead EV Batteries

So, one should wonder, what’s going to happen to those EV batteries once they they die? A recent article focused on the USA had this to say: “Due to electric vehicles’ rising popularity, it goes without saying that their battery waste will become a major issue. Experts estimate that 12 million tons of batteries will be thrown away by 2030, transportation and storage could prove a logistical nightmare.” It seems apparent EV batteries weighing 1,000 Lbs. after their 6-to-10-year life ends will have to be recycled. At present there are only four lithium-ion recycling centers in the USA so those batteries will need to be transported to those sites or tossed into waste sites where they will leak toxins.  In respect to the foregoing the article also noted: “They are also a fire hazard if and when stored together. A report by the Environmental Protection Agency found that between 2013 and 2020, more than 240 lithium-ion battery fires broke out across 64 municipal waste facilities.” The above suggests recycling EV batteries will be much more complex and even dangerous then the process of recycling ICE motors raising the costs of dealing with the waste they create.

Looming problems for EV batteries

A fairly recent article titled:“Dark clouds on the horizon for electric vehicles” pointed out two potential problems associated with the continued production of EV.  The first one was in respect to the probability the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is expected to classify lithium carbonate; a major component of EV batteries, as; “dangerous to human health”. Should that classification be endorsed by other countries or regions one should expect it will affect the processing and manufacture of their power supply, ie: batteries negatively?  The second potential problem the article highlighted was in respect to the recent sinking of a cargo ship with 4,000 automobiles and many of them EV and noted, “from a fire where electric-vehicle batteries were part of the reason,”!  The article went on to state: “Most of the EVs will be manufactured in foreign countries far removed from American ports” and evidenced it with the following chart:

Automobiles manufactured per year 1950/2019:

China None / 28 million

United States 8 million / 11 million

Japan 31 thousand / 9.8 million

India 15 thousand / 5 million

Germany 300 thousand / 5 million

South Korea None / 4 million

The cargo ship, the Felicity Ace was carrying Porsches, Bentleys, VWs and many were EV and the latter were apparently the cause of the fire. The ship was on its way from Europe to the US and the cargo was valued at US$500 million.  Needless to say, it sank despite efforts to extinguish the fire and tow it back to port. The potential losses affected the principal insurance company, Allianz Insurance and they recently published their annual Safety and Shipping Review” and in it noted the following:  “Car carriers have also been increasingly lost to fire, starting in cargo holds caused by malfunctions or electrical short circuits in vehicles before spreading quickly through open decks. AGCS noted that the growing numbers of electric vehicles transported by sea could complicate the matter further, as existing countermeasures may not respond effectively to an EV blaze. Loss expenses would be massive given the value of the car cargo, the cost of wreck removal, and pollution mitigation.”

Based on the foregoing one would expect insurance companies will raise their rates considerably; further adding to the costs of EV.

EV for police service

The concept of EV for the utilization of police service are popping up with Repentigny, Que., a town north of Montreal where City officials issued a release saying the project, which converted a Ford Mustang with a 300-kilometre battery range, into a police car, “will not only be eco-friendly but will also give the force a new visual identity.” In Ontario the City of Windsor has defined “its goal is to start replacing older unmarked police vehicles, sometimes used for administrative purposes, with fully electric cars.”  Barry Horrobin, the director of planning and physical resources for Windsor Police stated: ”Record-breaking fuel prices didn’t prompt the change, as they’ve been looking toward electrifying their fleet for a few years.”  One should wonder if the 40% drop in EV fuel efficiency during winter months in Canada will mean those police vehicles will use more electricity driving up the budgets of police forces.  Surely those municipalities aiming to improve their “visual identity” or concerned about “record-breaking fuel prices” have done their homework so municipal taxes won’t have to increase?  A story out of the UK suggests EV are not suitable for police response.  The Gloucestershire Constabulary in the Southwest city of Gloucester “has the largest full electric fleet in the UK, making up 21% of their 435 vehicles” and Chris Nelson, the Police and Crime Commissioner said; the vehicles “run out of puff” and no doubt with electric prices so very high in the UK will cost local taxpayers for charging those EV to provide the “puff” they need. 

We should be pretty sure running “out of puff” in Canadian winters will be the norm as we reach the point in 2035 where all sales of light-duty vehicles are mandated to be 100% EV which presumably includes police vehicles.

As researching the events leading to this series has disclosed more negative findings related to EV it appears Part 3 of this series is a necessity so stay tuned.