Ontario Peak Electricity Demand Without Gas Plants

No Problem, Simply Plug in Your EV

Curiosity piqued today about Ontario’s “peak demand” yesterday due to the cold weather!  Reviewing IESO data at hour 18 (ending at 6 PM) indicates the January 24th peak was an average of about 21,260 MW.  While searching data on the IESO website it led to the discovery of a letter Jack Gibbons, CEO and Chairman of OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) had sent to IESO dated June 17, 2021 pushing their agenda to shut down those gas plants.

The letter was humourous as it displayed the way eco-warriors think.  Here is one message from the letter Gibbons believes will work in the event Quebec has no surplus hydro to sell us and/or the wind is not blowing or the sun isn’t shining during one of those “peak demand” hours or days!

One of Gibbons recommendations to eliminate gas fired generation during peak winter and summer hours was:

We can harness our electric vehicles’ (EVs) batteries to provide power to the grid during peak demand hours. According to Ford, its new F-150 Lightning pick-up truck can provide 9.6 kW of power to the electricity grid. Currently, Ontario has 9 million vehicles. If we have 1 million EVs by 2030, they could provide up to 9,600 MW to our grid during our peak demand hours.

Hmm, wonder how that would have worked at hour 18 yesterday?

At that hour our source of electricity came from: nuclear 10,721 MW, gas 5,866 MW, Hydro 5,143 MW, wind 847 MW solar 1 MW and biomass 62 MW.

At that hour wind and solar were operating at about 16.9% of their capacity which wasn’t enough to even supply Quebec’s needs.

At that hour we were exporting (not importing) 1,381 MW to Quebec because their demand was high.

At that hour OPG’s Pickering Nuclear Plant (scheduled to close in 2025) was generating 2,534 MW.

The OCAA under Gibbons is suggesting we would have no problems because all those “electric” F-150 trucks would be fully charged in -25 C weather.  One hopes when the team at IESO read Gibbon’s letter and the above paragraph they burst out in laughter. 

One should wonder if Gibbons bothered to actually do some research as he would have discovered; “As of October 2021, there are 66,757 EVs registered in Ontario” Gibbons should perhaps set up a Ford dealership and get busy selling 933,000 (at a minimum) of those trucks.  He should perhaps also consider the fact not everyone can afford the $58,000 cost and the 370 km limited range which will be considerably less on one of those -25 C days in our Canadian winters! Gibbons and the “charity” he runs apparently want to see Ontarians freeze in the dark as blackouts arrive when those damn batteries don’t deliver those “KW of power” he promised!

The OCAA is Seeking Future Blackouts for Quebec in the Winter

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) under Jack Gibbons was busy throughout 2021 making the rounds of various cities and municipalities throughout Ontario convincing them they should tell the Ford government to close all the natural gas plants in the province.  A total of 32 cities and municipalities joined hands with Gibbons thanks to inept (the only descriptive that made sense) councils and told the government of Ontario to shut those gas plants.  Gibbons somehow convinced them Quebec has a huge surplus of hydro generation that will easily replace those gas plants when our power demand needs them.  Apparently, none of those councils bothered to investigate Gibbons claim.

Gibbons bio indicates he is an “economist” and reportedly “studied economics at the University of Toronto (B.A.), Queen’s University (M.A.) and the University of British Columbia“!  We should have serious doubts about his claim based on the rhetoric associated with his push to close the gas plants. Gibbons comes across like a pitchman selling snake oil in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

If any of the mayors or council members bothered to do even a little research they would have discovered Quebec’s peak demand occurs in the winter.  Hydro Quebec encourage their ratepayers to use less power during the December to March period as 61% of households use electricity to heat their homes versus only about 17% in Ontario.

If the Ford led government in Ontario responded to the OCAA desires the results would have a negative effect on households in both provinces but in particular Quebec due to their peak winter demand*. 

A recent four (4) days of cold winter weather in both Ontario and Quebec dispel the “Gibbons/OCAA” notion!  Ontario was called on to provide considerable power to Quebec over those four days and without the availability of our natural gas plants (most of which were built to back up intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation) our ability to provide that power would have been close to NIL as our Ontario demand was also relatively high.

Over the four days commencing January 13th through to January 16th we exported just over 106,000 MWh (megawatt hours) to Quebec for an average of 1,104 MW/hour and the peak day was the 16th with an average of 1,410 MW/hour.  Over those four days Ontario’s gas plants generated just over 395,000 MW so we were able to provide our neighbours with what they needed (27% of our gas plant generation) to keep those electric furnaces and baseboard heaters operating so they would avoid blackouts and freezing households.  We provided those 106,000 MW at an average cost of less than 5 cents/kWh based on the HOEP prices over those four days so their cost didn’t drive up Hydro Quebec’s energy prices whereas Ontario’s ratepayers lost money on every kWh exported.

Carbon Credits please

Perhaps Hydro Quebec should either provide Ontario with “carbon credits” or pay the Federal “carbon tax” for the power supplied, allowing us to recover some of the costs for that natural gas generated power to keep them warm. Unfortunately, Ontarians should doubt that will ever happen!

* In Québec, peak periods occur during winter because so many of us heat our homes with electricity.

Marc Patrone Show, Sauga 960 AM, Billionaires, Wind Costs and Israel’s Covid-19 Issues

Marc Patrone once again had me as a guest on his show and we covered the captioned topics. It’s always fun speaking with Marc and talking about the current issues of the day.

You can listen to the January 13. 2022 podcast starting at 1:22:35 here:

IWT for Three of 24 Hours didn’t cost Ontario’s Ratepayers

Alerted to a tweet of Scott Luft which stated (referencing January 11,2022); “noticed yesterday’s Ontario Demand high of 21,250MW. Checking I find that’s 2nd highest daily winter peak since 2015“ was intriguing.

Sure enough, when looking at Ontario Demand data at Hour 18, peak demand for the day, at interval 10 of that hour hit 21,522.9 MW (megawatts) and averaged 21,250MW for the full hour!

Looking further at IESO data one notes wind at that hour was operating at 84.6% of capacity and generated 4,024 MWh or 18.7% of that hour’s demand. We also exported 3,436 MWh to our neighbours during that hour!

With curiosity further piqued a look at the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) disclosed surplus generation traded at $44.58/MWh at Hour 18, so considerably less than what we were paying for wind power at $135/MWh guaranteed* whenever it’s generated.

While viewing the HOEP data however one notes prices at hours 9, 10 and 11 were respectively $151.60, $230.87 and $160.14 per MW or an average of $180.87/MW.  IWT generation over those three hours averaged only 891 MW (18.4% of capacity) so if one suggests they were all exported for those three hours we actually sold them for more than we paid! Hourly demand over those three hours was over 20,000 MW and thankfully Ontario’s gas plants were at the ready and generated an average of 5,718 MW providing the power needed to keep the lights on and avoid blackouts.

Yahoo, for three hours we ratepayers actually got back $22,700 more than we paid for IWT generation but too bad it wasn’t the full 24 hours as its much cheaper when the wind isn’t blowing!

*Guaranteed “first to the grid” rights.

Ontarians Paid Up Big for Wind Generation while Swedes Paid Up Big for Less Wind Generation

Transmission connected IWT (industrial wind turbines) were busy throughout the province on Sunday, January 9, 2022 and generated 83,086 MWh (megawatt hours) and also had another 9,000 MWh curtailed as there wasn’t enough demand.  What the foregoing means is IWT could have operated at a level of 80.2% of their capacity versus their average generation over a full year of about 30%.

Before completing the foregoing calculation, I had read a short article from December 20, 2021 about Sweden’s recent experience which claimed their electricity prices had soared to an all time high.  The article started with what was obviously the cause stating: “Less wind power than normal, as well as the cost of gas and electricity being on an upward curve in Europe this winter, has had a knock-on effect”.  The article went on; “On Tuesday, the average daily spot price of electricity south of Mälardalen (the region around Stockholm) is set to hit 4.25 kronor ($0.46) per kilowatt hour.” Doing the calculation in Canadian dollars brings the cost to almost $0.59 cents/kWh! That suggests without natural gas plants and the fuel itself available to back up IWT the price of electricity will soar above almost everyone’s ability to pay for it. This results in “energy poverty” increasing in most European countries.

We have seen the same outcome in Ontario although not to the same extent and we should be thankful for our relatively cheap electricity generated by our natural gas plants for the many times our IWT fail!

January 9, 2022 wasn’t one of the times IWT were absent in Ontario as noted in the opening paragraph.  The wind was blowing briskly throughout the province meaning we wound up having to export 61,089 MW to our Michigan, New York and Quebec neighbours.  Presumably they were happy to take it as the average sale price over those 24 hours was $8.82/MWh or less than one cent a kWh (kilowatt hour) meaning we were paid a grand total of $538,800 for those MWh.

To put the foregoing into context the 83,086 MWh were more than sufficient to have supplied the exported MWs and we Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers were forced to pay the contracted price of $135/MWh meaning the cost was $11,216,600.  Adding the approximate 9,000 MWh curtailed at a cost of $120/MWh ($1,080,000) brings the full cost of wind generation to about $12,296,600.  If we rightly assume all of the surplus generation exported at those cheap prices was IWT generation it means the net cost of wind generation was $11,757,800 ($12,296,600 minus $538,800 = $11,757,800).  If we logically deduct the MWh exported (61,089 MWh) from IWT full generation of 83,086 MWh the IWT generation utilized by Ontarians was only 21,997 MWh. 

At a total cost to Ontarians of $11,757,800 those 21,997 MWh providing power to Ontario’s businesses and households cost $534.51/MWh ($11.757,800/21,997MW = $534.51/MWh) or 53.4 cents/kWh. The 53.4 cents/kWh it cost Ontarians is very close to what many Swedish businesses and households are now paying for “Less wind power”. 

Conclusion                        

Industrial Wind Turbines cost the Swedes and many other Europeans a lot of money when they don’t produce power and cost Ontarians a lot of money when they produce too much power. In other words, IWT are detrimental to our economic well-being due to their intermittent and unreliable behaviour!  

Scrap them all!

Industrial Wind Turbines Once Again are Up to Their Old Tricks

Those IWT brought to Ontario by the McGuinty/Wynne led Ontario Liberals, during the time they governed the province, once again showed their ability to suck money from ratepayers and taxpayers pockets on December 12, 2021. 

The heavy winds arrived on December 11th and caused power outages to 280,000 customers due to broken poles, fallen trees and hazardous road conditions as reported by Hydro One.  While the winds decreased somewhat, IESO data indicates they were more than sufficient to allow them to generate 73,849 MWh the following day (December 12th) as well as what looks to be another 2,800 MWh of curtailed generation. The combined cost was approximately $10,306,000 and for 17 of the 24 hours they beat hydro generation.

Naturally, and as often occurs, we didn’t need the generation from those IWT so IESO were busy exporting surplus power for the full day and almost 52,000 MWh were sold to our neighbours in Michigan, NY and Quebec for the average price of $20.03/MWh (2 cents/kWh). What that tells us is we generated about $1,042,000 from the sale of those exports.

If one assumes (with a fair degree of confidence) those 52,000 MWh sold to our neighbours all came from the unneeded IWT generation for the day we basically gave away over $7 million of our ratepayer/taxpayer dollars and paid $388/MWh (38.8 cents/kWh) for the 23,849 MWh of IWT generation actually utilized in Ontario.  

I’m sure the owners of those IWT were delighted we Ontarians were so generous with the handouts we gave them instead of us giving gifts to those many families suffering from “energy poverty” throughout the province.

Perhaps the Ford led provincial government should have a serious look at how some of these wasted dollars could be recovered from the IWT owners to help those Ontario families and small businesses suffering from energy poverty caused by the intermittent and unreliable wind turbines.  

Hour 19 on December 8, 2021 Shows Why Ontario needs Gas Generation

Should one bother to look at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) data for hour 19 on December 8th one would note Ontario’s natural gas plants thankfully produced 30.4% (6,399 MWh) of the entire hour’s generation which was just over 21,000 MWh. Without gas generation Ontarians would have experienced rolling backouts much like California does on high demand days.

While gas plants were thankfully, at the ready, our nuclear (8,510 MWh) and hydro (5,076 MWh) plants were reliant as always, generating 64.7% of the hour’s needs.  Collectively those three dependable sectors produced 95.1% of the entire hour’s generation. The balance of 4.9% (1,033 MWh), largely unneeded, came from wind, and biomass as the sun had set so no solar generation was produced.

Ontario demand during the hour was a shade over 20,000 MWh so IESO exported the unneeded generation to Quebec (556 MWh), NY ((369 MWh) and Michigan (452 MWh) and thankfully because demand was higher due to the colder weather the market driven HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) averaged $94.44/MWh meaning the cost of the surplus generation had a minor impact on costs paid by the ratepayers and taxpayers of the province.

It seems strange Ontario’s ratepayers are much better off when the sun isn’t shining or the winds not blowing hard but that is what the GEEA (Green Energy and Economy Act) brought us.

On an unusually cold day like December 8th we should be thankful for the readily available gas plant generation we have. Those gas plants (contracted to backup intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation) ensured we would not be hampered by rolling blackouts.

So, all you municipal politicians in Ottawa, Toronto and elsewhere in the province, PLEASE tell us why you are demanding those reliable gas plants should be shut down! 

Winds Whips Hydro in Ontario or So It Appears

As December 1, 2021 drew to a close at Hour 22 on the IESO “Generators Output and Capability Report” wind generation suddenly passed hydro generation and stayed ahead of it for the following 20 hours, pausing at Hour 19 on December 2nd but passing hydro again for hours 20 and 21.  Over those 23 hours wind (as reported by IESO) reputedly out-produced Ontario’s hydro generation by almost 21,000 MWh.  Based on IESO data it appears about 2,700 MWh of wind generation was also curtailed. What IESO data doesn’t disclose is how much hydro was spilled over those 23 hours.

For wind and solar data IESO report it on three lines by hour; “Available Capacity, Forecast and Output”.  When hydro is “spilled” or nuclear is “steamed off” we won’t see that reported by IESO and are uninformed until financial reports from OPG or Bruce Power are released.  OPG’s 9-month financial report for September 30, 2021 indicates they spilled 1.7 TWh (terawatt hours) due to SBG (surplus baseload generation) to that point in the year.  Hydro spillage is paid for by ratepayers and so far, has added over $100 million to this year’s electricity bill. The 1.7 TWh is equivalent to (approximately) what 250,000 average households would have consumed over those 9 months.

The reasoning by IESO as to whether they will spill hydro or curtail wind (which we also pay for) is reputedly determined by the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price). Most contracted IWT (industrial wind turbines) are paid $135/MWh and $120/MWh if curtailed.  IESO in situations that create SBG will sell off the surplus (if the HOEP is high enough) before they spill hydro or steam off nuclear.  It has never been clear to many why the contracts awarded for either IWT or solar panels were granted “first to the grid” rights but both of those intermittent and unreliable generation sources were, so we must pay them even if the generation is unneeded!

A quick look at the costs for those 23 hours  

The 2,700 MWh (approximately) of curtailed wind meant generators were paid $120/MWh costing $324,000. Those same IWT generators were paid $135/MWh for the 98,800 MWh of accepted wind amounting to $13,338,000.  To top off the costs for the 23 hours favouring wind generation, OPG was paid $60/MWh for spilling hydro (minimally estimated at 21,000 MWh) adding $1,260.000 and bringing total costs to $14,922,000 for the 23 hours!                                        

The $14,922,000 represents a cost of $151/MWh for the 98,800 MWh of accepted wind generation but doesn’t include costs associated with the gas plant backups for wind and solar which would add another $3 million or so for the 23 hours nor does it include losses from selling power to our neighbours.

On the latter, IESO were selling off approximately 2,500 MW hourly to our neighbours in Michigan, NY etc. for the HOEP average price of about $30/MWh. Those 60,000 MWh therefore generated about $1.8 million reducing the total cost above to $13,122,000.  If we accept the fact those exports were IWT generated the remaining 38,800 MWh supplying local ratepayers cost $340/MWh.

Had OPG provided those 38,800 MWh the cost would have been $60/MWh ($2.3 million) saving Ontario ratepayers over $12 Million!

One should wonder why the McGuinty/Wynne government blessed those contracts and why the Ford led government has done nothing to fix it?

Events like those 23 hours clearly show wind whips Ontario’s ratepayers not it’s hydro generation!

NB: Over the days of December 1st and 2nd during one of the hours wind was generating almost 93% of its capacity and on another hour was generating only 15% demonstrating its intermittent and unreliable habit!

Wind Generation in the middle of the night wastes ratepayer and taxpayer dollars

Today, November 26, 2021 at 3 AM the wind was blowing and those IWT (industrial wind turbines) generated 3,677 MWh or 81.2% of their rated capacity of 4519 MW at that hour. Ontario’s demand was low though at 12,941 MW so IESO were busy selling our surplus as total generation was 15,361 MWh.

IESO exported 1,375 MWh to Michigan, 658 MWh to New York and 578 MWh to Quebec. Those 2,611 MWh we sold went for pennies on the dollar as the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) was a miserly 1.33 cents/kWh.  At the same time, one should surmise IESO instructed OPG to also spill hydro.

It is obvious Ontario didn’t need the IWT generation at that hour but they have a bad habit of generating power when it’s unneeded and fail to deliver it when demand is high during hot summer days.

So, Ontario sold the 2,611 MWh to our neighbours for the princely sum of $13.30/MWh which generated $34,726 but paid those IWT generators $135/MWh so they received $352,485 for those unneeded 2,611 MWh meaning Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers picked up the loss of $312,759 for just that one hour.

The full night for the 7 hours from midnight to 7 AM had those IWT generating 28,460 MWh so the likely cost to Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers was over $2 million for just those seven hours. 

We should all assume those IWT were also busy chopping up birds and bats and causing rural residents sleeping problems in addition to adding to the costs of our electricity bills.

Sure, would-be good news if the Ford government actually did something to reduce the costs of generating electricity other than simply transferring the costs to taxpayers and increasing our provincial debt!

Comparing Ontario Covid-19 Lockdowns in Reducing Electricity Demand

Earlier this year IESO released their 2020 stats and noted Ontario’s electricity demand fell 2.1% (down 2.9 terawatt hours [TWh]) from 2019 or about what 325,000 average households would consume in a year.

In 2020 the first full lockdowns in Ontario started in late March and basically stayed in place until late June/early July when some relief was allowed.  The current year’s lockdown looks very similar!  So, did the 2021 lockdowns result in further consumption reductions compared to the same quarter in 2020?

As it turns out consumption in the current April, May, June quarter saw a jump of 1.4 TWh compared to the same three months of 2020. That 1.4 TWh increase (up 4.7%) represents what 625.000 average Ontario households would consume in three months.  Ontario’s ratepayers consumed 29.724 TWh in the three months of 2020 and in 2021 consumption jumped to 31.130 TWh.

The GA (global adjustment) for 2021 totaled $2.687 billion and adding the average of the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) of $15.50/MWh for the three months brings the total cost to Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers (taxpayers are now picking up a large portion of the electricity costs) to $3.169,5 billion! The latter total indicates an average cost of approximately 10.2 cents/kWh (kilowatt hour) with the math simply being: $3.169,5 billion divided by consumption of 31.130 TWh.

The GA for 2020 was considerably higher as the Ford government capped the GA at $115/MWh (megawatt hour) due to the concern it would spike, so it totaled $3.825,7 billion and coupled with the average HOEP (average $8.10/MWh for the three months) brought the total cost to $4.066,4 billion.  That means the cost per kWh in 2020 for the same three months looks to be about 13.7 cents/kWh.

So, one should wonder, why the drop in average costs if consumption increased 4.7%?  

Well as it turns out our net exports (exports minus imports) declined 2.9 TWh so in 2021 that decline saved Ontarians about $425 million for those three months as we didn’t have to eat the GA of $115/MWh and the average HOEP (the sale price) was higher (up $7.40/MWh) so in 2021 we got a little more for each MWh we sold.  Additionally, curtailed wind declined by 183K MWh* saving us another $22 million.  I suspect we also didn’t spill as much hydro or steam-off nuclear which would also have reduced 2021 costs but that information is not disclosed as yet.  Less solar generation in 2021 may also have played a role at reducing costs.

It becomes obvious Ontario’s grid; supplied principally with nuclear and hydro supplemented by gas generation would produce lower costs. For all of 2020 nuclear and hydro supplied 94.3% of Ontario demand and cheap and reliable gas easily supplied the balance.  The intermittent and unreliable supply of wind and solar at the exorbitant contracted 20-year rates does nothing to reduce emissions while burdening ratepayers and taxpayers with much higher costs. 

The three-month comparison highlights the mess created by the previous Liberal Government(s) under the leadership of the McGuinty/Wynne terms as Premiers of the Province and their enactment of the Green Energy Act coupled with those contracts signed with wind and solar generators during their time in power.

*Thanks to Scott Luft for tracking industrial wind generation and curtailment monthly.