Why Wind and Solar Owners Love Energy Storage

Yesterday, November 26th, 2022, demonstrated why Ontario’s numerous contracted wind and solar owners are so excited about the Ontario Minister of Energy’s objective to secure 1,500 MW of storage capacity be it pumped hydro or BESS (battery energy storage systems)!

Both IWT (industrial wind turbines) and solar panels generated lots of unneeded electricity over the day based on IESO daily generation report and it was more than they tell us: the reason why, is there are approximately 600 MW of IWT capacity and 2,200 MW of solar capacity that are DER (distributed energy resources) so those are not reported by IESO as their minimum reported capacity per generation source is 20 MW and DER’s generation is used by local distribution companies to supply power to communities they serve.  They also include other generation sources such as small, hydro, natural gas, and biomass!

The day was atypical of Ontario’s spring and fall demand as reflected by the fact Ontario’s peak demand was a relatively low 16,345 MW and it occurred at Hour 18 (hour ending at 6 PM).  Throughout the day the wind was blowing and resulted in IESO forecasting IWT would generate almost 76,600 MW but they only reported about 70,500 were accepted into the grid suggesting 6,100 MW were curtailed.  The foregoing translates to a cost of $732,000 for curtailed generation and $9,518,000 for the grid accepted generation. This resulted in an average cost per MWh (megawatt hour) of $145.39 for IWT generation.

Over the day the HOEP averaged only $7.84/MWh and for hours 12 to 15 was $0.00/MW.  In those 4 hours we saw our neighbours in Michigan, NY and Quebec receive 7,314 MW at zero cost which is about what 813 average Ontario households would annually consume and what 243,000 households would consume daily. If those MW we gave away were generated by ground mounted solar (contracts pay them $440/MWh) the cost would have been $3.2 million and if IWT generation the cost would be about $987,000!

Now, it is worth reflecting on how IWT and solar owners could further benefit from those low HOEP market prices.

If the BESS or pumped hydro storage units are owned by the same companies who generated that surplus power for which they were paid either $440/MWh or $135/MWh (sold for 0.00/MWh) turned around and simply scooped that power up via a licensed electricity trader and stored them they could simply hold them until the price jumped the next day or two. 

All those “storage owners” would need to do is check the weather forecasts to see if the sun will shine or the wind will be blowing in the next day or two.

As it turns out today (November 27th, 2022) is a perfect example of how they could increase their revenue at the expense of Ontario’s ratepayers.  Today the wind is not blowing much, and the sun isn’t shining throughout the province. At Hour 7 AM today the HOEP jumped to $69.25/MWh and since then, has averaged $62.25/MWh meaning those 7,314 MWh at zero cost if sold back would have generated $455,297.  The foregoing would simply add to the revenue those solar panels and IWT generated yesterday at the expense of Ontario’s ratepayers.

It should be recognized yesterday could have allowed them to generate a lot more revenue via storage as the example above only reflected the four hours of $0.00/MWh whereas the overall average for the full 24 hours was a paltry $7.84/MWh or 0.078 cents/kWh.

It seems obvious the IWT and solar generators recognize the unique ability to reach even deeper into Ontario ratepayers’ pockets but what is not obvious is if our Minister of Energy, Todd Smith and the IESO will prevent them from doing so. 

Based on the directive to obtain “a minimum of 1,500 MW of storage” it appears the politicians and bureaucrats may well allow them to do exactly what those IWT and solar owners are hoping for and planning to do!

Industrial Wind Turbines, Solar Combined with Battery Storage is the Path to Energy Poverty

Upcoming in our locale is a push by a renewable energy company (Capstone Infrastructure) to obtain the blessing of the municipality and its residents to accept a plan to erect a 300 MW battery storage facility.  We residents and municipal politicians will reputedly be told how a lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will benefit the local community at an upcoming presentation.

Driving this push in Ontario is the Ministry of Energy who has recently directed IESO (independent electricity system operator) to secure 1,500 MW of “stand alone” energy storage! The foregoing is presumably related to the push for more renewable energy (wind, solar and biofuels) as the province falls in line with the full electrification mandates being imposed by the Trudeau led Federal Government and his Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Canada, Steven Guilbeault.

If Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith had wanted, he could have easily pushed back as based on IESO’s 2021 Year in Review it shows Ontario’s generation from the electricity system was 92.5% emissions free and included exports of 17.2 TWh exceeding our gas and biofuels generation by 7.1 TWh. In other words, Ontario ratepayers’ total consumption could be considered fossil free had those exports included all of the natural gas and biofuels generated in 2021.

As if to point out the obvious, one should simply look at IESO data for November 21st, as an example and note grid connected IWT (industrial wind turbines) delivered 70,100 MW with another 7,900 MW curtailed meaning they could have averaged about 66% of their capacity throughout the day. Those grid accepted and curtailed MW cost us Ontario ratepayers $10.4 million or around $149/MWh (14.9cents/kWh) and we exported almost 40,000 MW to our neighbours.  Exports in the first 20 hours of the day were at the price of $6.91/MWh as the market price or HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) was as low as 0.00/MWh and peaked at hour 22 at $59.92/MWh.  What this demonstrates is we basically are giving away our surplus (emission free) generation for mere pennies of what we pay for it.

The question minister Smith should ponder is will battery storage reduce our generation costs or simply create wealth for the BESS owners?

BESS can allow IWT owners to double up on revenue

Anyone who occasionally looks at IESO data will quickly ascertain renewable energy such as the intermittent and unreliable IWT generation is, more often than naught, the reason why HOEP prices are as flat as 0.00/MWh during low demand hours. If those BESS can scoop up enough of that cheap power to charge their batteries, they are sitting on a gold mine.  When the HOEP goes up they can sell power acquired at higher prices such as the $59.92/MWh noted above or sometimes much higher.  If those BESS are owned by the same people who own the IWT generating that excess power, they can make even more money due to the “first-to-the-grid” rights they have embedded in their contracts! 

Should BESS contracts be awarded they will be doing what is commonly referred to as “energy arbitrage”.  In other words, they simply buy and store energy when its cheap (frequently at night) and sell/discharge it during the day when it is much more valuable!

A prior article of an existing IWT company in Ontario, coupled with their plea to add “battery storage” went into more detail pointing out the specifics of how it would generate increased revenue without benefiting ratepayers. This project is similar as while the proposed owner is not planning on locating the BESS project next to the several; IWT developments they own in Ontario; they will still be able to purchase the low-priced power via the IESO controlled grid and resell it for higher prices during high demand hours when the prices spike.

At the very least selling it to our neighbours in Michigan, New York and Quebec is a small revenue source but does help somewhat; in reducing costs to Ontario ratepayers. Who knows, perhaps, in the future, we will negotiate with those neighbours to receive “carbon credits” that can be allocated collectively to Ontario ratepayers and then sold, with the revenue generated from their sale simply applied to reduce our electricity costs! 

The foregoing sure beats having a BESS in our neighbourhood and having the possible concerns of a major high intensity fire as some BESS in other countries have experienced.

Ontario’s Perfect Demonstration of Wind’s Intermittent and Unreliable Nature

A Short History about wind’s electricity generation arrival

“Scottish engineer and physicist James Blyth (1839-1906) was credited as the first to generate electricity by constructing a windmill attached to a dynamo to light his cottage in his home village of Marykirk, Scotland in 1887.  He offered to allow his current to be used to light the main street of the village, but superstitious residents reportedly considered the mysterious electric light to be “the work of the devil“!

The Ups and Downs of Industrial Wind Generation

 A day in the life of industrial wind turbines in Ontario

On November 11th Ontarians were treated to the up and down vagaries of IWT (industrial wind turbines) spread throughout the province. They did a great job exhibiting their spasms and inability to generate power when needed but cranked it out when unneeded. A few examples over the day follow!

Hour 1

At Hour 1, IESO forecast IWT would generate 3,936 MW but only accepted 3,253 MWh on the grid so we should assume the difference (683 MW) was curtailed at a cost of $120/MWh allocated to ratepayers.  The market price (HOEP) was 0.00/MWh over the hour as we supplied Michigan, New York, and Quebec with 2,428 MWh. The 2,428 MWh represented 74.6% of the above noted grid accepted IWT generation so clearly wasn’t needed but, we ratepayers picked up their costs of over $327,000.  To drive the point home IWT frequently generate power when its unneeded! Ontario’s peak demand in Hour 1 was only 12,591 MW and could have been easily supplied by nuclear and hydro alone but the “first-to -the-grid rights allotted to IWT companies usurps our other generation sources! Hydro at that hour generated only 3,307 MWh, their lowest hourly generation for the day!

Hour 4

Moving on to Hour 4 (hour ending at 4 AM) IESO reported it as the lowest Ontario peak demand hour (12,095 MW) for the day and those IWT were still humming and forecast to generate 2,938 MW. IESO accepted 2,718 MW (22.5% of demand) and sold off 2,497 MW (91.9% of accepted IWT generation) to the same Hour 1 buyers for the princely sum of $3.49/MWh generating $8,714.53 of revenue but it cost (assuming it was all IWT generation) us Ontarians $337,095.00 without including curtailed costs.

Hours 1 to 7

Hours 1 to 7 saw IESO forecast IWT generation of 19,866 MW (58% of their capacity) and 17,884 MW was accepted while exporting 16,422 MW (91.8% of IWT grid accepted generation). The HOEP average was $8.90/MWh for those 7 hours meaning if those exports were either all IWT generated power (very likely) or caused by them the net cost to Ontario ratepayers was: $1,963,000 (16,422 MW X $135 plus 1,982 MW [curtailed] X $120 minus 16,422 MW X $8.90) for those 7 hours!

Hours 8 to 19

As the day progressed Ontario peak hourly demand increased while generation from IWT fell and at Hour 18 they only supplied 267 MW or 1.5% of Ontario’s daily peak demand of 17,237 MW! IWT failure at that hour to provide generation meant “net imports” were 1,004 MW as we purchased power from Quebec and even some from Michigan.  We paid an average of $46.93/MWh for that imported power greatly exceeding the cost of our sales to them in the middle of the night when those IWT were generating power we didn’t need.  As IWT generation fell the HOEP market price climbed and from hours 8 to 19 averaged $50.12/MWh a vast improvement from the early morning prices.

Hour 17 and hours 20 to 24

IWT generation at Hour 17 was at its lowest for the day generating only 240 MW but it started to ramp up slowly and by hour 20 was generating five times what it generated at hour 17.  For hours 20 to 24 IESO accepted 10,357 MW as peak demand fell and exports climbed.  Needless to say, as demand fell over the final five hours IWT generation increased while the HOEP fell from $34.40/MWh during Hour 20 to $2.11/MWh in Hour 24 as our unneeded generation from those IWT climbed!

The “first-to-the-grid” rights granted to the IWT owners by the Ontario McGuinty/Wynne led government(s) continue to burden us ratepayers with costs as the foregoing clearly demonstrates! As it turned out November 11th, 2022, captured the intermittency and unreliable nature of IWT over a 24 hour period clearly demonstrating how they operate not just daily but, weekly, monthly and annually! 

Based on what Ontarians and many others around the world are currently experiencing, due to the unreliable and intermittent nature of those “windmills”, we should, perhaps reconsider the events from 135 years ago! Eco-warriors around the world have pushed to have IWT replace reliable electricity generation from fossil fuels in their push for “net-zero” so perhaps the label by the residents of Marykirk, Scotland in 1887 should be resurrected and applied to IWT but not the electric light.

Perhaps it really is the “work of the devil” posing as an eco-warrior out to save the world from “climate change” that brought on the push for those intermittent and unreliable IWT! 

Ontario Ratepayers are Back Helping Michigan Keep their Electricity Bills Low

A recent article described how Ontario’s nuclear plants were slowly coming back online after having all of the Pickering units (3,100 MW capacity) out for VBO (vacuum building outage) and two others out for refurbishment!  Yesterday, as an example IESO reported at Hour 1 our baseload nuclear power generated 7,333 MWh and by Hour 24 they had ramped up and generated 8002 MWh.

The good news about the foregoing is, as we approach those cold winter days when Ontario’s daily peak demand is higher than spring and fall days, we will have sufficient capacity to meet the needs of our households and businesses.

The bad news is those IWT (industrial wind turbines) are still humming as yesterday demonstrates even though peak demand at Hour 18 only reached 15,428 MW.  IESO’s forecast over the 24 hours suggested IWT would generate about 71,400 MW (61% of their capacity) but they only accepted 54,700 MW to the grid meaning they curtailed approximately 16,700 MW. As a result, we ratepayers/taxpayers paid $135/MWh for grid accepted generation and $120/MWh for the curtailed generation. The combined cost of what IESO accepted therefore cost us $9,388,500 or $171.64/MWh (17.2 cents/kWh).

If one then examines our net exports (exports minus imports) we see that we were exporting our surplus power to Michigan, NY, and Quebec and for the full day those net exports were almost 42,100 MWh and Michigan were the beneficiary of most of them.  It would be good if that unneeded IWT generation was in demand but that wasn’t the case as the market price or HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) over the 24 hours averaged a piddly $3.94/MWh.

To put the foregoing in context, the average Ontario household consumes 9 MWh annually so if that price was the standard it would amount to $35.46 for a household’s yearly energy costs. Wouldn’t that be welcomed during this period of high inflation!

So, lets look at the benefits to our neighbours in Michigan, NY, and Quebec in respect to the low HOEP price caused by surplus intermittent generation from those IWT!  We ratepayers are required to pay IWT generators under their contracts for both what is grid accepted as well as what is curtailed so the combined cost yesterday for both as noted above was $171.64 MWh.  If all the net exported power (42,100 MWh) came from the grid accepted IWT the cost of that to Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers would amount to $7,226,044 (42,100 MW X $171.64/MWh) and generated only $165,874 (42,100 MWh X $3.94) from their sale meaning; we were forced to absorb over $7 million in costs for just one day! 

While we did import some power from Michigan, NY, and Quebec during the approximately four weeks of the nuclear outage we were paying for it at prices over ten times what we sold our power to them for yesterday.

Stop the Bleeding

It seems hard to understand why the Premier Ford Ontario led Government hasn’t passed legislation to stop the bleeding of ratepayer dollars going to the owners of those unreliable and intermittent IWT generators.  At the very least he should work to obtain “carbon credits” for those “emissions free” cheap generation we sell to our neighbours.  We could then sell the “carbon credits” in the market to help reduce the costs of electricity to Ontario’s ratepayers.

PS: Today (November 7, 2022, looks to be even more costly based on the first 13 hours of IESO Data.

Avoided Blackouts! Is IESO a Great Weather Forecaster or Simply Using Historical Climate Cycles?

In case you missed it, Ontario was without almost 5,000 MW of “baseload” power over the past month and to the best of my knowledge we didn’t suffer from even one blackout, nor did we receive appeals from our local distribution company to reduce our use of electricity!

As the headline implies; IESO (Independent Electricity Supply Operator) is either a superlative weather forecaster OR they examined Ontario’s climate cycles to determine when Ontario’s electricity demand is at its lowest levels over the year?  Did they also examine when those “intermittent and unreliable” renewable energy sources such as IWT (industrial wind turbines) generate power at higher levels than they commonly do on hot summer days?

Coincidently, IWT grid connected capacity is about 4,900 MW so very close to what the nuclear capacity shut down was. The shutdown included the capacity of all of Pickering Nuclear (3,100 MW) plus a Bruce unit (830 MW) and a Darlington unit (870 MW).

Reviewing the Past Four Weeks

It has now been 28 days since Pickering Nuclear was shut down for the VBO (vacuum building outage); a process done every 12 years and requiring approximately four weeks to complete.  The Pickering units have commenced coming back online and most should be up and running by the start of next week.  The Bruce unit has also restarted and is ramping up as I write this article.

Looking back over the 28 days (October 6th to November 2nd) at data is an interesting exercise and demonstrates IESO chose an excellent time to allow the nuclear shutdowns as Ontario’s peak demand only occasionally was more than 16,500 MW and far below (5,000 MW) what we often see during summer months.  As examples; the 10th highest Ontario peak demand day in 2022 (so far) was 21,379 MW at Hour 17 on July 21st and the highest was Hour 18 on July 19th  at 22,607 MW!

The other interesting fact about IESO’s choice of when to bless the shutdown is related to when IWT mainly generate their intermittent power and in Ontario it is during the spring and fall months. A quick review of the power generated over the 28 days demonstrates their highs and lows.  As examples IWT generation on October 10th and November 1st was only about 10,000 MWh representing a meagre 8.5% of their capacity but on October 12th they generated 80,000 MWh (68% of capacity) and on the 21st they produced 82,000 MWh or 70% of their capacity. Over the entire 28 days they generated approximately 1.2 TWh (terawatt hours) which represented about 37% of their capacity and 7% higher than their average annual capacity normally in the 29/30% range.  

During those 28 days our natural gas generation sources ramped up and down as required to ensure we avoided blackouts. As just two examples; related to those very low IWT generation days, of October 10th and November 1st, gas plants generated 42,000 MWh and 76,000 MWh respectively!  At the same time IESO also appeared to ramp up hydro generation and that may well be the reason the US Army Corp of Engineers report, as of yesterday stated; “Lake Ontario is below its long-term November monthly average level by 7 inches”. As noted in the preceding paragraph when those IWT were only generating 8.5% of their capacity on the two days hydro delivered 97,000 MWh on October 10th and 112,000 MWh on November 1st!  Additionally, IESO were also importing power from Quebec, Michigan and New York and on November 2nd IWT only generated 11,000 MWh and for 23 of those 24 hours we imported more than we exported due to Ontario peak demand reaching 16,636 MW at Hour 19!

Looking Ahead

As I pen this article my inclination is to visit IESO data and in doing so one discovers today (November 5, 2022) is apparently a great day for the IWT owners as they are reaping the benefits of lots of wind together with the fact over 2300 MW of nuclear base load power is back and generating at levels we haven’t seen for a month. With the wind blowing hard those IWT could have delivered about 65,000 MWh (including the 8,500 MW curtailed) in the first 18 hours of today, but they clearly weren’t needed. That fact reflected itself in the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) market price which averaged only $6/MWh in those 18 hours.  Over those hours net exports were 33,500 MWh (51% of IWT curtailed and accepted generation) so income from the sale of those was a piddly $201K but if we assume the exports were all IWT generated we paid the operators $5.1 million so it cost us ratepayers/taxpayers $4.9 million! 

The foregoing suggests the good news evident from the nuclear baseload outage is the HOEP was generally in the $40/$50 range so by IESO scheduling the VBO for Pickering and the refurbishment for the other two units it appeared to save us ratepayers and taxpayers tens of millions of dollars over the 28 days.  Had they been scheduled for the summer or the winter when demand is higher, and IWT generation is frequently absent we would surely have had numerous blackouts or requests to stop or reduce our consumption from our local distribution company.

Conclusion

It seems obvious IESO simply looked back at their data and determined IWT have habitually generated unneeded power in the fall due to what are apparently normal repetitive climate characteristics in Ontario. 

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”!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IWT with “First-To-The-Grid” Rights Demonstrate the Best They Can Do is Wimp Out

August 23, 2022 once more demonstrated IWT (industrial wind turbines) inability to produce power when it is actually needed. The day produced a peak demand hour close to being in the top 10 hours so far in the current year reaching 21,075 MW at Hour 17.  We should surmise many of the Class A electricity customers fired up their gas generators to take advantage of their status and achieve the rate reductions that come with reducing their power draw as the Class A status allows.

At hour 17 the market price of power or HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) saw IESO buying and selling power at $159.41/MWh via the intertie markets.  They were selling to Michigan and New York states while buying power from Quebec to ensure reliability over the grid. The exchanges at that hour resulted in a negative flow of 61 MW meaning we imported slightly more power than we exported.

The IWT at hour 17 generated 465 MWh which was just shy of their peak for the day of 519 MWh at hour 16 and represented 2.2% of demand but their capacity is over 15% of Ontario’s total grid connected capacity. At the hour when those IWT were demonstrating their unreliability our natural gas plants produced 4.926 MWh or 23.4% of demand with nuclear and hydro producing almost all of the balance.

The only positive thing about the failure of those IWT to produce power when it’s needed during peak periods is that we generally sell our surplus power for higher prices unlike the Spring and Fall when demand is low but generation from IWT is much higher than summer months. During those months IWT are frequently producing so much surplus power we curtail them and pay $120/MWh for those happenings.  At the same time the HOEP is at low prices so what is actually accepted on the grid is sold to Michigan and NY for pennies of their actual cost.  Both of the foregoing events simply drive-up costs to Ontario’s Class B ratepayers which are the small and medium sized businesses and residential ratepayers. In the meantime, large public entities such as universities and hospitals (many of whom are also Class A ratepayers) dependent on tax dollars are unaffected as they fire up their gas generators so it’s simply another cost to ratepayers and taxpayers.

The foregoing IWT failure is almost a daily event during summer days and highlights the fact once the Pickering nuclear plant is shut down (2025) our natural gas plants will be called on to continually generate power. Without any additional reliable power added to the grid in anticipation of that closure, Ontario’s energy security is at risk.

The question on our minds should be; when will the Ford led government do something that ensures Ontario’s businesses and households will have secure electricity sources that are capable of generating power 24 hours a day and 365 days a year and pass regulations to curtail our subsidies to IWT?

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.

Batteries + Industrial Wind Turbines or How to Increase Ratepayer Bills

The global push on coupling “battery storage” with wind generation to achieve “zero-emissions” appears to be a ruse to increase revenue for IWT owners while upping electricity bills for ratepayers. 

Evidence of the foregoing was obvious when Brookfield Renewable, via their subsidiary, Evolugen, disclosed they are trying to get Ontario’s Ministry of Energy to allow them to build the 161 MW Timberwolf Battery Storage System next to their existing 189 MW Prince Wind Farm.

The following will hopefully explain how Brookfield are doubling down to raise revenues at the expense of us ratepayers! Reviewing IESO (Independent Electricity System of Ontario) data for August 22nd provides a brief overview on how the above will be accomplished.

IESO data on generation for the first seven (7) hours of August 16, 2022 disclosed Ontario’s IWT generated 6,961 MWh which would have earned IWT owners $939,735 at the contracted price of $135/MWh.

If one examines the market price (HOEP) over those same hours the average price IESO sold surplus power into the market was $30.44/MWh suggesting the 6,971 MWh costing ratepayers $939,735 may have generated $211,893 from their sale; a net-cost to ratepayers of $727,842 for surplus generation.

If the battery storage owners purchased the above 6,971 MWh at the market price over those seven hours ($211,893) and sold it back over the next 10 hours as Ontario’s demand climbed and the HOEP price averaged $116.93/MWh they could have generated $783,314.  Had the latter occurred those 6,961 MWh in the seven hours would cost ratepayers of $1,511,156 ($939,735-$211,893+$783,314) ie; $216.77/MWh or 21.7 cents/kWh.

It is worth pointing out over the balance of the day (the 17 hours remaining) those IWT generated a total of 6,699 MWh or an average of only 8% of their capacity (another $904,365 cost) but in the first seven hours (when they were unneeded) they operated at 20.3% of their capacity!

IWT perform poorly in the warm summer months but normally generate at a much higher level in the Spring and Fall when demand is much lower so the opportunity to double-down on generating a greater return by battery storage during those seasons would surely drive-up costs for ratepayers. 

The other issue associated with the costs rising is our natural gas plants would be confined to less generation.  Many of those natural gas plant contracts guarantee them their capital costs at the rate of $10K per month per MW of capacity and when operating; they charge for the price of gas used and a small additional cost per kWh.  That $10K per MW of capacity will continue but ratepayers will forego the cheap cost of what they would normally produce offsetting the failure of wind and solar to power up for high demand. Those gas plants would however still be needed as battery storage at this stage; is only available for a maximum of four (4) hours whereas gas plants can ramp up and down at any time.

We ratepayers should hope the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for managing the electricity system in the province recognize the real reason for the Bloomfields of the world pushing battery storage to augment their revenue from their wind and solar farms.

Further enrich the rich while harming the poor and middle class!