Most Canadians from coast to coast look forward to Spring arrival as we get excited about warmer weather and watching mother nature show her stuff. Those Canadians living in Ontario however can be both happy and sad about Spring arrival as it has the bad habit of generating increased costs for one of life’s necessities which is energy with an emphasis on the cost of electricity.
Two recent happenings on March 19, 2023, bring the focus on the sad part of Spring arrival. The first is more sunshine which creates more energy from those solar panels which under the McGuinty led government received contacts at ridiculous guaranteed rates as high as 0.80/cents a kWh. Now apparently, they have embarked on more hits to our pocketbooks as the first six (6) hours of March 19th suggests they can now produce power even when the sun isn’t shining as this screenshot from IESO demonstrates!
Solar Panel Generation When the Sun isn’t Shining?
As if the foregoing wasn’t enough weird news, on the same day as solar power was generated in darkness, we note IESO data supplied more bad news. Normally at this time of year as the snow melts and water flows Ontario benefits from more generation from our hydro facilities which are also our cheapest and cleanest source of generation. As it turns out IESO data disclosed more bad news as the first three (3) hours of March 19th (two days before spring arrives ) those IWT (industrial wind turbines) generated more electricity than our hydro plants as evidenced in the following two screenshots.
Wind Generation Beats Hydro Generation!
To accentuate the foregoing those IWT did the same thing in the last three hours of the day as the following screenshots clearly show!
IWT Generation Hours 22, 23, 24!
Hydro Generation Hours 22, 23, 24!
Over the full 24 hours IWT generated a total of 92,447 MW or approximately 78.6% of their capacity and only slightly less than hydro which generated 94,511 MW but could have easily produced more. Ontario was busy selling off the unneeded power which we (logically) should attribute to IWT generation to our neighbours at an average price of $14.86/MWh. We exported 53,308 MW so generated revenue of around $792K while we paid $135/MWh for it, so it cost Ontarians about $6.4 million for unneeded power. We should also suspect IESO were busy telling OPG to spill hydro (we are obliged to also pay for) as demand was low and only peaked at 17,057 MW at hour 20.
The ups and downs of those intermittent IWT and solar panels are in the bad habit of generating lots of unneeded power during the spring and fall seasons when Ontario demand is low. They are the principal reason the Province of Ontario stiff taxpayers with annual additional costs of $6.5 billion in an attempt to hide the mess our electricity system is actually in.
Just one day’s data makes it obvious both of the foregoing sources of intermittent and unreliable electricity generation should be tossed in the garbage!
The many terms now spouted off by politicians, their bureaucrats and ENGO (environmental non-government organization) such as: The Great Reset, net-zero, climate change, electrification, Just Transition, ESG and stakeholder capitalism could have been used instead of the captioned “Circular Economy” but based on the following the latter highlights what we are seeing. So let’s look at how regulations coupled with your tax dollars are making it happen!
Gas Tax Funding for Municipal Transit
The Province recently and quietly announced it was providing $379.5 million to 107 municipalities for the 2022-23 year to be “used to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure.“ The money came from those “provincial sales taxes” levied when you purchase gasoline or diesel fuel to keep your ICE vehicles running but apparently they came up short for the year as (we assume) due to Covid-19 lockdowns. As a result the province kicked in $80 million of Ontarians regular taxes to supplement the gas-tax funding. The foregoing $379.5 million appears to be additional to the $505 million announced and handed out only three months ago. So what are the municipalities doing with some of that money is the question and does it align with the most recent handout? Looking at Ottawa Transit who are destined to receive $37,804,511 (10% of the $379.5 million) it appears it will help them to pay for 13 of the 350 electric buses ($2.8 million per EV bus) they recently budgeted for with the $974 million their council approved to spend. In Toronto’s case they will receive $185,575,500 (48.9% of the $379.5 million). Back in 2021 the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) reputedly ordered 300 electric buses with a price tax of $300 million after having earlier ordering 300 hybrid electric buses (HEV) at a cost of $390 million. One should wonder why is Ottawa Transit paying triple the price for their EV buses?
As an aside when all the cars, buses and transport vehicles are all electric powered where will the money now provided via those “gas taxes” come from? Surely the politicians know but refuse to tell us!
Brampton is getting a new electric fire truck this spring
The City of Brampton, where Patrick Brown; former contender for the Leadership of the Ontario Conservative Party, (booted out for using money to buy memberships similar to the CCP current scandal in the Federal Liberal Party) is the Mayor. Back in June 2021 the city announced with great fanfare they were buying a new electric fire truck. The announcement claimed it would be the first municipality in Ontario with an electric fire truck and that it would be delivered in late 2022. It now appears the delivery date has been pushed to this spring based on an article from late October. Needless to say Mayor Brown in the announcement bragged about Brampton by stating: “At the City of Brampton, we are working to build an increasingly sustainable community in everything that we do as a Green City.“ He went on to say he was delighted the Fire Department would secure “Ontario’s first fully electric fire truck.” As it turns out the truck is not “fully electric” as it also has a diesel generator on board to charge the battery beyond its two-hour limit. It is also interesting to note Los Angeles claimed it had received America’s first electric fire truck but before it was put into service it’s water tank sprung a leak as a short video demonstrated. Mayor Brown should pray this fire truck doesn’t spring a leak or taxpayers may simply “circle the wagons” at the next municipal election!
The Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) created to enforce Ontario’s Circular Economy Laws
The RPRA is the regulator mandated by the Government of Ontario to enforce the province’s circular economy laws. We should guess 99.5% of Ontarians have never heard of RPRA or have any idea of their responsibility or impact on our daily lives. The RPRA was a creation of the Ontario Liberal Government under Premier Kathleen Wynne “in November 2016 to support the transition to a waste-free Ontario”.
What the foregoing means is; “If you purchase batteries, electronics, hazardous and special products, lighting or tires in Ontario, you may see an extra charge added to your receipt called an environmental fee, resource recovery fee, environmental handling fee, tire handling fee, eco-fee, recycling fee or something similar.” In all cases the fee is generally hidden however in some cases your receipt may have a message embedded such as: “The tire producer/manufacturer of the tire and (insert retailer name) are responsible for the recycling fee charged on new tires. All fees collected go towards the collection, transportation and processing costs of recycling used tires.” Regulations such as “O. Reg. 522/20: ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT“ give the province the authority to enforce the collection of those fees and as those fees are included it the price your paying you pay provincial and federal sales taxes. It is interesting to quickly review RPRA’s December 31, 2021 Annual Report and note they claim having 48 fulltime employees and their annual costs for “salaries and benefits” were $5,818,785. Wow, that indicates the annual average cost per employee for that year was in excess of $121K per employee.
This appears to be an example of the jobs our Federal and most Provincial Governments suggest will benefit from the “Just Transition”. Perhaps they forget to give any thought to where the money to pay those salaries and benefits originate if the private sector is decimated due to their net-zero plans!
Cow manure gives power to Ontario’s first carbon negative refuse truck
It now appears as the expression goes; “the sh-t has hit the fan” as recycled cow manure is now powering a refuge truck for Bluewater Recycling Association. The truck is reputedly “fuelled by renewable natural gas (RNG) produced by a local Ontario farm from largely cow manure.“ As farmers have known for decades manure will increase crop yields but not to the degree of mineral fertilizers. The problem of the switch to mineral fertilizers however, in a study over three decades, determined that manure is much better at SOC (social organic carbon) sequestration then mineral fertilizers. What that suggests is using manure to generate RNG may reduce carbon sequestration in soil. Maybe converting cow manure into RNG is not the panacea to achieve net-zero! Somehow however, it is seen by our politicians as a great event as noted by Ontario’s Minister of Energy , Todd Smith quoted in the article stating: “Renewable natural gas is making a difference in communities across Ontario and contributing to green innovation in our energy sector. Leveraging the power of RNG as a flexible and reliable energy source means less waste and lower emissions,”.
One should ask the question; is this simply more horse-sh-t from our politicians in their push towards the “Just Transition” and the creation of their perception of the “circular economy”?
Farmers illegally dismantle emissions system on “every single” tractor
For over a decade farm tractors have come with mandated “Diesel Exhaust Fluid” (DEF) which is urea, and modern machines have systems that inject the substance into the engine’s exhaust stream. A recent article appearing in the Farmers Forum suggests “for just as long, many farmers have been disabling the controversial systems, to save both fuel and maintenance costs.“ The article went on to note “on condition of anonymity, an Ontario diesel mechanic with knowledge of the subject expressed surprise that only 50 % of new tractors and combines might be undergoing a DEF-deletion after purchase. “Every single one is being modified,” he estimated.The mechanic couldn’t blame farmers for doing it. Current DEF systems are extremely expensive to repair and maintain, he said, describing the cost of replacement parts and filters as “atrocious.”He also explained that DEF systems just don’t work very well and cause a tractor to “burn a lot more diesel fuel” than it otherwise would.“
Apparently voiding the DEF system costs thousands of dollars but the money is recuperated in only two years from the diesel fuel savings and a reduction in maintenance costs. It’s hard to fault the farmers for protecting their livelihood and by doing so they are also helping to keep food costs down.
Great to see farmers are doing their part to stop the growth of the “circular economy” as it simply works to create more poverty in Canada and around the world.
It appears politicians in Ontario and elsewhere around the world are doing their very best to create economic sinkholes via the circular economy which continue to consume more and more of our tax dollars.
Inspired by a recent National Post article entitled; “A U.K. ferry company spent hundreds of millions on hybrid vessels that can’t be plugged in” and living close to two islands in the Bay of Quinte serviced by ferries proved to be an inspiration. The two islands are Wolfe Island and Amherst Island where 1,400 and 400 people respectively live and are dependent on ferries to reach the mainland for shopping, healthcare, etc. etc. Both of the islands are plagued with those IWT (industrial wind turbines) with Wolfe Island suffering from the 198 MW capacity of the 86 turbines owned by TransAlta and Amherst Island from the 26 turbines with a 75 MW capacity owned by Windlectric. Needless to say both projects were unwanted by those living on the two islands and the residents tried to stop them from getting approval. Nevertheless, due to the nature of the GEA (Green Energy Act) brought into being by the McGuinty led Ontario Liberal Government (with Gerald Butts as his principal advisor) the residents of both islands were unable to stop the projects.
Perhaps to soften the blow on March 16, 2018, the Ontario Liberal Government under Kathleen Wynne as Premier together with the then recently elected Federal Liberal Government under PM Trudeau stepped in to make a major announcement presumably meant to win back Liberal support from the citizens living on both islands.
The Press Release issued started off saying: “Ontario is building the first fully electric non-cable vessels in Canada with two new ferries to connect the mainland with Amherst Island and Wolfe Island.“ Later in the press release under “Quick Facts” it goes on saying: “Ontario is investing approximately $94 million and the Government of Canada is contributing up to a maximum of $31,271,905 towards building the new ferries through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component“.
Those statements suggest the two ferries were to be built in Ontario and as well the press release bragged: “Those ferries will now be electrified, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 7.4 million kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, the same as taking 1,357 cars off the road, compared to conventional diesel ferries.“
The interesting part of the foregoing Provincial Press Release is, just four months earlier on November 6, 2017, two Liberal MPs, Mark Gerretsen and Mike Bossio along with Ontario Liberal MPP, Sophie Kiwala, had made a similar announcement. Included in this article was the following: “The new ferries will also take advantage of propulsion technologies and will run cleaner and quieter than the existing ferries,” said Kiwala”, Liberal MPP for Kingston and the Islands. Sophie Kiwala, went on to state “the province has awarded the contract for the two new ferries to Damen Shipyards from the Netherlands at a cost of $61 million.“ The article also said newly elected Liberal MP, Mark Gerretsen announced the federal government had committed to one third of the funding for the two vessels and it could be as much as $30 million. Additionally, the article noted, “The ferries – set to arrive in December, 2019 for Amherst Island and December, 2020 for Wolfe Island – will help alleviate tensions during service interruptions and inspections.“
Should one compare the November 6, 2017, announcement to the March 16,2018 press release you notice several major differences between the two!
1.The March 16, 2018, press release claimed the two ferries would be built in Ontario whereas the earlier announcement claimed they would be supplied by Damen Shipyards from the Netherlands!
2.The November 6, 2017, announcement claimed the cost for the two ferries would be $61 million whereas the March 16, 2018, press release stated the cost would be $94 million!
The cost for the two ferries was $94 million or more, not the $61 million originally announced. Additionally the new ferries created a need for major dock works perhaps to charge their batteries.
3.The November 6, 2017, announcement stated the ferries would take advantage of “propulsion technologies” (think Sea Doo) whereas the March 16, 2018, press release stated they would be “electrified”!
It is true the ferries are both “electrified” however, they both have twin diesel generators installed to allow hybrid and full diesel propulsion for maximum redundancy.
4.The November 6, 2017, announcement stated the Amherst Island ferry would arrive in 2019 and the Wolfe Island ferry would arrive in December 2020.
They are running well behind schedule as it was reported: “The Amherst Islander II and Wolfe Islander IV arrived at the Port of Quebec City yesterday, Sept 26, 2021.“ Since moving from Quebec City they have been moved to Picton Harbour where they still are docked presumably to allow time to upgrade the docks. Recall from above; that back on November 6, 2017, those politicians appear to have told the reporter; “The ferries – set to arrive in December, 2019 for Amherst Island and December, 2020 for Wolfe Island – will help alleviate tensions during service interruptions and inspections.“
5.The November 6, 2017, announcement also stated two of the existing ferries would remain in service to backup the new ferries during the busy tourist periods of the year.
Once again we should note the three Liberal politicians back in 2017 look to have made promises that were false as an article a few days ago noted in respect to the Wolfe Island ferry; “The Ministry of Transportation says that when the new ferry arrives, they won’t be able to run both ferries at the same time due to staffing issues“.
It is readily apparent those three Liberal politicians (presumably backed up by many bureaucrats), involved in making the critical decisions in respect to the acquisition of the two ferries messed up badly or kept key information locked up. We should also suspect the price paid due to the “hybrid” nature of the two ferries was well above the costs of diesel ferries with the same passenger/automobile capacity. The push to reduce those “greenhouse gas emissions” came at a huge cost with lots of delays. Word on the street is, they may be in operation by the current spring. So far, no emissions have been reduced!
This is another clear message to us taxpayers that our politicians have no regard for how they waste our tax dollars and prove that by continuing to spin those Ferry tales.
The below screenshot of IESO data for the past several days clearly demonstrates why Ontario needs the reliability of natural gas to fill in for when the sun’s not shining and/or the wind’s not blowing. At the bottom left of the screenshot the “Generation by Fuel Type – Hourly” highlights Ontario’s baseload capacity which is principally nuclear and hydro in the orange and blue colours. Most hydro is classified as baseload but part of it is considered as “variable” generation so is able to ramp up or down as needed when grid demand rises or falls. Nevertheless daily demand frequently is well above what those two sources are able to provide so natural gas plants need to be at the ready when those renewable energy sources are in the doldrums.
The foregoing is demonstrated by the large and small hourly generation from the green (industrial wind turbines or IWT) and yellow (solar) portions of the chart which at times generate as much as hydro and at other times very little! Simply looking at the daily peak demand hours it is readily apparent from the visual observation of the chart that wind and solar often are missing. Natural gas generation (dark blue) and its rammable ability are required to fill in the gaps as is obvious once again from just a quick glance.
Just looking at one days IESO data contained in the above chart clearly shows why we cannot live without natural gas plants and their ability to step up when needed. Looking at February 24th at peak hour 19 (hour ending at 7 PM) natural gas generated 4,907 MWh, hydro 6,088 MWh but solar was absent and those IWT only generated 715 MWh versus their peak generation of 2,516 MWh for the day at 3 AM when peak demand was at its low point for the full 24 hours.
The above is a clear demonstration of the unreliable nature of IWT and why natural gas generation is needed unless the objective is to create blackouts!
OPG recently announced they are buying GM Canada’s former head office building in Oshawa which GM indicated has been virtually empty since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. OPG states the building will be refurbished before they move from 700 University Ave., Toronto late in 2024. Back on November 10, 2022, OPG released their 3rd Quarter results and they were quite favourable but not so much for ratepayers as revenue was up year over year for the nine months by $585 million (11.3%) despite generation only increasing by 2.4 TWh (4%). Net income increased by $199 million or 16% so more than double the inflation rate.
Hydro One recently released their year-end results and their revenue, net of purchased power (up by only 827 GWh or 2.7%), increased by $410 million (up 11.2%). Net profit was up by $91 million or 9.2% which also was 46% higher than Canada’s inflation rate of 6.3% for the year.
Despite the foregoing with OPG and Hydro One reporting results surpassing our inflation rate it is worth noting, the Ontario Energy Board’s “Vision” reputedly still is: “To be a trusted regulator who is recognized for enabling Ontario’s growing economy and improving the quality of life for the people of this province who deserve safe, reliable andaffordable energy.“
Melancthon Wind Contract Extended
For some unknown reason Ontario’s Minister of Energy issued a directive dated January 27,2022 to IESO instructing them to renew expiring contracts and IESO did; under the “Medium-Term Request for Proposals“ meaning the contract holder; TransAlta Renewables Inc were granted an extension to 2031. That particular IWT (industrial wind turbines) project has “a long and controversial history, due to hundreds of complaints of noise pollution from residents, so severe that some people abandoned their homes” and it was further stated: “Our own findings from documents received under Freedom of Information is that the Melancthon power project was number one in Ontario for noise complaints related to the turbines and a transformer.“ The foregoing happened despite the promise by the existing Minister to cancel IWT projects before his party gained power!
Joe Oliver retiring as IESO Chair
It was with acute disappointment reading recently former Federal Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver was retiring as Chair of IESO’s Board of Directors as he was only appointed in March 2019! Mr. Oliver has certainly come across as a climate change skeptic recently having penned an article for the Financial Post wherein, he stated: “To justify enormous expenditures and punishing taxes Canadians are endlessly bombarded with apocalyptic climate scaremongering whose main effect is to terrify children and convince the credulous. Even though Canada cannot make a measurable difference to the global climate, the Liberals doggedly push a net-zero agenda that will cost $2 trillion by 2050.“ He reemphasized that point in another article in the FP in early February stating “Canadians are awakening to the terrible harm the government’s destructive climate initiatives inflict on their livelihoods and freedom, without achieving anything meaningful for the environment.“
Based on the very short press release from IESO should we suspect the Ford Government was not happy with what he said and perhaps asked him to retire as they are attempting to stay on the good side of PM Trudeau and his minions pushing the “Just Transition” agenda? We taxpayers should hope not but we should be suspicious!
Prince Edward Island
Back in late 2021 the PEI government announced they would provide free heat pumps for any island household with income of $35K or less and since then they have raised the household income level to $55K but its not working! Their reasoning was because electricity and oil costs (the two main sources of heating households in the province) were very high they would pay to have the pumps installed as PEI seeks to reach “net-zero energy consumption” by 2030! In a province with only 59,000 households, thousands of them indicate they have been waiting for the installations for a long time so the province has now increased the household income to $75K. It certainly appears their provincial politicians are working hard to increase the backlog. It’s becoming harder and harder to find any politicians in Canada or elsewhere that exhibit even a little common sense!
Down Under to Australia
Back in early 2019 the government of NSW (New South Wales) granted approval for a 2,000 MW proposed pumped storage facility at a then estimated cost of US$3.62 billion with commissioning expected in 2024. The approval was granted as the province sought to shut down their coal plants and move to zero emissions and the pumped storage capacity would reputedly be capable of generating 2,000 MW per hour for 175 hours. Sounds like a dream by the politicians in NSW and recent events have perhaps, highlighted their dreams have been shattered! Apparently, the initial costs have ballooned (some estimates are as high as US$9 billion) and the commissioning date in now anticipated to be December 2027 or even later. To make matters worse, recent news was the 2,400-ton boring machine has become stuck under a cave-in so has ground to a halt! Sure looks to be yet another group of politicians and bureaucrats with a shortage of common sense! It appears to be Australia’s version of Muskrat Falls!
Oil City battery energy storage project ‘dead in the water’: mayor
The captioned article in the Sarnia Observer a week ago could be construed as an “ironic” happening as it occurred near to where oil was first discovered in North America back in 1858 when James Miller Williams was drilling for water. The location of the well at that time was called Black Creek but was subsequently changed to Oil Springs and is located about 30 kms southeast of Sarnia, Ontario. Renewable Energy Systems Canada (they claim they are the world’s largest renewable energy company) asked for support from the local council as a requirement to seek a blessing from IESO for a proposed BESS (battery energy storage system) but the mayor and council declined to support them. Perhaps nostalgia played a role as those BESS units are seen as support for the unreliable and intermittent nature of renewable energy from wind and solar which our politicians seem to believe can replace fossil fuels. Nice to see some politicians have basic common-sense!
Over to Germany
It is worthwhile to visit a website titled “NoTricksZone” and a recent visit to the site had a short, sad, but true story about Germany’s electricity and gas prices in a revelation by P. Gosselin. The headline read: “My Household Electricity And Gas Prices Rise 87% And 178% Respectively!“ The article went on stating; “my own household had made a contract in 2021 that locked the heating gas and electricity prices for 2 years, our rates had stayed reasonably low. But that contract expires on April 1st, 2023, and last week we got the long-awaited letter announcing the new prices from our gas and electric utility.“ Many are aware Germany, under Angela Merkel, went full bore on what was labelled as “Energiewende“; simply defined as, “the ongoing transition by Germany to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply“. As it turns out Energiewende has pretty well failed on all of its objectives due to their push for wind and solar, elimination of their nuclear baseload generation coupled with their shutdown of their variable coal generation plants. They have become the perfect example of what “not to do” but many countries have emulated them and are finding themselves in a similar situation with energy poverty climbing.
An article from October, 2022 stated: “One in four Germans are currently energy impoverished, up from one in six in 2018.“ Those are very dismal results and a reflection on how unconnected from society elected politicians and their bureaucrats have become in their push to achieve the “net-zero” emissions target. In the meantime China, India and many other countries have rejected the call to move in the same direction, so they are lifting many of their citizens out of energy poverty.
The above short stories hopefully highlight the apparent disregard most of our elected politicians have for all but the elites in our democratic countries but it is time to call them out. Join the fight and let them know how they are failing the majority of voters and in the process are causing energy poverty.
There is nothing “just” about the “Just Transition”!
It is apparent no one noticed from Hour 9 to Hour 11 on February 11, 2013 Ontario’s baseload power decreased by 814 MW of capacity as Bruce Power’s G-8 nuclear reactor was tripped off. It’s not clear why it was tripped, but in terms of security to avoid blackouts in the province; that baseload power would generate over 7 TWh (terawatt hours) over a full year or about what 800,000 average Ontario households consume.
The above should be of concern to the Ontario Ministry of Energy but so far, they haven’t noticed! The Ministry are instead excited about the recent announcement triggered by a November 24, 2022, Ministerial directive from Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith to IESO. That directive instructed them to complete negotiations with the proponents of the Oneida Energy Storage Project, a 250 MW BESS (battery energy storage system).
Needless to say when the announcement was finally made the Ontario Conservative Party were excited and Global News reported in a February 10, 2023 article, Premier Ford stating; “It’s equivalent to taking 643,000 cars off the road,”. The article went on to note the project “is being supported by the Canada Infrastructure Bank which has earmarked some $170 million to the initiative.“ The CIB’s press release contained slightly different information than the Ford quote claiming: “The Oneida Energy storage project is expected to reduce emissions by between 2.2 to 4.1 million tonnes, equivalent to taking up to 40,000 cars off the road.“
Hmm, the foregoing suggests someone’s math is askew as taking 643,000 cars off the road is a multiple of 16 times what the CIB said was 40,000 cars! Who should we taxpayers believe?
The CIB’s press release had numerous quotes in it from both federal and provincial government politicians as well as the partners; Northland Power Inc., NRStor, Aecon*NB: and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC).
As an example of the excitement displayed, here is what Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources had to say: “The Government of Canada is pleased to collaborate with partners to unlock the energy storage solutions needed to store clean energy while meeting increasing electricity demands,” and he went on further stating: “The Oneida Energy storage project represents a significant Indigenous-led development that will create good jobs for Canadians while reducing emissions. The Government of Canada is pleased to invest $50 million in building this project with Indigenous partners — resulting in one of the world’s largest battery storage projects.“
Premier Ford said: “I’m thrilled to see so many great partners come together to build this world-class project that will provide affordable, clean energy for generations to come,”.
The other quote, in my mind, that stood out, was from Mike Crawley of Northland Power Inc. as Crawley was reputedly the former Ontario President of the Liberal Party and following that served as President of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Crawley’s quote was: “The Oneida Energy Storage Project is a milestone for Ontario’s burgeoning energy storage sector. It will make the province’s electricity grid more efficient, stable and reliable. For Northland, this project marks our first storage investment. We recognize the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada for their continued support of energy storage initiatives. Finally, we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with NRStor and the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, without whom this project would not have been possible.”
We should suspect Crawley’s attribution to “Ontario’s burgeoning energy storage sector” is a subtle call for support (financial and regulatory) from the CIB and the Ford government to grant approval for a storage project Northland Power have been chasing for over a decade. That project is the Marmora pumped storage project utilizing the abandoned iron mine in Marmora, Ontario. Crawley has somehow managed to entice OPG into joining Northland in their pursuit of that contract perhaps believing it will convince Ontario’s Energy Minister, he must give it his blessing.
Mike Crawley was called out by Bob Runciman, a Conservative MPP, who sat as a member of Ontario’s parliament for 29 years and in 2004 was opposition leader. The Hansard report indicates in Runciman’s examination of the then Minister of Energy, Dwight Duncan in 2004, he raised “conflict issues” about Crawley and his position as President of AIM PowerGen while being the Ontario President of the Liberal Party of Canada. The issue was in respect to a $475 million contract awarded to Erie Shores Wind Farm owned by AIM PowerGen. According to the Hansard records Crawley was also President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association at the time. Needless to say nothing came of the issue raised by MPP Runciman when he asked Duncan to “put the contract on hold” pending an investigation by the Ontario Integrity Commission. Duncan refused! Crawley still maintains influence with the Liberal Party and his influence seems to now also involve the Ontario Conservative Party.
Mr. Crawley is registered as a Lobbyist with the Federal government and in June of last year he met with Jonathan Wilkinson who stated the Government of Canada “invested $50 million” in the project. We should wonder if the $50 million investment came about as a result of Crawley’s lobbying efforts?
Looking quickly at the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) it is difficult to find complete information related to their “green energy portfolio” other than the claim; “itis capable of producing over 1000MW of clean energy through involvement in 18 solar or wind projects either directly (Equity Interests) or indirectly (Community Benefit Agreements). Their website identifies their portfolio’s capacity as 297 MW of “wind” and 145 MW of “solar”! They recently announced they were upset the Lake Erie Connector Project had been suspended for which the CIB had planned to “invest up to $655 million or up to 40% of the project cost. ITC, a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., and private sector lenders will invest up to $1.05 billion, the balance of the project’s capital cost.“
As if the furore from the proponents along with provincial and federal politicians wasn’t enough the Federal Minister of Finance and Deputy PM, Chrystia Freeland rang out with her rants on twitter about the project and how “it will create good jobs, help build Ontario’s 21st century electricity grid, and make electricity more affordable for Ontario families.”
As Minister of Finance she should recognize handing out $220 million of our (Federal) tax dollars for a project destined to raise the cost of electricity and create a few jobs to occasionally power homes or businesses for a few hours annually is not the panacea she hyperventilates about.
The time has come for all of Canada’s politicians to cease the madness of their “net-zero” targets and recognize how eliminating the 6% to 7% of emissions from the electricity sector will have no impact on Canada’s fossil fuel reduction but will result in the loss of well-paying jobs throughout our economy.
Time for sanity to return to our elected politicians!
*Aecon has been awarded a $141 million Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract by Oneida LP.
NB: One of my contacts informed me John Beck CEO and President of Aecon is a big supporter of the WEF where our Finance Minister Freeland also hangs her hat! I went to the WEF website and searched his name and it popped up many times and he sits on one of their “Steering Committees. We should all wonder what in hell is going on!
An article from March 2022 cited a Hydro Quebec strategic plan they had just released and it forecast they would need 100 TWh (terawatt hours) annually of additional energy in order to meet Quebec’s net-zero emissions target by 2050.
To put context on that 100 TWh; it currently represents about 50% of generation Quebec Hydro annually distributes to Quebec ratepayers and grid connected export markets! If one does the math the annual generation of 100 TWh would require about 11,500 MW of new generation (baseload) capacity running at 100% and that is, coincidentally, more than double the capacity of Churchill Falls (5,428 MW) which is owned by Newfoundland & Labrador (N/L). The existing contract between the two provinces for the power generated at Churchill Falls expires in 2041 and currently costs Hydro Quebec a very low $2.00 per MWh or $2 million per TWh. The $113 million Hydro Quebec paid N/L in 2021 suggests Churchill Falls supplied them with 56.5 TWh hours or about 25% of what Hydro Quebec distributed in 2021 and around 30% of Quebec ratepayers total demand!
We should guess N/L will be looking for much higher rates for any future contracts come 2041 or instead will run transmission lines to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and/or to New England to achieve a much better return and perhaps help pay those cost overruns for the Muskrat Falls project. The foregoing would raise Quebec’s needs to over 150 TWh by 2050 or at the very least drive up their energy costs!
Hydro Quebec’s 2021 annual report indicated they sold 210.8 TWh of which 35.6 TWh (63% of Churchill Falls generation) were exported to New England, New York, Ontario and New Brunswick.
In respect to the Ontario/Quebec relationship; Ontario will try to supply power to Quebec in the winter (Quebec’s peak demand period) whereas Quebec will try to supply Ontario in the Summer which is generally when peak demand occurs. The agreement between Ontario and Quebec is referenced as the “Seasonal Capacity Sharing Agreement.“ As an example, Ontario, using natural gas generation, recently supplied Quebec with power during the cold snap. We should wonder how importing generation from natural gas plants will help Quebec meet its “net-zero” target or Ontario’s by generating fossil fuel power to supply Quebec?
Hydro Quebec issued a press release in November 2022 forecasting by 2032 they will require an additional 25 TWh principally to support the transition to electrification for transportation, building conversion, green hydrogen production, battery production, etc. etc. The press release suggests: “The anticipated growth takes into account significant energy efficiency efforts that will make it possible to curtail 8.9 TWh by 2032. Hydro-Québec programs such as the Efficient Heat Pump Program for residential customers and the Efficient Solutions Program for business customers will help optimize electricity use.“ They will also seek a “demand response” of 3,000 MW during the coldest winter days from those labeled as “various customer segments”. The release also indicated they have put out a call for tenders including; “one for 300 MW of wind power and the other for 480 MW of renewable energy—are already underway“, and “Two more, for 1,000 MW of wind power and 1,300 MW of renewable energy, respectively, will be launched in the next few months, and others will follow in the coming years to meet the needs“.
We should find it odd Hydro Quebec would believe 1,300 MW of wind and 1,780 MW of renewables (solar?) will be sufficient to provide them with the 25 TWh they forecast needing by 2032 due to their intermittency and unreliable nature but perhaps they are really counting on the 3,000 MW of “demand response” to keep the lights on and households warm during cold winter days. We should also wonder where the other 75 TWh they will need by 2050, will come from?
They shouldn’t count on Ontario being able to supply them as the Ford led government here in Ontario is on the path to also achieve the same “net-zero” target our Energy Minister, Todd Smith, asked IESO to achieve via his October 7, 2021, letter to them. While he has subsequently backtracked somewhat on the foregoing in his October 6, 2022, directive it nevertheless may detract from attracting new generation as the following sentence from his directive implies: “New build gas facilities will be required to submit emissions abatement plans to IESO as part of their future contractual obligations, including considerations for operating in special circumstances such as emergency events, if applicable.“
Ontarians and Quebecers should wonder; in the future, will those emergency events include us sending our natural gas generation to help them keep the lights on and their households warm during winter cold snaps in Quebec and will they be able to supply Ontario with power on those very warm summer days when our peak demands occur?
No doubt by the time the foregoing potential problems become a regular occurrence our current group of politicians will have retired from politics and be living on nice taxpayer funded pensions so will not care about the consequences of their failed policies.
We voters should find a way to make elected politicians responsible for their ineptitude but perhaps that is far too much to hope for, just as “net-zero” is simply “wishful thinking” if we want reliable and competitive power prices!
The past couple of days in Ontario have demonstrated the ups and downs of energy demand both from those of us in Ontario and our neighbours tied to us via the intertie grids.
February 2, 2023
Starting with February 2, 2023, examining IESO data, clearly demonstrates the ups and downs of demand for electricity coupled with the market price variation (HOEP) of overproduction of IWT (industrial wind turbines). The wind was blowing hard all through the day but with baseload nuclear and hydro providing most of the demand what wasn’t needed was most of the power being generated by IWT. IESO forecast IWT would generate 94,503 MW over the full day (80.3% of capacity) but it wasn’t needed. Recorded output was 72,115 MW (61.3% of capacity) meaning IESO instructed IWT owners to curtail almost 22,400 MW. As most Ontario ratepayers know the IWT contracts provides them with “first-to-the-grid” rights and also pays for curtailed power at the rate of $120/MWh and $135/MWh for the accepted power. For the full 24 hours on the day the price allocated for accepted and curtailed IWT generation amounted to over $12.4 million in costs to Ontario’s ratepayers/taxpayers and about $172/MWh in costs for the accepted power.
Coupled with the foregoing; as demand was low for most of the day, the market price (HOEP) averaged $3.12/MWh so IESO were busy disposing of unneeded power for pennies of its costs. Even at the daily peak hour (Hour 19) the HOEP was only $5.18/MWh. For the full day exported power was 41,911 MW representing 58.1% of the generation IESO accepted from IWT. If one assumes the unneeded power from IWT represented all of the exported power or caused it, the cost added to the 30,200 MW of IWT generation consumed by Ontario ratepayers is another $7.1 million bringing the cost of the 30,200 MWh, added to the grid, to $11.2 million or $370/MWh (.37cents/kWh).
The happenings on February 2nd once again demonstrate how we Ontarians continue to provide cheap power to our neighbours. We do that by absorbing the costs of those intermittent and unreliable IWT sprinkled throughout the province allowing our neighbours to buy our surplus energy for pennies on the dollar while we eat the costs.
February 3, 2023
February 3, 2023, turned out to be a “Top 10” Ontario peak demand day reaching 21,388 MW and 24,821 MW for the “market peak” at Hour 19! The result was the HOEP for the full day averaged about $41.70/MWh. While that represents a large jump from the prior day those IWT were still costing us a lot more then the aforementioned HOEP average.
To put the foregoing in context, IESO data in the first 5 hours forecast IWT generation would be 18,795 MW but they only accepted 13,838 MW meaning about 5,150 MW were curtailed and the HOEP over those 5 hours was a piddly 0.62 cents/MWh. If one, then calculates the HOEP for the remaining 19 hours in the day it becomes $56.60/MWh so, much higher than the first 5 hours! Continuing to look at those 5 hours it becomes apparent we Ontarians absorbed the costs of almost $2.5 million to generate those 13,715 MW. Hopefully our neighbours in NY, Michigan and Quebec appreciate our generosity for those MW which was very close to the IESO accepted IWT generation.
Looking at the full day, IWT were forecast by IESO to generate 69,174 MW but their output was 62,940 MW meaning we paid for around 6,200 MW of curtailed generation but as noted in the preceding paragraph only about 1,000 MW more were curtailed in the following nineteen hours. Over the day IESO were busy selling off approximately 87,000 MW to our neighbours in Michigan, NY and Quebec with the latter taking well over a third of them. The last point should be no surprise as Quebec is a winter peaking province and on February 2nd Hydro Quebec asked their customers to reduce their electricity consumption due to the anticipated cold starting late Thursday night.
The other interesting happening related to generation on February 3rd was how much gas generation there was over the day. Ontario’s natural gas plants produced 88,172 MW which coincidently was only slightly higher than our total exports. It is worth pointing out when a MWh of natural gas is generated ratepayers are only paying the raw costs of the natural gas plus a small markup as the capital costs and the approved ROA (return on assets) have been included in the price of electricity since those plants were originally commissioned. In other words once a gas plant is operating it generates power that is very much cheaper compared to both wind and solar.
About 60% of households in Quebec heat with electric furnaces or electric baseboards so are dependent on electricity to stay warm during cold winter days. For that reason we should suspect Ontario’s natural gas plants may have played a key role in ensuring those Quebecers were able to avoid a blackout on the recent very cold days we have just experienced.
The other thing Ontario’s natural gas plants may well be doing is allowing Quebec EV owners to recharge their EV batteries. Approximately 10% of all new cars registered in Quebec* are EV possibly due to the large $8,000. grant the province provides to purchase them. Interestingly, while Hydro Quebec tells households to turn down their heat and avoid using certain appliances during peak hours, they say nothing about when you should or shouldn’t charge your EV.
The generosity of Ontarians is astounding due to the treatment of IWT and the contracts in place providing those “first-to-the-grid” rights. On top of that, if we are subsidizing the sales of our IWT surplus power to other markets where it may be used to charge EV it just doesn’t seem quite right!
Maybe the Ford Government should ask Quebec to provide Ontario with carbon credits to offset the “emissions” of our natural gas plants that keep their people warm in the winter!
*A September 22, 2022 New York Times article stated the following about EV in Quebec: “Quebec has 150,000 electric vehicles on the road, compared with 113,000 in New York State, an indication of how ubiquitous charging can encourage ownership.“
Five ENGO* (BLUEGREEN, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre and IISD) recently issued a 28 page proclamation labelled: “Proposals for the Canadian Just Transition Act”. Needless to say they push the Justin Trudeau led Federal Government and all the provincial governments to jump on board the “Just Transition”. They want the Federal Government to establish a “Just Transition Ministry” and equip it with bureaucrats ensuring the utopia of a “carbon-free” Canada with lots of low carbon, sustainable “green jobs” as the outcome!
If one does a word search in the 28 pages using the symbol “$” or the word “dollars” you come up with a big “0” but if you plug in “Net-Zero” you get 3 hits and if you try “emissions” it will generate 28 hits. As one would expect searching the words “transition” and “just transition” respectively generated 391 and 293 hits. The proclamation is sprinkled with examples the authors feel exemplify what should be done in Canada. They cite Spain, Scotland, New Zealand and Germany as examples of countries moving in the “Just Transition” direction but don’t bother to mention those countries are all suffering from high energy prices coupled with climbing energy poverty. You certainly won’t find any concerns expressed about the costs of the Just Transition on families or households in the 28 pages.
The word “objective(s)” can be found 32 times and aligns with the word “Tables” found 27 times as the proclamation insists the Federal and Provincial governments establish objectives via those tables that must be adhered to under legislation set by the federal and provincial governments. Naturally these objectives require “monitoring” by more bureaucrats.
We should all be troubled by the fact that four of the five ENGO (more on BLUEGREEN below) are registered charities and all of them seem somewhat dependent on handouts (grants) and contracts from all three levels of government. A quick review of the four and their CRA charity filings indicates over the five years of CRA records they have reported receiving over $27 million tax dollars, mainly as grants. IISD is one example with grants committed of almost $40 million. Equiterre is another example reporting having received almost $7.7 million in grants/donations in their CRA filings over the past five years from Federal and Provincial governments. Equiterre was reputedly co-founded by Steven Guilbeault, current Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Additionally two of them (Environmental Defence, IISD) have been contracted by government Ministries or subsets. It is also worth noting IISD also gets millions of dollars from UN Agencies, International Governments and their agencies as well as Foundations as noted in their Consolidated Financial Statement of March 31, 2022.
BLUEGREEN”s homepage states: “We can create good jobs across the country by making renewable energy, using energy more efficiently, decarbonizing manufacturing, and building more public transit.“
The above statement seems incongruous with what most would imagine, the two biggest private sector unions in Canada, would buy into, should their leaders reflect on how accomplishing the foregoing would impact their members. Interestingly no one from either of the unions were cited as “Contributors” to the “proclamation” paper but two of them from Unifor were named as “reviewers”!
If one looks at their respective websites for their views on “climate change” they appear somewhat less committed, then the proclamation in the “Proposal”. One senior individual within the United Steelworkers Union (USU) at an event last year stated: “In the past, we knew that investments in our plants would provide long-term benefits. Today, the same logic must apply to the environmental question.“ Identifying those investments is not an easy task as a major ingredient attracting investments is cheap energy but that is what the “Transition” will affect the most so, “long-term benefits” appear elusive. That should send a not-so-subtle message to PM Trudeau and his Ministers!
USU sent two observers to COP 27 in Egypt and one of the issues they noted was the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and their synopsis stated: “This measure involves the introduction of a price (tax) on high-carbon products entering Canada. Other countries are preparing for the implementation of such a measure.“ Obviously this has implications for Canada’s trade relationship with other countries, but it appears the USU recognizes the impact it may have on their members unless we implement it too!
In respect to Unifor an article on their website emphasized: “Revenue from carbon pricing be invested in ensuring that transitions for workers and communities are appropriately managed through training and matching displaced workers with new opportunities.“ That statement suggests the Federal Government abandon the current carbon tax rebate program and instead “invest” it to create those “transitions” the Proposal recommends.
The Broadbent Institute is of course named after Ed Broadbent the former leader of the Federal NDP and as one would expect they are gung ho on the Just Transition and push Canada to spend lots more! Rick Smith who has become an icon of the “climate change” push wrote an article for the Broadbent Institute saying “we should be spending in the hundreds of billions, not just billions in the single digits.“
The four charities include Environmental Defence where Rick Smith was the head honcho for 9 years but now he is the President of CICC, a taxpayer funded ENGO pushing the “net-zero” initiative on behalf of the Trudeau government. Needless to say ED has received grants and contracts over the years from us taxpayers.
The Columbia Institute in its CRA filings does not claim any contributions from any of the three levels of government seemingly obtaining most of its revenue from other “charities”.
Clean Energy Canada is a “climate and clean energy program” within the confines of Simon Fraser University so doesn’t report on an individual basis to the CRA charities. As one would suspect SFU on the other hand in it’s March 31, 2022 filing with the CRA reportedly received over $358 million (38.3%) of its gross revenue from the three levels of government. A search of Federal contracts disclosed many to SFU from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change which we should assume went to Clean Energy Canada.
Now examining the Pembina Institute’s CRA filings one sees they claimed to have received $5,576K in grants from three levels of governments. A search of the Federal Governments “Grants and Contribution” site however indicates they handed out $10,450K to Pembina! That is almost double the information filed with the CRA but with the CRA Union suggesting they will go on strike in early April they are unlikely to investigate. The Pembina Institute also were handed $963K in contracts by the Federal Government over the same five years.
The objective of ENGO employees, numbering in the tens of thousands, receiving huge support from taxpayers both via donations they receive (providing tax benefits to contributors) and via the various handouts from Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments is self evident!
Those ENGO employees are concerned events happening around the developed world countries with costs of energy rising to historical levels are creating pushbacks on their views the “net-zero” target may be abandoned. The result is their jobs are in jeopardy so for that reason they continue to push the narrative about climate change and the “Just Transition” objectives. The bulk of those employed by ENGO fail to do proper research but have been hugely successful at manipulating elected politicians in Canada and those appointed to organizations, such as the United Nations, convincing them mankind are in full control of the weather.
We, here in Canada and elsewhere around the world need to continue the pushback or we and our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences! Spending “thehundreds of billions“ proposed by Rick Smith in the Broadbent Institute article is beyond belief with energy poverty spiralling around the world.
The time has come to put an end to the Just Transition!
*ENGO are Environmental Non-Government Organizations
Those IWT in Ontario were in full swing showing off their unreliable and intermittent nature on January 24th and the 25th during the first seven (7) hours (from 12 AM to 7 AM) of each day.
On the 24th over the first seven hours those IWT were humming and IESO forecast they would generate 27,980 MWh which would represent 81.6% of their capacity but IESO scaled back what they actually delivered by curtailing about 2,000 MWh as they were obviously not needed in the middle of the night when nuclear and must-run hydro were pretty well supplying all our needs. The result was our net exports (exports minus imports) over that 7 hours were 22,934 MWh or 88% of what was accepted from those IWT. The average HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) during the 7 hours was $8.13/MWh so their sale generated $186,453. If we logically assume the bulk of them were either all IWT generated power or caused by their excess generation; the cost to us Ontarians was $3.096 million ($430K per hour) for what they generated plus another $240K for what IESO curtailed. Their frequent habit of generating unneeded power with us taxpayers/ratepayers forced to pay them for it at ridiculous prices continues!
Now if we traverse to the first 7 hours on the 25th, IESO forecast they would generate 4,526 MWh (13.2% of capacity) but they actually accepted 3,591 MWh meaning approximately 1,000 MWh were curtailed. The good news: for those 7 hours they kind of acted as they would if they were rammable power (similar to our gas plants and hydro). As a result the average HOEP was $32.16 for the net exports of 9,636 MWh we sold to our neighbours meaning the costs for us Ontario taxpayers was only about $500K for the IWT generated power.
To put the above in perspective the 27,980 MWh those IWT were forecast to supply on the 24th is about equal to the daily average consumption of 930,000 Ontario households whereas the 4,526 MWh forecast on the 25th is only enough to power 150,000 households for one day.
What the foregoing suggests:
1.Without the 11,433 MWh our natural gas generators supplied during those 7 hours on the 25th we may well have experienced a blackout, and
2.Without natural gas supply EV owners would have been unable to charge their batteries meaning they may have been unable to use them to go to work the following day!
Full electrification is a pipedream but based on a letter from Ontario Energy Minister, Todd Smith, our politicians fail to detect the flaws!
Minister Smith’s letter to the OEB dated October 21, 2022, carried the following message: “The government has a vision for the energy system in which Ontario leverages its clean energy grid to promote electrification and job creation while continually enhancing reliability, resiliency and customer choice.“
We should all expect the “vision” will fail in many ways including; electrification, job creation, reliability and resiliency!
PS: No solar generation to report from 1 AM to 7 AM on either day.