Wow! June 2020 Demonstrates Consuming More Electricity Decreases Costs

The IESO recently released their Monthly Market Summary for June 2020 and Ontario’s electricity consumption increased from June 2019 by 3.9% (434,000 MWh) or about what 500,000 average households would consume in a month. The consumption increase was driven by Class B ratepayers who in June 2020 consumed 758,000 MWh (up 10.2%) more than June 2019.

GA for Class A and Class B  ratepayers:     

As a result of the increased consumption, the GA for “B” Class ratepayers year-over-year decreased from $142.11/MWh to $129.14/MWh and the HOEP increased from $4.84/MWh to $11.22/MWh. Class B costs (some costs are partially allocated to taxpayers) dropped from $146.94/MWh to $140.36/MWh whereas Class A consumption dropped (308,000 MWh) but their GA costs increased from $76.67/MWh to $84.89MWh.

Surplus Exports Cost  Less:

The result of increased consumption produced a higher HOEP and that meant we ratepayers and taxpayers lost less money in 2020 exporting our surplus generation than 2019. This past June we exported 181,000 MW less to our neighbours but because the HOEP (market price) was higher we increased our revenue from $8.2 million to $17 million which helped to lower costs even though the 1.5 million MWh we exported were sold, on average, for only $11.22/MWh or 1.1 cents/kWh.

Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT) Generation and costs:

IWT overall (grid and distributor accepted plus curtailed) were basically flat comparing 2019 with 2020 but the curtailed generation was higher in 2019 (138% higher) so we didn’t have to pay for as much wasted power.  Our costs for IWT in June 2020 was about $114.6 million versus a cost of $125.1 million in 2019. Accepted generation for IWT was approximately 17% of their rated capacity in 2020 versus less than 15% in 2019 but in 2020 represented 46% of our export volume ie: it was surplus to our needs!

OEB’s Market Surveillance Panel Monitoring Report  32 

Almost as a coincidence and just a couple of weeks before IESO issued their MMS, the OEB on July 16, 2020 released their 32nd Market Surveillance Report and it has some interesting observations. One that stood out was: “the Panel concludes that much of the long-term investment over the last decade has not been very competitive, imposed unnecessarily high costs on Ontario consumers and removed the transparency of price signals that lead to economic-based decision making.”   One must assume the panel was referencing the McGuinty/Wynne governments creation of the Green Energy Act and the handing out of those lucrative contracts for wind and solar generation to mainly foreign companies at rates well in excess of the market. Most Ontarians believe the GEA was conceived by the Gerald Butts/Ben Chin team as senior advisors and both wound up, coincidently, with the Justin Trudeau led Federal Liberal Party serving in senior staff roles.

Another observation in the OEB report stated: “The Demand Response (DR) Auction also continues to annually procure capacity that is not required to maintain reliability. To date, the IESO has not activated any DR resources in the real-time energy market, although consumers have paid more than $200 million for this capacity.”  Coincidently my friend, Scott Luft of the Cold Air website who monitors IESO’s activities advised me of a tweet saying:  “Last week during Ontario’s heat wave, the IESO declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 1 on multiple days and twice activated [Demand Response (DR)] resources to meet capacity needs.” So the question becomes, did IESO declare an “Alert Level 1” for the first time ever to justify the $200 million cost paid by us ratepayers?  Scott went on in his e-mail to note: “The average cost of DR capacity for this summer was around $59,725 per megawatt, which is roughly 1/10th of the rate the ICI program costs Class B consumers. As a class B consumer, I’ll take the DR – even with the requisite level 1 “Emergency.

Following on that remark from Scott, yet another observation related to the ICI (Industrial Conservation Initiative) is where the Panel stated: “Finally, the Panel reiterates that the current design of the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) program – in combination with a low-price environment and high Global Adjustment (GA) charges – creates an uneconomic and inefficient incentive to reduce demand when there is ample supply and capacity. The Panel remains of the view that only the cost of peak generation should be recovered through peak demand charges, while non-peak costs should be allocated such that all consumers who benefit from that capacity pay for it.”

The Panel’s recent report reiterates what was contained in their 2018 report in respect to the ICI program which I wrote about in a recent article.  It is surprising the current Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Greg Rickford has basically done nothing to recognize and change the ICI program and stop the spending on “conservation” initiatives related to reducing consumption by both ratepayer classes.

As June 2020 results demonstrate, consuming more electricity reduced costs for Class B ratepayers as we may not be forced to either export surplus generation caused by wind and solar or pay to curtail them which simply increases the GA and drives down the HOEP market price!

Marc Patrone Show: Will Trudeau/Butts radical environmental agenda derail over scandal?

Should you want to listen to the podcast of me on the Marc Patrone Show on NEWSTALK SAUGA 960 AM this morning (July 23, 2020) you can find in either on the podcast starting at 30.40 here:

Podcasts

or on the NEWSTALK CANADA website here:

Parker Gallant: Will Trudeau/Butts radical environmental agenda derail over scandal?

 

Ontario is a Bottomless Pit for Class B Ratepayers as the ICI Demonstrates

The Ford Government announced, via a press release, on June 26, 2020 that they were freezing the rates for Class A ratepayers for two years.  That means they will not be required to reduce consumption during peak hours! In Ontario those “peak hours” generally occur during the hot summer months.  Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines stated: “Today’s announcement will allow large industrial employers to focus on getting their operations up and running and employees back to work, instead of adjusting operations in response to peak electricity demand hours.”

The purpose of the freeze had to do with the fact that Ontario’s electricity consumption had fallen due to the pandemic; meaning our surplus capacity was exacerbated driving down the HOEP (market price), causing hydro spillage, wind curtailment, nuclear steam-off and increasing exports of surplus electricity.  All of the foregoing adds to the bill Class B ratepayers and taxpayers would be required to pay for, due to the reprehensible design of the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) by the former government and the GEA which brought us intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation backed-up with gas plants.

Despite the obvious benefit of the freeze at this time for both Class A and Class B ratepayers it proved upsetting to Mark Winfield, a Professor of Environmental Studies at York University.  York is the bastion of many eco-warriors, intent on destroying the economy in their push to rid us of any use of fossil fuels.  Winfield holds a Doctorate in Philosophy which he presumably believes qualifies him as a scientist capable of opining on “climate change” and any events emanating from the Energy Ministry!  It is worth noting Merriam Webster’s first definition of philosophy is: “All learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts” yet Winfield, for some reason, thinks his doctorate includes those “technical precepts”!

Winfield’s article is labelled “Is Canada’s Ontario an “Innovation Wasteland” for Energy? ” and suggests among other claims; the ICI introduction and “peak demand” reduction resulted in the creation of “the leading edge of innovation in electricity systems around the world”.  While it would be relatively easy to debunk the foregoing and other claims in Winfield’s article the fact is; the creation of the Global Adjustment linked to the ICI program drove up Class B electricity rates in Ontario far in excess of inflation and had a negative effect on both residential households and small/medium sized businesses.  The latter is where 60% of private sector jobs reside and a “technical precept” ignored by Winfield! It is ironic he also ignores the fact York University several years ago installed a 5 MW gas fired turbine and a few years later added another 5 MW gas fired turbine aimed at reducing their electricity consumption and its associated costs.

I will not go to the trouble of further debunking Winfield’s article but must confess I was never a fan of the ICI program.  It is far too simple in concept in that you are only required to pick five (5) “peak hours” out of the 8,760 hours in a year and even if you are close, it will result in significant savings compared to other ratepayers.  If you are one of those Class A ratepayers, simply firing up a gas generator allows you to exit the grid or reduce your demand and signal your electricity distributor you are conserving.  The result is a significant decrease in GA costs reducing their electricity bill for the 8760 hours of the following year.  The savings in costs are allocated to Class B ratepayers.

If Winfield had bothered to do some research he might have discovered the December 2018 Market Surveillance Panel’s Report issued by the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) titled: “The industrial Conservation initiative: Evaluating its Impact and Potential Alternative Approaches”.  Some of the “Innovation Wasteland” he may have discovered in the report was the following:

Information on exactly how much on-site generation or storage has been built in response to the ICI is not readily available. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that suggests such investments are being made. In 2017 and 2018, three Class A consumers made a combined 33 applications to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (as it then was) to build a total of 44 MW of natural gas-fired capacity. One of the express purposes for which this new on-site capacity is being built is “peak shaving”, which in turn suggests the purpose is, at least in part, to reduce Global Adjustment costs through participation in the ICI.” At that point Winfield may have understood “natural gas-fired capacity” is fossil fuel based and for decades has been used to generate electricity.

Winfield may also have come across some other “technical precepts” such as: “Ontario currently finds itself in surplus supply conditions, yet the incentive to reduce consumption under the ICI has never been stronger. Perversely, the incentive for Class A consumers to reduce peak demand—by investing in on-site generation capacity or otherwise—is strongest when there is ample supply and wholesale market electricity prices are low.”  What that infers is; the lower the HOEP price the larger the subsidy for Class A ratepayers.

The report also noted: “The Panel estimates that payments to peaking resources make up less than 20% of the costs recovered through the Global Adjustment. The remaining 80% of fixed capacity costs are for non-peaking resources, which Class A consumers use and benefit from during most hours of the year.” To clarify, the benefit for Class A consumers picking those “peak hours” has only a 20% impact in reducing capacity costs but they benefit for the full year penalizing Class B consumers for that other 80% benefit.

Another rather shocking benefit that occurred in 2017 is described in the report as follows: “During the five peak demand hours in 2017, five directly-connected Class A consumers consumed no electricity, meaning they pay no Global Adjustment during the following 12-month period.”  In 2017 the HOEP was 1.58 cents/kWh meaning those five Class A consumers paid that price for their consumption throughout 2018 whereas all Class B consumers paid 11.55 cents/kWh (HOEP of 1.58 cents/kWh + the GA of 9.97 cents/kWh = 11.55 cents/kWh) or 7.3 times more per kilowatt hour!  A clear demonstration there is something inherently wrong with the design of the ICI.

The panel report discloses some history since the advent of the ICI came into force in September 2011 when Brad Duguid was the Ontario Minister of Energy and it brings reality to how much Class B consumers have paid to subsidize Class A consumers.  “In 2011, approximately $300 million in Global Adjustment costs were shifted from Class A to Class B consumers as a result of participation in the ICI, representing approximately 3.5% of the total electricity supply costs for Class B consumers that year. In 2017, the costs shifted had increased to $1.2 billion, representing approximately 10% of the total electricity supply costs for Class B consumers. Since 2011, participation in the ICI has shifted a total of $4.91 billion in Global Adjustment costs from Class A to Class B consumers.”

What the foregoing demonstrates is the ICI is poorly designed and should be scrapped. Minister Rickford should ensure the replacement plan treats all ratepayers fairly. It might also be time to Defund the Environmental Studies Program at York University as they have trouble with actual facts related to Ontario’s electricity sector!

Discussion with Marc Patrone on 960 AM about what the Ford Government might do to start to fix the “electricity” mess

Marc Patrone of NEWSTALK Sauga 960 AM had me on his show this morning to discuss the Ontario electricity sector.   You can hear our chat on the July 14th podcast starting at minute 29 through to minute 39:

Podcasts

It is also available on NEWSTALK CANADA here if you subscribe:

Parker Gallant: How will Ford gov’t deal with green energy scam

 

No “high fives” for Industrial Wind Turbines

Since late June, Ontario has experienced almost two weeks of very hot humid weather resulting in increased electricity demand as air conditioners throughout most of the province became almost a necessity. As a result, IESO’s “Peak Tracker” of high demand hours for the current year as of the morning of July 10th consisted entirely of 10 hours beginning June 29, 2020 with the latest happening at “hour 17” on July 9th. The latter was the highest, so far, in the current year.

Picking the “high five” peak hours plays an important role for Ontario’s largest industrial clients referenced as Class A ratepayers. If they successfully pick the hours and reduce their consumption during that hour they are rewarded with lower rates. Those lower rates have benefited the Class A ratepayers for many years as they avoid paying a portion of the Global Adjustment (GA). The Class B ratepayers have been obligated to pay for that portion of the GA which in turn raises their rates.  The principal reason industrial ratepayers lobbied for lower rates was due to the above market contracts signed with wind and solar companies by the McGuinty/Wynne led government.  In turn the “B” to “A” subsidy is affected by the amount of generation coming from the power produced by those expensive wind and solar contracts as it drives up the GA pot by hundreds of millions of dollars every month.

So a question arising about the recent 10 high demand hours IESO recorded is, how much power did those IWT (industrial wind turbines) generate to alleviate demand on the grid during those hours?

The total Ontario demand over the 10 hours was 224,826 MWh and in those 10 hours wind produced 4,329 MWh or 1.9%!   What that meant is IWT generation was what one would call a “rounding error”.  When demand is high IWT have this bad habit of being absent and in those 10 hours they demonstrated their failure.  The 4,800 MW of IWT produced power at only 9% of their capacity.  Thankfully nuclear, hydro and gas were available and generated the bulk of our demand.  In several of those hours we also depended on imported power from Quebec paying as much as $203.46/MWh on July 9, 2020.

The current # 1 peak hour occurred July 9th ending on hour 17 when Ontario demand reached 24,446 MW.  Nuclear (10,375 MWh) hydro (5,753 MWh) and gas (6,688 MWh) contributed the bulk of the power with wind producing only 389 MWh or 1.6% % of that hour’s demand.  Grid connected solar contributed 217 MWh and the balance was provided by imports (principally from Quebec).

What the foregoing clearly demonstrates is IWT fail to deliver power when needed.  It is a financial burden on all Ontario ratepayers and requires gas generators to be constantly at the ready as their backup, doubling up on the costs!

The Ford led Ontario government needs to deal with the fact that IWT fail to perform when needed and deliver excess power when it’s not needed which IESO then sell for pennies of their cost.

Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines should work to cancel those lucrative contracts and/or penalize them for their failure to perform during those “high five” hours and for the many times they produce unneeded power.

Rants about Ontario’s electricity system

Canada Day came and went without parades or fireworks to celebrate the 153rd year of Canada’s birth as the Covid-19 pandemic lock-down kept many of us confined to small social bubbles.  The exceptions were those who chose to defy regulations and participated in anti-racism protests, both indigenous and anti-black ones across the country.  To most it seemed a strange way to celebrate our country’s successes. At least the weather was sunny and very warm in Ontario on July 1st!

Industrial Wind Turbines on Canada Day In Ontario

As is often the custom in Ontario on hot humid summer days, most of the IWT (industrial wind turbines) took the day off so the 4,800 MW of capacity they have was virtually silent.  Had they operated at 100% of capacity they would have delivered 115,000 MWh but instead they only managed to puff out 7,440 MWh and had 400 MWh curtailed (at 11 PM) meaning they operated at a level of capacity of 6.8% including the curtailed MWh.  As the morning broke at hour 9 AM they generated 8 MWh or 0.017% of capacity.  Fortunately, we didn’t need their power as nuclear, hydro and gas easily supplied our needs throughout the day even though total market demand reached 22,641 MWh and Ontario demand peaked at 19,342 MWh or 402,000 MWh for the full day.  Our net exports were north of 45,000 MWh which earned us ratepayers only about $750,000 while costing us close to $7 million.

Hydro One’s 1st Quarter Distribution Results raises unanswered questions

Hydro One announced their 1st Quarter 2020 results on May 8, 2020 and they were pretty unexciting with adjusted earnings of .38 cents per share compared to .52 cents in the comparable 2019 quarter. Examining this further; revenue related to Hydro One’s distribution customers increased $118 million (+ 8.9%) but they reported a decline of $82 million (- 16%), net of purchased power.  The latter reputedly climbed from a cost of $807 million in 2019 to $1,007 million in 2020 or $200 million (+ 24.8%).  Now the odd thing one notes is consumption fell by 254,000 MWh* or 3.3% yet costs increased meaning the average cost per MWh shot up $29.31/MWh from $104.29/MWh to $134.60/MWh or 28.1% and well above the increase reported by IESO!  Interestingly if one looks at Note “23. Related Party Transactions” it states in one line; “Amounts related to electricity rebates” which for 2020 totaled $433 million and in 2019 was $138 million for an increase of $295 million. That suggests in just one quarter (compared to the 2019 quarter) the Ford led government raised the taxpayer support to reduce electricity prices year over year by 213.8% if Hydro One is atypical of all distribution companies.  The foregoing is scary for taxpayers and due to the inferred net revenue decline for Hydro One it possibly signals they will apply for a rate increase which will hit ratepayers.  Additionally, it also raises the question; where did the $295 million extra received for those “electricity rebates” go as it should have kept the cost of purchased power lower than Hydro One claim?

IESO’s limited transparency

On a monthly basis the IESO, responsible for managing the Ontario electricity grid, put out data disclosing Class A and Class B Global Adjustment (GA) rates along with consumption by each Class. IESO also provide what they label as a Monthly Market Summary (MMS) and in it you will find consumption, the HOEP (market price) rate for the month and the Class B, GA. They also provide other data covering exports and imports, market demand, lots of charts showing unavailable capacity, operating reserve prices, etc. etc. and even temperature data.  The big difference in the two reports is in respect to “consumption”, ie “market demand” as for some reason the MMS fails to include DX (distributor connected) generation which are the myriad of smaller solar capacity contracts (2,200 MW), wind generation contracts (600 MW), biofuel, etc. etc. IESO is responsible for settling with the LDC (local distribution companies) for the generation for each of the contracts. Those details are presumably provided by the LDC where those contracts reside.  What that tells us is; if IESO was truly transparent they would include the monthly generation created by those DX connected generators so those of us watching the system wouldn’t have to either make assumptions or wait until IESO publish their Year-End Data.

Wind is wimpy during peak demand hours

So far in 2020 five of the top ten peak hours have occurred in the first week of July and collectively IWT contributed 0.9% of their overall capacity during those five hours and only 1,9% of total demand.  What that implies is IWT without 99.9% back-up from reliable generation sources would leave us all sweating in the dark without air conditioning!

Hydro makes wind and solar look expensive and pretty useless

My friend Scott Luft recently posted an excellent chart on his Facebook page showing: generation by source, costs and curtailment for the first six months of each year starting with 2008.  Looking only at the 2020 data by itself is an interesting exercise in that hydro contributed 19,396 GWh (gigawatt hours), wind 7,140 GWh and solar 2,037 GWh.  It is worth noting hydro provided Ontario’s electricity system with 111.4% more power than both wind and solar combined and the average cost of hydro’s power was $59.24/MWh whereas the average cost of wind and solar was $213.69/MWh or 360% more costly. The total cost of the combined wind and solar generation was $1.961 billion versus $1.149 billion for hydro.  If one goes further Scott notes exports were 11,598 GWh so the combined generation of wind and solar represents 79.1% of those exports.  Those exports generated revenue of $17.87/MWh and if all the wind and solar (9,177 GWh) were a part of those exports the net costs to Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers would be approximately $1.8 billion (wind and solar related only) and that is just for the first six months of 2020.

With that cost of $1.8 billion highlighted in the foregoing paragraph I personally hope those of you who read this will forgive my rants and start ranting with me and the others who do the same!

Time for Premier Ford to fix this mess if he wants our economy to recover!

*What 102,000 average households would use over 3 months.

Ford gov’t needs to do more to clean up Liberal’s energy mess

The subject today (June 29, 2020) when I was on the Marc Patrone show on NEWSTALK 960 AM is the captioned.

It’s on the podcast at 53 minutes and is about 12 minutes long.  Find it  here:
and on the blog here:

No More “Carrot and Stick” requirements for Class A Ontario Ratepayers

Recently, Steven Del Duca, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) was interviewed on NewsTalk 960 AM by Marc Patrone. While the interview dealt principally with the Covid-19 pandemic at long term care homes, near the end, Marc asked a few questions related to the “electricity” sector which resulted in Del Duca’s berating the Ford government for cancelling some renewable energy contracts at a reputed cost of $200 million.  When Marc then asked about the “gas plant moves” Del Duca’s response was to start dancing and he seemed unable to justify the money wasted when the Liberals held power saying; “it’s complicated, it’s complex”!

The ratepayers and taxpayers of Ontario are certainly aware of the complications and complexities of the electricity bills they receive and most blame the OLP for that.  They were the ruling party who created the GEA in 2009 granting expensive 20-year contracts to wind and solar companies (mainly foreign) that drove up electricity prices. Those contracts negatively affected the ability of large, medium and small companies in the province, resulting in veiled threats from large multinational companies saying they would be forced to leave the province due to the cost of electricity.  Those large corporations via the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario (AMPCO) commenced lobbying the McGuinty led government as soon as they saw electricity prices start their climb.

AMPCO were successful as Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy on March 4, 2010 instructed the Ontario Power Authority “to undertake the responsibility for creating and delivering an industrial energy efficiency program (the “Program”) with the objective of achieving cost-effective conservation through industrial process improvements that bring energy efficiency gains.”  Needless to say, the OPA did as told and created the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) allowing large industrial users to reduce their demand by picking five (5) peak hours over the year in order to be granted a reduction in the Global Adjustment by reducing demand during those five hours.  The ICI took effect in September 2011 for the benefit of the AMPCO members who were then classified as Class A ratepayers with the rest us now referenced as Class B.  Minister Duguid’s letter to the OPA indicated up to $660 million could be handed out as “incentive funding to Participating Consumers. Incentives shall be sufficient to generate attractive rates of investment return for Participating Consumers in projects that meet the objective of achieving cost effective conservation.”  Many used those funds to invest in load displacement generation (eg: gas generators) so they could continue to operate during peak hours.

As recently noted by my friend Scott Luft, since the ICI inception in late 2011 through to the end of 2019 the cost to Class B ratepayers was approximately $1.4 billion (average of about $170 million per annum) paid to reduce the GA for those large industrial ratepayers as his recent chart shows.

Running the Class B to Class A transfer for 2019 shows the GA for Class B ratepayers was $108/MWh whereas for Class A ratepayers it was $49.63/MWh making the overall cost to Class B ratepayers just over $200 million for the 40 TWh (terawatt hours) Class A ratepayers consumed. It is worth noting the lower the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) market price is during a month, the higher the B to A subsidy becomes.

The reduced consumption we are experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic lock-down has exacerbated the province’s surplus generation causing us to not only export more but also to curtail more wind, spill more hydro and steam-off more nuclear.  One would expect the added surplus would reduce the HOEP as it does when consumption falls and therefore benefits Class A ratepayers.

Undisclosed Class A Stable Electricity Pricing

Recognizing the foregoing Class B to Class A subsidy it came as a complete shock to note a press release was issued at 3.30 PM, Friday June 26,2020 by the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Greg Rickford, announcing the province would provide “Stable Electricity Pricing for Industrial and Commercial Companies”!   The reason for this unexpected late Friday announcement appears to be a concern that peak hours occur during the summer and the Ministry suggests “these large employers can focus on getting their operations back up and running at full tilt.” Instead of “adjusting operations in response to peak electricity demand hours.

What is disturbing about the press release is that it doesn’t disclose what the rate freeze has been set at nor does it disclose the estimated cost and who will bear it!

Will the cost of the freeze be layered onto all of the residential and small/medium sized ratepayers or will it be the taxpayers picking up the costs? Did AMPCO successfully lobby for this rate freeze and abolition of the requirement to increase their members conservation efforts?

While most Ontarians recognize the electricity portfolio is indeed both “complicated” and “complex” this action by the Ministry only adds to it!

Time for the Ford led government to fix the mess in this Ministry and not give the Liberals further ammunition to suggest; “it’s complicated, it’s complex”!

Another Weekend Proves Wind and Solar Drive up Electricity Costs

A post a month ago focused on the $50 million excess cost of renewable energy (wind and solar) on the Victoria Day weekend. Now with summer finally arriving and warmer temperatures, it is perhaps worth comparing the past weekend to that one by examining the performance of wind and solar and its costs.

The inevitable happens in Ontario as demand for electricity during Ontario’s mild spring and fall seasons drops from both winter and summer demand.  As noted in the earlier article average Ontario demand over the three days of the Victoria weekend was only 294,668 MWh whereas over the past weekend (including Friday June 19th) average demand was 401,336 MWh an increase of 36.2%. Demand obviously increases as warmer weather arrives and air conditioners are turned on.  This has been augmented by government and other employees working from home due to the lock-down associated with Covid-19.

The Victoria Day weekend saw wind delivering almost 133,000 MWh (plus 59,100 MWh curtailed) and solar 36,000 MWh causing net exports to soar to 264,000 MWh principally due to their excess generation.

This past weekend net exports were 84,500 MWh as wind produced only 29,500 MWh (9.1% of capacity) and solar 58,200 MWh (31% of capacity).  Increased demand coupled with the drop in wind and solar (combined) generation not only caused our net exports to fall but also resulted in the HOEP (market price) increasing from $1.16/MWh to $17.34/MWh.   What the latter means; we recovered $1.5 million more of our costs despite exporting much less (179,500 MWh less) this past weekend demonstrating wind’s habit of generating power when it’s not needed.

Ontario’s peak demand hour during this recent weekend appears to have occurred June 20th at hour 18 when it reached 19,997 MWh.  During that hour wind generated 226 MWh and solar 124 MWh or 1.7% of demand demonstrating their inability to deliver power when needed.  Needless to say; nuclear, hydro and gas delivered what we needed!

So, the inevitable question is; did increased consumption drive up our average costs as one would expect?  One would assume it would because the average price paid for solar is $448/MWh so the 58,200 MWh delivered cost Ontario ratepayers approximately $26 million and the 29,500 MWh of wind ($135/MWh) added $4 million. That brings the two generation source’s costs to $30 million over the three days and allowing for the recovery of the $1.5 million for their sale means a net cost of $28.5* million or $21.5 million less than the Victoria Day weekend. The foregoing occurred even though consumption was up 36%. Despite the reduction in costs for the recent weekend it still amounts to $9.5 million per day and extrapolated over a year would amount to $3.5 billion which coincidentally is close to what wind and solar’s costs were in 2019 as outlined in a recent post.

The conclusion:

Using more power costs less, when wind and solar generation falls!  That implies wind and solar** should be completely eliminated due to their intermittent and unreliable generation.

*The 87,700 MWh delivered by wind and solar collectively cost ratepayers 324.97/MWh or 32.5cents/kWh.

** They may work for off-grid locations subject to storage availability.

How best to shut down the Canadian Economy? It’s Complicated!

On June 7, 2020 the Globe and Mail published an article by Adam Radwanski criticizing an earlier piece by Christopher Ragan and Andrew Potter of McGill University. The McGill team advocated the “green recovery” plan as an “excellent opportunity to substantially increase the federal carbon tax”–“rather than trying to pick climate-change winners through government spending”. Ragan, founder of the Ecofiscal Commission, and a strong advocate for the carbon tax, has suggested it would have to increase to $210/tonne to be effective in the reduction of emissions to contain global warming.

Radwanski’s article shows he isn’t a huge fan of the carbon tax. In his words: “it’s hard to imagine any government deciding to immediately “double or triple” a carbon price in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” Anyone with a small amount of common sense would support his view! Raising taxes as we try to emerge from a chronic financial crisis and record unemployment rates does seem a bad plan. As Radwanski notes, the government would need to impose “huge costs on businesses”. This would likely result in many businesses either failing or moving to friendly jurisdictions like the US that have pulled out of the Paris Accord and where only a few states impose carbon taxes.

Radwanski’s article then undertakes a review of other options for intervention – and subsidization. These are just the sorts of things the Eco-Fiscal Commission argued against. He speaks favourably about government subsidizing building retrofits and electric vehicle purchases which he says are: “two of the most obvious potential stimulus measures”. He goes on to say the public won’t buy EVs “if there isn’t enough charging infrastructure” implying the need for government support there too. He notes that transit systems can’t afford to buy electric buses due to ridership drops and opines how the Feds could help finance their purchases. He also expresses concern and the need “to accelerate the end of coalfired power” and avoid “a looming ramp-up of gas-fired energy generation in Ontario.” Interestingly, he avoids mentioning the fact that the very same “gas-fired energy generation” in Ontario is required to back up the McGuinty/Wynne contracted intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation that drove up energy costs.

Radwanski’s conclusion? The shift – by which he seems to mean to a green future – is going to require more than one policy tool. One assumes he means some combination of carbon taxes and various interventions that pick favourites with government subsidies.

And that’s where Mr Gerald Butts and Mr Bruce Lourie enter the conversation.

The former, in his tweet of June 9th said: “Strong piece by @aradwanski just set the global standard for a clean recovery”! Hours later Bruce Lourie’s response was simply: “It’s complicated”!

Well there you go. Two leading architects of the last two decades of interventionist and expensive government action on energy in Ontario and Canada applaud a piece saying, in sum, that we need more, not less, taxation and intervention going forward.

The Green Energy Act – where both Butts and Lourie had a hand – resulted in Ontario having some of the highest electricity prices in North America. But there is no talk of that here. There is no talk of how all those programmes and policies they thought up have hurt affordability, and with it our competitiveness. No, all we get is the statement that Radwanski’s call for more initiatives is setting a “global standard” and the very helpful comment that “it’s complicated.” Lourie and Butts are greenwashing Canada’s taxpayers and seem hell-bent on further destroying the Canadian economy –their new “Resilient Recovery” initiative is a case in point.

What none of these people -= Ragan, Potter, Butts, Lourie or Radwanski ever talk about is the fact that the Canadian consumer is being hit again and again with more and more costs. When will this end? Only when someone steps forward and says stop – pull out of the Paris Accord, abandon ridiculous targets that hurt Canadians, and get on with allowing Canadians to get on with trying to recover from these messes. It isn’t that complicated!

NB:  Also published on Canadians for Affordable Energy.