Net-Zero Looking like a No-Go by 2050 PART 1

The past several days has made it look like there isn’t “a hope in heaven or hell” to meet the commitments to reach net-zero by 2050. The promises made at COP-26 will be not be met, unless mankind is back living in caves by that date!  The following highlights several happenings impacting the impossible dreams of our elected leaders. Here are a just few that will also make eco-warriors upset!

Creaky U.S. power grid threaten progress on renewables, EVs

The captioned was labelled as a Reuters Special Report posted several days ago suggesting grid failures are becoming a big problem in the U.S. and caused by “climate change” bringing nasty things like; wildfires in California, hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, Midwest heat waves and a Texas deep freeze.  The author goes so far as to claim; “the seven regional gid operators in the United States are underestimating the growing threat of severe weather caused by climate change” claiming he checked data going back to the 1970s! Had he bothered to go back a little further he may have found heat waves, hurricanes, wildfires and deep freezes are not a new phenomenon that has only occurred during the past 50 years.  He did rightly note the “inherent unreliability” of wind and solar “exacerbates the network challenges” and requires grid expansion to get their generation to where they are needed!  The article goes on to cite the increasing demand for electricity that will be caused by all those EV (electric vehicles) charging their batteries but that means a huge increase in spending on the grid!  He cites John Kerry, U.S. Special Envoy who stated: “We can send a rover to Mars, but we can’t send an electron to California from New York.” My guess is if Kerry had investigated, he would find out New York has no spare electrons to send anywhere and moving that “electron” across the county would cost more than sending that rover to Mars!

A summer of Blackouts

Another recent article related to the U.S. in the City Journal (CJ) co-authored by the editor and a “Fellow” at the Manhattan Institute took a different tact. The article noted “rolling blackouts” will be caused by; “the closure of some coal and nuclear plants, and the unreliability of renewables like wind and solar”.  The article further states “the unreliability of renewables like wind and solar” reduced energy surpluses. The article goes on stating; “That’s left some places with little margin for error during peak usage times in mid-summer—potentially prompting the kind of blackouts California saw last year. The warnings have spurred calls to slow down climate-change-driven efforts to retire nuclear and fossil-fuel generating plants.“ The authors of this article make a more logical argument than the Reuters article as it cites immediate problems presumably inferring building transmission systems to carry an electron from NY to California is not the answer noting: “the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which coordinates and oversees the power grid for 15 midwestern and southern states serving more than 40 million people, has noted that the closing of plants representing significant sources of energy had accelerated a shortfall in power reserves, potentially with dire consequences.”  The article goes on to note upcoming problems in several of those midwestern states including Illinois, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, all of whom, forecast power shortfalls and corresponding blackouts during peak demand hours principally due to plant closures and intermittent unreliable wind and solar.  The article also mentions the drought in California which will reduce hydro generation and suggest that, in itself, may well cause blackouts similar to those experienced last year.

Bundesbank warns Russian gas embargo would cost Germany 5 per cent in lost output

The Russian Ukraine war has exacerbated the global efforts to meet those COP-26 targets as the European Union has moved to stop purchasing Russian oil, natural gas and coal. Germany could see one of the largest impacts as they had become overly dependent on the supply of those fuels from Russia. Recently Bundesbank (Germany’s central bank) warned the embargo could knock 5% (US$195 billion) off of Germany’s GDP effectively creating a recession.  At the same time Germany has reactivated many of their old coal plants to ensure electricity supply certainty.  The latter will not ensure they avoid the falling GDP forecast from Bundesbank nor will it help Germany and the EU reach their “net-zero” emission targets as they will be replacing gas fired plants with coal which is much more emissions intensive. It should also be remembered by all, that Germany had not only closed their coal fired electricity plants but had also phased out their nuclear plants in favour of intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation.

Kwarteng to classify natural gas as ‘green’ investment to support North Sea

Kwasi Kwarteng is the UK’s Business Secretary under Prime Minister Boris Johnson. One month ago he was quoted stating: “Net zero is the solution to the global gas crisis, not the cause. Expensive gas is the problem – cheap, clean, homegrown energy is the solution,”! The quote was from a speech he delivered at the Harvard Kennedy School.  Kwarteng is now planning on classifying “natural gas” as green and drilling for it in the North Sea as “environmentally sustainable”.  Pretty sure the “eco-warriors” around the world must be very upset about declaring “natural gas” as green and drilling for more is “environmentally sustainable”!

Not to worry about the above though, as right here in Ontario the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) got a much different message recently.  The OCAA paid close attention to a recent debate amongst the leaders of four (New Blue Ontario Party and the Ontario Party were excluded) of the Provincial Parties invited to debate and the OCAA were delighted when they heard Doug Ford declare he “will not be happy until Ontario achieves a 100%  zero-carbon electricity grid”!  We should be pretty sure the Liberals, NDP and Green Party Leaders are fully on-board with Ford’s “happy” target!

What the foregoing suggests is that it doesn’t matter which side of the ocean you live on; politicians haven’t got a clue as to what the truth is!  Their preferences are driven by what they perceive voters’ favour and apparently, they haven’t a clue if “climate change” aka “global warming” is fact or fiction or what mankind’s influence on the climate actually is.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series!

Ontario Teacher Pension Plan Using our Tax Dollars to Create “Green” Jobs in Other Countries

The OTPP Board of Directors just announced they are investing $1 billion dollars of Ontario taxpayers’ contributions to their pension plan but it will be in other countries. They claim it’s a good thing as it will help them achieve “net-zero emissions” presumably by creating jobs elsewhere! We should not it’s not the first time they have done that! 

Earlier investments have gone to Cubico Sustainable Investments, with their headquarters in London, England.  Cubico has offices in ten (10) countries but Canada is not one of them and their portfolio includes onshore wind, solar, transmission and distribution assets.  OTPP have invested in Anbaric Development Partners who are involved in transmission and storage projects in the U.S.A.  They are also invested in NextEra Energy (U.S.$864 million invested) another US company.  NextEra took advantage of Ontario’s Green Energy Act to build several intermittent and unreliably IWT (industrial wind turbines) and solar projects in Ontario and then sold them off to none other than the CPPIB (Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board).

The latest announcement relates to OTPP’s US$1 billion investment in Corio Generationof Australia who actively pursue offshore wind contracts and the article in the Financial Post noted:  “The joint venture will fund the development of 14 fixed-bottom and floating projects in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Ireland and the United Kingdom, all of which are currently in development by Corio with an initial target of up to nine gigawatts.”  Once again, the OTPP is investing in other countries to create jobs.

In 2020-2021, there were 130,923.28 full time equivalent (FTE) teachers, according to the Ontario Ministry of Education and 2,025,258 students which on average is 15.46 students per teacher.  The 2021 OTPP report noted: “We deliver retirement security to 333,000 working members and pensioners.”  The average pension benefit per retired teacher was $36K; based on the 2021 OTPP report noting $6.909 billion was the amount delivered for “pension benefits! On another note, the Ontario Ministry of Education’s annual budget for 2021-2022 year was $33 billion which works out to $250K per “full time equivalent” teacher for just that year.

Based on the above information we taxpayers are doing a fine job of ensuring public school teachers are; not overworked, well paid and secure in the pension benefits they will receive when they retire! 

So, the question becomes why is their Pension Plan so determined to create jobs in other countries instead of Ontario and Canada whose private sector taxpayers pick up all the costs associated with their employment and retirement benefits?

The investments they continue to make suggest it is apparent the Board of the OTPP have fully endorsed “net-zero” and all of the false promises our PM Justin Trudeau made at the COP-26 Conference related to job creation. 

No doubt us taxpayers should assume if those OTPP investments don’t work out the teachers using our contributions to create those “net-zero” jobs (everywhere but Canada) will come cap-in-hand to the Ontario Ministry of Education seeking more of our tax dollars to ensure they are able to retire in comfort. 

Ontario’s Industrial Wind Turbines Fall Flat When Actually Needed

According to IESO data, Hour 19 on May 14th was Ontario’s peak demand hour reaching a high of 17,758 MW and once again those IWT were missing.  At that hour they generated a miserly 335 MW or 1.8% of demand while representing almost 16% of total capacity.  It should be noted they also have “first-to-the-grid” rights meaning they rank ahead of all other generation due to their contracts with the province.  

At hour one (hour ending at 1 AM) when demand is amongst the lowest in any day and declining, those IWT were generating 1751 MW or almost 39% of their capacity with demand under 13,000 MW ie: less than the combined capacity (14,814 MW)  of nuclear (even without the 3,144 MW of Bruce shut for their planned Vacuum Building Outage) and hydro . 

Generating excess power when unneeded always reflects itself by causing the market price ie; the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) to be low when IESO sell it off to our neighbours in Michigan, NY and Quebec. At hour one the HOEP averaged $13.31/MWh (1.3 cents/kWh) whereas at hour 19 it averaged $78.66/MWh. The foregoing is a reflection of how IWT generation’s intermittent and unreliable nature has caused the price of electricity in Ontario and around the world to increase to unaffordable levels.

It is worth noting at Hour 1 Ontario’s natural gas plants were generating 127 MW and in Hour 19 generated 3,477 MW disclosing their reliability.

The facts emphasized above should be ones the OCAA should disclose to the 32 municipalities throughout the province who have told the Ontario Ministry of Energy to shut down all gas plants by 2030. The OCAA has also pushed for the closure of all our nuclear plants suggesting Quebec would supply us with cheap hydro. That claim is an illusion by the OCAA as Quebec doesn’t have the power, we would need to replace what nuclear and gas provide! 

We Ontarians and those inept municipal politicians should be thankful we have those natural gas and nuclear plants or we all would experience continuing backouts!

Pretty sure we all appreciate; lights on to lights off!

Bruce Power took their Four “A” Units offline and no one Noticed

The OCAA (Ontario Clear Air Alliance) has been pushing the closure of Ontario’s nuclear plants for years in addition to their more recent effort to gain municipal support for the closure of our gas plants.  They continually suggest the closure of both will not cause problems as we will get all the power those units now produce from Quebec’s excess hydro which is an outright lie. Quebec is a winter peaking province and pushes their residential and businesses to conserve power during that season.  No doubt the OCAA will renew the claim with Bruce taking all four of their “A Units (3,144 MW capacity) offline as part of the requirement to do its Vacuum Building Outage. That will allow OCAA to suggest they weren’t missed! 

The VBO is a regulation as noted in the Bruce press release: “All four operating units must be shut down once every 12 years to allow for inspections and maintenance to the vacuum building.”  The units will come back on line before “summer peaking season” to ensure Ontario has the electricity supply needed.

What is interesting about the units being taken offline is to look at Hour 18 (hour ending at 6 PM) on May 12th!  That time reflects the “peak demand” hour for the day with it reaching 17,179 MW for a five-minute segment.  At that hour nuclear generated 6,758 MW, hydro 6,176 MW and natural gas plants 3,666 MW.  From the three renewables IESO report; solar contributed 97 MW, biomass 50 MW and those IWT (industrial wind turbines) 866 MW so collectively they provided 5.9% of peak hour needs.

Now try to imagine the blackouts we would experience without nuclear and gas or what Quebec might have provided to replace the 57% of generation those two sources did!

As a matter of interest, the IESO “Intertie report” disclosed Ontario even exported 1,408 MW to Michigan and imported 500 MW from New York.  Quebec supplied 115 MW (less than solar and biomass combined at that hour)!  Those imports and exports traded at an average rate of $81.06/MWh which is much closer to their actual cost than when the wind is blowing hard during low demand hours and days driving down the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price)!

So, Mr. Gibbons, Chair of the OCAA, the “cheap and abundant” hydro you told us Quebec would supply if we shut down our nuclear and gas generation never appeared at Hour 18 so what makes you believe we would be able to do without Ontario’s nuclear and gas generation?  You seem intent at wanting to cause widespread blackouts throughout Ontario!

The time has arrived for the OCAA and its supporters to back off from their spurious claims!

Ontario’s Industrial Wind Turbines dig Deep into Ratepayer’s & Taxpayer’s Pockets

May 7th was a typical Spring Day in Ontario with a relatively mild but windy day and we should be pretty sure IWT (industrial wind turbines) owners loved it!

Ontario’s “peak demand” occurred at hour 20 (ending at 8 PM) reaching only 14,439 MW (megawatts) and that demand could have easily been supplied by nuclear and hydro which at hour 21 generated 14,353 MW.

Over the day the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) accepted 26,259 MW of wind generation and curtailed about 36,200 MW meaning the almost 4800 MW capacity of IWT could have delivered around 62,300 MW (54% of capacity).  Coincidentally the foregoing accepted and curtailed IWT generation was only slightly more than was sold off to export markets with about 34,500 MW to Michigan and the bulk of the remainder to NY and Quebec.

The buyers of that surplus generation got a great bargain as the average HOEP for the day was 0.50 cents/MWh meaning the total revenue generated from the sale of the 62,300 MW was a miserly $31K! The buyers know when the wind turbines are spinning and when to buy our very cheap surplus and unneeded power!

To put the foregoing in perspective let’s look at what it cost the Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers. What Michigan, NY and Quebec paid and what we received was rather shocking. Under the terms of those IWT contracts we pay IWT generators $135/MWh for accepted generation and $120/MWh for curtailed generation!  Effectively that means they received about $7,877,000 for the accepted and curtailed generation or $299.97/MWh yesterday for grid accepted generation which is 0.30 cents/KWh (kilowatt hour)!  So, we were billed the foregoing for unneeded IWT generation and the principal buyer of the surplus was Michigan who are dependent on fossil fuels for about 70% of their generation! So nice of us to help them out when their Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is actively trying to shut down Line 5 which provides us Ontarians and Quebecers with propane and other fossil fuels!

If IESO disclosed hydro spillage and the cost of idling gas generators (required to back up the unreliability of IWT and solar panel generation) rest assured the cost of the generation for May 7th would be even higher than the cost noted in the above paragraph!  

It sure would be nice if the buyers of our surplus generation at those bargain basement prices rewarded us with “Clean Energy Credits” (CEC) so we could recover a little bit of the costs. We should assume seeking CEC for subsidization of sales of Ontario’s clean surplus power to our neighbours would entail our politicians doing some serious negotiations to help stop the impact on our continually climbing energy costs.

We shouldn’t count on the foregoing to happen with the present government in Ontario or the other two main parties running in opposition to them!

Four Years Later and I Repeat: “If I were Ontario’s new Minister of Energy …”

Back on May 30, 2018 an article I penned, just prior to the last provincial election, listed ways in which the incoming ruling party could reduce electricity costs by $2 billion annually.  Electricity costs had more than doubled in Ontario under the reign of the McGuinty/Wynne led Liberals due to their enactment of the GEA (Green Energy Act) when George Smitherman was the Minister of Energy.

Ontario’s voters were expected to respond when casting their vote in early June 2018 and they did!  The ruling OLP (Ontario Liberal Party) were decimated turning them into what many referred to as the “mini-van party”.

My prior advocacy work had focused on the “electricity sector” and the cost of wind and solar generation. My efforts included frequent dialogue with the Conservative appointed “energy critics” so, at that time, I and many Ontario ratepayers in rural and urban communities had hopes the Doug Ford led Ontario Conservative Party would deal with the mess the Liberals had created. Potentially the savings would have amounted to around $8 billion over the past four years.

The Ford led government based on a recent report from the Ontario Financial Accountability Office seems to have simply transferred $6.9 billion in electricity costs for the 2021-2022 year and $118 billion to taxpayers over 20 years, even though taxpayers are also ratepayers!  In quickly reviewing recently released platforms for the OLP, the NDP and the recent OPCP budget it sure appears they all have plans aimed at “global warming” and want to spend billions continuing the push to jump on board with “The Great Reset” advocated by the WEF and our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

The only dissenting voice amongst the political parties seems to be the newly formed “New Blue Party” whose “BLUEPRINT” states they will take “down wind turbines to reduce electricity costs”!

Following are the recommendations put forward in the article four years ago and I will leave it to the reader to pontificate as to whether or not, any of them were acted on!

“Green Energy Act

Immediately start work on cancelling the Green Energy Act

Conservation

Knowing Ontario has a large surplus of generation we export for 10/15 per cent of its cost I would immediately cancel planned conservation spending. This would save ratepayers over $433 million annually

Wind and solar contracts

I would immediately cancel any contracts that are outstanding but haven’t been started but may be in the process of a challenge via either the ERT (environmental review tribunal) or the court system. This would save ratepayers an estimated $200 million annually

Wind turbine noise and environmental non-compliance

Work with the MOECC Minister to insure they effect compliance by industrial wind developers both for exceeding noise level standards and operations during bird and bat migration periods.  Failure to comply would elicit large fines. This would save ratepayers an estimated $200/400 million annually

Change the “baseload” designation of generation for wind and solar developments

Both wind and solar generation is unreliable and intermittent, dependent on weather, and as such should not be granted “first to the grid rights”.  They are backed up by gas or hydro generation with both paid, for either spilling water or idling when the wind blows or the sun shines.  The cost is phenomenal.  As an example, wind turbines annually generate at approximately 30 per cent of rated capacity but 65 per cent of the time its generation is at the wrong time and not needed. The estimated annual ratepayer savings if wind generation was replaced by hydro would be $400 million and if replaced by gas in excess of $600 million

Charge a fee (tax) for out of phase/need generation for wind and solar

Should the foregoing “baseload” re-designation be impossible based on legal issues I would direct the IESO to institute a fee that would apply to wind and solar generation delivered during mid-peak and off-peak times.  A higher fee would also apply when wind is curtailed and would suggest a fee of $10/per MWh delivered during off-peak and mid-peak hours and a $20/per MWh for curtailed generation. The estimated annual revenue generated would be a minimum of $150 million

Increase LEAP contributions from LDC’s to 1 per cent of distribution revenues

The OEB would be instructed to institute an increase in the LDC (local distribution companies) LEAP (low-income assistance program) from 0.12 per cent to 1 per cent and reduce the allowed ROI (return on investment) by the difference. This would deliver an estimated $60/80 million annually reducing the revenue requirement for the OESP (Ontario electricity support program) currently funded by taxpayers

Close unutilized OPG generation plants

OPG currently has two power plants that are only very, very, occasionally called on to generate electricity yet ratepayers pick up the costs for OMA (operations, maintenance and administration). One of these is the Thunder Bay, former coal plant, converted to high-end biomass with a capacity of 165 MW which would produce power at a reported cost of $1.50/kWh (Auditor General’s report) and the other unused plant is the Lennox oil/gas plant in Napanee/Bath with a capacity of 2,200 MW that is never used. The estimated annual savings from the closing of these two plants would be in the $200 million range.

Rejig time-of-use (TOU) pricing to allow opt-in or opt-out

TOU pricing is focused on flattening demand by reducing usage during “peak hours” without any consideration of households or businesses.  Allow households and small businesses a choice to either agree to TOU pricing or the average price (currently 8.21 cents/kWh after the 17% Fair Hydro Act reduction) over a week.  This would benefit households with shift workers, seniors, people with disabilities utilizing equipment drawing power and small businesses and would likely increase demand and reduce surplus exports thereby reducing our costs associated with those exports. The estimated annual savings could easily be in the range of $200/400 million annually

Other initiatives

Niagara water rights

I would conduct an investigation into why our Niagara Beck plants have not increased generation since the $1.5 Billion spent on “Big Becky” (150 MW capacity) which was touted to produce enough additional power to provide electricity to 160,000 homes or over 1.4 million MWh.  Are we constrained by water rights with the US or is it a lack of transmission capabilities to get the power to where demand resides?

MPAC’s wind turbine assessments

One of the previous Ministers of Finance instructed MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corp,) to assess industrial wind turbines (IWT) at a maximum of $40,000 per MW of capacity despite their value of $1.5/2 million each.   I would request whomever is appointed by the new Premier to the Finance Ministry portfolio to recall those instructions and allow MPAC to reassess IWT at their current values over the terms of their contracts.  This would immediately benefit municipalities (via higher realty taxes) that originally had no ability to accept or reject IWT.

If one does a quick addition of the foregoing one will see the benefit to the ratepayers of the province would amount to in excess of $2 billion dollars which co-incidentally is approximately even more than the previous government provided via the Fair Hydro Act.

Hmm, perhaps we didn’t need to push those costs off to the future for our children and grandchildren to pay!

Now that I have formulated a plan to reduce electricity costs by over $2 billion per annum I can relax, confident that I can indeed handle the portfolio handed to me by the new Premier of the province.”

Are Premier Ford and PM Trudeau Aware of the Big Stick they Hold to Stop Michigan Governor Whitmer Shutting down Line 5?

   

Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun wrote a great article about how Premier Doug Ford is sucking up to Trudeau’s “woke” followers in order to win their vote in the upcoming Ontario election. The article described ways Ford and Trudeau have agreed on several different issues. One of those was to fight the efforts of Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer and her push “to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline under Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which carries light crude oil and natural gas liquids, the closure of which would damage both the Canadian and Ontario economies.”

The fight with Michigan has been going on since November 2020 when Governor Whitmer ordered it shut down.  Enbridge, supported by the Trudeau and Ford led governments successfully fought the order, pointing to a long-standing agreement between the US and Canada in respect to cross-border pipelines.  Despite the prior win by Enbridge, Governor Whitmer has recently decided to try again using a different tactic which on the surface looks wimpy.  We should all find it humorous that even our past and present “net-zero” advocates; Wilkinson and Guilbeault as Ministers of the Environment and Climate Change, support Enbridge, according to an interview reported by SARNIA News Today!

What is not understandable is why the Ontario Ford led government didn’t use the big stick at their disposal. If Doug Ford looked at IESO’s “Annual Imports and Exports by Destination” he would see that Ontario over the past ten (10) years has supplied Michigan with about 10% of their annual consumption according to the Michigan energy profile. That (approximately) 10% is supplied at prices that would make Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers jump for joy if they could keep it!  During those 10 years we have supplied Michigan with 87,174 GWh (gigawatt hours) at bargain basement prices. Over those 10 years in almost every hour we provide them with 1,000 MWh or more of our “non-emitting” electricity allowing them to both save money and reduce emissions while we Ontarians are forced to absorb the subsidy.

As an example the HOEP in 2021 reported in IESO’s Year in Review  was 2.85 cents/kWh and that year we exported 8,482 GWh to Michigan (49.3% of all exports). In 2020 we exported 9,835 GWh or 48.4% of all exports (about what 1.1 million average Ontario households annually consume) to Michigan when the HOEP was 1.39 cents/kWh. The cost to Michigan for 2019 was just under $137 million for our power resulting in Ontarians absorbing costs of approximately $1.026 billion.  

Another very recent example was April 30th and May 1st when Ontario demand was relatively low with demand on April 30th peaking at 14,446 MW and on May 1st peaking at 15,255 MW.  Nuclear and Hydro would have had no problem providing most of that power for either peak.  What happened on both those days was atypical of our Spring and Fall seasons when the wind blows. On the 30th IESO reported IWT (industrial wind turbines) grid connected generation of 40,185 MWh and on May 1st it was 31,115 MWh. Additionally, it appears IESO also curtailed about 8,300 MWh on April 30th and 28,700 MWh on May 1st!    

The combined cost of the two days for grid accepted IWT generation plus the cost of the curtailed IWT generation was approximately $14.065 million. Needless to say, with low demand we were busy exporting power and 68,890 MWh of it went to Michigan.  Michigan had to ante up $146,000 on April 30th paying 0.0425 cents/kwh and 0.0823 cents/kWh ($284,000) on May 1st resulting in us generous Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers picking up a subsidy of $13.9 million over the two days.

It is also worth noting that approximately 65% of Michigan’s electricity generation is produced with fossil fuels and coal generation represents almost half of that generating about 30% or 30,000 GWh annually!

So, the question is, do we blame it on the senseless IWT contracts the McGuinty/Wynne government signed with “first-to-the-grid” rights or the Ford government for doing absolutely nothing to amend those contracts since being elected? 

Without the latter Governor Whitmer’s Michigan ratepayers are simply enjoying the benefits so; why doesn’t the Ford Government instruct IESO to stop using the intertie lines with them until she agrees to stop pushing for closure of Line 5. Paying for all the unneeded wind and curtailing it might actually cost us Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers a little less! 

The time has come for Ford and Trudeau to use the Big Stick!

NB: It is worth pointing out that Michigan has 320,000 households who use propane for heating and other purposes and they laid out a plan that will ensure their supply is not impacted if and when the Line 5 pipeline is shut down.  The plan doesn’t mention how others like Ontario, Quebec and neighbouring states will handle the loss of propane however.  The plan is dated November 3, 2021 so it is obvious Whitmer is determined to shut Line 5 down.   Link to plan: https://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/-/media/Project/Websites/mpsc/consumer/propane/MI_Propane_Security_Plan_Overview.pdf?rev=90d4da17bbfb482a96fec64e2201b6c9

Earth Day and Industrial Wind Turbines Don’t Co-operate

The eco-warriors in Ontario and around the world just celebrated the fifty-second (52nd) “Earth Day” on April 22, 2022 and those IWT (industrial wind turbines) in Ontario failed to co-operate! It seemed as if they would, as at the 12 AM hour (ending at 1 AM) they generated 2,060 MWh or just over 43% of their capacity but that hour was their highlight of the day. For many of the following hours their generation fell and at hour 13 (hour ending at 2 PM) their generation was a miserly 197 MWh or about 4% of their capacity.  In total for the full day, IWT generated 21,647 MWh while our grid operator, IESO, was busy selling off our surplus 44,944 MWh to our neighbours, principally in Michigan with some to NY and Quebec.  What that suggests is all of the IWT generated power was surplus to our needs and served to ensure the price paid by our neighbours was miniscule averaging 1.57cents/kWh for the first six hours and 2.8cents/kWh for the full day. If the full 21,647 MWh of wind generation was all included in what IESO sold off the net cost to Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers for just the unneeded IWT generation would be about $2.5 million. Peak demand in Spring tends to be relatively low and it occurred in hour 20 reaching 15,672 MW in a 5-minute interval.  Unfortunately for ratepayers and taxpayers in Ontario, Spring is the season IWT generate the most energy.

As darkness descended those promoting “Earth Day” push the population to turn off their lights and anything else consuming power but it appears very few did so as consumption during darkness in hour 21 (hour ending at 10 PM) remained near its high dropping less than 4% which is normal and occurs most days.

The Day after Earth Day

We should be sure those eco-warriors would have loved what happened just one day later when the wind was blowing for the whole day as it frequently does in the Spring.  Peak demand for Ontario occurred at hour 20 once again but at only 14,622 MW which nuclear and hydro could have easily provided. Despite the foregoing wind took precedence due to its “first-to-the-grid” rights so one should suspect OPG spilled hydro and perhaps Bruce Power steamed-off nuclear and we will pay for both. 

The IWT were humming throughout the day and generated 60,235 MWh and appear to have curtailed about 3,800 MWh. During the day, IESO were busy selling off our surplus generation of 68,561 MWh to our neighbours in Michigan, Quebec and NY at the bargain basement price of the HOEP at $4.37/MWh meaning revenue from those exports was only $300K.  We ratepayers/taxpayers however were billed with $8.132 million for the IWT generation and another $456K for what was curtailed and picked up the balance of $8.288 million, allowing for the $300K recovery. 

One should note the coincidence between what was exported and collectively generated and curtailed by IWT on April 23rd as they are almost equal.

The total costs to Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers; in excess of what they paid for the electricity they utilized for “Earth Day” and the following day, comes to $10,788,000 or just over the cost of a large “Timmie’s” coffee per ratepayer; as a former Minister of Energy would suggest.

We ratepayers/taxpayers are paying for far too many “Timmie’s” coffees and not even getting a “thank you” from the politicians responsible for running the Energy Ministry!

Time for them to fix the mess!

THE PROPOSED CLEAN ELECTRICITY STANDARD

Comments by the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada

April 15, 2022

by Robert Lyman and Parker Gallant

On March 8, 2022, the government of Canada published a document entitled, “A Clean Electricity Standard in Support of a net zero electricity sector”. The stated purpose of this document was “to send a clear signal that the Government of Canada intends to move forward with regulations to achieve a net-zero electricity system by 2035; to outline considerations related to this objective; and to solicit comments from Canadians regarding the scope and design of the CES”.

The Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada (hereafter referred to as “the Coalition”) is a not-for-profit association that represents small- and medium-sized manufacturers and other businesses in Canada.  The goal of the Coalition is to advance policies that promote economic growth and retain good jobs in Canada. 

General Comments

Much of the current public discussion concerning future energy transitions is based on speculation about the timing, cost, and pace of commercialisation of new technologies. It would seem more prudent to base one’s judgments on what has actually happened in past energy transitions rather than try and predict the future.

The period from scientific discovery to widespread commercialisation of technologies has been much longer than is currently estimated by advocates of rapid decarbonisation. None of the steps in the innovation pathway – research, discovery, testing, demonstration, initial market development or widespread commercialisation – operates according to a fixed or predictable schedule.

Professor Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba, perhaps the world’s foremost expert on energy transitions, has argued that past transitions have been slow, painstaking and hard to predict. Existing technologies, both for generation and consumption of electricity, have a lot of inertia. Smil observes that the changes in technology and infrastructure required to decarbonise the world in a few decades as a ‘grand delusion’.

The proposed CES seems premised on the view that, in the face of high market costs and barriers, governments can force the pace of change and retain the support of the electorate in doing so. Outside of the centrally planned economies, however, no government has attempted to prescribe the timelines for commercialisation of new technologies or the dates by which a large share of society’s needs must be met by a new technology. ‘Picking winners’ may be an increasingly popular aspect of national industrial policy (despite its history of failures), but a prudent government should be hesitant about committing billions of taxpayers’ dollars to technologies that are not ready and cannot compete without permanent subsidies.

Those who pursue the net zero goal will be confronted with the reality that hydrocarbons are nature’s most efficient embodiment of primary energy. The combination of high energy density, abundance, stability, safety, portability, safe storage and affordability is unmatched by any other source of energy. Governments cannot wish those advantages away.

The electricity sector offers good examples of the immense barriers to net zero. Just meeting the additional generation requirements needed to power proposed conversion to electric vehicles would require a major expansion in the electricity generation capacity across Canada, sometimes estimated as the addition of 10,000 megawatts of capacity from today’s levels. The provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Alberta still have coal fired capacity collectively totalling over 9,000 MW which will also require replacement, adding considerable additional costs.

The two largest power projects being built in Canada today, Site C in British Columbia and Muskrat Falls in Labrador, have a combined design capacity of 1,944 megawatts. To meet just the additional EV-related  power demand, at least eight more projects of the same size would have to be built. It generally takes at least 15 to 20 years to bring such a project to production in Canada. There are none even being contemplated at this time.

Central to the vision on which the proposed CEP is based is the thesis that in future Canada must rely primarily on wind and solar power generation for incremental supply, notwithstanding that these sources are intermittent and frequently unreliable.

The Issue of Costs

The discussion paper presents the transformation of Canada’s electrical energy system from one which is predominately reliant on low- or zero-carbon dioxide emissions to one that has virtually no carbon dioxide emissions as though it can be accomplished at low cost. Indeed, considerations of cost seem barely to enter into the presentation of facts, which is a highly unrealistic approach.

Canadians’ experience with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity systems in Ontario and Alberta have already revealed the significant economy-damaging costs of seeking to increase reliance on wind, solar and biomass energy. In Ontario, electricity rates for consumers doubled over the past decade and, according to the Ontario Auditor General, the cost of the move to increased wind and solar energy will be $90 billion over the life of the existing contracts.

Those who have studied the experience of other countries that have sought to increase reliance on renewable energy sources for electricity generation have found consistent patterns. These efforts bring about large increases in the actual prices that must be paid for electricity by consumers and businesses. Further, the price increases grow and accelerate as the percentage of electricity generated from intermittent renewables increases. This is due to the need for large and increasing amounts of costly backup and storage – things that are not needed at all in conventional hydrocarbons-based systems. Jurisdictions that increased generation from renewables up to as high as 30 per cent to total electricity supply have seen an approximate tripling in the price of electricity to ratepayers, except where a large portion of the increased costs is off-loaded to taxpayers.

In the remainder of these comments, the Coalition will address four specific aspects of the proposed CES:

  • The paper’s treatment of energy technology pathways
  • The paper’s proposal to minimize use of natural gas-fired generation
  • The cost of bulk electricity storage
  • Issues related to transmission

Technology Generation Pathways

The concept of technology is touted in the discussion paper as a way to achieve “net-zero” electricity for which wind turbines (onshore and offshore), solar (photovoltaic and concentrated), hydro and nuclear are considered to be zero emissions! It goes on to claim: “low and non-emitting generation technologies are becoming more cost-competitive, the pace of low-carbon electricity deployment must accelerate for Canada to reach NZ2035”.

The paper also opines favourably on possible energy sources under development such as SMR (small modular reactors), hydrogen fuel cells and carbon capture as zero emission. It also favours biomass (cogeneration and simple cycle) ahead of any form of natural gas generation. 

Biomass:  The treatment of biomass as low emissions flies in the face of reports from the UK where one of the world’s largest biomass power plants (DRAX)1. ranks third in the EU for emissions (if they were counted) and also received more than £800m in subsidies.

Solar photovoltaic is also a questionable source of energy in Canada (weak winter solar) and where it has been developed has cost more than estimated and produced considerably less power than forecast.  The larger projects started on the Nevada deserts have had many problems and the State 2. is dependent for over 60% of its electricity needs on natural gas plants. It would also need storage which would add considerably to its costs.

SMR technology is in process in many locations around the world but to date only a small number are operating, with Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov,3. the world’s first floating nuclear power plant which began operation in May 2020 producing energy from two 35 MW SMRs. China’s Huaneng Group Co.’s 200-megawatt unit 1 reactor at Shidao Bay is now feeding power to the grid in Shandong province, the China Nuclear Energy Association 4. said in a December 2021 article. Other SMRs are under construction or in the licensing stage in Argentina, Canada, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States of America.  SMR, dependent on costs, appears to be a possible “net-zero” energy source before several others but is unlikely to meet the targets committed to by the Canadian Federal Government at COP26.

Wind and solar are touted as playing a “key role”in reducing the electricity sector’s emissions but it will be very costly as demonstrated in Ontario5. where prices more than doubled in less than 10 years as they rose to represent over 15 per cent of capacity but generated only 9 per cent of demand, often when not needed. It must be recognized they receive “first-to-the-grid” rights meaning clean hydro is spilled and clean nuclear is steamed off to maintain grid stability and ratepayers are saddled with those costs in addition to what is paid to wind and solar developers. Due to their unreliable and intermittent nature they require backup from natural gas generation and ratepayers are saddled with that cost too.

Carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) is a major part of the discussion paper.  Based on the following excerpt however it seems to be viewed as temporary: “Over time, however, natural gas coupled with CCUS will increasingly be in competition with other emerging options that are both non-emitting and flexible in the roles they can play in electricity systems.” The issue of CCUS has gained interest from the Government of Alberta 6. and six major oil patch participants who are seeking “carbon capture credits” to assist in recovering some of the costs. While Canada is a leader in the development of CCUS the costs involved will be billions of dollars. Those costs will add considerably to electricity generation costs from flexible fossil fuels required to back up intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation.  A report from June 2020 from Rutgers University 7. stated: “The analysis suggests coal-sourced CO2 emissions can be stored in this region at a cost of $52–$60 ton−1 , whereas the cost to store emissions from natural-gas-fired plants ranges from approximately $80 to $90.”  Note the foregoing are US dollars and those costs will be added to each kWh delivered. Transferring part of these costs from emitters to taxpayers through the use of investment tax credits for CCUS will not reduce the cost to society.

Hydrogen blending with natural gas will raise consumer costs and risk public health while barely reducing emissions, a US think-tank 9. reported in a March 30, 2022 article. It goes on to state “A blend of 20% green hydrogen in natural gas would raise fuel costs for heating and cooking by a factor of two to four, as renewable H2 is currently six to 14 times more expensive than fossil gas, the study explains. Green hydrogen prices would have to fall by roughly an order of magnitude to achieve parity with the price of natural gas for use in buildings.”  The “Discussion Paper” suggests “releasing the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada to position Canada as a world-leading producer, user and exporter of clean hydrogen, and associated technologies”.  It appears once again the blending of hydrogen and natural gas would further drive up the cost of electricity should this be cast as another regulation.

Natural Gas

Natural gas has long been favoured as a clean, efficient, plentiful and affordable source of energy supply for multiple uses. In absolute terms, natural gas is the fastest growing source of supply for energy consumers, and through the use of liquification one of the fastest growing sources of international energy trade. In the United States, the increasing domestic supply of natural gas and its affordability have allowed the US to convert a large amount of previously coal-fired electricity generation to the lower cost and cleaner fuel.

In Canada, natural gas is used both for reliable base-load power generation and a back-up source to help cope with the serious problems of intermittency that plague wind and solar generation sources that have been used for political reasons. According to Canada’s Emissions Inventory, published by Environment and Climate Change Canada, in 2019 natural gas fired generating plants produced 46,100 GWh of electricity, 8 per cent of Canada’s total, and emitted 22 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, 32 per cent of the emissions from power generation. This, however, is only illustrative of how extremely low greenhouse gas emissions already are from electricity generation in Canada. Emissions from natural-gas generated power are only 3 per cent of Canada’s total emissions.

Increasingly, natural gas electricity generation in most provinces will come to represent a backup source produced from plants constructed a decade or more ago. The Independent Electricity Systems Operator of Ontario (IESO) recently completed a study to determine the feasibility and cost of phasing out natural gas generation by 2030. The findings of that study are very relevant to the federal government’s consideration of the Proposed Clean Electricity Standard. These included the following:

  • Gas generation offers a set of services, including quick response time and assured availability, that keep the grid reliable and help balance the variability of wind and solar.
  • Completely phasing out gas generation by 2030 would lead to blackouts.
  • Replacing gas generation in Ontario by 2030 would require more than $27 billion to install new sources of supply and upgrade transmission infrastructure. This translates into a 60 per cent, or $100 per month, increase in the average monthly residential bill.
  • There are many other practical considerations that make a 2030 phase-out impossible, including the time that it takes to plan, get regulatory approvals for, and build new infrastructure and non-availability of storage as an alternative. Those impediments are likely to last well beyond 2030.

The IESO report did not address the fact that many natural gas generation facilities, including those operated by private firms (i.e. the so-called non-utility generators, or NUGs), while often signed to 20-year contracts, generally operate for much longer than that. In fact, it is not surprising to see them operating under 40-year contracts. The premature cancellation of these contracts could cost well over $600 million, which would also be added to consumers’ bills.

Anyone considering the termination of existing contracts across Canada and the construction of new generation, transmission and storage facilities to replace the services now provided by natural gas-fired generators would have to take these factors into account.

Storage

Battery Storage is only cited once in the Discussion Paper in the following context: “leveraging Canada’s competitive advantage in mining to build the Canadian battery and critical mineral supply chains”.  The foregoing suggests the author(s) do not regard it as a means to significantly support the electricity sector, perhaps due to its high costs.  A report from June 2021 by the US NREL 8. (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) estimated the cost as; “(e.g., a $300/kWh, 4-hour battery would have a power capacity cost of $1200/kW).” That translates to a cost of U.S.$1.2 million for just 1 MW (megawatt) of storage for 4 hours and if done to any scale would drive up electricity prices.

No jurisdiction has yet succeeded in getting the percentage of its electricity generated from intermittent renewables past 50 per cent on an annualized basis. As the reliance on renewables increases, the grid operator must rely more on coal or natural gas-fueled backup power, and where these are prohibited, on some form of storage, most likely from large batteries. The cost of batteries is high and increases with the period of time for which storage is required, and whether the storage is needed only to balance daily or seasonal variations in demand

The cost of batteries sufficient to power a jurisdiction of millions of people would be enormous. In jurisdictions where a calculation has been made, the costs of the batteries exceeds the full annual GDP of the jurisdiction, and implies an increase in the price of electricity by a factor of 15 or more. For example, according to a study by Roger Andrews[1], the total amount of storage needed to provide secure supply in California amounts to about 25,000 GWh per year, more than a full month’s current rate of usage. Even assuming a substantial reduction in current battery prices, the cost of that would be in the range of US $5 trillion. And these batteries would need to be replaced regularly. Ken Gregory[2], a Canadian engineer, has assessed the cost of electrifying the United States economy without hydrocarbon-based generation, including the cost of battery backup. Simply to meet 2020 demand for 31 days would require storage that would cost $77.4 trillion, almost four times current US annual GDP.

Bulk electricity battery storage is hopelessly insufficient, no matter the cost. David Wojick, a Virginia-based Ph.D. in the logic and philosophy of science, explains this well in his article “California secretly struggles with renewables” (January 19, 2021).

Here is an excerpt:

California has hooked up a grid battery system that is almost ten times bigger than the previous world record holder, but when it comes to making renewables reliable it is so small it might as well not exist. The new battery array is rated at a storage capacity of 1,200 megawatt hours (MWh); easily eclipsing the record holding 129 MWh Australian system built by Tesla a few years ago. However, California peaks at a whopping 42,000 MW. If that happened on a hot, low wind night this supposedly big battery would keep the lights on for just 1.7 minutes (that’s 103 seconds). This is truly a trivial amount of storage…Barely time to find the flashlight, right? “This one reportedly utilizes more than 4,500 stacked battery racks, each of which contains 22 individual battery modules. That is 99,000 separate modules that have to be made to work well together. Imagine hooking up 99,000 electric cars and you begin to get the picture.”

Large-scale battery storage of electricity is still an infant industry, with enormous costs and technological risks, It is foolish in the extreme for Canada to commit to a pattern of electricity generation dependent on large-scale batteries for security of supply.

[1] Roger Andrews, The cost of wind and solar power: batteries included. Energy Matters, November 22, 2018

[2] Ken Gregory. The Cost of Net-Zero-Electrification of the USA. Friends of Science. December 20, 2021

Transmission Costs

The Discussion Paper notes; “Achieving net-zero electricity will require coordinated efforts. Provinces and territories hold jurisdiction over electricity planning and operation, while the federal government holds jurisdiction over emissions reduction regulations, interprovincial transmission projects, and international commitments, among others.” 

What the foregoing infers is either conflict or agreement will occur between the two parties as to how to achieve “net-zero electricity” which will obviously depend on projected outcomes and the current generation sources in each province/territory. 

One example is referenced as the “Atlantic Loop” project which aims to transmit hydro power from Muskrat and Churchill Falls (both located in Labrador) to other Atlantic regions, principally Nova Scotia which has 8 coal fired plants that federal regulations says they must close by 2030.  No doubt Nova Scotia would be happy to replace those coal plants with hydro power but what cost would Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador charge for that power? The other consideration is that Quebec is a winter peaking province so has little surplus energy available during that period meaning little or no generation from Churchill Falls. 

To top things off, Muskrat Falls is way over budget, having ballooned from an estimated $7.2 billion to $13.1 billion. The Federal 10. government stepped in to provide up to $5.2 billion with $1 billion of that as a loan guarantee and another $1 billion for transmission costs.  The latter $1 billion is 20 per cent of the estimated cost of the Atlantic Loop which in late January 2022 Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said his Ministry required more information before they could “justify a federal investment”. 

Based on the comments in the Discussion Paper it appears the government is prepared now to “justify” that investment as it states: “The ‘Atlantic Loop’ project is an example of collaboration to bring clean power to where it’s needed in Eastern Canada. The Government of Canada and the Canada Infrastructure Bank are currently collaborating with provinces and regional partners to advance this intertie project, which could greatly reduce emissions and maintain electricity affordability in the Atlantic region.” So, Nova Scotians should now wonder what will the cost be for the power combined with the costs of the transmission.  Will the cost of electricity be truly affordable? To top things off, GE 11. (who supplied the turbines) has been having problems with the software for the LIL (Labrador Island-link) slated to bring power to the Northeast Avalon.   

High voltage transmission projects vary in terms of costs per kilometer. As one example the 301-kilometer Eastern Alberta Transmission Line 12. completed several years ago cost $1.8 billion or about $6 million per kilometer.  Two major power lines under construction in northwestern Ontario are estimated to cost much less!  Those are the East-West Tie Line, 13. a 450-kilometre line stretching from Wawa to Thunder Bay, at a cost of $777 million makes its projected cost per kilometer $1.7 million. The other project is the 1,800 kilometer Wataynikaneyap Power 14. line serving many small indigenous communities on its route.  In total it will serve 15,000 people for a total cost of $1.9 billion or just over $1 million per kilometer and $126.6K per person and over $500K for a family of four.   

An article in the Financial Post on March 31, 2022 penned by Francis Bradley, CEO of Electricity Canada titled “The clock is ticking on Canada’s electricity grid15. stated “Under net-zero, Canada will stop its reliance on fossil fuels by mid-century. However, by the government’s own estimation, to do so Canada will need two to three times the amount of electricity it produces now in order to decarbonize other sectors of the economy.”  The article went on to note: “Transmission lines — the big power lines that move electricity long distances — are hugely complicated to survey and then build. Even making sure the electricity infrastructure on your street is ready for the increased load will take years of investment.”  Mr. Bradley went on to say; “Decarbonizing Canada’s economy by 2050 will be a herculean task. Decarbonizing the electricity system in less than half that time will be doubly so. If either is to have any chance of succeeding, the electricity industry will need to do more, faster, as Prime Minister Trudeau has said. But that also works the other way. The countdown clock is ticking. And we’re still waiting for vital leadership.”

What the above illustrates is that just the costs associated with ensuring the transmission lines delivering the “clean green” renewable energy will require significant upgrades costing billions of dollars.  Those costs coupled with those associated with the desire to eliminate fossil fuel generation will drive up power costs for families and businesses. It will affect the provinces of Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to a much greater degree due to their current use of fossil fuels in the generation of their electricity needs.

The foregoing suggests costs in the tens of billions of dollars which in turn will damage Canada’s ability to attract new business, it’s related capital and will decimate the economy and drive-up unemployment levels. 

Conclusion

This analysis outlines the impossibilities of achieving the goals set by the Government of Canada within the proposed time frame.  Any push towards the unrealistic outcomes included in the planned government policies will badly damage the Canadian economy.  As well, they will lead to millions of Canadian households living in energy poverty, spending well over 10 per cent of disposable income on trying to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. It is no accident that Canadian government climate plans never include reputable, independent cost/benefit analyses, as to do so would reveal to Canadians just how unachievable and punitively costly the stated goals are. 

It is important to recognize Canada’s total emissions in 2019 (last reported year) were 20 Mt lower than China’s emissions increased in the two years between 2019 and 2021 during the pandemic. China’s emissions reported by the IEA (International Energy Agency) rose to over 11.9 billion tonnes which represents 33 per cent of total global emissions. China was also the only major economy to experience economic growth in both 2020 and 2021, questioning the often-cited claim that “the environment and the economy go hand in hand”.

Sensible, measurable policies to achieve tangible benefits to the environment are welcomed by the Coalition.  Unfortunately, the approach in the Clean Electricity Standard document does not qualify as either measurable or achievable.

  1. https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-hands-n-l-5-2-billion-for-troubled-muskrat-falls-hydro-project-1.5526011
  2. https://www.saltwire.com/atlantic-canada/business/muskrat-falls-power-in-march-2022-could-be-too-optimistic-according-to-pub-consultant-100661743/
  3. https://www.transmissionhub.com/articles/transprojects/eastern-alberta-transmission-line
  4. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-power-contracts-valard-1.5726667
  5. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/wataynikaneyap-power-proceeding-1.5340793
  6. https://financialpost.com/opinion/francis-bradley-the-clock-is-ticking-on-canadas-electricity-grid https://news.sky.com/story/climate-change-draxs-renewable-energy-plant-is-uks-biggest-co2-emitter-analysis-claims-12428130
  7. https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=NV
  8. https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Russia-connects-floating-plant-to-grid
  9. https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/china-is-home-to-world-s-first-small-modular-nuclear-reactor-1.1698791
  10. https://www.ieso.ca/en/Corporate-IESO/Media/Year-End-Data
  11. https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/oil-gas/oilpatch-looks-to-ottawa-for-carbon-capture-tax-credit-as-alberta-pushes-six-projects-forward
  12. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsfs.2019.0065
  13. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy21osti/79236.pdf
  14. https://www.rechargenews.com/energy-transition/hydrogen-blending-will-raise-consumer-costs-and-risk-public-health-while-barely-reducing-emissions-us-think-tank/2-1-1193416

Other related observations

Peak emissions occurred in 2007 at 752 megatons and our population was 32.89 million so per capita emissions were 22.86 tons per person.

Emissions in 2019 (latest from Government of Canada) were 730 megatonnes and our population was 38.19 million so our per capita emissions were 19.11 tons per person a drop of 16.4%.

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-indicators/greenhouse-gas-emissions.html

Canada had wind capacity at the end of 2021 of 14,304 MW and 2,399 MW of solar which reputedly generated slightly less than 6% of total electricity of 647.7 TWh!  https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/canada-energy-future/2020/results/index.html  From this “variable renewable energy (VRE) sources such as wind and solar. Figure R.21 shows that by 2050, total non-hydro renewable capacity in the Evolving Scenario is over triple 2018 levels. Total wind capacity rises to 40 GW and total solar capacity rises to 20 GW.” It also has a key uncertainty “Export market developments: Climate policies, fuel prices, electrification and power sector decarbonization in export markets could impact future projects and transmission intertie developments.”


Eye Catching Happenings, a Look Around

Item 1: Ontario Working to Secure Clean, Affordable and Reliable Electricity

When discovering Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, had asked OPG to “Investigate New Hydroelectric Opportunities”, it immediately had yours truly paraphrasing the Britney Spears song, “Oops, they did it again”!  The January 20. 2022 press release announced he had “asked Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to examine opportunities for new hydroelectric development in northern Ontario.”  If Minister Smith had dug though some of the files prior ministers had left behind, he would have discovered that an investigation had taken place before as Hatch Ltd completed one titled “Developing Hydroelectric Potential in Northern Ontario”.  The report even had the following quote from Bob Chiarelli, former Minister of Energy: “Our 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan expands the target for waterpower to 9,300 megawatts and establishes a priority for connecting remote communities. This report helps identify opportunities for hydroelectric projects that can help Ontario be ready to generate power when and where we need it.”  Ontarians know; that never happened!

It sure appears for some reason the current Minister is pleased to hand out our tax dollars to repeat the same review which serves to only further delay the potential to increase Ontario’s hydroelectric power.

Item 2: India’s solar irradiance 7 per cent below long-term average

The foregoing article from a few days ago stated:  “In what could have significant ramifications for productivity and returns from solar power projects in India, a latest study has found solar irradiance over the country over the past ten years was 7 per cent below long-term average.” What that suggests is generation from the 49.3 GW (gigawatts) reportedly in place in India at the end of 2021 will not deliver the generation anticipated because of those damn clouds. To make matters worse, another article, indicated India has recently experienced several very high demand periods which came close to breaking the record set in 2021. The article goes on to suggest India could face “widespread blackouts this summer”. The issue of energy security seems to be spreading further afield beyond countries who have adopted the “net-zero” COP-26 mantra.  It’s a bit of a surprise that India is facing those blackouts as they have targeted solar as their principal renewable source coupled with nuclear power. Additionally India did not commit to net-zero by 2050 at COP-26 but have instead said they “will aim” at 2070 as the year they consider it as possible.

Item 3a: McMaster University looks to install four gas-powered generators on Cootes Drive

A couple of weeks ago I penned an article pointing out the fallacies of the ICI (Industrial Conservation Initiative) program and how taxpayer funded institutions, such as York University, are taking advantage of it to the detriment of small and medium sized companies and their status as Class B ratepayers. On the same day the article was posted another article came to my attention from the Hamilton Spectator which was about McMaster University’s plan to install four gas-powered generators specifically aimed “to reduce the university’s energy costs” under the ICI program.  Curiosity piqued led to the examination of expenditures in their financial statements but I first looked at the budget expenditures by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities and noted those expenditures for the 2019-2020 year were just north of $6.655 billion.  Looking at York University’s financial statements disclosed for the 2017-year expenditures on “Taxes and Utilities” were $33.3 million and those had declined to $23 million for their 2021 year-end suggesting the installation of two gas-generators may have saved them $10 million annually.  Looking at McMaster’s financials discloses their “Utilities and maintenance” in 2017 were $38.6 million and for their 2020 year-end showed a small increase to $38.7 million. Presumably by installing four gas-powered generators they too will be able to reduce those costs utilizing the ICI program.  It seems there is no end to the taxpayer funded bureaucracies need for more and more taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.  The time has come for the Ontario Minister of Energy to kill the ICI program and stop the continual pocket picking of us taxpayers/ratepayers.

Item 3b: Phasing out gas plants by 2030

So, while 32 municipalities have teamed up with Jack Gibbons and the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) insisting Ontario phase out all the gas plants by 2030; they are ignoring bureaucracies in their backyard who are installing gas-powered generators. Both Toronto and Hamilton have signed on despite the universities in their municipalities installing those gas-powered generators to reduce their energy costs. That seems extremely ironic as the gas generating plants provide back-up power for that intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation whereas these gas generators have the sole purpose of reducing energy costs. It is also fascinating to note who some of those who donate to the OCAA are too, as they include none other than George Smitherman who when Minister of Energy during the McGuinty era brought us the GEA (Green Energy Act) which he promised would only raise rates by 1%.  Another supporter of the OCAA is Peter Tabuns of the NDP who supported Smitherman and the GEA. The supporters also include renewable energy companies and their founders as well as individuals like Mark Winfield of York University and Glen Estill, past president of CanWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association) etc. etc. Those profiting from wind and solar seem happy to donate to help Gibbons continue his false premise that wind/solar and Quebec will supply all the electricity we need!

Item 4: Ottawa reveals its latest plan to plant 2 billion trees by 2030

No doubt many Canadians will remember when our PM Justin Trudeau, met with Greta Thunberg on September 27, 2019 before they marched in the “climate” rally in Montreal and then shortly after the march promised he would plant 2 billion trees in the next 10 years.  An article in the CBC dated December 21, 2021 indicated two years after the promise only 8.5 million trees had been planted so at that rate it would take 470 years before they were all planted rather than the 10 years he promised Greta. Not to worry though as the intention is to speed things up by using our tax dollars to get the annual planting up to levels of 320 million annually by 2025 and spending up to $355 million per year. We should find it amazing that a teenager without any scientific training has so much influence on politicians such as Trudeau that he commits to spend $3 billion of Canada’s tax dollars just so he can get a photo op with Greta and later one with him actually planting a tree. 

Conclusion: Climate Science is Unsettled

One hopes the foregoing demonstrates the ineptitude of our political leaders in respect to their worries about “climate change”!  Their worries have been imposed by guiding lights such as Greta Thunberg, Jack Gibbons and results in those politicians refusing to give up on the “net-zero” push despite the many qualified individuals such as Steven E. Koonin, telling us “Climate Science” is Unsettled!