Industrial Wind Turbines Once Again Display Their Unreliable Nature

Yesterday, August 10, 2022 was a nice summer day in Southern Ontario and hopefully elsewhere with temperatures in the “comfortable” range so while peak demand for electricity was fairly high reaching 20,568 MW for a 5 minute interval at hour 18 (hour ending at 6 PM) it didn’t crack the top 10 peaks in the current year.

At that particular hour the 4,900 MW capacity of those grid connected IWT (industrial wind turbines) with their “first to the grid” rights generated 642 MWh or 3.1% of demand while representing 13% of grid connected Ontario capacity.  They operated at only 13.1% of their capacity meaning other generating capacity like those natural gas plants were needed to keep air conditioners, etc. operating and they did the job generating 4,862 MWh supplying 23.6% of demand at that hour.

At hour 9 when demand is climbing on a work day those IWT managed to generate only 120 MWh which was 2.4% of their rated capacity and 0.7% of the hours 5 minute peak demand of 16,677 MW.  Natural gas plants at hour 9 generated 2,100 MWh thankfully covering the shortfall of those IWT generators.

At hour 24, ending at midnight IWT were operating at 28.1% of their capacity generating 1,375 MWh however providing 9.3% of the peak demand of only 14,759 MW which nuclear and hydro could have easily provided.  

It’s good to have dependable power when needed and those IWT continue to demonstrate their intermittent and unreliable ability to do so!

Marc Patrone Show on Sauga 960 AM on August 3, 2022

Marc had me on his show today and my chat with him was preceded by his conversation with Jocelyn Bamford the Chair and founder of the CCMBC (Coaliation of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada. You can listed to her discussion with Marc starting at 48:00 of the podcast followed by yours truly at 1:04:12 and ending at 1:18:24.

Jocelyn covered lots of subjects related to what the Trudeau led government is doing that is negatively affecting the economy and businesses in Canada and my chat with Marc was related to renewable energy here in Ontario and how it has badly affected the EU and in particularly Germany and the UK. Naturally we also talked about industrial wind turbines and EV (electric vehicles) reflecting on a couple of my recent articles.

You can listed to both Jocelyn’s and my chat here at the times noted above:

Did Anyone Notice Wind Wimped Out Again

Yesterday, July 13, 2022, was one of those; not so hot summer days in most of Ontario so according to IESO (Independent Electricity System of Ontario) peak demand at hour 16 only reached 18,135 MW during a five (5) minute interval.  At that hour those IWT (industrial wind turbines) with a capacity of 4,900 MW were contributing 108 MW or 2.2% of their capacity and 0.6% of demand. Had they been absent they wouldn’t have been missed!

The two generation sources the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) insist the government shut down, ie:  Nuclear, generated 9,430 MW and Natural Gas plants generated 4,093 MW at that hour.  Had the latter two generation sources not been operating at that or any other hour Ontario would have experienced wide-spread BLACKOUTS with a negative effect on businesses and our daily activities.

Once again at hour nine (9) as daily demand was increasing on a regular work day, those IWT were generating 36 MW which was probably less than they were using just to keep their lights blinking! 

The foregoing unreliability and intermittency of IWT is not an occurrence for Ontario only as it has been demonstrated around the world where they have been endorsed and promoted by politicians.  On their own, without other generation sources, such as natural gas or coal fired generation backing them up, most of the developed world would find ourselves back in the dark ages.

It seems truly unbelievable the push to go fully “fossil fuel free” has gained so much momentum around the world collectively as one example: the push for EV (electric vehicles) to replace ICE (internal combustion engines) is occurring. 

Plugging those EV in to recharge them without fossil fuels generating electricity is nothing more than a pipedream by the eco-warriors and their obedient and obtuse politicians as recently noted.     

Opinion: The summer wind is Ontario’s fickle energy friend

My latest in the Financial Post is a slightly different version of a recent post which I think you will appreciate.

Find it here:

https://financialpost.com/opinion/opinion-the-summer-wind-is-ontarios-fickle-energy-friend

The Summer Doldrums arrived and wind falls flat

Well, summer has finally arrived and as happens annually, wind falls off with the possible exception of the occasional hurricane’s arrival! 

Once again, wind generations summer fail was evident as on July 7th, 2022 Ontario’s industrial wind turbines (IWT) with a capacity of about 15.6% of total capacity in Ontario was at the bottom of the heap in respect to generation!

As one example Ontario’s peak demand occurred during a five-minute interval at Hour 17 reaching 19,638 MW and the 4,900 MW* capacity of wind generated only 332 MW at that hour representing 6.7% of it’s capacity and 1.7% of demand. To wit:

At peak, generation sources were producing the following:

Nuclear                9,529 MW

Hydro                    5,222 MW

Natural Gas        4,336 MW

IWT                           332 MW

Solar                         207 MW

Biofuel                     115 MW

Total                  19,741 MW

As is obvious from the above the three sources of what are referred to as “new” and renewable (IWT, Solar, Biofuel) energy collectively delivered 654 MW or 3.3% of Ontario demand which clearly suggests without nuclear, hydro or natural gas generation Ontario’s households and businesses would have been living with rolling blackouts at the very least throughout the day.

IESO reported wind’s peak generation occurred at Hour 1 (hour ending at 1 AM) when it produced 462 MW of its capacity (9.4%) and it wasn’t needed as demand at that hour was falling below 13,000 MW. When morning arrived however and demand was increasing at 9 AM those IWT (industrial wind turbines) produced a miserly 57 MW (1.2% of their capacity).

As many Ontarians know IWT under the terms of their contracts have “first-to-the-grid” rights ranking ahead of all other generation sources and if their generation isn’t needed, they are still paid if IESO curtail them. It is worth noting the latter regularly occurs during the Spring and Fall seasons when peak demand is much lower but those Spring and Fall breezes are a part of our normal weather pattern.

 As the Premier Ford led Ontario Government ruling party embark on their second majority governing term we should hope (and pray) he and his minions will actually do something to alleviate the mess in the energy sector created by the Ontario Liberal Party when they ruled the province! 

 Hopefully that is not too much to ask of Premier Ford or to expect during these times of rising inflation caused principally by rising energy costs!

*For some reason five (two are related) of Ontario’s IWT farms are still not yet commissioned even though they have been operating for a few years under contracts signed during the McGuinty/Wynne years. They are: Amherst Island (83 MW capacity), Bow Lake (two with a 58 MW capacity and Henvey Inlet (North & South with a 300 MW capacity).

While You Were Sleeping, Quebec, Michigan and New York Raided Your Piggy Bank

The IESO reports from Midnight to 7 AM on June 7th indicate over those seven hours they sold off Ontario’s surplus generation* to our neighbours in Quebec (7,178 MWh), Michigan (6,849 MWh) and New York (3,114 MWh) for an average price of $1.25/MWh generating a pitiful $21,426  for those 17,141 MWh.  Ontario’s electricity demand during the bulk of those hours was in the 12,000 MW range which it frequently experiences during nights in the Spring and Fall months.  

As the foregoing suggests we didn’t need any other power beyond what nuclear and hydro can easily provide yet those wind turbine contracts give them “first-to-the-grid” rights and even pay them for curtailed power!

As it turned out, a large part of the 17,141 MWh sold off during those seven hours to our three neighbours were related to how those IWT (industrial wind turbines) were operating! IESO had forecast IWT would generate 13,481 MWh during those hours but they only accepted 8,068 MWh and curtailed 5,413 MWh.

The above exercise meant just the IWT cost was $1,738,740 and coupled with the cost for the other exported generation (9,073 MWh) at an average cost of $116/MWh (the latter includes about $30/MWh paid by Ontario taxpayers) brings the total cost to $2,791,200 or about fifty-three cents for each of the 5.3 million Ontario households.

While 53 cents per household is only 7.6 cents per hour; if it happened for the 8760 annual hours per year it would amount to over $600.00 per Ontario household and be a major hit to the 50% of families who are only $200.00 away from being able to pay their bills!

The time has come for the re-elected Ford led Government to do something about this mess and stop the continued bleeding of our after-tax dollars for this fictional “non-emitting” generation harming those 5.3 million Ontario households.

*Low demand coupled with nightly IWT generation drives down the market price referenced as the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) forcing ratepayers to pay for the difference between the contracted price and the market price.

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’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!