Here at Home:
OPG recently announced they are buying GM Canada’s former head office building in Oshawa which GM indicated has been virtually empty since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. OPG states the building will be refurbished before they move from 700 University Ave., Toronto late in 2024. Back on November 10, 2022, OPG released their 3rd Quarter results and they were quite favourable but not so much for ratepayers as revenue was up year over year for the nine months by $585 million (11.3%) despite generation only increasing by 2.4 TWh (4%). Net income increased by $199 million or 16% so more than double the inflation rate.
Hydro One recently released their year-end results and their revenue, net of purchased power (up by only 827 GWh or 2.7%), increased by $410 million (up 11.2%). Net profit was up by $91 million or 9.2% which also was 46% higher than Canada’s inflation rate of 6.3% for the year.
Despite the foregoing with OPG and Hydro One reporting results surpassing our inflation rate it is worth noting, the Ontario Energy Board’s “Vision” reputedly still is: “To be a trusted regulator who is recognized for enabling Ontario’s growing economy and improving the quality of life for the people of this province who deserve safe, reliable and affordable energy.“
Melancthon Wind Contract Extended
For some unknown reason Ontario’s Minister of Energy issued a directive dated January 27,2022 to IESO instructing them to renew expiring contracts and IESO did; under the “Medium-Term Request for Proposals“ meaning the contract holder; TransAlta Renewables Inc were granted an extension to 2031. That particular IWT (industrial wind turbines) project has “a long and controversial history, due to hundreds of complaints of noise pollution from residents, so severe that some people abandoned their homes” and it was further stated: “Our own findings from documents received under Freedom of Information is that the Melancthon power project was number one in Ontario for noise complaints related to the turbines and a transformer.“ The foregoing happened despite the promise by the existing Minister to cancel IWT projects before his party gained power!
Joe Oliver retiring as IESO Chair
It was with acute disappointment reading recently former Federal Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver was retiring as Chair of IESO’s Board of Directors as he was only appointed in March 2019! Mr. Oliver has certainly come across as a climate change skeptic recently having penned an article for the Financial Post wherein, he stated: “To justify enormous expenditures and punishing taxes Canadians are endlessly bombarded with apocalyptic climate scaremongering whose main effect is to terrify children and convince the credulous. Even though Canada cannot make a measurable difference to the global climate, the Liberals doggedly push a net-zero agenda that will cost $2 trillion by 2050.“ He reemphasized that point in another article in the FP in early February stating “Canadians are awakening to the terrible harm the government’s destructive climate initiatives inflict on their livelihoods and freedom, without achieving anything meaningful for the environment.“
Based on the very short press release from IESO should we suspect the Ford Government was not happy with what he said and perhaps asked him to retire as they are attempting to stay on the good side of PM Trudeau and his minions pushing the “Just Transition” agenda? We taxpayers should hope not but we should be suspicious!
Prince Edward Island
Back in late 2021 the PEI government announced they would provide free heat pumps for any island household with income of $35K or less and since then they have raised the household income level to $55K but its not working! Their reasoning was because electricity and oil costs (the two main sources of heating households in the province) were very high they would pay to have the pumps installed as PEI seeks to reach “net-zero energy consumption” by 2030! In a province with only 59,000 households, thousands of them indicate they have been waiting for the installations for a long time so the province has now increased the household income to $75K. It certainly appears their provincial politicians are working hard to increase the backlog. It’s becoming harder and harder to find any politicians in Canada or elsewhere that exhibit even a little common sense!
Down Under to Australia
Back in early 2019 the government of NSW (New South Wales) granted approval for a 2,000 MW proposed pumped storage facility at a then estimated cost of US$3.62 billion with commissioning expected in 2024. The approval was granted as the province sought to shut down their coal plants and move to zero emissions and the pumped storage capacity would reputedly be capable of generating 2,000 MW per hour for 175 hours. Sounds like a dream by the politicians in NSW and recent events have perhaps, highlighted their dreams have been shattered! Apparently, the initial costs have ballooned (some estimates are as high as US$9 billion) and the commissioning date in now anticipated to be December 2027 or even later. To make matters worse, recent news was the 2,400-ton boring machine has become stuck under a cave-in so has ground to a halt! Sure looks to be yet another group of politicians and bureaucrats with a shortage of common sense! It appears to be Australia’s version of Muskrat Falls!
Oil City battery energy storage project ‘dead in the water’: mayor
The captioned article in the Sarnia Observer a week ago could be construed as an “ironic” happening as it occurred near to where oil was first discovered in North America back in 1858 when James Miller Williams was drilling for water. The location of the well at that time was called Black Creek but was subsequently changed to Oil Springs and is located about 30 kms southeast of Sarnia, Ontario. Renewable Energy Systems Canada (they claim they are the world’s largest renewable energy company) asked for support from the local council as a requirement to seek a blessing from IESO for a proposed BESS (battery energy storage system) but the mayor and council declined to support them. Perhaps nostalgia played a role as those BESS units are seen as support for the unreliable and intermittent nature of renewable energy from wind and solar which our politicians seem to believe can replace fossil fuels. Nice to see some politicians have basic common-sense!
Over to Germany
It is worthwhile to visit a website titled “NoTricksZone” and a recent visit to the site had a short, sad, but true story about Germany’s electricity and gas prices in a revelation by P. Gosselin. The headline read: “My Household Electricity And Gas Prices Rise 87% And 178% Respectively!“ The article went on stating; “my own household had made a contract in 2021 that locked the heating gas and electricity prices for 2 years, our rates had stayed reasonably low. But that contract expires on April 1st, 2023, and last week we got the long-awaited letter announcing the new prices from our gas and electric utility.“ Many are aware Germany, under Angela Merkel, went full bore on what was labelled as “Energiewende“; simply defined as, “the ongoing transition by Germany to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply“. As it turns out Energiewende has pretty well failed on all of its objectives due to their push for wind and solar, elimination of their nuclear baseload generation coupled with their shutdown of their variable coal generation plants. They have become the perfect example of what “not to do” but many countries have emulated them and are finding themselves in a similar situation with energy poverty climbing.
An article from October, 2022 stated: “One in four Germans are currently energy impoverished, up from one in six in 2018.“ Those are very dismal results and a reflection on how unconnected from society elected politicians and their bureaucrats have become in their push to achieve the “net-zero” emissions target. In the meantime China, India and many other countries have rejected the call to move in the same direction, so they are lifting many of their citizens out of energy poverty.
The above short stories hopefully highlight the apparent disregard most of our elected politicians have for all but the elites in our democratic countries but it is time to call them out. Join the fight and let them know how they are failing the majority of voters and in the process are causing energy poverty.
There is nothing “just” about the “Just Transition”!