Looking at IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) generation data for two recent days clearly points out why CanWEA (now called CanREA) lobbied the McGuinty led Ontario Liberal Party so vigorously to be granted “first-to-the-grid-rights” for industrial wind turbines (IWT)!
The evidence becomes clear if one looks at how those IWT fell flat on March 12, 2023, delivering only 7,215 MW over the full day representing only 6.1% of their capacity. Thankfully Ontario’s natural gas plants were at the ready as outlined in a prior post delivering 43,653 MW so filled the gap on a low demand day.
Screenshot of March 12, 2023
Just two days later on March 14th those IWT were spinning with IESO forecasting they would generate 72,396 MW or 61.6% of their capacity. The foregoing was ten (10) times more than they delivered two days earlier and clearly highlights their intermittent and unreliable nature and why CanWEA lobbied long and hard for “first-to-the-grid-rights”! Even with higher demand on the 14th, IESO appears to have curtailed about 3,450 MW of IWT generation and that added costs NB: of over $400K ($120/MWh) on top of the $9.3 million ($135/MWh or 13.5 cents/kWh) for grid accepted generation.
Screenshot of March 14, 2023
It should be noted we currently have just over 2,000 MW of our nuclear plant capacity out for refurbishment, so currently, hydro coupled with natural gas plants are what we are most dependent on to keep the lights on and businesses operating. Thankfully those gas plants supplied 26,206 MW on the 14th and at the peak hour (hour 20) when demand reached 18,446 MW, hydro supplied 5,568 MW, wind 2,822 MW and gas plants 1,550 MW. The balance of our needs at that hour came from our nuclear plants and imports from Quebec Hydro.
We should be thankful it wasn’t a cold day or Quebec Hydro would have had much higher demand as over 60% of their households heat with electric furnaces and baseboards. Had that happened however our gas plants would have been able to supply what was needed.
When those refurbished nuclear plants are back up supplying more baseload power any excess IWT generation will drive up costs further and increase the renewable energy subsidy now absorbed via our provincial taxes. That will reduce the governments ability to spend more to improve our health and education systems and other necessary services with the money instead aimed at ensuring our costs of electricity remain competitive.
NB: IESO recently released their 2022 Year in Review and in it noted the “average cost of power” for Class B ratepayers was 9.98 cents/kWh after the excess cost of about $6.5 billion for what wind and solarare guaranteed to be paid, was absorbed by taxpayers and would have increased Class B prices by a minimum of 5 cents/kWh.
Jocelyn Bamford as host of one of the News Forum Shows kindly invited me and Dan Mcteague (Gas Price Wizard) to be on the NEWS FORUM podcast to discuss energy affordability in Canada and Ontario. The link is below and please ignore the bouncy head of the old guy (me) as I do that frequently when I am on the radio but no one can see it.
Jocelyn asked great questions of both of us and you can tune in at the following link but if you are bothered by the bouncing head you can simply listen to the podcast.
The below screenshot of IESO data for the past several days clearly demonstrates why Ontario needs the reliability of natural gas to fill in for when the sun’s not shining and/or the wind’s not blowing. At the bottom left of the screenshot the “Generation by Fuel Type – Hourly” highlights Ontario’s baseload capacity which is principally nuclear and hydro in the orange and blue colours. Most hydro is classified as baseload but part of it is considered as “variable” generation so is able to ramp up or down as needed when grid demand rises or falls. Nevertheless daily demand frequently is well above what those two sources are able to provide so natural gas plants need to be at the ready when those renewable energy sources are in the doldrums.
The foregoing is demonstrated by the large and small hourly generation from the green (industrial wind turbines or IWT) and yellow (solar) portions of the chart which at times generate as much as hydro and at other times very little! Simply looking at the daily peak demand hours it is readily apparent from the visual observation of the chart that wind and solar often are missing. Natural gas generation (dark blue) and its rammable ability are required to fill in the gaps as is obvious once again from just a quick glance.
Just looking at one days IESO data contained in the above chart clearly shows why we cannot live without natural gas plants and their ability to step up when needed. Looking at February 24th at peak hour 19 (hour ending at 7 PM) natural gas generated 4,907 MWh, hydro 6,088 MWh but solar was absent and those IWT only generated 715 MWh versus their peak generation of 2,516 MWh for the day at 3 AM when peak demand was at its low point for the full 24 hours.
The above is a clear demonstration of the unreliable nature of IWT and why natural gas generation is needed unless the objective is to create blackouts!
The Toronto Sun newspaper had a February 23, 2023 article written by Lorrie Goldstein noting a report released by the CCI (Canadian Climate Institute) disclosed Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2021 by 19 million tons or 2.8%. Goldstein pointed out correctly that the results fly in the face of past assurances from the likes of PM Trudeau and former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson that they would decline! The article went on to point out the impossibilities to achieve the goals they had set unless they shut down Canada’s complete industrial sector along with our oil and gas sector. In other words unless they cripple the Canadian economy the goals, they have committed to will be unachievable!
While Goldstein correctly points out the negative place Trudeau and his minions now find themselves, the picture painted by the CCI’s report was actually spun differently by them! To wit: The CCI press release about the results had the following quote from Rick Smith, President of CCI:
“It’s promising to see Canada starting to make tangible progress in reducing carbon pollution, especially coming out of the pandemic. Time is short, and our goals are ambitious.Hitting those goals is crucial to Canada’s future security and prosperity.
Perhaps the foregoing quote from Smith (formerly head honcho at Environmental Defence) is simply a take on the old idiom; “don’t bite the hand that feeds you“ based on the CCI’s charitable status. A review of their year-end March 31, 2022 filing with the CRA indicates their employees are well paid and we should suspect Smith is at the top of the following chart from their filing:
It is also worth noting Rick Smith and Gerald Butts (PM Trudeau’s former Principal Advisor) are closely connected as both were the heads of two of the Strathmere Group’s 12 members as outlined in a series of articles. Smith also has a close relationship (they even co-authored a book) with Bruce Lourie, one of the CCI’s directors and he is also listed as the Secretary-Treasurer of the CCI in the CRA filings.
If one examines their CRA filing as a “charity” it discloses gross revenue of $2,487,656 with $2,433,119 (97.8%) of it simply our tax dollars handed to them by the federal government. Please note they didn’t claim any of their total expenditures of $3,646,724 as being “on charitable activities”.
It is apparent based on the numbers above the CCI overspent their revenue by about $1.159 million. Rest assured they will seek additional taxpayer funding and a recent search on the Government of Canada’s “Grants and Contributions” website indicates they were handed $500,000 on December 5, 2022 by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change where Minister Steven Guilbeault now hangs his hat! The grant is reputedly to do a “Policy analysis and stakeholder views on climate and environmental impacts of inactive oil and gas wells“.
If one seeks financial information on the CCI website the only information one can find for their 2021-2022 year is the following one page “snapshot” and it’s in their “Annual Impact Report”:
I would think based on the foregoing, 99% of all Canadians would not consider anything the CCI contributes to Canada and Canadians to be what can be considered charitable.
The question that anyone examining the financial aspects of this “charity” called the Canadian Climate Institute should immediately ask is:
Why in hell should the CCI be considered a charity when here in Canada and in so many other places around the world we are seeing “energy poverty” skyrocket? Charitable food banks are pressed to help families suffering from poverty caused by increased costs of energy in the form of intermittent and unreliable renewable energy as well as carbon taxes on fossil fuels needed in so many aspects of our day to day living from farming to delivering the food to your local grocery store. Paying our tax dollars to ENGO such as the CCI amplifies the unjust treatment we are now experiencing!
To paraphrase Rick Smith’s ramble: Hitting the goals to reduce emissions is crucial if the plan is to increase energy poverty!
Time to right the wrongs and rescind the charitable rights of these hundreds of ENGO here in Canada using our tax dollars to further escalate energy poverty!
The foxes are truly running the henhouse as expressed in an earlier article related to the eco-warriors and their push for renewable energy from intermittent and unreliable industrial wind turbines (IWT)! Those same eco-warriors are also sold on solar panels but once again they seem unable to grasp the very old idiom from the 1500s; “Can’t see the forest for the trees”.
One of those eco-warriors, Ecojustice, a charity who in their October 31, 2021, filing with the CRA claimed they spent $5.6 million on charitable activities and $5.5 million on compensation which respectively represents 68% and 67% of gross revenue ($8.2 million). The foregoing presumably doesn’t include the $700K spent on advertising and promotion. Quite the charity; and further claiming, “Solar and wind” power are now the cheapest sources of power on the planet” but fail to provide facts to back up the spurious claim. Seems a stretch for a charity stating they are an “environmental law charity”! Ecojustice are the legal representatives fighting the Government of Newfoundland on behalf of the CAC (Citizens Against Clearcutting) in respect to 11 square kilometres that will be clearcut as blessed by an environmental assessment. They seem to blatantly ignore, “the rule of law”! It seems humorous Ecojustice in a post on their website in February 2022 in the opening paragraph states: “Going vegan will save the world!” headline there’s another that warns of deforestation done in the name of soy or how much water goes into making almond milk.” Confusion reigns supreme!
While the Ecojustice post is about “climate change” and what they are doing to end fossil fuel use, it brought to mind issues related to California who reportedly produce 80% of the world’s almonds. The article (from 2015) noted growing those almonds annually in California uses three (3) times the water the city of Los Angeles uses. One should expect the use of that amount of water would surely impact the aquifers in a state frequently experiencing droughts! Why not simply use the land for solar farms as much of state already does?
A later article (August 6, 2019) then the one referenced above refers to a report from Nature Conservancy suggesting, “estimates the state will need to cover an area at least twice as large as Yosemite National Park (747,946 acres) with solar panels and wind turbines” should it plan to meet its goal of 100% clean energy by 2045. The article also notes “A state law now requires water regulators to figure out how to balance their accounts so that groundwater levels stop dropping. (For the past 50 years California has been pumping far more water out of the ground than filters back into aquifers.) To comply, farmers would have to stop irrigating at least half a million acres, according to a study by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.“
Along the foregoing lines, a posting on “ElectricRate.Com” on October 2022 titled “California Solar Facts in 2023” states; “California is currently the No.1 state for solar power in the U.S, with over 32 GW of solar capacity installed.“ To put that in perspective 32 GW is 32,000 MW and is currently very close to the total of Ontario’s grid connected capacity. As if to top things off California’s climate plan, (according to an article on June 23, 2022) “will need about 30 times more electric vehicles on the road, six times more electric appliances in homes to replace gas appliances, 60 times more hydrogen supply and four times more wind and solar generation capacity.“ We should be pretty sure that will require quite a few acres which could well include farmland and deforestation but it will make the eco-warriors happy!
If one then travels east in the U.S.A. to Massachusetts, you discover an article in the Boston Globe discloses deforestation has occurred as “misguided state incentives have encouraged building solar farms on undeveloped land.” The article was dated July 12, 2020, and at that date they quoted one individual who said “about 10,000 acres of the state’s forests have been cleared for solar farms“. Interestingly Massachusetts also claims it is a national leader in solar power in the same article. The following picture and description is from the same article demonstrating how deforestation in the state is happening to create “solar farms”! Massachusetts currently has about 4 gigawatts (4,000 MW) of installed solar capacity so at 5 to 10 acres per MW some 20 to 40 thousand acres of Massachusetts land containing forests or used as farmland have been converted to generate electricity with solar panels that were probably manufactured in China. Hard to understand how this is beneficial to humanity and will do anything to reduce emissions!
Much of a forest in Brimfield has been transformed into a solar farm
It appears a significant portion of Canadian farmland is also being covered with solar panels according to an article in the Western Producer noting; “22,500 farms nationally reported having renewable energy production on their operations, up from a little more than 10,000 in 2016”. The following picture is posted on the website of the Canadian Climate Institute (CCI) giving credence to the foregoing strongly suggesting the area covered with solar panels was formerly farmland.
As one would expect, the CIC is an outgrowth of the Trudeau government’s largesse and their 2021 report filed with the CRA indicates 98% of their gross revenue came from Government Grants (taxpayers) so naturally they fully support the push for “net-zero” emissions from wind and solar electricity generation.
The CIC is now headed up by none other then Rick Smith, a close alumnus of Gerald Butts, former Principal Secretary to PM Justin Trudeau. Both Butts and Smith were “head honchos” of two members of The Strathmere Group back in 2009 and signatories to the agreement signed between the American and Canadian eco-warrior groups!
It sure appears obvious those eco-warriors, fully supported by the current Justin Trudeau led government truly; “Can’t see the forest for the trees”!
PS: My new computer crashed and the reason for my absense over the past couple of weeks.
Yesterday, November 26th, 2022, demonstrated why Ontario’s numerous contracted wind and solar owners are so excited about the Ontario Minister of Energy’s objective to secure 1,500 MW of storage capacity be it pumped hydro or BESS (battery energy storage systems)!
Both IWT (industrial wind turbines) and solar panels generated lots of unneeded electricity over the day based on IESO daily generation report and it was more than they tell us: the reason why, is there are approximately 600 MW of IWT capacity and 2,200 MW of solar capacity that are DER (distributed energy resources) so those are not reported by IESO as their minimum reported capacity per generation source is 20 MW and DER’s generation is used by local distribution companies to supply power to communities they serve. They also include other generation sources such as small, hydro, natural gas, and biomass!
The day was atypical of Ontario’s spring and fall demand as reflected by the fact Ontario’s peak demand was a relatively low 16,345 MW and it occurred at Hour 18 (hour ending at 6 PM). Throughout the day the wind was blowing and resulted in IESO forecasting IWT would generate almost 76,600 MW but they only reported about 70,500 were accepted into the grid suggesting 6,100 MW were curtailed. The foregoing translates to a cost of $732,000 for curtailed generation and $9,518,000 for the grid accepted generation. This resulted in an average cost per MWh (megawatt hour) of $145.39 for IWT generation.
Over the day the HOEP averaged only $7.84/MWh and for hours 12 to 15 was $0.00/MW. In those 4 hours we saw our neighbours in Michigan, NY and Quebec receive 7,314 MW at zero cost which is about what 813 average Ontario households would annually consume and what 243,000 households would consume daily. If those MW we gave away were generated by ground mounted solar (contracts pay them $440/MWh) the cost would have been $3.2 million and if IWT generation the cost would be about $987,000!
Now, it is worth reflecting on how IWT and solar owners could further benefit from those low HOEP market prices.
If the BESS or pumped hydro storage units are owned by the same companies who generated that surplus power for which they were paid either $440/MWh or $135/MWh (sold for 0.00/MWh) turned around and simply scooped that power up via a licensed electricity trader and stored them they could simply hold them until the price jumped the next day or two.
All those “storage owners” would need to do is check the weather forecasts to see if the sun will shine or the wind will be blowing in the next day or two.
As it turns out today (November 27th, 2022) is a perfect example of how they could increase their revenue at the expense of Ontario’s ratepayers. Today the wind is not blowing much, and the sun isn’t shining throughout the province. At Hour 7 AM today the HOEP jumped to $69.25/MWh and since then, has averaged $62.25/MWh meaning those 7,314 MWh at zero cost if sold back would have generated $455,297. The foregoing would simply add to the revenue those solar panels and IWT generated yesterday at the expense of Ontario’s ratepayers.
It should be recognized yesterday could have allowed them to generate a lot more revenue via storage as the example above only reflected the four hours of $0.00/MWh whereas the overall average for the full 24 hours was a paltry $7.84/MWh or 0.078 cents/kWh.
It seems obvious the IWT and solar generators recognize the unique ability to reach even deeper into Ontario ratepayers’ pockets but what is not obvious is if our Minister of Energy, Todd Smith and the IESO will prevent them from doing so.
Based on the directive to obtain “a minimum of1,500 MW of storage” it appears the politicians and bureaucrats may well allow them to do exactly what those IWT and solar owners are hoping for and planning to do!
I was on Marc’s show today to talk about what is going on with the push to electrify our transportation sector in Canada and elsewhere. The principal topic we covered was about the tax dollars flowing to support the conversion of our cars and light trucks in Canada and other countries to those electric ones. We also touched on energy poverty, pipelines and/or the lack of them and the billions of tax dollars governments are handing out.
You can listen to the podcast here starting at 51:20 and ending at 1:08 here:
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).
I had the pleasure of being on Marc’s show today (June 13 2022) where we covered a lot of ground. Our chat included what the newly elected Ford Government could do in respect to wind and solar contracts, New Zealand planning to tax cow burps to get their emissions down, the Line 5 pipeline and Clean Energy Credits in Ontario as well as a touching on a few other topics.