IESO continues their “Black Friday” sale

NY and Michigan benefit while Ontario ratepayers pick up the costs

Well, I guess it was inevitable; IESO would be forced to continue with their “Black Friday” sale as the Christmas week produced “mild” winter weather on Christmas day, Boxing Day and the Friday following them.  Mild weather meant average Ontario demand over the three days was a low 341,221 MWh per day even though Christmas lights were in full bloom! Base-load power from nuclear and must-run hydro could have easily supplied our needs however, wind and solar are also classified as base-load and the wind was definitely blowing.

IESO sold off net exports of 178,152 MWh (what 2.3 million [50% of all households] average Ontario households would consume in three days) at big discounts to NY, Michigan, Quebec and a few other neighbours.  The average sale price over those three days was $14.74/MWh or 1.5 cents/kWh. Based on the (so far in 2019) annual average cost reported by IESO for October (GA+HOEP = $127.55MWh) the sale price represented an 88.4% discount.   Net exports were sold for a loss of $20.1 million!

Over those same three days curtailed wind was about 21,900 MWh and grid accepted wind generation came in at 103,652 MWh so collectively represented 70% of Ontario’s net exports and added $16.6 million to the costs of electricity. If all grid accepted industrial wind generation was sold as part of net exports it would have earned only $1.63 million instead of the $16.6 million of its cost for curtailed and grid accepted generation.

If Ontario had absolutely no industrial wind turbines in the province, our net exports over those three days would have cost us a maximum of $5.13 million ($20.1 million – $16.6 million + $1.63 million). In fact, it would have probably cost even less as those trading in the HOEP market are aware of our surplus generation and bid in at very low prices knowing IESO must sell it to avoid grid related problems.

So, another three days saddles Ontario ratepayers with costs of $20.1 million without any reduction in either our carbon emissions or the carbon tax the Federal government impose!

Perhaps it’s time the Federal Government handed out carbon credits to Ontario ratepayers for our long standing support in reducing emissions for New York, Michigan, Quebec and those other markets benefiting from our clean electricity exports.   Based on the loss over those three days of $20.1 million annualized ratepayer costs would amount to almost $2.5 billion.

If us long suffering Ontario ratepayers were handed some “carbon credits” to help us offset those new and annoying “carbon taxes” on our home heating and other bills we might be able to put up with this continuing debacle!

If not IESO should find a way to fix this mess!

Merry Christmas to Michigan and New York

From: Ontario’s ratepayers

Once again, the generosity of Ontario ratepayers stood out on the recent Sunday and Monday (December 22nd and December 23rd) before Christmas day.

Ontario’s demand was relatively low, averaging only 357,900 MWh over the two days so our grid operator (IESO) had a “Black Friday” sale.  They pretty well gave away almost all of our surplus generation by exporting (net exports) 118,680 MWh* over those two days.  They sold off those net exports of 65,592 MWh on the 22nd and only charged $4.32/MWh and another 53,088 MWh on the 23rd for the discount price of $5.16/MWh. That means those 118,680 MWh generated only about $560K (rounded) while ratepayers absorbed all of the costs under the contracted and/or regulated prices.

Co-incidently the IWTs (industrial wind turbines) were active over the two days so IESO had them curtail approximately 22,500 MWh but accepted 117,237 MWh on our grids.  Ontario ratepayers paid the price for both the curtailed ($120/MWh) and the grid accepted ($135/MWh) wind.  If one tally’s the MWh of grid accepted and curtailed wind one notes it represented 117.7% of net exports over those two days. The costs of the two of them came to approximately $18,527,000 which Ontario ratepayers are on the hook for.  The unneeded generation from IWT therefore represented a cost to ratepayers of almost $18 million ($18.527 million less the $560K paid for those net exports at the HOEP price).

As is obvious from the information above, Ontario didn’t need the IWT generation but are obliged to pick up their costs.  The only ratepayer benefit resulting from paying for curtailed and grid accepted wind is knowing we helped our neighbours in Michigan, New York and a couple of other grids connected in getting very cheap electricity.  Let’s hope they appreciate our charitable attributes!

Doing the above on a continual basis would cost Ontario ratepayers more than $3 billion annually.

*Annual average consumption of over 13,000 Ontario households

Environmental Charities and Foundations

Where the top 10% of the middle-class hang out

Researching the Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration members compelled the viewing of various filings on the CRA’s website. The filings for “charities/foundations” requires them to provide a small amount of information associated with how much the top 10 employees operating them are paid within salary bands.  Those bands start at $1 to $39,999 and climb by $40K increments until reaching $199,999. From that point forward they jump by $50K until reaching $349,999.  The last band is “$350,000 and over”.

With the foregoing in mind it is fascinating to look at those charities/foundations and, in several cases, when the chosen member was associated with a university, to look at the university foundations holding charitable status in support* of the entity chosen as a member of the “Collaboration”. One example of the latter is, “Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission” attached to McGill University. Ecofiscal recently suggested Canada’s “carbon tax” will have to rise to $210/tonne to possibly achieve our reduction in emissions committed under the Paris Agreement.

One of those on the list of 21 is not a Canadian institution and a couple of them can’t be found on the CRA’s charities listing which may mean they are using a different name as a “registered” charity but don’t disclose that name to the public on their website.  Another two of those in the “Collaboration” (Ivey Foundation and Trottier Family Foundation) each report having only four (4) employees on their payroll.

As a result of the foregoing there are only 132 employees falling into the various bands based on the CRA filings among the names associated with the collaboration.

Of the 132 employees located on the CRA’s listings, 102 or 77.3% are in bands exceeding the $200.000 and up category and 53 (40.1%) of them are in bands exceeding $300,000.  To top things off 26 or 19.7% of those 132 employees are identified as being in the “$350,000 and over” category.

It certainly appears the appointees managing those charities/foundations involved in the Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration firmly believe in the very old expression; “charity begins at home”.

Many of us wish they would stop using our tax dollars to achieve the above average remuneration for research and recommendations to the government that will probably result in a further rise in the “carbon tax” and our cost of living.

*Instead of a donation to the “entity” it is made to the university foundation who issue a charitable tax receipt but provide the funding for the research.

PS:  Full disclosure: the writer is a member of a charity contributing to our community but we  pay our executives nothing!

Gas Bills and Other ills-carbon tax

As cold weather sets in throughout Ontario in the late fall months, natural gas bills start to climb for 3.474 million (67.2%) provincial households using it as their heating source.  The climb in those bills in 2020 and subsequent years will reflect the increasing “carbon tax” at it moves from the $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 to $50/tonne in 2022. The tax was imposed by the Federal Government on provinces with newly elected governments who rescinded “cap and trade” or other programs reputedly designed to reduce emissions required to meet Canada’s Paris Accord targets.

If one examines their monthly Ontario gas bill it is interesting to look at the cost per cubic meter marked on the bill.  The bill found in my mail box indicated the cost per cubic meter was 14 cents.  Looking below on the bill noted the “Federal carbon charge” was 3.91 cents per cubic meter.  A quick calculation shows the “carbon tax” to be 28% of the actual commodity (gas) cost to heat Ontario households.  The 3.91 cents per cubic meter reflects the current tax at $20 per tonne meaning it will rise on an annual basis by 1.95 cents each year bringing it to 5.86 cents in 2020, 7.81 cents in 2021 and 9.76 cents in 2022 when it reaches $50 per tonne.   At that point should the commodity price remain at 14 cents a cubic meter the tax will be 70% of the commodity price.

In Ontario, the average household uses 90 GJ (gigajoules) of natural gas per year, equivalent to 2375 cubic metres bringing the “carbon tax” per household cost in the current year to $92.86 and $231.85 in 2022.  Ontario households will be sending about $805 million in additional taxes to Ottawa in 2022.

A recent announcement by Ontario’s Ford led government is aimed at expanding natural gas delivery to more communities.  Ironically its expansion could result in additional carbon taxes levied on Ontario households with those taxes destined for Ottawa—unless they are confident the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the appeal to rescind the carbon tax.

Rising gas bills-the unknown

However, if the current Federal Government win the appeal, and decide to increase the “carbon tax” to the $210 per tonne recommended by the Ecofiscal Commission it would mean a cost per average household of $972.80 annually by 2030, and payment of $3.379 billion to Ottawa tax coffers by Ontario residences who heat with natural gas.

Should the foregoing happen we should all expect to see and hear more about “energy poverty” as previously brought to Ontario by the McGuinty/Wynne led Liberal governments.

Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration-The Grand Finale

Those who have read the first five Phases of this series will recognize many of the P-CEC “collaborators” are connected to the Ivey Foundation and/or Bruce Lourie the “President” of the foundation.  They are connected by either or both; interaction with Mr. Lourie himself or via donations from Ivey Foundation directly or via the University they are associated with.

Those members of the P-CEC identified as connected, in previous articles are:  Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, Smart Prosperity Institute, MaRS Discovery District, Evergreen and Future Cities Canada, Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), Trottier Family Foundation, CESAR (Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research), and the Ivey Foundation.

Let’s have a look at a “collaborator” where Bruce Lourie has considerable influence:

Ivey Foundation—a P-CEC “collaborator” 

If one examines the Ivey Foundation’s December 31, 2018 annual report on page 8 they have included a summary of their grants by two categories, one of which is “Environment and Conservation”.  Their total grants in 2018 of $2.331 million were all allocated to that category. For the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 of total grants awarded ($8.038 million), 90% reputedly went to donees in that category!

A review of the CRA Charities listing for the Ivey Foundation over four years (includes 2015) suggests approximately $2.273 million in grants were specifically allocated to six (6) of the P-CEC collaborators either directly or via the associated university they are aligned with. One of the other “collaborators”, the Trottier Family Foundation (based on CRA info) appears to have contributed $4.691 million to some of the collaborators on a direct basis; eg: Ivey Foundation and Evergreen or to universities associated with some of the other “collaborators”.

A Bruce Lourie charitable Foundation he created and presumably directs (he is listed as a “director” in filings with the CRA Charities) is the Clean Economy Fund (CEF) which doesn’t appear to have a website. This “Foundation” was formerly called Summerhill Foundation* and was basically inoperative for several years but suddenly came alive in 2016/2017 and since then has received grants from the Ivey Foundation ($823.9K), the Echo Foundation ($514K),  The J. W, McConnell Family Foundation ($320K), another “collaborator”–Trottier Family Foundation ($225K) and the Donner Canadian Foundation ($708.7K).  Based on the limited information available from the CRA files it appears approximately $976K was used as grants by CEF for three (3) of the “collaborators” over four years.

The Ivey Foundation also donated funds to the recently sprouted; “The Transition Accelerator” (TA) affiliated with Carleton University. Bruce Lourie is a director and Chair of the Board along with Stephen Huddart, President and CEO of the McConnell Foundation (see above).  The McConnell Foundation provided large donations to Evergreen, a P-CEC collaborator but the CRA filings disclosed only a small donation to Carleton University in 2016 of $70K but they’ve committed $500K for 2019-2020.  In the case of the Ivey Foundation, Carleton University has received $1.225 million in donations since 2015 with the bulk in 2018. The TA identifies two other supporters as, Edmonton Community Foundation and CESAR, a P-CEC collaborator.  Findings like the latter make it hard to follow the money.

Bruce Lourie, collaborator, environmental thought leader and global expert on sustainable energy

Should one be inclined to wonder about the above fawning attributes to Bruce Lourie a simple google search of his name produces biographies attributing the foregoing to him. The first descriptor is certainly spot on but if you are inclined to be a “denier” of AGW, climate change or a “climate emergency” the first noun describing his attributes should prove to be a concern.

One of his biographies had this to say: “Lourie initiated the campaign to shutdown coal-fired power plants in Ontario—the single largest climate action in North America.” Based on that claim alone it is obvious Lourie wields considerable power within the ranks of certain politicians and their advisors with many of the latter now key unelected players in the governing Liberal Party.  We all must not forget Lourie was a leader of the GEAA (Green Energy Act Alliance), instrumental in getting Ontario Energy Minister, George Smitherman to develop the GEA leading to acquisition of unreliable and intermittent renewable energy raising the cost of electricity in Ontario by well over 100% since its 2009 passing.

As suggested in Phase One of this series it seemed likely, because of Bruce Lourie’s influential nature, he was the logical one bringing the “collaborators” together under the umbrella of the Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration, former Minister of Energy and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna appeared to want. I leave it to the reader to agree or disagree.

No matter if one believes or doesn’t believe Lourie was the orchestra leader in this, we should all expect any research from the collaboration will result in increased cap and trade taxes and other negative repercussions. Those will destructively impact Canada’s taxpayers and its economy!

NB: Should you wish to view Bruce Lourie’s legion of creations/connections where he sat as a director or advisor, etc. and those where he currently holds a position as director, advisor, etc. refer to Appendix A!

*This entity was mentioned in a 2012 article written by the author titled “Bruce Lourie’s Spider Web Grows and catches more Prey and Tax Dollars” and contained a web of his connections/influences.

**“Efficiency Canada evolved out of the 20-year-old Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance (CEEA), an industry association comprised of companies that sell energy efficiency products and services.”


Appendix A

Bruce Lourie’s Creations, Directorships, Advisory roles and University affiliations

Creations: Lourie’s creations are many and start with “Summerhill” which is three entities; a for-profit, Summerhill Group Inc., a not for profit, Summerhill Impact and a charity, Summerhill Foundation, now called Clean Energy Fund.  He also founded CEGN (Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network) which had recent name change to; Environment Funders Canada. He is also credited with founding the Sustainability Network and the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance.**

Directorships, past and present: Lourie was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Ontario Power Authority (since merged with IESO) by the McGuinty led Ontario Liberal Party as well as to IESO and the Trillium Foundation.  All three of those entities were owned by the taxpayers of Ontario.  Other Board appointments include:  The Philanthropic Foundation Canada, Canadian Institute for Clean Growth and Climate Change, Environmental Defence (also as President), Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, a Honourary Directorship of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and as an advisory Board member of the Canadian Energy Research Institute. Lourie is also identified as a Board member of Boreal Songbird Initiative which is US based out of Seattle, Washington.  This latter directorship is ironic as Lourie is an advocate for renewable energy in the form of industrial wind turbines which has a bad habit of killing birds.

Advisory Positions, past and present: Lourie is/was a member of the World Wildlife Funds Climate Advisory Committee, an adviser on Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, strategic adviser to the Sustainability Network, an advisor to Tides Canada and the McGuinty led OLP named him as an adviser on their Climate Change Advisory Panel.

Other Lourie claimed kudos: Another recent bio notes Lourie is a guest lecturer as the Said Business School at the University of Oxford and a senior fellow of the Smith School of Business and adjunct professor of the school of Public Policy at Queen’s University


Industrial wind turbines—good and bad news

Good News

Ratepayers in Ontario finally received some good news as Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Honourable Jeff Yurek, formally cancelled the 100 MW North Stormont “Nation Rise Wind Farm”.  The cancellation was based on the harm to “bat species” as the Minister noted in his decision: “I amend the decision of the Tribunal to find serious and irreversible harm to bats and revoke the approval.”  The project would have generated unneeded intermittent and unreliable power and cost Ontario’s ratepayers in excess of $400 million over the contract period.

The foregoing is welcome news for the battered ratepayers of the province.

Bad News

The bad news is related to just one day this past weekend.  On Sunday December 8th the wind was blowing throughout the province while Ontario’s demand for electricity was relatively low averaging only 15,231 MWh over the 24 hours according to IESO’s Daily Market Summary.  As a result of low demand and wind generating at about 83% of its capacity IESO were required to both curtail some of wind’s generation (approximately 10,800 MWh) but accepted 82,425 MWh into the TX (transmission connected) grid.  The curtailed wind at $120/MWh cost ratepayers about $1.3 million and TX accepted wind at $135/MWh or about $11.1 million bringing the total costs for wind to just over $12.4 million.

Additional to the above was other baseload power (nuclear and hydro) could have easily provided all the MWh needed for the day.  That meant IESO were forced to sell surplus power to our neighbours in NY, Michigan, etc. at (or lower) then the HOEP (Hourly Ontario Energy Price) average market price of $6.47/MWh.   If one uses the 2nd IESO GA estimate for November of $101.09 it means the net exports (exports minus imports) of 74.232 MWh cost Ontario ratepayers over $7 million (based on recovering just under $500K at the HOEP average price).

The output of those industrial wind turbines was also allowed, by IESO, to exceed our hydro power generation for 9 hours (8 AM though to 4 PM) which presumably means we were spilling a fair amount of that relatively cheap power but still paying for it!  IESO lack transparency on that aspect!

If Ontario experienced just 32 similar days to this past Sunday the $400 million saved by cancelling the Nation Rise project over 20 years of the contract would be erased!

Perhaps other projects currently operating in the province should be examined for the harm they are causing to bats and forced to shut down.  That might go some way in stopping the climbing costs of electricity for Ontario’s ratepayers.

Universities and the Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration

Examining the “collaborators” named by the Government in the original announcement about the winning bid for the $20 million in Federal funding to “generate, communicate, and mobilize trusted information, policy advice, and best practices for Canadians, governments, and stakeholders,” is an interesting exercise.  Eight of the names on the list can be directly connected to eight universities.

As one would expect those eight claiming research capabilities on the “Environment and Climate Change” issue, have, in the past, demonstrated support for the narrative of the Federal Government and its “climate emergency”.  No “climate change” deniers, were or are, discernable in any of the 21 names in the collaboration meaning the message emanating from the research, will confirm, what the former Minister, Catherine McKenna of Environment and Climate Change has repeated time and time again as she reiterated at a bar in Newfoundland:  “But you know, I actually gave them some real advice. I said that if you actually say it louder, we’ve learned in the House of Commons, if you repeat it, if you say it louder, if that is your talking point, people will totally believe it,” claims McKenna.”

The Universities on the list connected to the collaborators in no particular order are:  Carleton, Winnipeg, Victoria, Memorial, Waterloo, McGill, Calgary and Simon Fraser.  The collaborators linked to the various universities managed to get six provinces represented.

Efforts to determine the monies dedicated to the university connected “collaborators” is elusive.  The best that could be determined (it lacks specifics) was by examining the various universities charitable foundations etc. on the CRA’s Charities filings.  It seems surprising that universities are classified as “charities” but they are in most cases. Certain of the university charities/foundations are specific in nature (eg: religious or gender based) but the bulk are general.  Here is what the CRA tells us in respect to the various general filings for the 2018 year.

Gross revenue for the eight universities charitable foundations: $6,850.6 million

Total revenue from Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments was: $3,310.0 million

Percentage of gross revenue – 48.3%

Total charitable receipts issued by all eight universities was: $139.2 million

Percentage of gross revenue – 2.1%

Total revenue received from other charitable institutions* was: $144.3 million

Percentage of gross revenue – 2.1%

Total amount claimed by the universities as “charitable activities” was: $5,709.2 million

Percentage of gross revenue – 83.3%

The last one is the real shocker suggesting these eight (8) universities somehow handed out the equivalent of $170.00 in 2018 to every man, women and child in Canada.  It appears those professorial salaries/compensation (about 60% of annual revenue) are somehow considered charitable?

The CRA Charities filing appears to require each and every charity to complete, Form T1236 “Qualified donees worksheet” listing the individual donations made.  Only four (4) of the universities out of the eight (8) above completed the form and those four claimed they had only 63 donees who received $9,065,300.00 which is about .27 of 1% of the total amount claimed as “charitable activities”!

There is no problem with Universities being tax-free institutions, however, claiming they engage in charitable activities to the extent reported seems to fly in the face of transparency particularly when governments use them to sermonize the general population with our tax dollars.

Is it perhaps time for the CRA to require our schools of upper learning to report facts rather than myths!


*Other collaborators such as the Ivey Foundation, Trottier Family Foundation and other members of the Bruce Lourie creation; Environment Funders Canada are major contributors to several of the universities connected with the collaborators and are specific on the intended recipient(s) of their grant(s).