Enjoy the weekend and the balmy weather? Good: you paid millions for it.
Ontarians waited a while for Mother Nature to bless them with a good weekend and it finally happened. June 8th and 9th were beautiful days filled with sunshine and temperatures that were warm but not hot. A nice breeze added to the two spring days.
So, while Mother Nature treated us nicely, that meant people were out enjoying the weather and electricity consumption was, as it usually is during the Spring and Fall, low. Consumption at its lowest (Ontario demand) point over the weekend was 10,564 MW during one hour, and average Ontario demand over the 48 hours was a very low 12,975 MW*.
The combination of nice weather and low electricity consumption however, created an expensive weekend for Ontario ratepayers. Those breezes were generating surplus wind power from industrial wind turbines and water was flowing through our rivers and through and over our dams. The combination cost Ontario ratepayers lots!
For example, wind which delivered 39,870 MWh but the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) was, at the same time, getting IWT to curtail wind — that amounted to 58,870 MWh**. Those wind power operators were paid $120.00/MWh for curtailed wind and $135.00/MWh for grid-accepted wind.
Wind at 3.7 cents a kilowatt hour? How about 31?
So, collectively over the two days, wind generation and its curtailment alone cost ratepayer $12.448 million or over $312.00/MWh (31.2 cents/KWh).
Over those same two days our net exports (exports minus imports) were 123,960 MWh and most of it was sold at negative prices. Those 123,960 exported MWh cost Ontario’s ratepayers an average price in excess of $115/MWH, so that was another $14.3 million added to the weekend’s expenses!
It also appears IESO were spilling quite a bit of hydro as well. Scott Luft estimates hydro spillage was somewhere around 50,000 MWh** which would add a further $2.3 million to our expensive weekend.
As if these costs weren’t enough, we also shut one nuclear plant down early Saturday morning and steamed-off nuclear power at Bruce Nuclear — that resulted in another waste of around 43,700 MWh at a cost of $2.884 million which Ontario’s ratepayers are obliged to pay.
And just to put some icing on the cake, our 7,925 MW of gas plants (backing up renewable intermittent wind and solar generation) were idling all weekend at a cost (estimated) of $10,000 per MW of capacity per month. That cost ratepayers about $5.2 million for those two days.
So add up the waste of the two days for curtailed wind of 58,870 MWh, steamed-off nuclear of 50,000 MWh, spilled hydro of 43,700 MWh and net exports of 123,960 MWh you will see Ontario’s ratepayers will pay for 276,530 MWh of unneeded power, or 44.4% of what was actually consumed.
That’s almost $26 million. For one weekend.
If one includes idling gas plants, total costs were north of $31 million to be paid for, but provided absolutely no benefit to Ontario ratepayers!
*Nuclear power alone could have supplied about 85% of total consumption over the 48 hours.
**Thanks to Scott Luft for this information.