Ratepayers get Dinged Again for Nothing

Ratepayers get Dinged Again for Nothing

If the $43.4 million Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers paid for nothing Easter weekend wasn’t bad enough news, unfortunately, the bad news keeps on coming!

Monday April 13th added another big chunk of money to the coffers of generators (mainly those who own the industrial wind turbines [IWT]).  The wind was blowing when it wasn’t needed but IESO took 58,700 MWh of it, added it to the grid and also paid for another 20,800 MWh of curtailed wind with our dollars.  Together IWT, (grid accepted and curtailed) added $10.5 million to the costs of generating power for the day.

Total “Ontario Demand” was 313,295 MWh but IESO accepted 406,320 MWh (IESO refer to that as “Market Demand”) even though the additional 93,025 MWh wasn’t needed.  IESO sold off the excess generation via the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) market and the maximum price they got for it was 0.00 cents/MWh.

The above easily demonstrates wind generation wasn’t needed. Grid accepted wind represented 62.4% of what was sold for -0.03 cents/MWh according to IESO’s Daily Market Summary, but it cost us $10.5 million.  As if to add to the grief, the additional 36,414 MWh we sold for nothing cost another $5 million, using IESO’s first GA estimate of $137.07/MWh for the month.  It’s also worth mentioning idling gas plants added approximately $3.2 million to the day’s costs to back-up wind and solar generation.

The total dollar amount of $18.7 million for another day of waste added $60/MWh to the costs of Ontario’s Demand of 313,295 MWh pushing costs close to $200/MWh or .20cents/kWh. We also probably got dinged for spilled hydro which would add further costs but IESO don’t disclose that information.

It’s time our current government recognized the catastrophe the McGuinty/Wynne governments created in respect to the electricity sector. I’m confident the ratepayers and taxpayers of Ontario would be delighted if the Ford government used their power to end this insane result of the Ontario Liberal’s Green Energy Act.

Fix it please as we taxpayers and ratepayers are tired of paying for NOTHING!

The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices should “fact check”

Back in 1989 (thirty-one years ago) Noel Brown, a senior UN environmental official told the Associated Pressentire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” Brown noted the Maldives would be under water as the oceans would rise by three feet. While the Maldives weren’t mentioned in the recent report from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (CICC), “rising sea levels” were; as one of, “the main hazards and conditions on the way to 2050.”

The year 2000 has come and gone but to the best of my knowledge no nations have disappeared due to rising sea levels. The Maldives recently announced they are opening four new airports in the current year.  The lack of them being under water however, hasn’t deterred the numerous “experts” involved with the CICC.  Higher sea level concerns for Atlantic Canada and BC were also included in the report by the Canadian Council of Academies (CCA) in their July 2019 report; the forerunner of the CICC’s report.  As pointed out in an earlier article CCA’s disclaimer under “Conclusions” saw them opting out of everything forecast in their report.  Despite the opt out position taken by the CCA the media only focused on the disastrous message.  Reuters noted the CCA report was a follow up to one from Minister McKenna’s ministry and reported:  “Canada’s unique geographic, environmental, and social identity shapes the hazards that it faces and its exposure to climate-related risks,” Eric M. Meslin, president and CEO of the CCA, said in the press release.”

Returning to the issue of “flooding” the CICC’s report on page 19 touts the Netherlands for their leading-edge ability to control flooding “even though a quarter of the country is below sea level.”  What those “experts” failed to note is “The low-lying Netherlands has been fighting back water for more than 1,000 years, when farmers built the first dykes.“  A search turned up an article confirming “flooding” in the Netherlands is not a recent event caused by the effects C0 2 on the atmosphere or melting artic ice!

The CICC’s report also highlighted severe flooding in Thailand in 2011 as if it was a one-off event.They ignored the probable cause which had nothing to do with “climate change”!  Had they looked back to 1942 they would have discovered a more severe flood and a YouTube video  highlighting the damage before “global warming”, the “climate crisis” or “increased emissions” was even a concept. Again, a simple search on the web by the CICC “experts” would have generated information as to why the 2011 flood occurred. One they may have found was a report by Richard Meehan, a civil engineer and adjunct faculty at Stanford University.  Mr. Meehan’s biography notes he “began his career designing and building irrigation and flood control works in Thailand in the 1960s”.

Mr. Meehan’s report notes: “Though monetary damages in the 2011 flood were unprecedented, the flood itself was not an extreme natural event, hydrological statistics variously suggesting a 30 to 75 year return period for a similar flood.”  The report states the reason for the monetary damages was essentially because “of poorly drained swampy lands on the lower Chao Phraya floodplain, including vast tracts of former swamps and riceland now occupied by very large industrial “estates” (or industrial parks in western terms), each the size of a city and home to hundreds of modern manufacturing plants developed in the 1970s and after.”  The message is clear: don’t build homes or industries in flood prone areas or at some point in the future the damages from a flood will be costly to you and/or your insurer!

The Charting our Course report does sprinkle in some benefits to “global warming” such as: “parts of Canada could benefit from warmer temperatures. Warmer winters could, for example, result in fewer cold-related deaths and illnesses and lower heating costs for households and businesses. Warmer temperatures in spring, summer, and fall could also open new tourism opportunities that previously did not exist.”

The following paragraph in the report however dispels those benefits by stating: “any benefits in a high-emissions scenario are likely temporary and short-lived. Benefits diminish as extreme climate events become more common and intense. Fewer deaths due to extreme cold are offset by more deaths from extreme heat*. Savings in heating bills are offset by increased use of air-conditioners in the summer.

It is interesting the word “likely” is used as it signals the 79 “experts” spending $20 million of our tax dollars are not really convinced those “high-emissions” will actually cause the damages they profess!

Despite the foregoing our senses should tell us the “experts” will ultimately recommend we need much higher carbon taxes to save the world from the likely “climate crisis”.

They might change their mind if they actually did proper research and “fact checked” their conclusions!

*Debunked in:  The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices is “Charting our Course”

Canadian Institute for Clean Growth and Climate Change got a name change

The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (CICC) is the outgrowth of a $20 million dollar handout by the Federal Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change going back to when the Minister was Catherine McKenna, aka; she who said: “if you repeat it, if you say it louder, if that is your talking point, people will totally believe it,”.

The CICC sprung from a contract awarded to the “Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration” a group of “carbon-tax” advocates determined to save the world from the “climate emergency” Minister McKenna declared via a motion in the House of Commons.

The original name signaled the outcome!

When conducting a search for the CICC under its original name, ie: the Canadian Institute for Clean Growth and Climate Change one discovers, even though the name was originally registered as such on July 15, 2019, it had changed to become “The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices”.

Presumably the registered name was viewed as the answer the Minister had decreed; signaling its intent before it had performed any research so, they changed it!

The number of CICC “experts” charged with the task of recommending actions to the Ministry is significant and include; 11 on the “Board of Directors”, 17 “Staff”, 37 on the “Expert Panels” and another 14 on the “Advisory Council”.  It is an expansion of the “Ecofiscal Commission” which numbered a mere 33 individuals with varying skills where funding came from a few charitable foundations. The Ecofiscal Commission finished up and recommended the “carbon tax” needed, to reduce Canada’s emissions, was $210/tonne.

Reviewing the 79 individuals involved with the CICC leads to discovering 13 of the 33 people involved with the Ecofiscal Commission are now a major part of the CICC and include notables such as Bruce Lourie, Stewart Elgie and Chris Ragan.  Our tax dollars will clearly be used to generate recommendations to increase the “carbon tax” well beyond the legislated $50/tonne.

The CICC website names the twenty-three organizations under the Environment and Climate Change Canada logo who “contributed to the development of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices”. Needless to say, the referenced “organizations” don’t include any with a dissenting view!

Their 80 page “Charting our Course” report states: “The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices is an unparalleled collaboration of experts at the top of their fields, from regions and communities across the country.”  They have obviously gathered all of Canada’s “Einstein’s” together (sarcasm intended) to produce a report that is a foregone conclusion.  Among those “experts” with doctorates are 15 economists, 7 philosophers, 2 political science grads and 1 climatologist. They have sprinkled the one (1) climatologist amongst the other experts but chose one who believesextreme weather events are intensifying and becoming more frequent because of climate change.”

The report suggests all of the “experts” will be; “Bringing clarity to Canada’s climate policy choices on the journey to 2050”.

In the minds of the “experts”, it is obvious their sense of “clarity” will be to recommend a much higher “carbon tax” so, one wonders, why are we wasting another $20 million of our tax dollars?

NB:  More to come about the “Charting our Course” report.

Pigs can fly and “Renewable energy should be the cornerstone of Canada’s net zero strategy”

A recent article in the Globe and Mail, as noted above, makes claims that cannot be supported by facts. The article tries to suggest Canada can be saved from the cataclysmic clutches of climate change but it is obvious the reporter (term used lightly) simply took what he was told and accepted it—no questions asked!

The article uses claims made by the spokespeople of the four parties who, in 2015, founded the Canadian Council on Renewable Energy (CanCORE).  Those four parties are the trade associations for the wind, solar, tides and hydro electricity generating companies.

Some of the information was taken from what appears to be a singular report on the CanCORE website from 2016 and embellished by the spokespeople, eg: “The flexible and dependable foundation provided by Canada’s existing waterpower infrastructure, coupled with the rapidly plunging costs of our wind and solar resources, makes renewable energy the least costly option for new clean and reliable power.”

The article says 60% of Canada’s electricity generation comes from hydro, 399.1 TWh  (terawatt hours) and 68% from all four.  So, the 8% difference came from wind, solar and tides.  If one reviews the latest information available from Natural Resources Canada in 2017, total electricity generation was 652 TWh .  Wind in 2017, is credited with the provision of 28.7 TWh, solar 3.3 TWh and tides with 0.2 TWh.

Further on in the article it says: “Waterpower is so abundant in Canada that increasing capacity at existing waterpower sites by less than 2 per cent would produce enough electricity to more than power Canada’s entire light-duty vehicle fleet.”  There is nothing in the article or the CanCORE report indicating what is meant by the “entire light-duty vehicle fleet” or it’s required power.  Putting that aside, a 2% increase in hydro generation would represent 8 TWh.

Looking at Ontario (only), OPG’s 2017 financial report noted hydro spillage was 5.9 TWh due to SBG (surplus baseload generation). The spillage was likely caused by wind generation added to the grid when it wasn’t needed as it is granted “first-to-the-grid” rights. To top things off, 2017 also saw 3.3 TWh of curtailed wind and ratepayers were required to pay for it along with the spilled hydro.  As recently reported Ontario has reduced emissions in the electricity sector by 18 MT (megatonnes) from 2010 to 2019 at a cost to it’s ratepayers and taxpayers of $23.8 billion.

To make matters worse for Ontario ratepayers, surplus power generation is sold in the export market at the Hourly Ontario Energy Price which is well below the contracted costs. Over the 10 years referenced above an average of 18.2 TWh annually were sold to Ontario’s neighbours. The cost to Ontario ratepayers was $12.5 billion.

While the current government of Canada has embraced the goal of achieving “net-zero” greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, the obsession, will devastate the Canadian economy no matter what claims are made by the associations of wind, solar and tides generators!

The individuals who provided their dubious non-factual rhetoric to the author of the Globe & Mail article did so for the sole purpose of furthering the financial well-being of members of their associations.  They ignore the further damage to Canada their recommendations would cause. They should not be treated by journalists as they are and must be questioned about their claims and those writing the articles should do proper research.

Ontario electricity ratepayers paid up big-time to reduce emissions

The “Ontario Energy Quarterly” is a report containing a myriad of information related to the Ontario electricity sector and seems to be a collective production of the Province, the OEB and IESO.  It includes a chart tracking Ontario’s electricity sector emissions from 2010.  The report always appears six or seven months after the actual reporting date.  Their recent report indicates as of the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2019 Ontario’s emissions had fallen from 20 megatonnes (MT) in 2010 to only 2 MT by June 30, 2019

To put the foregoing in perspective the Ontario Environment Commissioner in 2016 indicated Ontario’s emissions peaked at 208 MT in 2000 and according to the Federal Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Ontario’s emissions in 2017 had fallen to 158.7 MT.  So, Ontario’s emissions fell 49.3 MT meaning the 18 MT drop in emissions from the electricity sector represented 36.5% of it. At the end of the 2019 2nd Quarter, emissions from the electricity sector represented only 1.25% of total Ontario emissions in 2017 versus 11.5% in 2010 when total Ontario emissions were 174.1 MT.

The above was achieved without a “carbon tax” but it’s been an expensive proposition for ratepayers.

Costs of reducing 18 MT of emissions in the Ontario electricity sector

Many reports and articles related to reduction of emissions in Ontario’s electricity sector suggest wind and solar generation was responsible for eliminating coal generation in Ontario.  Those purveying the claims avoid the facts and fail to mention costs. The decade beginning in 2010 was the advent of above market contracts signed under the GEA for wind and solar that began to appear on our landscape.  Those contracts drove electricity costs up generating unreliable intermittent generation necessitating back-up from gas plants* including the TransCanada Oakville gas plant move which cost $1 billion.

Looking at generation for the past decade (2010-2019) from wind and solar is a relatively simple task as Scott Luft using IESO data, posted generation by source and estimated costs in charts (complete with text) starting with 2008.  He also charts our exports and its revenue over the same time period.

Wind: Let’s start with industrial wind turbine generation which in the ten-year period (2010-2019) resulted in accepted wind of 83.3 TWh and 10.5 TWh of curtailed wind.  The combined cost of the generation and curtailment was $12.760 billion representing an average cost per kWh of 15.32 cents.

Solar: Over the decade solar panels generated 21,9 TWh with most generation delivered to local distribution companies.  The costs of those 21.9 TWh was $10.504 billion or 48 cents/kWh.

Spilling water: As if to make matters worse, as Ontarians reduced their demand for electricity dropping it from 139 TWh in 2010 to 135.1 TWh in 2019 the generation coming from wind and solar created numerous situations causing SBG (surplus baseload generation) and IESO instructed OPG and other hydro generators to spill water rather than generate clean hydro power.  Once again Scott Luft has summarized available data and estimated the cost of the SBG for just OPG over the past five years. The cost was almost $500 million and was billed to ratepayers.

If one accepts the premise, wind and solar are responsible for the 18 MT reduction, then one must accept the emission reduction represented a cost to Ontario ratepayers of $23.764 billion including the $500 million from hydro spillage. That translates to an emission reduction cost of $1,320/tonne, well above the current carbon tax of $20/tonne and the one proposed by the Ecofiscal Commission of $210/tonne.

Exports: Over the past 10 years, IESO were busy selling our surplus power to NY, Michigan and other provinces and states.  In total, 182 TWh went south, east and west to our neighbours for the market price (HOEP).  Funds lost from those sales (net of transmission costs recovered) were the GA (Global Adjustment) costs of almost $12.5 billion or 6.8 cents/kWh.

It is worth noting; exports of 182 TWh were 173% of the 105.2 TWh of accepted wind and solar generation so, exporting less could have saved us that loss of $12.5 billion.

The foregoing clearly demonstrates the 83.3 TWh wind generated plus the 21.9 TWh solar generated power over the past 10 years wasn’t needed to reduce emissions in Ontario’s electricity sector!  We needed less intermittent unreliable generation as our nuclear and hydro generation (supported by less gas plant capacity) could have supplied our needs and we could still have exported 76.8 TWh.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford should demand the federal government recognize the above “facts” and reimburse the province’s ratepayers by either issuing 182 million tradeable “carbon credits” or pay the province the $23.7 billion we have paid to reduce our emissions. Either one would prove beneficial and when applied to the sector would serve to reduce Ontario’s electricity rates making the province more competitive, thereby improving our economic future.

Failing the above we residential ratepayers should all be looking forward to receipt of our rebate cheque even its only 90% of the $1,320 per tonne we have paid over the past 10 years!

*Gas plants generated 160.6 TWh from 2010 to 2019 at an estimated cost of $19.726 billion or about 12.3 cents/kW.


Knighthood within the Eco-royalty

The latest issue of the magazine, Corporate Knights is, as always, about clean capitalism and the latest issue does not deviate from that theme.  No matter which article you read it’s all about “climate change” and reducing emissions.  The magazine is published quarterly and distributed by the Globe and Mail and Washington Post.  Advertising dollars seem to come from those companies endorsed via their “rankings”. This issue contains a “Global 100 Progress Report” and many on that list have placed ads.

An article in this issue was written by Gideon Forman an analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation. For over 11 years Forman was Executive Director of CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment).  CAPE was and still is a relatively small charity with annual revenue of $386K (June 30, 2019 CRA filing) and received $107K of that from the Federal government. Nevertheless they claim many victories including phasing out coal plants, cosmetics pesticides, etc., etc. The David Suzuki Foundation on the other hand in their CRA filing for 2018 show revenue of $11.7 million and spent $1.8 million of those revenues on fundraising activities.

Forman’s article in Corporate Knights is titled “The man of wind, water and sun” and is a fawning article about Brian Iler, a lawyer who appears to reside on the Toronto Islands. Iler is an environmentalist and the article notes he “has been the creative legal mind behind a host of cutting-edge renewable energy projects, social ventures and co-ops that have challenged received wisdom.” The article goes on to note Iler was “the go-to counsel for Ontario’s cooperative sector,” and he “received a call from an engineer who wanted to erect wind turbines in Toronto. That was the start of the development of the iconic TREC wind turbine* at Exhibition Place now owned by Toronto Hydro. Finding a location for the wind turbine was difficult “until a naturalists’ group proposed Exhibition Place, but the zoning didn’t work.” A city official suggested; “Call it an amusement device” and “That’s what appeared on the building permit.”

Iler in April 2013 wrote an article about industrial wind turbines and in it he claimed “Scientists agree that the noise emitted by wind turbines ‑- the chief source of alleged health effects -‑ is basically indistinguishable from normal background sounds we experience in everyday life, whether we live in an urban or rural area.”

While Iler made the foregoing claim about wind turbines he was very upset about other noises and for several years fought against the Island Airport due to the “intolerable” noise.   An article in The Bulletin Iler penned June 6, 2018 stated: “That airport is a legacy heavy industrial use, completely out of step with the dominant recreational and residential character of our waterfront today.”  Iler was castigated in a letter from the CEO of Ports Toronto who, in his letter to Mr. Iler stated: “You are in fact the founding Chair of an organization dedicated to the airport’s closure, a position I might note that is clearly out of step with the sentiment of the vast majority of Toronto residents.”

The airport closes at 11 PM so one assumes the noise ceases at that time. Perhaps if Mr. Iler spent a few windy nights 500 metres from a 500 foot high wind turbine, he might not think of them as “an amusement device”!

Another part of the article commends Iler stating; “Iler is an expert on innovative funding models. Thanks in part to his efforts, Ontario has become a hotspot for renewable-energy-based community bonds, including SolarShare (a co-op that floats bonds to finance sun-powered arrays throughout Ontario) and ZooShare (a biogas co-operative).  Both of the foregoing have negatively impacted ratepayers and taxpayers in Ontario.

Ilier himself claims he played a major role in convincing the McGuinty led Ontario Liberal government to enact the GEA (Green Energy and Green Economy Act) in his biography (posted on his firms website).  He and other self-appointed luminaries such as Bruce Lourie, Marion Fraser, etc. were members of both OSEA and/or the GEAA (Green Energy Act Alliance) who convinced former Energy Minister and Deputy Premier, George Smitherman, to push the GEA through the provincial legislature.  Ratepayers of the Province have been paying the price of that “Act” since its enactment!

While Corporate Knights and environmentalists of the Gideon Forman ilk want to crown themselves and others such as Brian Iler; it is the ratepayers/taxpayers of Ontario who continue to suffer the consequences!

Perhaps it’s time for those who self-label themselves as knights to recognize they are charlatans.

NB: A contact of the writer disclosed the following suggesting another fact was untrue!

“The OPA called out Exhibition Place for claiming the wind turbine was the source of energy for charging their electric golf cart type vehicles. In fact, both turbine and charging stations were connected to the grid with separate accounts. As I recall, this was likely because the kWh payment for power delivered to the grid was higher than their kWh cost for the charging. Our point was that their claim about the wind turbine charging the golf carts was misleading to the public who might consider something similar.”

NBB: The Exhibition Place turbine was also created for the purpose on indoctrinating our children as this excerpt from a  August 28, 2012 indicates: “The Exhibition Place wind turbine doubles as the linchpin of a large-scale education program. In the 2008/2009 school year TREC reached more than 4,000 grade 5, 7 and 9 students.”

*The Trec Co-op Exhibition Place wind turbine is an abysmal economic failure as noted in an article penned in July 2014.

CanWEA’s “White Paper” opens doors to lower rates

Shortly after CanWEA’s President, Robert Hornung lamented about the Ontario governments cancellation of an industrial wind turbine project a post on their blog raved about a recently released whitepaper* titled “Wind Energy and the Ontario Market”. The paper was prepared specifically for the Canadian Wind Energy Association by Power Advisory LLC. The latter is the employer of Jason Chee-Aloy, former Director, Generation Procurement with the OPA (Ontario Power Authority), a McGuinty creation that has merged with IESO. One should assume Mr. Chee-Aloy played a significant role in contracting the many wind and solar projects by the OPA spread throughout the province and was probably the author of the “whitepaper”!  He presumably knows his way around the contracts he instigated.

The 45 page “paper” is sprinkled liberally with acronyms including one labelled “EAs” or environmental attributes and notes: “Within nearly all IESO contracts, the IESO retains ownership of all EAs, or similar non-emitting products, produced by generators under these contracts.  This is definitely the case for all wind generators under IESO contracts, no matter the contract type or vintage.”

While ratepayers would disagree with many recommendations in the paper the ones related to the foregoing suggesting IESO monetize those EAs has merit as noted in Recommendation # 6:

The wind energy industry should work with the IESO and other contract counterparty generators to explore monetizing associated EAs/RECs, where the revenues from the sale of EAs/RECs would be shared between these generators and the IESO.  The IESO could then credit all Ontario electricity customers with these revenues helping to lower electricity costs for them.”

No doubt, most ratepayers in the province would agree if we can monetize those EAs lets’ do it; BUT there is no need to share any revenue generated with the operators as they already receive well above market rates from those contracts that drove up electricity costs.

The monetization process would result in the issuance of “renewable energy certificates” (RECs) which could be sold by IESO in the carbon/emissions trading market and all revenues could be applied by them to reduce ratepayers’ monthly bills.

While we’re at it let’s do the same for solar, biomass, hydro and nuclear generation which are all deemed “emissions free”!

If the existing wind contracts can’t be cancelled let IESO at least be directed to generate revenue for the benefit of all ratepayers without sharing any of the revenue with the generators.

The other benefit that may well occur is the ability for the Ford led government to argue against the carbon tax imposed by the Federal Government in the upcoming Surpreme Court appeal.

This could turn into a big win for Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers!

*The term “white papers” originated in England as government-issued documents. One famous example is the Churchill White Paper, commissioned by Winston Churchill in 1922. Today, the term is most commonly applied to “deep dive” style publications.

Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration, Phase Four

As Yogi Berra once said, “it’s déjà vu all over again”!

My somewhat relentless review of the electricity sector started about 10 years ago as Ontario embarked on the unmitigated disaster that was the Green Energy Act and its focus on acquiring unreliable wind and solar generation. I was recently reminded; many of the ENGO names and individuals associated with my research back then are still around and have become more verbose. They are imbibing in more of the panic exercised years ago and using more tax dollars in the process. That conclusion was reached by researching the “collaborators” participating in the captioned, connecting names, reviewing websites and CRA’s Charities files to see where the money comes from and where it goes.  Those ENGO and individuals have moved on from renewable energy worship to “carbon tax” endorsement!

One example was one of those chosen as an expert collaborator highlighted in Phase Three.  MaRS Discovery District, a creation of the McGuinty led, Ontario Liberal ruling party. In 2014, MaRS received $26.7 million from the province and zero from the Feds. In 2018 the province gave them $31.7 and the Feds coughed up $2.9 million.  In other words, our tax dollars to them increased $7.8 million (29.2%) in four years.  Most readers will recall Ontario’s taxpayers bailed out MaRS failed real estate deal to the tune of $308 million. MaRS also receives revenue from other charities ($2.8 million in 2018) and hands out money to other charities such as Evergreen, (somewhere between $100/$500 thousand) one of the other “collaborators” in the P-CEC group.  MaRS also handed out grants to CEGN (Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network), a Bruce Lourie creation renamed Environment Funders Canada. Lourie is President of the Ivey Foundation another “collaborator” in the P-CEC group.

From outward appearances the chosen ones are destined to tell PM Trudeau’s government and his new “Environment Minister”, Jonathan Wilkinson, how much to UP the “carbon tax”!  MaRS, as noted in Phase Three, also received grants from the Trillium Foundation (provincially owned) and were granted money from another McGuinty creation; Friends of the Greenbelt (FOTG)–funded by taxpayers and another member of Environment Funders Canada. FOTG hand out grants to ENGO’s such as Environmental Defence where Lourie once held a vaunted position. As an aside the CEO of MaRS earns a salary north of $350,000 annually-not too shabby for a registered charity!

Now let’s look at two more of the “collaborators” connected with the Ivey Foundation:

Evergreen and Future Cities Canada—a P-CEC “collaborator”

It’s unclear what Evergreen brings to the table as a collaborator as their focus for almost 20 years has been to convert an old brickworks plant into what is an urban farmer’s and garden market.  Their CEO doesn’t appear to have a degree related to “climate” issues but according to their filing with the CRA it appears he may be paid in excess of $250K per year. Evergreen have done a remarkable job at raising charitable funds over the years, so, maybe that is the key to being chosen.  Revenue in 2008 was $5.758 million and in 2018 was $21.762 million, an increase of 277% in only 10 years.  Their 2018 annual report shows they received over $1 million from both the Provincial and Federal governments and over $500K from the Trillium Foundation (Lourie was a former Director and Trillium are members of Environment Funders Canada). The J. W. McConnell Foundation is also included in the same contributing group as Trillium and also have been a major grantor to one of the Lourie creations (more on that one in the future) and are also members of Environment Funders Canada. They donated $1.1 million in 2017 and $775 thousand in 2018 to Evergreen. In reviewing the Trillium grants listing, it shows they have granted over $1.8 million over the past few years to Evergreen.  MaRS (another collaborator) is credited with donating somewhere between $50K to $100K in 2018 and the same in earlier years. The Ivey Foundation has granted them at least $60K in the past few years.

Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), Simon Fraser University—a P-CEC “collaborator”

Often when researching individuals involved in predicting the end of the world due to “climate change” one finds the parties leading the predictions have little or no affiliation with the sciences needed to logically develop that line of thought.  In the case of ACT, it is led by Deborah Harford.  Ms. Harford is the Executive Director of ACT and her formal training indicates she holds an SFU “Bachelor of Communications and English, Communication and Media Studies”.  Ms. Harford is active in posting any articles favouring the concept of “climate change” as one would expect from her degree, but she posts none on the ACT website with a differing view. SFU prides itself on its affiliation with similar institutions including Clean Energy Canada (launched by Tides Canada) as they attract donations from charitable institutions such as the IVEY Foundation* (over $1 million since 2014), $900K from the McConnell Family Foundation, $2.3 million from the Trottier Family Foundation (another P-CEC “collaborator”!   Both of the latter are members of Environment Funders Canada.

Perhaps if one augments the perceptions of those handing out the grants, the money will continue to flow, to those who produce the prejudicial and supportive reports the grantor sought!  Just an abstract thought!

While Phases one through four of this series have raised the connection concept of the Ivey Foundation’s relationship with six of the P-CEC named “collaborators” there are a few more of interest. The tale of the tangled web will continue in the next Phase!

*A few hundred thousand dollars was also granted to Tides Canada.

Consuming less drives up costs for Class B ratepayers

The IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) released their September 2019 Monthly Market Report last week.  Ontario’s total consumption was 10.319 TWh (terawatt hours).  Looking back as far as September 2010 for comparison (the year following enactment of the GEA) Ontario consumption in September 2019 was lower than every year since then.  Consumption by Class B ratepayers this past September was down 8.7% (690.000 MWh-750,000 average households’ annual consumption) from September 2018. Class A ratepayers also consumed less (102,000 MWh or 3%) compared to September 2019.

Consuming less means lower costs, right?

The foregoing question/assertion certainly applies to pretty well everything we consume, if the price remains stable.

Due to the perplexity of how the electricity system functions in Ontario consuming less has a limited ability to reduce our costs.  Each and every generation source is basically treated differently in respect to their rank; on access to the grid, pricing (guaranteed or set by the OEB), length of contract term(s), and their perceived effect on global warming!  Both solar and wind generation, as examples of the latter, are granted “first to the grid” rights meaning they rank higher than nuclear plants and hydro generation units.  Additionally, original contract(s) offered prices in 2010 guaranteed for 20 years with large solar at 63.5 cents/kWh and wind at 13.5 cents/kWh along with a 20% guaranteed escalation clause related to increases in the cost of living (CoL).  At the same time IESO must contend with a trading market referenced as HOEP (Hourly Ontario Energy Price). IESO buys or sells generation based on shortages or surpluses to our grid connected markets such as New York, Michigan, etc.   What the HOEP values generation at and what we pay for it via those contracts evolved into what is known as the GA (Global Adjustment Mechanism) ie; contract value minus HOEP = GA.  Contracting for unreliable intermittent generation like wind and solar has made Ontario a supplier of cheap power for Michigan, NY, Quebec and other connected markets as the GA is not a part of the HOEP sale price.

As noted, Class B ratepayers consumed 8.7% less power in September 2019 versus 2018 and IESO reports our all-in cost (GA+HOEP) was $136.97/MWh versus $115.78 in 2018 for a jump of $21.19/MWh or 18.4%!  In the case of Class A ratepayers, because the HOEP fell from $29.94 in 2018 to $14.34 in 2019 they saw a reduction in their cost per MWh falling 7.7% from $77.70/MWh in 2018 to $71.73 in 2019.  The methodology of Class A pricing results in Class B ratepayers paying more of the GA when the HOEP is lower.

The next question one should ask is why is the HOEP lower if we consume less?

That question is related to facts such as, wind and solar generation get “first to the grid” rights.  As noted, September was a low consumption month as are most spring and fall months but that is when wind (in particular) generates the bulk of its power and is surplus to our needs.  The result is IESO is obliged to accept it and sell via the HOEP market or curtail it, which we also pay for.  IESO will also steam off nuclear or spill hydro both of which we also pay for.  When they are selling off the surplus our neighbours may not need the power but if it is really cheap, they will snap it up.  In September, as an example TX (transmission connected) and DX (distribution connected) wind combined was (according to my friend Scott Luft) 948,951 MWh including 141,485 MWh of curtailed wind.  Together the costs of unneeded generation was $126 million. The accepted wind generation was HOEP valued at less than $7.4 million adding $118.6 million to the GA pool. As it turned out accepted wind represented 75.7% of our net exports of 1,067,040 MWh and 50.9% of our total exports of 1,586,880 MWh in September. We clearly didn’t need wind generation in September nor since we started handing out those contracts!

To make the foregoing much clearer a read of Scott Luft’s recent post provides an excellent review of how much wind (accepted and curtailed) he calculated, was not exported.  It is truly shocking to see it is less than 10% in each year going back to 2006. Using September’s costs as the base to calculate how much it has affected ratepayers and taxpayers in Ontario for its output (over 37 TWh) since 2006 is a simple task.

Shockingly it represents a pocketbook cost of over $5.5 billion.

The electricity sector has taken $5.5 billion from the pockets of Ontario’s ratepayers/taxpayers just for wind related contracts.  The $5.5 billion could have actually been used to provide things like; better health care, tax reduction, infrastructure investments, electricity price reduction or flattening which would have attracted investments and created jobs.  Instead, we allowed our provincial government to hand out lucrative contracts to foreign wind and solar developers.  Many of those who rushed here to obtain those contracts have taken our money and sold their projects to our government pension funds and left Ontario for “greener” fields!

What the above shows is the Green Energy and Green Economy Act was a disaster for Ontario and will continue to negatively affect us until the contracts expire or our current government acts to cancel or amend them!

Canada’s government wants us to pay for our GHG emissions … and everybody else’s, too

From today’s Financial Post, another look at Canada’s emissions, and again, wondering why our government portrays us as the environmental bad guys?

Early in my banking career in a discussion about statistics I was told an old joke that rang true enough that it stayed with me. The story goes like this: An interview for a job opening attracted a mathematician, a statistician and an economist. The employer asks them each to calculate the answer to two plus two. The mathematician says four. The statistician, after studying it for an hour, declared the answer to be somewhere between three and five. And several hours later, the economist raises his hand to ask: What answer would you prefer?

The joke explains why it’s so interesting to examine economic data presented in isolation of other related data. For example: the popular manner to present data related to GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions is via “per capita” output, but a better measure would calculate GHG emissions against the economic output of the country. The reason is that the impact on emissions is affected by a country’s population density, its climate and its trade (especially exports) all of which have an effect on GHG emissions.

As one example, the new NAFTA (or USMCA) is a trade deal between Canada, with a population density of four people per square mile; Mexico, with 57 people per square mile; and the U.S., with 92 people per square mile. Obviously, density per square mile will have a direct impact on GHG emissions, and the ability to get products to business and consumer markets, be they imported or exported or produced locally. Similarly, each country’s climate will impact GHG emissions. Canada is much colder than either Mexico or the U.S. It’s why Canadians who can afford it head south in the winter, while the rest of us stay home and try to stay warm by generating GHG emissions.

Canada’s GDP in 2017 was $1.653 trillion and our international trade saw us export $549.6 billion or 33.2 per cent of our GDP. We imported $573.6 billion, leaving us with a trade deficit of $24 billion. Our largest exports were “energy products,” totaling $94.8 billion, mainly crude oil and crude bitumen.

Natural Resources Canada notes of Canada’s crude oil production: “GHG emissions per barrel of oil produced in the oilsands have fallen 29 per cent since 2000” and “Canada is the fourth largest producer and fourth largest exporter of oil in the world.” It also notes that the oilsands emit about 60 megatonnes of GHGs per year. That’s 8.5 per cent of Canada’s total emissions and 0.13 per cent of annual global emissions. Eighty per cent of the emissions in a barrel of Canadian oil are emitted by the end user — almost all of it outside of Canada.

Now, if one examines GHG emissions of Middle Eastern oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, one finds they emit more GHGs “per capita” than Canada — and way more GHG emissions per $1,000 of GDP.

In 2017 Canada exported $444.9 billion to its biggest markets: NAFTA and China (comprising 81 per cent of all Canadian exports). Those exports generated GHG emissions of 301 kilograms per $1,000 of GDP, totaling approximately 133,915 kilotons.

Our imports from the U.S., Mexico and China amounted to $414.5 billion and represented about 181,386 kilotons of GHG emissions produced in those three countries. So, despite importing $30.4 billion less from the U.S., Mexico and China, the GHGs that those countries produced to make goods imported by Canada was around 47,471 kilotons higher than the GHGs Canada produced to export goods to those three countries — exports of which oil made up the largest share, and exports that were actually worth more in total value than the higher-emitting imports.

Despite this, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of the Environment Catherine McKenna want to hit all Canadians with a carbon tax. In effect, they want us to pay for our trading partners’ emissions as well as our own. But if we really wanted to contribute to a global reduction in GHGs, perhaps the better way would be to build a pipeline or two in order to get our low-emission crude to foreign markets. That would generate good jobs and tax revenue for Canada while reducing global emissions. Who knows? It might even help balance the federal balance the federal budget.

Parker Gallant is a retired bank executive.