Monday, March 26, 2012

Bentley's Proclamation

I have read the “Proclamation” from Energy Minister, Chris Bentley and the path to clean green energy is before us. The Minister hath declared:
“Two years ago we launched Ontario's clean energy Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program. This has led to more than 2,500 medium and large FIT contracts offered to producers - enough electricity to power 1.2 million homes.”
Now, I being of sound mind and not the “self appointed guru” as declared by the previous Energy Minister, Brad Duguid, decided to investigate how many more of those contracts it would take to supply Ontario's households. First I assumed that the bulk of those contracts were for wind and solar and therefore they were clean and green and would go a long way towards saving the oft referenced $4.4 billion health and environmental costs touted by Minister Bentley and his predecessors from a RWDI 2005 study.

The premise that I wanted to substantiate based on his statement above was; adding more of these contracts, would create those reputed savings in those health and environmental costs and by doing so would go a long way to reduce that ugly annual $16 billion deficit and $250 billion of debt that looms ominously over our province.

First I needed to see the capacity level of these contracts so a visit to the OPA website was made where I found this: “At the end of the second quarter of 2011, the OPA had 19,090 megawatts (MW) of electricity supply capacity, based on average contract capacity, under contract. This includes 8,155 MW of renewable energy, 7,935 MW of clean energy (presumable hydro and gas), and 3,000 MW of nuclear energy.”

My focus was on the “8,155 MW of renewable energy” which I assumed was the bulk of the 2500 medium and large FIT contracts that Minister Bentley referred to in his pronouncement. Those were the contracts that would power those 1.2 million homes!

Next I visited another website that referred to the 2006 census count on households which declared;

“The 2006 Census counted 4,555,025 private households in Ontario in 2006, up 8.0% from 2001.” 
So to be fair I concluded that today Ontario has probably about 4.8 million homes which would mean we would need just four (4) times the power that the Minister indicates we currently have signed up.

I thought it would be worthwhile to view 2011 consumption as reported by IESO in early January 2012 just to see what renewable energy had contributed. Only wind is identified and its contribution was 2.75 % so perhaps with solar added we got 3% from those two generator sources which would bring the power delivered up to 4.2 TWh. That would only be enough to power about 425,000 homes. Even that is misleading as Aegent Energy Advisors concluded that wind produces power Ontario doesn't need 32.7% of the time, meaning that 1.4 TWh wound up being exported at prices well below the $135.00 per MWh price paid by ratepayers. That reduced the actual usable generation to 2.8 TWh or enough to power only 290,000 Ontario homes.

The conclusion is that those 2500 contracts produce about 6% of the annual consumption needed for the 4.8 million households meaning Ontario would require about 41,000 of those “renewable energy” contracts to supply all of Ontario's households.

If we deduct the 31.4 TWh of hydro production and the 85.3 of nuclear production from what Ontario consumed in 2011 (141.5 TWh) we are left with a need for 24.8 TWh. In the future that production is planned to come from principally wind and solar generation according to the Long Term Energy Plan released in November 2010. That LTEP was to form the basis of the Integrated Power System Plan II submitted to Minister Bentley. Minister Bentley must bless it before he sends it to the Ontario Energy Board for the consultation and review process. The Minister has had the IPSP II for three months but has not yet submitted it to the OEB. Recently, however it took him only three days to bless the 2 Year FIT Review report. Perhaps the objective is to create the results first and submit a plan that matches the results!

If we use the Aegent information to remove the 32.7% of excess production from the 8400 MW of wind capacity planned to be in place by 2018 (per the LTEP) Ontario will only get about 13.9 TWh of usable generation leaving Ontario households short about 11 TWh; assuming our consumption stays flat. This shortfall would require another 6,000 MW of wind to produce the missing 11 TWh bringing Ontario to14,500 MW of installed wind to generate about 21 TWh of usable power. At an average of 2 MW per turbine, Ontario would then have over seven thousand (7,000) 40/50 story Industrial wind turbines spread throughout the province.

As the existing 800 or so wind turbines in the province have caused health problems, reduced property values (leading to reduced municipal tax revenue), destruction of our wetlands, the killing of birds and bats (leading to increased pesticide use) another 6/6,500 turbines would surely exacerbate the problem by a factor of 7 or 8. Perhaps, as noted by the Auditor General in his December 2011 report, it might be time to complete a cost benefit analysis to measure those foregoing effects against the supposed worst case scenario of health care costs; completed when coal was a much bigger part of our power generation. Even a simple c/b analysis would confirm that coal generation is an insignificant factor in the Province in respect to any health consequences. Instead, the overzealous pursuit of wind and solar contracts are contributing huge reductions in our disposable incomes in a province that is falling further into debt with each passing day.

It could get worse as the NDP and all of the “green” not-for-profits are pushing to close our nuclear plants. If that happens, Ontario would be short a further 85.3 TWh which if replaced principally by industrial wind generation would require 40,000 MW of additional industrial wind production and would bless Ontario with another 20,000 of those behemoths dotting the landscape.

If the FIT Review delivered last week to Minister Bentley which he subsequently blessed, is seen as the missing ingredient in his religious energy stew he is worshipping a false god and his proclamation from on high looks more like the Jonestown Massacre than a sane or sustainable energy policy.

Eight plus years in power and the Liberals are still trying to develop a plan that FITS their actions!

Parker Gallant
March 25, 2012


  1. NextEra executive: Florida isn't right for a wind farm
    Wind farms don't make economic sense in Florida because the wind is too weak, and it's cheaper to produce electricity from natural gas, nuclear power and coal, Mike O'Sullivan, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources, said Wednesday.
    "We can deliver electricity in a windy spot in the center of the country for 3 cents a kilowatt hour," O'Sullivan said. "In Florida, we think that is anywhere from 8 to 12 cents, depending on the wind regiment and the cost of construction."
    So, given the above plus Ontario’s proximity to some of the strongest wind sources in N.A. please explain why Ontario is paying way more for wind than an average between 3 cents and 8 cents = 6 cents? Seems Ontario residents are paying more than double for wind than what others in N.A. can get delivery for.

  2. Expected life of a nuclear reactor is about 40 years...wind turbine...about 20 years. Those 27,000+/- turbines...have to go up twice...and disposed of...twice.

  3. It’s all far worse than this. Just recently a report came out of the UK by Professor Gordon Hughes of the University of Edinburgh. Hughes was formally a policy advisor with the World Bank. This report is absolute must reading by everyone in Ontario because of how closely the UK situation mirrors what is going on in Ontario. It’s an outright disaster..... Here’s a direct link to the full report entitled ‘Why is wind power so expensive?’ and is probably the first decent analysis of the true cost of wind power.
    In his report, Professor Gordon Hughes (Edinburgh University) finds that:
     Meeting the UK Government’s target for renewable generation in 2020 will require total wind capacity of 36 GW backed up by 13 GW of open cycle gas plants plus large complementary investments in transmission capacity at a cost of about £120 billion.
     The same electricity demand could be met from 21.5 GW of combined cycle gas plants with a cost of £13 billion, i.e. an order of magnitude cheaper than the wind scenario.
    Imagine if you will the Province of Ontario flushing an equivalent amount of money down the toilet here..... when a far better technically and environmentally sound solution could have been had at 1/10 the cost!

    Ontario... Take a hard look at your future and weep!