Sunday, January 30, 2011

The true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment

In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale

By SIMON PARRY in China and ED DOUGLAS in Scotland

Last updated at 10:01 PM on 29th January 2011

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This toxic lake poisons Chinese farmers, their children and their land. It is what's left behind after making the magnets for Britain's latest wind turbines... and, as a special Live investigation reveals, is merely one of a multitude of environmental sins committed in the name of our new green Jerusalem

On the outskirts of one of China’s most polluted cities, an old farmer stares despairingly out across an immense lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust. He remembers it as fields of wheat and corn.

Yan Man Jia Hong is a dedicated Communist. At 74, he still believes in his revolutionary heroes, but he despises the young local officials and entrepreneurs who have let this happen.
‘Chairman Mao was a hero and saved us,’ he says. ‘But these people only care about money. They have destroyed our lives.’

Vast fortunes are being amassed here in Inner Mongolia; the region has more than 90 per cent of the world’s legal reserves of rare earth metals, and specifically neodymium, the element needed to make the magnets in the most striking of green energy producers, wind turbines.
Live has uncovered the distinctly dirty truth about the process used to extract neodymium: it has an appalling environmental impact that raises serious questions over the credibility of so-called green technology.

The reality is that, as Britain flaunts its environmental credentials by speckling its coastlines and unspoiled moors and mountains with thousands of wind turbines, it is contributing to a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China. This is the deadly and sinister side of the massively profitable rare-earths industry that the ‘green’ companies profiting from the demand for wind turbines would prefer you knew nothing about.

Hidden out of sight behind smoke-shrouded factory complexes in the city of Baotou, and patrolled by platoons of security guards, lies a five-mile wide ‘tailing’ lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of China’s key waterways in jeopardy.
This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.

Rusting pipelines meander for miles from factories processing rare earths in Baotou out to the man-made lake where, mixed with water, the foul-smelling radioactive waste from this industrial process is pumped day after day. No signposts and no paved roads lead here, and as we approach security guards shoo us away and tail us. When we finally break through the cordon and climb sand dunes to reach its brim, an apocalyptic sight greets us: a giant, secret toxic dump, made bigger by every wind turbine we build.

The lake instantly assaults your senses. Stand on the black crust for just seconds and your eyes water and a powerful, acrid stench fills your lungs.

For hours after our visit, my stomach lurched and my head throbbed. We were there for only one hour, but those who live in Mr Yan’s village of Dalahai, and other villages around, breathe in the same poison every day.

Retired farmer Su Bairen, 69, who led us to the lake, says it was initially a novelty – a multi-coloured pond set in farmland as early rare earth factories run by the state-owned Baogang group of companies began work in the Sixties.

‘At first it was just a hole in the ground,’ he says. ‘When it dried in the winter and summer, it turned into a black crust and children would play on it. Then one or two of them fell through and drowned in the sludge below. Since then, children have stayed away.’

As more factories sprang up, the banks grew higher, the lake grew larger and the stench and fumes grew more overwhelming.

‘It turned into a mountain that towered over us,’ says Mr Su. ‘Anything we planted just withered, then our animals started to sicken and die.’

People too began to suffer. Dalahai villagers say their teeth began to fall out, their hair turned white at unusually young ages, and they suffered from severe skin and respiratory diseases. Children were born with soft bones and cancer rates rocketed.

Official studies carried out five years ago in Dalahai village confirmed there were unusually high rates of cancer along with high rates of osteoporosis and skin and respiratory diseases. The lake’s radiation levels are ten times higher than in the surrounding countryside, the studies found.

Since then, maybe because of pressure from the companies operating around the lake, which pump out waste 24 hours a day, the results of ongoing radiation and toxicity tests carried out on the lake have been kept secret and officials have refused to publicly acknowledge health risks to nearby villages.

There are 17 ‘rare earth metals’ – the name doesn’t mean they are necessarily in short supply; it refers to the fact that the metals occur in scattered deposits of minerals, rather than concentrated ores. Rare earth metals usually occur together, and, once mined, have to be separated.

Neodymium is commonly used as part of a Neodymium-Iron-Boron alloy (Nd2Fe14B) which, thanks to its tetragonal crystal structure, is used to make the most powerful magnets in the world. Electric motors and generators rely on the basic principles of electromagnetism, and the stronger the magnets they use, the more efficient they can be. It’s been used in small quantities in common technologies for quite a long time – hi-fi speakers, hard drives and lasers, for example. But only with the rise of alternative energy solutions has neodymium really come to prominence, for use in hybrid cars and wind turbines. A direct-drive permanent-magnet generator for a top capacity wind turbine would use 4,400lb of neodymium-based permanent magnet material.

In the pollution-blighted city of Baotou, most people wear face masks everywhere they go.
‘You have to wear one otherwise the dust gets into your lungs and poisons you,’ our taxi driver tells us, pulling over so we can buy white cloth masks from a roadside hawker.

Posing as buyers, we visit Baotou Xijun Rare Earth Co Ltd. A large billboard in front of the factory shows an idyllic image of fields of sheep grazing in green fields with wind turbines in the background.

In a smartly appointed boardroom, Vice General Manager Cheng Qing tells us proudly that his company is the fourth biggest producer of rare earth metals in China, processing 30,000 tons a year. He leads us down to a complex of primitive workshops where workers with no protective clothing except for cotton gloves and face masks ladle molten rare earth from furnaces with temperatures of 1,000°C.

The result is 1.5kg bricks of neodymium, packed into blue barrels weighing 250kg each. Its price has more than doubled in the past year – it now costs around £80 per kilogram. So a 1.5kg block would be worth £120 – or more than a fortnight’s wages for the workers handling them. The waste from this highly toxic process ends up being pumped into the lake looming over Dalahai.
The state-owned Baogang Group, which operates most of the factories in Baotou, claims it invests tens of millions of pounds a year in environmental protection and processes the waste before it is discharged.

According to Du Youlu of Baogang’s safety and environmental protection department, seven million tons of waste a year was discharged into the lake, which is already 100ft high and growing by three feet each year.

In what appeared an attempt to shift responsibility onto China’s national leaders and their close control of the rare earths industry, he added: ‘The tailing is a national resource and China will ultimately decide what will be done with the lake.’

Jamie Choi, an expert on toxics for Greenpeace China, says villagers living near the lake face horrendous health risks from the carcinogenic and radioactive waste.

‘There’s not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment. Ores are being extracted by pumping acid into the ground, and then they are processed using more acid and chemicals.

Finally they are dumped into tailing lakes that are often very poorly constructed and maintained. And throughout this process, large amounts of highly toxic acids, heavy metals and other chemicals are emitted into the air that people breathe, and leak into surface and ground water. Villagers rely on this for irrigation of their crops and for drinking water. Whenever we purchase products that contain rare earth metals, we are unknowingly taking part in massive environmental degradation and the destruction of communities.’

The fact that the wind-turbine industry relies on neodymium, which even in legal factories has a catastrophic environmental impact, is an irony Ms Choi acknowledges.

‘It is a real dilemma for environmentalists who want to see the growth of the industry,’ she says. ‘But we have the responsibility to recognise the environmental destruction that is being caused while making these wind turbines.’

It’s a long way from the grim conditions in Baotou to the raw beauty of the Monadhliath mountains in Scotland. But the environmental damage wind turbines cause will be felt here, too. These hills are the latest battleground in a war being fought all over Britain – and particularly in Scotland – between wind-farm developers and those opposed to them.

Cameron McNeish, a hill walker and TV presenter who lives in the Monadhliath, campaigned for almost a decade against the Dunmaglass wind farm before the Scottish government gave the go-ahead in December. Soon, 33 turbines will be erected on the hills north of the upper Findhorn valley.

McNeish is passionate about this landscape: ‘It’s vast and wild and isolated,’ he says. Huge empty spaces, however, are also perfect for wind turbines and unlike the nearby Cairngorms there are no landscape designations to protect this area. When the Labour government put in place the policy framework and subsidies to boost renewable energy, the Monadhliath became a mouth-watering opportunity.

People have been trying to make real money from Scottish estates like Jack Hayward’s Dunmaglass. Hayward, a Bermuda-based property developer and former chairman of Wolverhampton Wanderers, struck a deal with renewable energy company RES which, campaigners believe, will earn the estate an estimated £9 million over the next 25 years.
Each of the turbines at Dunmaglass will require servicing, which means a network of new and improved roads 20 miles long being built across the hills. They also need 1,500 tons of concrete foundations to keep them upright in a strong wind, which will scar the area.

Dunmaglass is just one among scores of wind farms in Scotland with planning permission. Scores more are still in the planning system. There are currently 3,153 turbines in the UK overall, with a maximum capacity of 5,203 megawatts.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why are our electricity bills going up?

Article By: Parker Gallant

January 27, 2010: Now we’re told that our hydro bills will increase 46 % over the next 4 years. Why? What caused it?

Political spin is often different from reality so I will try explain the what and the why without the spin.

Increasing electricity prices have a lot to do with our efforts to be good responsible inhabitants of the planet; conserving, recycling and reducing; just as the media, politicians and environmentalists have suggested. Along the way the government passed the Green Energy Act to reshape our power system, and told us renewable energy from wind and solar was the future of energy. What they forgot to tell us was the impact it would have on our ability to enjoy a comfortable retirement without worries of suddenly finding ourselves energy poor.

The government's commitment to “renewable” energy from wind and solar also came with the promise that it would create green jobs. What they embarked on was a concerted effort to attract wind and solar developers to our province so they could erect industrial wind turbines, and solar panels to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. The claim was, we would reduce carbon emissions and at the same time save our health system $3 billion.

No one could object to the future as it was laid out by the government. It was something we would all want-save the planet and save money! Forgotten in the process is our Premier didn't tell us how much it would cost us or whether they could deliver on the promises.

In order to attract wind and solar investments, our Government offered above market prices and stripped local municipalities of their right to reject any of these developers. Local town councils would have no rights on where the wind turbines or solar panels were to be placed.

Samsung and others rushed in. Wind and solar developers were offered up to 20 times what our local publicly owned Ontario Power Generation was being paid, given 20 year contracts and a Provincial guarantee (read taxpayer). Hydro One, the publicly owned transmission company were instructed by the Minister of Energy to build new transmission lines to hook up wind and solar to the grid.

The Ministry also told your local distribution company, (Toronto Hydro, etc.) to get people to reduce electricity consumption and to further that goal, mandated the installation of “smart meters”. They told them to anticipate applying time-of-use (TOU) pricing on their customers in the not too distant future. The local distribution company was told they could increase delivery rates when they lost revenue because their customers reduced consumption.

At the same time the Ministry was getting private companies to build gas plants in case the wind wasn't blowing or the sun was hidden behind clouds. These gas plants get paid whether they do or don't produce power but we need them to make sure we don't get left in the dark because we don't have enough electricity to meet the demand.

Ultimately the money spent by your local distribution company to help you insulate, buy a CFL light bulb, install smart meters or for Hydro One's transmission building efforts is billed out to us. And there's more; like paying the bureaucrats at the Ontario Power Authority or for the revenue lost through conservation programs, as well as the costs of the Ontario Energy Board and the Independent Electricity System Operator. And that other annoying one; the never ending “debt retirement fund” paid to the Ontario Electricity Finance Corporation for the old Ontario Hydro “stranded debt.”

Add all that to the wind and solar developers who need to be paid for the power they generate at those high rates and 46% sounds like a bargain. The latter payment gets billed to us on the “electricity” line of our bills, whereas a lot of the other costs are buried in the “delivery” or “regulatory” lines.

All of this spending takes time to work through the system akin to how we don't get our credit card bill until weeks after we have gone on the shopping spree. We saw the first big jump in our hydro bills last spring when the price of electricity jumped by about 12 % and than again in the summer when the HST appeared. The capital costs I mention above, along with conservation programs, smart meters, etc. if itemized, would be in the tens of billions of dollars but they are all still working their way through the system and we are in the early stages of seeing them impact our hydro bills. The worst is still to come as the governments shopping spree bills come in.

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that forecasts from politicians don't always turn out as they said they would. Just to jog everyone’s memory it was only two years ago when the Minister of Energy put the Green Energy Act through the Ontario Legislature and was quoted as follows; “I have been very clear about it. One per cent per year, incremental on the cost of a person's electricity bill, with corresponding capability through investments in conservation for people to lessen their use of electricity.” I think today we would all be very happy to pay just a 1% increase.

Parker Gallant is a retired banker and a Director of Energy Probe.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tories claim stranded debt payment now tax grab

Chatham Daily News

Ontario Progressive Conservatives are calling for a forensic audit of the stranded debt from Ontario Hydro after learning payments by taxpayers are being extended by six years.

Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson, former energy minister under the Mike Harris PC government, spoke about this issue with members of the media Thursday at the transformer station on Maple Leaf Drive in Chatham.

He said the debt repayment for ratepayers was scheduled to be finished by 2012, but the Liberal government has quietly extended the payments to 2018, at $1 billion annually for the extra six years.

Wilson said the Tories discovered in a November report from the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation — which he said he created to manage repaying the stranded debt — showing taxpayers have already paid $7.8 billion “so there’s no reason to continue the charge.”

He said the government is claiming there is “a whole pile of interest, which they can’t justify.”

Wilson questioned the validity of that claim, noting the government is in the lowest interest rate market seen since the Second World War.

“But we think taxpayers have been paying more than $7.8 billion, but we don’t know the bottom of that,” he said.

“We think, in sneaky way, Mr. McGuinty is trying to make this into a permanent tax grab,” Wilson added.

However, Wilson’s numbers don’t jive with figures provided by Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Pat Hoy.

An e-mail from Hoy, who is travelling across Ontario as chair of a public budget consultation process, said the debt retirement charge was slapped on Ontario energy bills in 1999 under the ruling Tory government, which failed to restructure the electricity sector.

Hoy claims the stranded debt rose by $1 billion under Tory rule from 1999-2003 to $20.5 billion from $19.5 billion.

He said the stranded debt is currently $5.7 billion lower than it was in 2003.

Hoy added, to date, $7.8 billion has been collected under the debt retirement charge with $5.7 billion used to pay down the principal.

He said the balance of $2.1 billion has gone towards a number of other costs, including interest on debt and covering the cost of a rate freeze by the Tories, which he added cost more than $1 billion as a result of that government’s failed experiment with deregulation.

Wilson said when Ontario Hydro was dismantled after going bankrupt, the total $34 billion debt was shared between newly created companies Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One.
He said $7.8 billion was left over for the public to pay, noting an identifiable charge was put on hydro bills, which goes directly to paying off the stranded debt.

Wilson said the Tories believe the government wants to generate extra revenue by keeping the debt payments going to help subsidize its green energy plan, citing the lack of details surrounding a $7-billion contract with the Samsung Corporation to provide wind energy in Ontario.

Wilson said wind energy proposals were brought to him 15 years ago when he was energy minister, but he wasn’t interested.

“I didn’t see the jobs in it,” he said, adding the plan called for paying people to put up turbines “at a price we couldn’t afford and (structures) communities didn’t want.”

Wilson said the idea was popular with people in downtown Toronto who didn’t have to put up with the turbines.

“Now they’re figuring out, ‘Oh, but we do have to pay for them.’ “

Austerity pulling plug on Europe's green subsidies

The Spanish and Germans are doing it. So are the French. The British might have to do it. Austerity-whacked Europe is rolling back subsidies for renewable energy as economic sanity makes a tentative comeback. Green energy is becoming unaffordable and may cost as many jobs as it creates. But the real victims are the investors who bought into the dream of endless, clean energy financed by the taxpayer. They forgot that governments often change their minds.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Horrified by your hydro bill? Blame the Green Energy Act. (Oh, and it’s going to get worse).

It was May 14, 2009, that the Ontario Green Energy Act was proclaimed. It was labelled by Premier Dalton McGuinty as legislation to “build a green economy.” Now, 20 months later, Ontario citizens have been hit with major increases in Hydro rates, and the province has seen no significant benefits to the economy. At the same time, the right of citizens to protest government activities have been set aside while the government approves developments in order to look green.

Bill 150 had the title The Green Energy and Green Economy Act 2009. Its declared purpose was to foster growth of renewable energy and cleaner sources of energy, as well as to remove barriers and promote opportunities for energy products, and to promote a green economy.
Behind all the declaration of purpose was the need to replace coal-fired energy generation because the McGuinty government had made a commitment to close all coal-fired generating plants in Ontario by 2014. The government said, when it announced the act, and when the act was proclaimed, that it would create 50,000 jobs in its first three years.

The Legislation

The 70-page act does many things. The first section allows the provincial government to make regulations to encourage generation of energy from green sources, and make regulations to facilitate their generation, transmission and access. The alarming section of the legislation states that restrictions imposed in law that would otherwise prevent or restrict an activity are inoperative. In another section the words “despite any restrictions” are used. Some regulations are now in affect that override restrictions imposed by municipal legislation, a condominium encumbrance or an agreement. Those sections of the act mean the regulations override any other laws or agreements — including the Environmental Assessment Act. The protection that citizens believe they had, and their abilities to appeal, are all gone.

Other parts of the first section allow for regulations to require public agencies to prepare demand management plans, conservation plans and set targets. The public agencies can also be required to meet requirements in their acquisition of goods and services. Big Brother — the Ontario government — is telling us what to do. The main section of the Act also creates the office of Renewable Energy Facilitator and gives the staff of the office extensive power to encourage and oversee all renewable energy matters.

The second part of the act covers the amendments to nine other government acts. These changes are all designed to facilitate the regulations being made to meet the objectives of the Green Energy Act.

The acts amended include: the Electricity Act 1998, Ministry of Energy Act, Ontario Energy Board Act, Clean Water Act, Environmental Bill of Rights and Environmental Protection Act.
The best-known change in the amended acts comes under the Ministry of Energy Act. The minister is directed to create a program to accommodate the use and purchase of renewable energy. This program, known as the Feed in Tariff Program (or FIT), it requires the purchase of (and sets rates for) renewable energy from solar, wind, hydro-electric, biomass and other sources.

Other amendments are made to encourage the manufacturing of green energy equipment such as windmills, solar panels, etc., and also include regulations for small hydro electric developments and the building of gas turbine plants. The government also passed regulations to provide for municipal audits of residences to encourage energy conservation and efficiency.

Where Are We Now?

When Ontario residents look at their hydro bill they become aware of the results of the McGuinty Green Energy Program. Hydro rates have soared. The electric power system in Ontario has been forced to buy high-cost energy from wind and solar producers at up to 80 cents per kilowatt hour under the FIT program. The energy is taken into the system when it is available and sold at much lower rates. This means big profits for wind and solar operators, and the cost is loaded on to the hydro bill.

In 2010 the charge known as “the global adjustment fund” peaked at 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour. This is the cost buried in your hydro bill for renewable energy.

Another high cost — part of the delivery cost — is the need for Hydro One, the provincial agency operating the transmission system, to build new lines and increase capacity for windmill and solar farms. These new lines may have very low usage but are required to be built under the new regulations.

The overall result is the more than doubling of hydro rates and the recent announcement by the minister of energy to expect further increases of 42 per cent over the next five years.

High costs and high rates are results of the government’s decision to accommodate wind and solar energy, which is a very undependable source of energy. An example is New Year’s Day 2011: People were on holidays so the electricity load was very low, but the wind was blowing. The system was obligated to buy the energy generated even though it wasn’t needed. The excess energy was sold to Quebec and American states at a big loss — all paid by Hydro customers.

A major objective of the act is the creation of those 50,000 jobs. There are no details on where or what kind of jobs would be created. An announcement was made in April 2010 that Ontario would be paying the Korean alliance of Samsung and Korean Electric Power Corporation $437 million in incentives for a commitment to build four plants between 2013 and 2015 that will manufacture wind and solar generating equipment. The announcement came with a photo-op, but there is little news of any action since.

In October the premier appeared in Stoney Creek to announce a windmill manufacturing plant. The photo-op was prominent, but there’s been nothing since. Also, the announcement was made of a Spanish company to build solar panels in Windsor. Complete silence since the announcement.
Small hydro electric facilities are being encouraged and the Ministry of Natural Resources has the authority to license developers of potential sites. One company has received licences for 17 sites in Ontario. These licences appear to override municipal authority. The most prominent battleground is in Bala, where a citizens’ group has been fighting for more than two years to prevent the redevelopment by a private company of Bala Falls Generating Station. They feel helpless in their efforts because of the new regulations.

In many areas of the province, groups are protesting installation of windmill farms because of the visual effect and the noise, but are frustrated by the new regulations.

The act has a section to encourage more small generation, including gas-fired generating plants. The sites are chosen under the authority of the Ontario Power Authority. In Markham, a protest group has lost the battle and construction is under way. In Oakville, a well-funded protest group was successful: the government plan to build a 900-megawatt site was cancelled. The government announcement said the plant was no longer needed, but many say the high-profile protest movement was successful because of the probable loss of the Liberal seat in the legislature.

In recent weeks, the government has made major announcements about the Smart Meter program. The 4.5 million meters will allow hydro users to choose what they pay for electricity by using off-peak hours. However, the government has used its new power to set rates. Peak-period rates are much higher but there’s no lowering of off-peak rates. Customers now on smart meters say costs are much higher because they cannot shift all their usage. Overall results: higher hydro bills.

The government introduced programs to sponsor home energy audits to provide information on saving money and raising energy efficiency. This commendable program lasted only one year.

The act provides for incentives for efficient energy use but we have yet to see any program for this purpose. Five years ago, a program introduced the low-energy light bulb that reduces the peak load and overall energy. This program was a major success and saved customers money. We are still looking for new programs.

The largest cost under the program is for clean energy. Much to the dismay of environmental groups, the Darlington Generating Station will be enlarged with the building of two 1,000-megawatt reactors. Nuclear is clean energy. The province knows it will need the new capacity to replace shutdown coal plants, and because of the aging of existing generating stations.

The McGuinty government has delayed for two years the naming of a nuclear plant supplier for Darlington. They know it will take eight years to build the plant, but have given no firm idea when it will start. They are very firm on their commitment to close all coal plants by 2014.

After 20 months – The Results:

The people of Ontario know the Green Energy Plan is at work because they see some results:
Their hydro bill has doubled and the government promises it will get higher
Gas turbine plants are being built to replace coal generation but in most cases, opposition to the location is useless.

Windmills are being installed and neighbourhoods have little or no control of installation.
Small, local, privately owned hydro electric plants are proceeding without any control by municipalities.

Smart Meters are being installed; homeowners have no choice. Result: higher costs.

The overall result of the program has been profits for some and higher costs for millions of people on their hydro bill. Those that have received 20-year contracts to operate wind and solar plants at very high guaranteed rates are making money. Companies from outside Canada are now in Ontario to get on the gravy train and take advantage of the program.

The talk about 50,000 jobs is still there but where are the jobs? They may come after 2013.
The rights of the people to protest the regulations and licences have been overridden by the new regulations. The high cost of electricity has now resulted in higher industrial costs. As one industrial leader pointed out, “If subsidies drive electricity prices higher, it could result in businesses fleeing Ontario and taking jobs with them.”

Yes, we may have a cleaner Ontario — at higher cost, with no right to protest and with fewer jobs.

Andy Frame is now a consultant in the electrical power industry and was formerly a senior adviser, electric utilities, Ontario Ministry of Energy and a past municipal hydro chairman and chair of the Utility Association.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Waiter Analogy to Green Jobs

The Liberals claim they will create 50,000 green jobs with their Green Energy Act, as if the creation of jobs is the be-all and end-all of the economy. But where the money will come from to pay the salaries of those jobs is not even addressed, let alone explained. We can use a very familiar analogy why knowing where the money comes from is so important.

Take the case of a room full of patrons having dinner at a restaurant. The 100 people siting and eating are served by 10 waiters. The salaries of those waiters is being paid by the money the patrons are forking over for their meals. 10 patrons for each waiter. That means the total salary of each waiter is evenly paid by the 10 patrons. $2 from each is going towards the waiter's salary.

Now we have McGuinty wanting to create jobs. So he demands that the restaurant higher 5 more waiters, bringing the total to 15 on the floor. But the same 100 people now have to pay for those 5 more waiters. The restaurant owner has three choices.

1) Keep prices the same for patrons, and hence lose profits to pay for the extra 5 waiters. That's money not available to expand the restaurant, or pay loans.

2) Increase prices to pay for the new jobs. That means patrons pay more to cover those jobs, thus they lose purchasing power for other items, which is money not spent elsewhere, which is lost jobs elsewhere. The problem with raising prices is it puts the menu out of price range for some, so instead of 100 people coming at any given timeframe, maybe only 80 show up. That puts even more pressure on the restaurant with lost revenue, but to pay for the new waiters. A feed back spiral down can take hold, and evenually the place goes belly up.

3) Attempt to attract more patrons, by either expanding the restaurant, lowering prices, or other incentives. All of which costs the owner money, thinning profits even more.

All three show something in common. The imposition of more waiters in the name of "job creation", which are not wealth creating jobs, produces an imbalance in the natural equilibrium of the economy.

Hence, for McGuinty to create 50,000 green jobs we would first have to create 50 private industry jobs for every green job (assuming that each green job pays $50K and each private job pays $1000 a year for power all going to green wages). That's 50 x 50,000, or 2.5 MILLION new private jobs FIRST before those 50,000 green jobs can even start.

Clearly that is NOT happening. Hence those 50,000 green jobs will tip the economic balance as noted in one of the three effects above. The likely item changed being people, everyone, pays more, reducing their purchasing power, affecting other parts of the economy, hence the spiral down.

Just like we are seeing in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal... We are following the Spanish model of renewable power all right, right down the same toilet.

Monday, January 24, 2011

From the Lunatic Fringe Department

"We estimate that ~3,800,000 5 MW wind turbines, ~49,000 300 MW concentrated solar plants, ~40,000 300 MW solar PV power plants, ~1.7 billion 3 kWrooftop PV systems, ~5350 100 MWgeothermal power plants, ~270 new 1300 MWhydroelectric power plants, ~720,000 0.75 MWwave devices, and ~490,000 1 MWtidal turbines can power a 2030 WWS world that uses electricity and electrolytic hydrogen for all purposes."

3.8 million wind turbines world wide in 20 years... That's 190,000 EVERY YEAR that would need to be built starting right now. Of course, that is impossible, production would have to ramp up. So what would that look like?

Production increase would have to be just over 113% yearly growth in building. That means in the last year of 2029 we would have to build almost 2 million -- in the last year alone.

As I said, from the Lunatic Fringe Department. So much for being experts.

Oh, and the laugh of all laughs:

"The energy cost in a WWS world should be similar to that today."

What drugs are these guys taking?

Oh, and the reason we need to do this? You guessed it, Global Warming!! Right...

Ontario paid to give power away to Quebec, U.S.

Updated: Mon Jan. 24 2011 7:07:04 PM

Ontario Hydro customers paid the U.S and Quebec $1.5 million to take electricity out of the Ontario system on January 1, thanks to a strange twist of market factors.

It was a warm winter's day so demand for electricity in Ontario was very low, leading to an excess of power because wind and nuclear energy generation cannot be turned off.

"When you've got that surplus, it actually becomes a hazard to the system. You have to dispose of that energy so we were going around to our neighbours, begging them to take our disposal problem," energy expert Tom Adams told CTV Toronto.

"We've got this excess and that proves to be expensive."

Wind farm operators are paid for windy days whether their energy is used or not, which is why Ontario Hydro customers still pick up the bill.

Occurrences such as the one on New Year's Day are likely to cost customers millions over the next few years.

A new report is predicting Ontario will commonly have a surplus of energy in the future.

"Ontario is doing our neighbours a huge favour at the expense of consumers here," Adams said.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss

Seniors facing 'energy poverty'

By IAN ROBERTSON , Toronto Sun
Last Updated: January 22, 2011 7:21pm

Seniors and poverty activists are pressing Ontario’s government to pull the plug on soaring hydro rates.

But as provincial officials and opposition MPPs spar over the effectiveness of a recent 10% annual discount, plus tax cuts for 740,000 seniors, critics say pensioners remain caught in a power struggle.

They predict these victims of so-called “energy poverty” face health risks from lowering heat and air conditioning to avoid peak daytime hours and rising energy fees.

Conservative energy critic John Yakabuski compared rebates and discounts to “a guy who mugs you on the street and takes $100, then ... gives you enough for bus fare and expects you to be grateful.”

Instead of its Ontario Power Generation monopoly, Canadian Taxpayers Federation national director Derek Fildebrandt said the province should “abandon hare-brained eco-schemes” such as wind turbine and solar power.

“We’re paying the price of government for trying to ... tell the people what to do,” he said.
“If economically feasible, private enterprise would do it without massive corporate welfare.”

With many 1960s homes from that “live better electrically” era heated with hydro, Yakabuski said seniors in those residences are right to fear rising energy costs.

The province boosted fees by 75% over the past five years, then in 2010 announced a 46% surge by 2015 — after its new HST added 8% to electrical bills.

Yakabuski accused the government of “misleading” Ontarians about electricity bills and alternative energy plans.

Energy Minister Brad Duguid, however, accused the Tories and New Democrats of “fear-mongering on the impact on seniors.

“Opposition leaders are trying to hoodwink Ontario families that you can build clean energy for free,” he said in an interview.

“We’ve provided a significant amount of assistance, that should by and large offset the increased bills.”

The province’s 20-year plan will build “a healthier, efficient system” for pensioners’ grandchildren, Duguid said.

Yakabuski said people would benefit if allowed to choose fixed daytime rates over peak billing, but Duguid told the Sun “that would actually be more expensive.”

NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns lauded alternate power plans as the province prepares to close the last coal-powered plants by 2014, but says financial aid for pensioners and people on fixed incomes to improve their insulation would immediately cut energy consumption.

Too many politicians are “running around saying ‘oh, those poor seniors’,” but offer few solid, long-term solutions, said Susan Eng, vice-president of CARP, a national advocacy organization for older Canadians.

With 25% more seniors below poverty levels in recent years, she said boosting fees to make people conserve energy will further hurt pensioners with “no new source of income.

“If a person is housebound or staying at home possibly hooked up to medical machinery, high daytime rates are costly,” Eng said.

Instead of piecemeal alternatives, she said the government could provide fairer billing based on incomes, with outreach programs for those unable or unwilling to complete required forms.

“This is the first year for boomers turning 65,” and politicians risk alienating a well-educated, savvy voter bloc more dedicated to helping less-fortunates than previous generations, she said.

About 70% of retirees vote regularly and “they are not going to be kicked to the curb.”

Ontario’s power users zapped in export deals

John Spears Business Reporter

Ontario electricity customers have subsidized power exports to the tune of $1 billion since 2006 — with most of the money ending up in the pockets of energy traders.

That’s the conclusion of research by three experts in North American energy markets, who are preparing an in-depth look at the issue to be published later this year by the C.D. Howe Institute.

The traders are exploiting the fact that exported power doesn’t have to pay a substantial fee called the “global adjustment” that is charged to domestic electricity users.

They can buy Ontario power at a price significantly below the one paid by Ontario residents, and sell it into the Quebec or U.S. markets, where it fetches a much higher price.

“It is middlemen that are probably benefiting, and we don’t know who these people are,” says Jan Carr, former chief executive of the Ontario Power Authority, who is one of the researchers.
Carr has studied the issue with Greg Baden and Lucia Tomson, both of whom spent years as energy traders. Baden and Tomson are now with the energy consulting firm BECL and Associates Ltd.

All three stress that there’s nothing illegal or improper with the export transactions, noting that exports can be beneficial.

But they say it’s unfair to Ontario ratepayers, who are paying the full cost of electricity produced in the province, while traders in effect buy it below cost and turn a profit by exporting it.

Carr estimates that Ontario electricity customers on average have provided subsidies of $250 each over the past five years to the exporters.

Electricity exports have been increasingly in the public eye, as the growing supply of renewable power entering the market is more frequently creating surpluses available for export.

Ontario has always traded energy with its neighbours, but until a few years ago was generally a net importer, says Tomson.

Recent figures, she notes, show exports running about 3.5 times higher than imports: “That’s a huge change.”

The trio trace the roots of the issue to about 2005, when the Ontario government increasingly took electricity pricing away from the open market. For example:

• Much of the output from Ontario Power Generation — its nuclear stations and big hydroelectric plants — was regulated.

• The newly created Ontario Power Authority signed fixed price contracts with other generators, including Bruce Power.

• Meanwhile, contracts were made with wind, solar and other renewable power producers at fixed prices.

Some of the contracts were at prices above the market rate. To make up the difference, customers were charged a “global adjustment,” which shows up as the “provincial benefit” on retail hydro bills.

In previous years, the global adjustment was quite small — about 0.5 cents a kilowatt hour while the market price was about 5 cents.

But starting about 2008, the balance changed dramatically.

The recession softened demand for power, weakening the market price. Natural gas prices, which also influence the electricity price, also reduced power prices.

Meanwhile, an increasing amount of power was flowing onto the grid at fixed prices higher than market levels.

As a result, for the past two years, the market price and global adjustment have been about equal. The global adjustment, once less than a penny per kwh, now is generally in the three to four cent range.

That means exporters who buy on the market are paying far less for power than domestic customers, but all the costs of contracted power must still be covered by the Ontario ratepayer.
“For every megawatt hour that’s exported, the global adjustment is paid for by the Ontario ratepayer,” says Tomson.

Baden says there are 20 to 30 firms in Ontario who are active energy traders. Some are associated with private generators, some are in the trading business. Several are affiliated with provincial power firms, including B.C. Hydro, Hydro Quebec and SaskPower.

But Baden says trading details are hidden from view, so it’s impossible to tell which firms are taking advantage of the global adjustment wrinkle.

While no one is doing anything wrong, the current rules need to be changed because no one intended the current export anomaly to develop, says Baden. “The solution is simply charging the global adjustment to the exports. You’ll be getting fair value for your energy.”

Horror Story

They just keep coming... Higher rates pushing people over the edge.


I have a few horror stories

Now for the record i am an Licensed Industrial Electrician

I keep an eye on all my hydro usage

Even way before the smart meter

Our usage has been constant i have monitored incoming usage with other meters When the math is applied it just dont add up even before the handling charge

the month the smart meter was installed my hydro jumped nearly 150% my consumption was usual .....after the jump we cut way back and only cooked ..or did laundry on off peak hours but the bills stayed high ... even when we were away for a week i turned off all the breakers except the new fridge and sump pump .... the next bill was even higher ........ shit we were gone for a week

Times are tough we are having hard time with the bills " as is most of Ontario"they feel we didnt pay our bill soon enough so they applied the $600 security deposit .I complained and still i paid it ... with my last R.R.S.P.......2 months again this year first month they want another $600 deposit i will loose my home.......

we keep the house at 68 degrees and lower at night with a smart thermostat no air conditioners no pools no saunas or spas gas heat and gas water heater ...Its downright nasty

And they wonder why the Suicide rates are getting higher .......I have no way of keeping food on table ... and hydro ripoff bills

Toronto Star's Attempt at White Wash

This appeared in the Star today:

Any government’s employment projections depend rather a lot on the assumptions behind them, so it’s little surprise that from time to time people have questioned Premier Dalton McGuinty’s assertion that his green energy policies would create 50,000 jobs in three years.

But now Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is going much further, claiming that provincial investments in green energy will actually cost jobs — possibly as many as 345,000.

Fortunately for Ontarians (and unfortunately for Hudak), this conclusion is based on a flawed Spanish academic study and a subsequent paper from an Italian think-tank. The 2009 study has been widely and thoroughly discredited.

“The primary conclusion made by the authors — policy support of renewable energy results in net job losses — is not supported by their work,” states a white paper produced by an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The critique goes on to note that the study “lacks transparency and
supporting statistics and . . . fails to account for important issues.” That
could easily be a reference to Hudak’s own energy statements.

He says, “we must create a strong, reliable and affordable energy plan that puts consumers first.” But Hudak has yet to indicate what he means by any
of that. He condemns rising hydro bills but has not explained how he would pay to bring new power on-line (or even where it would come from) and upgrade transmission lines.

Instead of recycling discredited studies to launch yet more attacks on
McGuinty’s government, Hudak would better serve Ontarians by telling us all how he proposes to keep the lights on.

Too bad the Star did not allow comments on that opinion piece. They do that when they know they will get bad comments.

First, that study is only flawed to those who did not like the message that was in it. 2.2 private jobs lost for every green job created.

That I will get to later, what I want to do here is show something different. How many other jobs are required to support those 50,000 green jobs? All the money for their salaries has to come from hydrobills.

Assume that each of those green jobs pays $50,000 per year. Times 50,000 jobs and we get $2.5 BILLION. Yep, BILLION. Now if your hydrobills increase by $1000 per year, how many people does that take to pay that $2.5 billion? 2.5 million people.

How many people are there paying hydrobills in Ontario? About 2.5 million.

So that means for the Liberals to create 50,000 green jobs, your hydrobills need to increase by at least $1000 per year.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Mcguinty's hydro experiment is not financially visable and Ontarian's have a rght to know

These Green Energy's produce power intermittently which will cause gas and nuclear plants to over produce in which Quebec and the Americans benefit from our excess hydro for far better prices than Ontarian's get and in some cases we will be paying them to take power off our grid .
Mcguinty may tell Ontarian's are power grid was in bad shape and we would get blacks if he did not spent 87 billion dollars on upgrades but he tore up a similar plan that would of cost tax payers 60 billion dollars in 2007 so if the hydro grid was in that bad of shape why the 3 year delay which cost tax payers a extra 27 billion dollars .

Then in 2009 Mcguinty paid Bruce Power 58 million dollars not to produce power also in 2010 he cancels a gas plant in Oakville Ontario and says the power was not needed and does not know what the cost will be to for breaking this contract .

But Mcguinty signs a contract to pay IKEA 71.3 cents a kilowatt to put solar panels on there roof tops in Toronto on top of that Ontarians are giving IKEA six hundred and eighty five thousand dollars a year in subsidies one must ask are the subsidies for the length of the contract and we may never know the details of the 7 billion Sam Sung deal.

This next part is based on if interest ,taxes and the cost for going over budget was not included in the 87 billion dollar quote as when I phone the offices of Mcguinty's , Brad Duguid, Dwight Duncan, Finance Department, and the Department of Energy they would send me to one department to the other saying the other departments have the info they have no idea on the cost.

So what is the possible cost of this experiment to start we have 87 billion dollars say it runs 15% over budget now we have 100 billion dollars add on the HST which is another 13% for a total of 113 billion dollars then add on the interest over 30 years or longer we may be paying up to 180 billion dollars or higher when it's paid for which translates into higher rates.

So I ask how is this good for family's and kids of today and in the future and why the Liberals won't answer my question on the overall true dollar cost to this hydro project as Ontarian's have a right to know.

December 2010 Ontario hydro customers subsidized hydro sales to Quebec and the Americans to the amount of 52.8 million dollars how much are other months costing Ontarian's and how much are we going to pay Bruce Power or other Utilities' not to produce power in 2011 and years to come with blunders like this there is no excuse to keep raising our hydro rates .

Mcguinty and his government must be held accountable to lower hydro rates as the people of Ontario can't afford higher hydro bills.

There are reports the Governments of Germany, France , Spain, England and our American neighbours are cutting back on there subsidies for green energy as they are losing more jobs due to Green Energy than it is creating and the cost to create a job is far to high when will Mcguinty figure this out .

Ross Ayotte
Smiths Falls Ont

Info done below is not part of the letter just for verification purposes if you need to check on something also a response from the NDP and Conservatives parties

Ontario government gives IKEA $685000 per year in solar power ...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ontario customers paid $52.8 million last month to subsidize electricity users in the United States and Quebec.

By Don Butler,

Postmedia News January 11, 2011

Ontario producers sold a record amount of electricity to neighbouring jurisdictions in December. But if you think that's good news, think again.

What it really means is that Ontario has so much surplus power, it has to unload it at whatever price it can get. And lately, market prices have been well below what Ontario residents pay for the same electricity.

Because wholesale electricity prices are in the basement, "we're losing money on every kilowatt hour that crosses the border," says energy consultant Tom Adams. He calculates that Ontario customers paid $52.8 million last month to subsidize electricity users in the United States and Quebec.

There was so much surplus electricity flooding the market, Ontario generators even had to pay users as much as 13 cents a kilowatt hour to take surplus power off their hands at times.
Typically, those negative prices only apply to a few isolated hours. But on New Year's Day, the hourly Ontario energy price for the whole day was negative, averaging -$20.29 per megawatt hour -- the lowest daily average since records began.

As a result, Ontario power generators paid $1.46 million to external markets to rid themselves of power on Jan. 1, according to the province's Independent Electricity System Operator.
In theory, Ontario businesses and residents also benefit from low or negative wholesale power rates.

But those savings are offset by something called the global adjustment charge.
Global adjustment, formerly known as the provincial benefit, accounts for the difference between the spot market price and the minimum rates paid to regulated and contracted electricity generators.

Those rates vary widely, depending on the generation source. But right now, they're higher -- sometimes much higher -- than the wholesale price, which averaged 3.79 cents per kilowatt hour last year.

© Copyright (c) The Windsor StarRead more:

A lot of us can’t afford our electricity bills anymore

By Toby Barrett

Posted 1 day ago

There is a growing concern locally and across Ontario.

People are finding they just don't have the extra money to pay for electricity. I hear it at my offices and I've heard it door to door as I canvassed hamlets across Norfolk and Haldimand.
And the dawning of a new year does little to shed light on how government expects families and industry to afford its costly legacy of shaky energy policies.

After seven years of tinkering and backtracking with energy experiments, electricity rates have skyrocketed 75 per cent under this government, and that doesn't include an additional 8 per cent HST now on bills. Worse still, Mr. McGuinty's expensive energy schemes – including the smart meter tax machine and the Samsung deal – will soon force bills up another 46 per cent according to this government's own modest estimates. In dollars and cents, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters estimate the family electricity bill is going up another $732 a year by 2015.

The Ontario Liberals' decision to vote down a motion this fall to remove the HST from electricity bills will come back to haunt them –I and my caucus colleagues voted in support.

While we see massive subsidies to green energy developers well above the market price for power – 80.2 cents per kWh for solar vs. 4 cents per kWh for coal – in the end, it's you and I who pay the price.

There are other jurisdictions that adopted similar buy-high, sell-low approaches, but they are walking away after discovering the policy to be unsustainable and unaffordable.

Spain, for example, found that 2.2 jobs were lost in their broader economy for every job that was created by the subsidies. And Italy's approach cost 4.8 jobs in the broader economy for every subsidized job created.

In response to the negative impact on job creation, and the cost, many international leaders in green energy are now rushing to slash lucrative subsidies - Germany, the UK and New South Wales, Australia have all joined the line-up to reduce green grants.

Here in Ontario, it's municipalities that have been lining up to take their shots at changing the costly course of the Green Energy Act. Over the past two months at least 25 municipalities have passed motions asking for government action on the electricity file. Many of them echo the sentiments of a draft resolution sent around by the Municipal Taxpayer Advocacy group, in part to:
· remove the PST portion of the electricity bill
· limit electricity rate increases to the rate of inflation
· restore input on wind and energy from waste
· report findings of a Competition Bureau investigation into the Samsung contract.

As well, since last fall a series of resolutions have been tabled in which 75 Ontario municipalities opposed the use of huge wind turbines - requesting a moratorium on new wind power projects until health concerns have been addressed. Last May, Norfolk County approved a motion to support a moratorium on the erection of any industrial wind turbines until rigorous scientific research has been conducted.

As Ontario's Opposition, we support a moratorium, as well as real choice on time-of-use smart meter pricing, and the naming of a consumer advocate to the Ontario Energy Board.

We can't afford to do less.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The H1 Meter Multiplier Effect

I was sent this email, who wishes to remain anonamous:

Mr Wakefield

I read an old article online that you were mad as hell at Hydro One regarding a huge jump in your hydro bills once your old meter was changed out with a smart meter. I have read many such stories online. I can't imagine the pain of receiving these large monthly bills. I had the opportunity to talk to one of my in laws over Christmas who happens to work at Hydro One as a technician (10 years or so). I asked him what was going on.... well I heard an answer that was very surprising but seemed to make sense for a lot of the stories out there. He had a service call where the customer was really polite and asked him to see while he was there if he could figure out why his bill might be about 5x higher since the smart meter went in. Well when they get a work order, it includes info on the previous meter,this is the shocking part, some meters where geared and designed to turn slower but they had a multiplier factor 2x, 3x, 5x, 10x, some maybe even 20x. Well looking at the history at the address the tech could see that indeed the customers old meter did have a multiplier, and when the new smart meter got installed the multiplier was carried forward, ALL SMART METERS are a 1x multiplier as they are digital. So no matter how many times you test your smart meter it will likely always come back testing just fine. There is one line of code in a computer program at hydro one multiplying your usage, causing a much higher than normal bill. My in law passed the info to his supervisor but I don't think this will help. My hope is that Hydro One is held accountable for this mix up and corrects the problem.

Monday, January 3, 2011


And the last year of this government. Rumours have it that the Liberals will bring in a budget, then end the session as they concentrated on getting relected. Fat chance.

Maybe we need to be like the Bolivians: