Saturday, February 26, 2011

An open letter to MPPs Michael Gravelle, Bill Mauro, Premier Dalton McGuinty

Where do I start?

It is obvious that your government has lost its way when it comes to Ontario energy policies. The sudden cancellation of future wind turbines due to unknown potential health affects, the moratorium on the grossly generous FIT program, and now the approval by the Ontario Energy Board of rate hikes to compensate for interest rate over-charging by OPG/Hydro One clearly shows that your party is lost when it comes to the realities of this so-called green energy plan.

Regarding the wind turbines, how is it that the setback for off-shore turbines is five kilometres, yet on-shore setbacks are 550 meters? Why is it that we’re afraid to put these turbines too close to shorelines, but we’re OK with putting them in people’s back yards? This makes absolutely no sense.

Because of your government’s zeal to push it’s green energy plan, the City of Thunder Bay has invested a huge amount of time and money into wind farms in and around the city, and now must deal with a multi-million dollar lawsuit because it tried to create a balance between the Liberals’ insistence on this agenda and its own citizens.

We are yet to learn how much more it is going to cost once projects that have already had the green light get cancelled and even more lawsuits begin.

Whether the municipality or the provincial government pays for this mess, the bottom line is we, the taxpayers, are going to be on the hook for it.

As for the FIT program whereby solar and other green energy off-grid power systems are set up by average citizens and businesses on their own lands and at their own cost, this too has become a red herring. It was obvious right from the get-go that the guaranteed price rate for feed-in excess power was exorbitant and not cost effective. Yes, you have reduced the guaranteed rate, but at the expense of those who have already invested serious money in good faith, and I fear, at the expense of power-using customers and Ontario taxpayers as a flurry of class-action lawsuits start.

Now, the Ontario Energy Board has approved yet another rate increase on top of the upcoming 46-per-cent rate hike already predicted over the next five years, because OPG/Hydro One made yet another mistake by over-charging interest rates on delinquent accounts. Those who use the services are now expected to pay for the $18-million penalty. It is obvious the OEB has this delusional expectation that regardless of circumstances, costs will be passed on to end users and/or taxpayers. End of story.

I have a suggestion. Why doesn’t the OEB pull its pompous, out-of-touch head out of its butt and tell OPG/Hydro One to recoup those costs through efficiencies within their operations? The private sector has been forced to do that over the last couple of years because they simply could not continue to pass on their costs to their customers. The OEB, as do all government-regulated boards, has to come to the realization that the days of “cost-plus” are gone.

With these and other past mistakes, it is clear that publicly-held and -controlled entities cannot manage nor control costs effectively. With that realization, perhaps it is time to seriously look at privatizing OPG/Hydro One. Obviously, there will be those who will suggest that doing so will lead to even higher costs. But given that such entities as TBayTel have generated revenues for the city and have managed well in a fiercely competitive market, I see no reason why OPG/Hydro One couldn’t follow that same model.

People of Thunder Bay and Ontario should be mad as hell over this debacle created by your government, and rightly so. I know I am. I am a believer that we must make the move to greener, more efficient practices, but the transition must be done over many years, not by tomorrow, and not at any cost.

Len Day, Thunder Bay

Friday, February 25, 2011

YOUR HYDRO PAYMENTS WENT TO THE LIBERAL PARTY COFFERS

That is correct. City/municipal utilities donated to the Ontario Liberals.

The Ontario Energy Board ruled that such can be done as long as the donations come from shareholder dividends. ("shareholders" of utilities are the municipalities and cities. They get a yearly dividend payment from the utilities. The City of Toronto got some $166 million in dividends in 2004/2005 see this.)

What?

What's the difference? All revenue to utilities comes from YOUR BILLS!!!

This is absolute madness.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Opposition parties calls Ontario Energy Board ruling a ‘scam’

Once Again Ontario Families Stuck with the Bill…This Time for Illegal, Interest Charges and High Priced Lawyers

by Rob Ferguson , Toronto Star

The government is standing idly by as electricity ratepayers get hit in the pocketbook again, opposition parties charged Wednesday in the wake of the latest Ontario Energy Board ruling.
This time it’s a decision that local electrical utilities — on the losing end of a Supreme Court case for charging interest rates of over 60 per cent on late bill payments — can get the $18 million back from customers across the board.

“It’s a scam,” Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak shot at Energy Minister Brad Duguid in the Legislature’s daily question period, saying the Liberals have turned the energy board into “another McGuinty tax collection agency.”

“Why is it when Ontario families even win in the courts you still make them pay the price of illegal activity?”

The typical residential customer will see an extra 20 to 30 cents a month on their electricity bills for two years.

Duguid said the government has directed its transmission utility Hydro One not to charge the money to customers it serves directly and that he “strongly recommends” local utilities across the province will follow that lead.

“It’s a decision they will have to make,” Duguid told reporters, noting all utilities are governed by local boards subject to public pressure.

The government should be standing up for consumers given dramatic increases in electricity prices over the last few years, said New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath.

“Any minister who expects everybody to just play nice is, I think, a little bit na├»ve,” she added.
“It’s not a lot of money but, again, it shows nobody’s paying attention to the fact that folks are tapped out and this is another slap in the face.”

Duguid said the high interest charges on late payments date to the early 1980s when the Progressive Conservatives were in power under then-premier Bill Davis, and a lawsuit challenging the practice was subsequently launched in 1998 with a court decision in 2010.
“Governments of all stripes were in power when this was taking place,” he said. “We’re not passing the buck.”

The Supreme Court first ruled in 2004 that late payment penalties charged by natural gas companies exceeded the 60 per cent limit allowed under Canadian law, and legal attention then switched to electric utilities.

They agreed it would be impossible to find and reimburse customers who had paid the exorbitant charges, so the money collected was paid into a United Way fund to help families pay their winter heating bills. The utilities then sought the energy board’s permission to recover the money from all customers, including those who paid their bills on time.

That means even customers who were in good standing get a penalty, said Hudak.
“What a bunch of nonsense.”

Meanwhile, the NDP revealed a freedom-of-information request showing the government expected to take in an extra $1.6 billion a year as the 8 per cent provincial portion of the 13 per cent HST was extended to electricity, gasoline and fuel oils.

“They didn’t want anybody to know,” said Horwath, noting the government is probably raking more in with the tax on soaring electricity and gasoline prices in the wake of Middle East revolts pushing the price of crude oil higher almost daily.

But Finance Minister Dwight Duncan denied there is a windfall because money goes back out to consumers in rebates and tax credits.

“Make sure you look at the whole picture.”

The $1.6 billion figure is close to the estimated $1.7 billion the NDP calculated and made political hay with last year.

Ontario electricity prices to rise again as OPG seeks 6.2 per cent hike March 1

The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Electricity ratepayers in Ontario, already reeling from soaring prices, should brace for yet another increase.

The Ontario Energy Board is expected to rule shortly on a request from Ontario Power Generation for a 6.2 per cent increase in electricity rates effective March 1.

The Liberal government has been under non-stop attack over rising electricity rates, especially since the HST was added to hydro bills last July, but Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday he wouldn’t be directing the OEB on the rate request.

“The OPG request is the kind of thing that will have to be considered by the Ontario Energy Board,” said McGuinty.

The New Democrats predicted increasing electricity bills will cost the Liberals seats in the Oct. 6 election, and said the OPG rate hike would have a major impact on consumers.

“It’s a huge hike and in the context of electricity prices that have already been compounded and then added to by Mr. McGuinty’s HST, it just increases the crushing burden on Ontario families,” said NDP critic Peter Kormos.

“This is crushing Ontario families and is going to be a major issue in the upcoming provincial election, and it’s something around which Mr. McGuinty has no defence for himself and the Liberals whatsoever.”

In the legislature, the Progressive Conservatives accused McGuinty of treating Ontario families “like they’re bottomless ATM machines” when it comes to electricity bills.

“Why do they keep paying more and more for your bungling on the hydro file,” asked Opposition Leader Tim Hudak.

“You just do not respect the fact that Ontario families get stuck with the bills for the expensive mess you’ve created in our hydro policy.”

Hydro One, the giant transmission utility that also acts as a local distribution company for about one million customers, is threatening to cut off power to people it knows are struggling to pay their bills.

“We recognize that some Ontario families are experiencing financial difficulties and having problems paying their utility bills,” wrote Hydro One’s manager of public affairs, Enza Cancilla, Jan. 27.

“We encourage these customers in particular to contact our customer communication centre to discuss payment arrangements and avoid potential disconnection of service.”

OPG produces two-thirds of the province’s electricity, 70 per cent of which is subject to regulated prices set by the energy board.

OPG says a 6.2 per cent increase for its regulated output from nuclear plants and large hydro stations would add about $1.86 to a typical homeowner’s monthly hydro bill.

The government-owned utility originally asked for a 9.6 per cent rate increase, but scaled that back after the Liberal government asked the huge generator and Hydro One to keep increases to a minimum.

OPG is seeking 3.7 cents a kilowatt hour for power generated by its large hydro-electric stations, and 5.3 cents a kwh for its nuclear output. By comparison, Bruce Power was paid a reported 6.3 cents a kwh last year for output from the nuclear reactors it leases from OPG.

The province is paying some solar power generators up to 80 cents a kwh under its controversial Green Energy Act.

Ontario homeowners and small businesses pay between five and 10 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on time and amount of use.

OPG President and CEO Tom Mitchell says the government-owned utility is the lowest-cost energy provider in Ontario and intends to stay that way.

Soaring hydro bills have already prompted the Liberals to introduce 10 per cent rebates this year, but they’re still on the defensive after admitting electricity prices would rise 46 per cent over five years.

The increases are necessary to pay for badly needed repairs and upgrades to Ontario’s electricity system and to phase out all coal-fired generation by 2014, said McGuinty.

“I think most Ontarians now understand that our electricity system was at risk, in a tremendous state of disrepair in our early years, with warnings about an inadequacy of supply,” he said. “We’ll let Ontarians pass judgment on a daily basis and at election time.”

Shutting down the coal plants will save lives and billions of dollars in health care costs caused by pollution, added McGuinty.

The government had to tell 1,000 farmers who invested money to get into solar generation that there’s no room for the electricity they generate on the province’s power grid.

And it recently imposed a moratorium on off-shore wind farms, the same move the Liberals made prior to the 2007 election, which they reversed after winning.

The opposition parties say those reversals and flip flops have left McGuinty and the Liberals with no credibility on the electricity file.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hydro hike to pay fine for utility overbilling

By John Spears Wed Feb 23 2011
http://www.moneyville.ca/article/943384--hydro-hike-to-pay-fine-for-utility-overbilling?bn=1

A victory for electricity ratepayers who objected to paying high interest rates on overdue bills will be a loss for those who pay on time.

The Ontario Energy Board has ruled that most of the province’s electric utilities — which under a Supreme court of Canada ruling, had to give away money collected on overdue accounts because the interest rates charged were too high — may get the money back from customers across the board.

As a result, typical residential electricity customers will pay an extra 20 to 30 cents a month on their bills, for a period of one to two years.

Further, the parties agreed that it would be impossible to find and reimburse customers who had paid the high interest rates over decades.

The case, which does not apply to Hydro One’s local customers, dates back to a decision over late penalty payments on natural gas bills. The Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that the late payment penalty charged by the utilities exceeded the 60 per cent limit allowed under Canadian law.
The gas companies, required to give away the excess they’d collectedpaid it into a fund administered by the United Way to help low income families pay winter heating bills.

But the energy board then ruled that the gas utilities could recover their lost revenue by levying a levy a charge on all their customers.

Attention then switched to hydro utilities, which charged similar late payment penalties and faced an action similar to the gas utility case.

They, too, agreed to pay the illegally collected money out into the winter warmth fund and then
They, too, sought to regain it from the rest of their customers.

And they, too, have been successful.

The steep penalty for late bill payments “was itself an action undertaken by the utilities to protect the interests of the large majority of ratepayers who pay their accounts on time,” the board wrote in a decision released Tuesday.

“Delinquent accounts are an important source of costs for utilities, and these costs can only be recovered from ratepayers.”

Since the utilities can’t target the late-payers with big penalties, they’ll have to get the money from all their customers.

The board also argues that the now-outlawed late penalties were used to lower over-all electricity rates.

“Because of the revenues generated by the (late payment penalties), electricity rates were lower than they otherwise would have been,” the board wrote.

Since those revenues are no longer available to reduce rates, the board ruled, utilities should be allowed to increase rates to offset the loss.

The parties agreed that the overpayment across the province came to $17 million; with interest and other items their total costs for the settlement came to $18.4 million.

Toronto Hydro’s share of the overpayment was $7.5 million. It will have a two-year period in which to pay out the money; other utilities across the province must make their payouts within a year.

While the decision makes sense to the energy board, it’s unlikely to satisfy angry ratepayers who protested to the board.

“The costs are solely the result of unethical (if not illegal) conduct by (the utilities’) management teams, and all such costs should be borne directly by the distributors out of their own profits,” wrote Jim Mallar.

“This application is an insult to consumers,” wrote Keith Moyer. “What the utility distributors are now saying is: ‘Sure, we were found guilty, but now we want our money back, including the cost of our high priced lawyers…’”

Jane Cooper wrote: “I vehemently protest any costs or damages…being recovered from ratepayers. This is NOT the ratepayers’ problem and we are already burdened with extreme high costs.”

Sally Wilkie also protested:“I am a ratepayer that pays my bill on time, every time, including the rate increases, HST, debt retirement charges, etc.Am I about to be penalized for the people who pay late and for the management that imposed late payment fees? I and other ratepayers and tax payers should not be held responsible. We plead innocent. DON'T FINE US.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MicroFIT: Paying people to use less grid power.

Some 20,000 applications in Ontario have been submitted to the Province to have solar panels installed. Of those some 3700 are connected. There is no data yet on what these supply in power to the grid nor how much is being paid to these people for that power.

The claim is these people are supplying power to the grid. But are they? Is that the correct way of looking at their set up? I don't think it is.

Let's be clear about these panels. I'm sure you have all seen some of them around the countryside (us rural folk have anyway). The set up is small. Sure, they look big enough. But understand that these panels, if only hooked to the person's house, would not supply the power needs of the home.

Let me state that again. These panels CANNOT supply the power needs of the home. You would need many more of them to be able to do that.

I visited a home in Sarnia about 4 years ago who has 20 panels on his roof (this is before the FIT program). He was supplying about 20% of his home with these panels. But what happens at night? He has 60 batteries. So the panels had to charge the batteries by day AND supply the home's power demand, totalling some 20% over all for the day.

So we can extrapolate that situation to these FIT producers. They are not supplying power to the grid at all (even though they are connected). They are using all of that solar power to offset SOME of what they are using themselves from the grid.

For example (and these are just numbers out of the air until concrete values can be found), a home consumes some 100kWh of power a day. The solar panels, when the sun shines, produces 20kWh of power a day. So this person is charged $0.09/kWh for the 100kWh he uses every day ($9), and gets $.065/kWh for the solar panels ($13). So the person is netting $4 per day for using 20% less off the grid.

Now without the real numbers this is just a ballpark calculation, but you get the picture.

The bottom line is we are paying solar people huge sums of money for them to use a little less of grid power. And at a time when we have excess production.

Now, if they want to use that solar power to offset their hydro bills (that is they get $0.09/kWh) then I would have no problem with that. But not paying them more, not making our power system their personal retirement fund. I heard about one person in Beaverton who was expecting to net $60,000 per year into his retirement from selling power to the grid at $0.65.

Personally, I think he has been duped. I think he will find that the output from these panels is not going to come close to what he was told they would produce, maybe half if lucky. But still, it's just not right that some people can't feed their families because of their hydrobills, but these people get to live a grand retirement contributing to those high bills.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ontario targets 450% growth in wind capacity

New Energy World Network

The government of Ontario has launched its Long Term Energy Plan calling for an increase in renewable energy developments to 10.7GW by 2018.

The energy plan represents a 450 per cent growth in installed wind capacity in the next seven years, from 1.59GW to 7GW.

The Canadian province has sent mixed messages to the wind power industry this week, making a call to increase the region’s use of wind power after putting a moratorium on all offshore wind projects earlier in the week.

The new energy plan involves the installation of new transmission system upgrades and is expected to lead to the creation of at least 12,500 new jobs.

The plan is also anticipated to lead to more than $12.5bn in new investment in the province, and $22m in annual lease payments to landowners.

Wind energy represents a significant majority of the developments under its energy plan, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

CanWEA president Robert Hornung said, ‘Reaffirming the government’s target for new wind energy supply and proceeding quickly with new contracts for wind energy projects and necessary transmission system upgrades will strengthen investor confidence that Ontario is a good place to do business.’

Wind energy has increased ten-fold in the last six years in Canada as governments seek ways to meet rising energy demand, CanWEA said.

The country has more than 4.15GW of installed wind energy capacity, close to 1.59GW of which is in Ontario. Quebec and Alberta each have less than half this level of wind power, with 663MW and 806MW of installed wind capacity, respectively.

Monday, February 14, 2011

OUR POWER SYSTEM SHOULD NOT BE A RETIREMENT SOCIAL PROGRAM

Hydro One pulls plug on farmer
http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2011/02/13/17260626.html

STRATHROY — Henry Aukema saw his retirement plans crumble in the words of an e-mail from Hydro One.

The 57-year-old Strathroy farmer had been one of 25,000 Ontarians to apply to erect solar panels whose electricity could be sold to the grid at a guaranteed premium for 20 years.

The return was attractive: Aukema calculated by the time he paid off a loan to build the solar array he’d be 65 — and then could produce income of as much as $15,000 a year.

The risk seemed non-existent: He had been given a conditional offer by the Ontario Power Authority under a plan proposed and backed by the Ontario government.

So Aukema borrowed $85,000, rather than cashing in part of his modest RRSP, and paid for the project and the electrical work needed to hook it to the grid.

Then he waited.

In November and January, he phoned Hydro One and was told his project should prove easy to connect.

Still, nothing happened.

Last week, he worked a frigid day outside, then went to the basement of his home to check his e-mail.

The form letter from Hydro One began with a pat on the back for the provincial government:
“The tremendous success of the (program) signals that Ontarians clearly want to play an important role in feeding clean and renewable sources of power into the electricity grid.”

Then came the kick to the gut:

“Some applicants are facing system constraints and will not be able to connect until system upgrades are made. Based on our analysis, we have determined that your project is impacted by system constraints. We regret to inform you that we are unable to provide you with an offer to connect your (project) at this time.”

Aukema was stunned.

“I felt sick. Then I had to explain it to my wife. She asked if that meant we couldn’t go on vacations anymore,” Aukema said.

It’s not clear how many identical e-mails have or will be sent by Hydro One and other utilities — estimates start in the hundreds but potentially go much higher.

Thirty kilometres from Aukema, Steve Baert opened one of the e-mails in a home between London and St. Marys.

A self-employed electronics technologist who services computers and printers, the frugal Baert spent $45,000 out-of-pocket for parts. Then he designed and built a solar array mostly on his own, working as many as 15 hours a day since September — thousands of hours in total — until he opened the e-mail from Hydro One.

“I was numb for the rest of the day. We are extremely thrifty. We don’t spend $45,000 on retirement lightly and have it all smack into a brick wall,” he said.

Both Baert and Aukema levy the same charge against the Ontario government: When the Ontario Power Authority handed out conditional offers last August no one mentioned even a remote possibility that they or anyone else might not be able to get hooked up to the grid.
“We’ve been led down the garden path,” Aukema said.

Told of the plight of the two men, Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid said, “We’re doing our very, very best. I commented very strongly to Hydro One to stretch our transmission capacity to the maximum.”

Asked if they’d be connected within two years, Duguid said he didn’t know.

Asked why Ontario Power Authority issued conditional offers and Hydro One instructions without warning that not all solar arrays would be connected, Duguid said people shouldn’t be so quick to second guess.

“It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. (The process) is all new. At a certain point of time information came forward that there would be a challenge,” he said.

Aukema said he contacted Hydro One but they refused to answer questions unless they’re put in writing. He said he also left a message with his MPP, Marie Van Bommel (L — Lambton-Kent-Middlesex), but didn’t hear back from her. The Free Press phoned Van Bommel’s constituency office last Friday and asked for the MPP but she didn not return the call.

Both Aukema and Baert said they aren’t aren’t sure what their next step might be because Hydro One hasn’t said how long they might have to wait to be connected to the grid.

The so-called microFIT program has attracted about 25,000 applications with another 50 to 80 applications arriving each workday, according to the Ontario Power Authority.

So far, 3,700 projects have been connected to the grid, another 2,500 are next in the queue and 13,800 have been offered a conditional deal but now must see if there is capacity to hook up.
How many will be turned away and how long they may have to wait remains murky — Duguid said last week the “vast majority” would proceed unimpeded, then later said just a majority.

Duguid also said he expects utilities to pay for upgrades that enable connections by raising electricity rates.

London Hydro has already committed $2.5 million and expects to have to pay significantly more

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The FIT Mess

Well, well, now the Liberals have put people on hold who are installing solar panels. This gets better and better all the time.

Just looking at what these people are spending, more than $350,000 by that person in Strathroy, $80,000 in concrete alone, must give anyone who pays their hydro bills to say "what were these people thinking!!!?"

That's a lot of money, they must have figured they would get MORE than that from all us rate payers over 20 years. How many of you are happy paying for all this solar power and the profit these people expected to get? Not one I suspect.

This alone is enough to show how stupid this entire scam is, because that is what it is, a scam.

Do I feel for these people who will go bankrupt now with worthless solar panels? You know the saying they should have heeded to: If it's too good to be true it probably is.

No, no sympathy for these people at all, not one bit. My sympathy is to the rate payers of the province.

Ontario solar projects put on hold

John Spears
Business Reporter

A thousand mostly rural residents across Ontario who were awarded solar energy contracts last summer have been told their projects have been put on hold.

That has left many with tens of thousands of dollars invested in projects for which they now have no prospect of getting any income.

“I’ve got $70,000 sitting right out in my backyard,” said Brian Wilson, who lives near Belleville, of his 10-kilowatt solar array. “I can go two doors down and they’ve got $70,000 invested, too.”

But they’ve both been told that they can’t connect to the electrical grid because of technical issues.

“It’s a mess,” says Kim Doherty of Farmed Energy Inc., who supplies solar equipment. He started getting calls from clients this week, saying they’d been told no connections are available for their projects.

One of his clients, a father-and-son team near Strathroy, made a $170,000 down payment on solar equipment, and built four concrete support platforms at a cost of $20,000 each, Doherty said.

They’re supposed to make another $170,000 payment on delivery in a few weeks. This week, they got notice that only two of their four solar arrays can be connected.

The notice that Wilson got from Hydro One gave no time frame for when he might be connected, or when money would start flowing.

“Some applicants are facing system constraints and will not be able to connect until system upgrades are made,” the letter said.

“We regret to inform you that we are unable to provide you with an offer to connect your microFIT project at this time.”

“Hydro One will be working to identify and prioritize the necessary investments to enable further connections. Planning and implementing viable system upgrades will require time and coordination with other sector agencies, including the Ontario Energy Board, which is the body responsible for approving system investments of this nature.”

The province told 20,000 applicants across Ontario last year they had been awarded contracts for solar energy under what they called their microFIT program.

About 3,700 have been connected to date.

But about 1,000 have now been told they can’t be connected in the foreseeable future, because local utilities don’t have the wires or other equipment to carry their power to the grid.

The would-be solar entrepreneurs already had one bitter battle with the provincial government last summer, when the province slashed the rate being paid for power from some types of installations.

Wilson said the administration of the system is puzzling.

He has neighbours, a husband and wife, who each applied for microFIT contracts on the same piece of land.

The wife’s application, made in January, was just approved. The husband’s, submitted last summer, still hasn’t been processed, he said.

Wilson said he’s been bounced from one office to another in Ontario’s multi-layered energy bureaucracy, trying to get answers.

Doherty said his Strathroy clients were especially taken aback by the partial refusal because a Hydro One employee recently visited their property and told them how much it would cost to get their connections.


http://www.thestar.com/business/article/937782--ontario-solar-projects-put-on-hold

see also
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/02/12/kelly-mcparland-ontario-quietly-reverses-field-on-wind-solar-energy/

Friday, February 11, 2011

Global Panic as Green Sector Collapses and Investors Face Ruin

Governments, investors and even the World Bank are rushing for the exits in the Great Escape from the green energy bubble.

Solar energy appears to be the worst affected sector so far. Dow Jones reports on a startling U-turn by Britain’s ultra-green government has caught investors off guard and shock waves across the markets will likely precipitate the further rush from green energy projects to shale gas.

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change made the shock announcement as it revealed a comprehensive review of its Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program. Indications from data provider, Prequin are that over $1bn in earmarked funds may be lost as Britain now promises it will only hold tariffs until April 2012.
Green Investors Feeling Betrayed by European GovernmentsBritain’s decision is another nail in the coffin for Europe’s tottering green energy market. Last year the first of several crushing body blows was dealt to environmentalist dreams when the Spanish government retrospectively cut the value of its tariffs in its own U-turning energy review. The devastated Spanish Solar Photovoltaic Industry Association, with mass bankruptcies on the cards, is accusing their government of utter betrayal is yet to carry out a threat to sue over the ruling.

As the green house of cards collapses Netherlands-based investment manager DIF and BNP Paribas and venture capitalists such as Future Capital Partners are rumored to be extremely fearful of further repercussions coming at a time when European public opinion is bored and fatigued after two decades of endless global warming hype.

UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry made the starkly ominous admission, “one third of Britons think the science on climate change has been exaggerated.”

Not helping the green cause has been a succession of brutally cold Northern hemispheric winters which an increasing number of scientists fear may be the harbinger of the onset of a mini-ice age.

Abundance of Shale Gas Deflates Green Energy Bubble

Causing green lobbyists and environmentally focused investors to cry bitter into their carrot juice comes the news that China is making its move to become pre-eminent in shale gas investment. Peter Foster in the Financial Post (February 11, 2011) reports that energy company Encana is to get a proposed $5.4-billion investment by PetroChina in its shale gas operations. The move he says "confirms the soaring importance of a resource that 10 years ago was hardly on the commercial map.”
The market obviously liked the news of the Chinese investment as Encana shares jumped 4.5% to close at $32.02. Savvy shale gas investors are also looking most eagerly at Canada where the discovery that Quebec has considerable shale gas potential has dealt another blow to the idea that the world’s energy resources are anywhere near a so-called “peak.” A strident Quebec Oil and Gas Association has hired former Parti Quebecois premier Lucien Bouchard to help lobby for provincial development to exploit the unexpected huge find.With so many known large deposits of shale gas in countries such as Poland, Germany, France and the U.K. economic strategists are finally waking up to the fact that this monumental new resources could help free Europe from the threat of disruptions from its main natural gas supplier, Russia.

Andrew Orlowski reporting for ‘The Register’ (February 10, 2011) reveals Holland has also joined the rush away from green by becoming the first country to abandon the EU-wide target of producing 20 per cent of its domestic power from renewables. The Dutch are now putting their long-term faith in nuclear. Netherland’s only nuclear reactor, the Borssele plant, scheduled for closure by 2003 is now planned to operate at least until 2034.

World Bank Joins Rush Away from the Green White Elephant
Top line international bankers also appear to be abandoning 'big green' according to a report by climate scientist Roger Pielke Jr. who highlights two recent research papers published by influential thinkers inside the World Bank.
Economics papers by Robert Mendelsohn and Gokay Saher (here in PDF) and Medelsohn, Kerry Emanuel and Shun Chonabayashi (here in PDF) chop the legs from under the pro-green Stern Review (2007) and affirm that no human impact may be inferred on global climate.

With economists plainly joining an increasing number of scientists in global warming skepticism its little wonder there’s now a mass flight away from ‘renewables;’ such that both investors and governments are compelled to follow suit in the clearest indication yet that green energy won’t live up to its promises.

The key to long-term economic success now appears to be safely premised once again on solid market innovation, not ideologically driven government subsidies; such subsidized ventures have a long and notorious history as lame duck enterprises. It seems ‘green renewables’ has become the latest of these white elephants.

http://johnosullivan.livejournal.com/30603.html

Holland slashes carbon targets, shuns wind for nuclear

Also read: European Energy Review

By Andrew Orlowski, The Register

In a radical change of policy, the Netherlands is reducing its targets for renewable energy and slashing the subsidies for wind and solar power. It’s also given the green light for the country’s first new nuclear power plants for almost 40 years.

Why the change? Wind and solar subsidies are too expensive, the Financial Times Deutschland , reports. Holland thus becomes the first country to abandon the EU-wide target of producing 20 per cent of its domestic power from renewables.

This is a remarkable turnaround from a state that took the Kyoto Agreement seriously and chivvied other EU members into adopting renewable energy strategies. The FT reports that instead of the €4bn annual subsidy, it will be slashed to €1.5bn.

Holland’s only nuclear reactor, the Borssele plant, opened in 1973, and was earmarked for closure by 2003. In 2006 the plant was allowed to operate until 2034, and the following year the government abandoned its opposition to new nuclear plants.

Critics of wind turbine expansion have found it difficult to get figures to judge whether the turbines are value for money. In January, Ofgem refused to disclose the output of each Feed-In Tariff (FiT) location.

The UK is expected to urge the installation of 10,000 new onshore turbines, even though some cost more in subsidies than than they produce, even at the generous Feed-In rates. Holland’s policy U-turn means the EU renewable targets aren’t set in stone – and there are more cost-effective ways of hitting the targets. ®

Ontario abandons offshore wind power plans

The provincial government has suddenly abandoned any plans to construct offshore wind projects.

Citing environmental concerns, the Liberals made the surprising announcement Friday.

While there are no renewable energy approvals for offshore wind projects anywhere in the province, the issue has been a political problem for the Liberals.

Voters in Kingston and along the Scarborough Bluffs have been vigorously opposed to constructing the offshore wind farms.

“We will be working with our U.S. neighbours to ensure that any offshore wind projects are protective of the environment,” Environment Minister John Wilkinson said in a release. “Offshore wind on freshwater lakes is a recent concept that requires a cautious approach until the science of environmental impact is clear.”

Anti-wind activists called the move an absolute victory.

Wind Concerns Ontario President John Laforet said he feels vindicated.

“I don’t think they care about the environment,” he said. “Because if they cared for it they wouldn’t be allowing on land projects either.”

Laforet said he’s watched projects go up after forests have been blasted down.

“I think what they have realized is they have unleashed hell on themselves before an election and we aren’t going away,” he said. “One side of me feels vindicated in being a volunteer in this role … but at the same time I don’t believe for a second these guys care for the environment.”

The government also said applications for offshore wind projects in the feed-in-tariff program will no longer be accepted and current applications will be suspended.



http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/937358--ontario-abandons-offshore-wind-power-plans?bn=1

Big Becky’s budget gets bigger

Tunnelling costs jumped from $600-million to $1.2-billion
By Parker Gallant

Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid was in Niagara Falls this week with a local MPP and a school bus of media types to deliver a message. “You can’t build a tunnel like this for free,” he stated, referring to Big Becky, the nickname of the machine boring a 10-kilometre tunnel under the city of Niagara Falls to bring more water to the Sir Adam Beck hydroelectric generators.

At least that part of the message was factual. The Big Becky project is $615-million over budget — at least 60% — and will be almost four years late when it finally delivers some hydroelectric power. By that time Ontario’s electricity rates, according to the same minister, will be at least 25% higher.

While the Ontario Liberals claim credit for Big Becky because they approved the original budget of $985-million in 2004, the plans for the tunnel had been in the works for a couple of decades and detailed engineering work had actually started in 1990. Its environmental assessment was actually approved in 1998. At the time, Ontario didn’t need the power, so the project was deferred.

When the McGuinty government came to power, it announced it would close all of Ontario’s coal-fired generating plants by 2007. At the same time, several of the province’s nuclear plants were nearing their end of life and concerns that Ontario could face an energy shortage crystallized in the minds of Ontario Power Generation, the provincial utility, and the Liberals. Plans for Big Becky were dusted off and rushed through the OPG board. The Request for Proposal was sent off quickly for bids to complete the tunnel.

The original approval was for a budget of $985-million, but that ballooned when the contractor hired to drill the tunnel sought a huge adjustment, on the grounds that OPG’s RFP was flawed in its provision of geological information. As a result, the tunnelling costs jumped from $600-million to $1.2-billion. No announcements on this huge increase were made by then energy minister George Smitherman — it was simply run through the Liberal Cabinet and the overrun was blessed, along with the completion delay. A search through the notes of OPG’s financial statements disclosed what had happened.

As the delays in completion became known and OPG was struggling with nuclear refurbishments, alarm bells started ringing in the corridors of the electricity sector and among the Liberals. A power shortage would be a very bad event. McGuinty then backtracked on closing those “dirty” coal-fired generating stations, and their life was extended to 2014.

Smitherman rushed through the Green Energy Act, instructed the Ontario Power Authority to pay generously for renewable power, and Ontario now finds itself faced with electricity rates that are 75% higher than 2003 and that are projected to be 46% higher by 2015.

“A hundred years from now, the project will still be contributing to our energy system,” said Duguid. “It’s clean. It’s reliable. It’s something I think Ontario families will be able to take a great deal of pride in.”

In 100 years, perhaps they will.

Financial Post
Parker Gallant is a retired banker who looked at his electricity bills and didn’t like what he saw.

Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/02/10/big-becky%e2%80%99s-budget-gets-bigger/#ixzz1DfVydQyI


---------------

[RW] Except wind turbines won't last 20 years, let alone 100.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ontario Power policy shocking

Niagara Falls Review

“We must deliver power to such an extent that the poorest working man will have light in his home,” “Power at cost” and “Public power ownership.”

These are three quotes from Sir Adam Beck in his initial years as chairman of the original Ontario Hydro. At this time, private companies are approaching agricultural-designated land owners in the Niagara Peninsula and offering them $500 per acre per year for 20 years to install hundreds of tons of concrete and solar panels. Once installed, they will sell the power back to the people of Ontario for 80 cents a kilowatt.

I calculated my bill this morning and my usage cost me 13 cents a kilowatt. If this is such a great idea, why not install all this concrete on the publicly owned land. For example, the hundreds of miles of transmission corridors, the hundreds of acres of industrial land surrounding the generating stations, in particular the Nanticoke site and Lambton site (assuming this government isn’t smart enough to install nuclear power on these sites) where the electrical infrastructure is right there.

The expense of upgrading the electrical infrastructure, installing fences and securing proper drainage on these farm lands are all expenses that the people of Ontario will bear the burden of through grants and then “blend” the 80 cents into their monthly bill. Once the land lease is over, I don’t think you can grow carrots in concrete.

In case no one has noticed lately, there is no industry here and with these proposed rates, it’s obvious we will not be appealing to any sort of business.

The U.S. and China are ramping up right now installing an unbelievable number of thermal plants. It’s obvious they want industry and jobs. In recent months, OPG has paid other utilities to take excess power and is regularly spilling water at four cents a kilowatt to allow solar and wind generation to stay on the grid. Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation have gifted individuals who are paid by the taxpayers who should be given the opportunity and ability to give us taxpayers some proper direction now and into the future. Politicians should only set the guidelines.

One last thought, our failing health system, our electrical power rates and this great HST — it shouldn’t take a brain surgeon come election time.

Darryl McGowan
Retired Ontario Power Generation supervisor, Niagara Falls

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The evisceration of the Independent Electricity System Operator

Energy Probe, February 8, 2011 –

Parker Gallant writes that the Independent Electricity System Operator has lost its independence from political influence.


The President and CEO of the IESO, Paul Murphy, delivered a speech to the Ontario Energy Network January 11, 2010 in which it is obvious that the “independence” of IESO has been taken away. IESO, based on this speech, seems onside with the Minister of Energy’s Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), adding renewable energy to the grid, and installing smart meters.

This speech was the kick-off to what is likely to be a tumultuous year in Ontario’s energy sector and one of the major issues in the fall election. As an outsider it would appear that Mr. Murphy was given marching orders by the Minister to bow to their agenda and endorse the Green Energy Act and the LTEP.

In the speech he tells the audience that there is 37,000 MW of wind and solar already installed in North America but omits reference to its intermittent delivery of power to the grid, or that installed capacity has nothing to do with what it actually produces. The speech states that “wind and solar doesn’t generally displace other non-carbon sources like nuclear or hydro” yet it was IESO’s report that recently disclosed we had exported surplus generation to the US and Quebec in December at a loss. It was reported by several parties associated with the energy sector that the cost to Ontario ratepayers was over $50 Million during that month. In the process it was self-evident the exports displaced OPG’s hydro generation, reducing their revenues and producing a lengthening repayment period of the old stranded debt.

The speech focused on the McGuinty/Duguid messages — how revewables are not driving up costs and how paying 80 cents/kwh for rooftop solar is appropriate because it is such a small amount. The speech was silent on the fact that the LTEP will bring the baseload of our electricity system to 83%, and does not address the past concerns that IESO has expressed about how intermittent electricity sources such as wind and hydro affect their ability to manage the grid. One need only look to the recent problems that Texas (with 10,000 MW of wind capacity) had with their grid forcing rolling blackouts partially induced by intermittent wind production. In the future IESO will be forced to sell more of our power at a loss to the US and Quebec as we did in December. The speech references forecasting weather and how IESO are in the process of setting up a wind forecasting unit. On this latter issue it would be interesting to learn if IESO plans peer comparison with other markets or are simply acting on directions from above.

The speech tells the reader Ontario is a leader in introducing “smart meters” along with time-of-use (TOU) pricing. Smart meters are seen as an enabler for the smart grid of tomorrow. Perhaps they are but this writer isn’t sold. Based on personal experience with Toronto Hydro and seven surges or outages from January 1st to January 20th of this year, smart meters are not saving Toronto Hydro customers from blackouts. When the problems in our neighbourhood were reported to TH, they were completely unaware our neighbourhood had any outages despite the fact that smart meters have been installed. Smart meters reputedly allow electricity distributors to spot problems rather than wait for a phone call to report an outage but it would appear this benefit eludes TH at the present time.

The speech reports how “many” people are benefiting from TOU pricing, yet actual results emanating from pilot projects run throughout the province actually point in a different direction. In Toronto over 80 % in the pilot program reported an increase in electricity costs.

Included in the speech is the observation that Ontario doesn’t have the highest prices in North America and references a study by Hydro Quebec that places “Ontario residential rates in the middle of the pack.” The increases announced by the Minister of 46% over the next four years in the LTEP will allow us to take that leap to price leadership! The speech goes on to state that electricity costs will rise not only in Ontario but across North America. The latter statement is in contrast with the US government’s Energy Information Administration that is forecasting a decline in electricity prices over the next 25 years after adjustment for inflation.

In the latter part of the speech we read about Ontario’s “hybrid market structure, combining a competitive wholesale energy market with significant amounts of contracted or regulated supply.” The speech lauds the Ontario Power Authority and how they have “done a good job with many of their contracts to make sure these facilities choose to run when it’s most cost effective.”

On the first point above the choice of the noun “hybrid” was perhaps meant to conjure up green images and is a bitter truth for ratepayers and why Ontario’s rates are heading up. Knowing that the OPA sets renewable energy prices well above market value compared with any other jurisdiction, it would not be factual to claim that Ontario’s market is “competitive.” When referring to how the OPA’s contracts will “make sure these facilities choose to run when it’s most cost effective” one can only presume Mr. Murphy wasn’t referencing wind and solar, which don’t choose to produce power when we actually need it.

It almost sounds as though Mr. Murphy had this speech handed to him by the Ministry’s office and was told to deliver it. It is unfortunate that the Minister of Energy has taken the “Independent” out of IESO’s mandate just as they took the word “balances” out of the OEB’s first objective; “To provide sound economic regulation that balances the interests of consumers with the need for a financially viable energy sector” and replaced it with the word “consider”.

Over the past few years we have witnessed the evisceration of the public energy sector by the current government to the point where they put words in the mouths of those charged with the unenviable task of executing their misguided policies.

The time has come to depoliticize the energy sector in Ontario and ask the bureaucrats to do their job!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ontario to launch $1 million blitz to explain soaring energy costs

Robert Benzie
Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/934239--ontario-to-launch-1-million-blitz-to-explain-soaring-energy-costs?bn=1

OTTAWA—Premier Dalton McGuinty is hitting Ontarians where they live to explain rising energy prices and what’s being done to help.

Queen’s Park is distributing a six-page pamphlet this week to every household in Ontario as part of a public-relations blitz to tout the new 10 per cent discount on electricity.

The Star obtained an advance copy of the leaflet, which is costing about $1 million to mail out.
“What we’re trying to convey is why we’re doing this,” McGuinty said late Saturday after a 40-minute speech to 300 Liberals at the party’s pre-election policy conference here.

“It is a major undertaking, but we’ve come a long way since the days of 2003 and 2004 when it was touch and go with respect to our capacity to meet electricity demand in Ontario,” the premier said.

While generation is more plentiful and less polluting, electricity bills have skyrocketed and are expected to increase an additional 46 per cent over the next five years.

“We’re now in a position where we’ve got a reliable supply and we’re doing it in a really smart way. We’re doing it in a way that creates thousands of new jobs,” said McGuinty, referring to the Green Energy Act that subsidizes clean wind and solar generators with hopes of creating 50,000 new jobs over three years.

“It’s cleaning up our air so I just want to give Ontarians a sense of why we’re doing this and what we’ve been able to achieve together,” he said.

But with an election looming Oct. 6 and Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath appealing to voter concerns on pocketbook issues, McGuinty launched a 10 per cent hydro rate discount as of Jan. 1.

Known as the Clean Energy Benefit, the measure will cost the treasury, already struggling with an $18.7 billion budget deficit, more than $1 billion a year.

“It’s going to convey to Ontarians that we’re sensitive to their household finances and that we’re trying to help,” insisted the premier.

The six-page brochure, entitled “Electricity prices are changing. Find out why,” is ostensibly a non-partisan document that was approved for release by Auditor General Jim McCarter.
Still, it echoes the themes in the PowerPoint presentation McGuinty has been making across the province in recent weeks.

“Like in a lot of places around the world, electricity prices in Ontario are going up. Why? Ontario is building the infrastructure we need to make sure the lights stay on, now and in the future,” the document states.

It goes on to boast how eight coal-fired generation plants have been closed and the last will be mothballed in 2014.

As well, the leaflet heralds how $9 billion in private-sector investment has been committed in the past year for renewable energy projects and that Ontario has more than 700 wind turbines — up from 10 when the Liberals were elected in 2003.

(The controversial $7 billion deal with Samsung accounts for the lion’s share of that, although the South Korean company is not mentioned by name.)

But this shift has come at a price because green energy is heavily subsidized with generators being paid up to 80 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity that costs about 4 cents from nuclear plants.

Hence the 10 per cent discount.

“The average household will see savings of about $150 this year. The credit will be applied directly to your electricity bill for the next five years,” the pamphlet states.

Horwath, for her part, said Sunday that the Liberals’ moves are cold comfort for worried Ontario families.

“I don’t know how they neutralize this (as an election issue),” said the NDP leader, pointing out that the 13 per cent harmonized sales tax on energy bills is walloping consumers.

“Everywhere I go, I am hearing from families about the cost of household bills,” said Horwath, whose party is promising to scrap the 8 per cent provincial portion of the HST from energy costs and raise corporate taxes to foot the tab.

Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton), whose party has yet to disclose its plans for tax relief, said McGuinty is out of touch with families.

“The reality is that hydro bills and the HST have become a really big burden on the family budget. We’re hearing it every day,” said MacLeod.

“It’s a little too late for them to be giving credits or the like. Right now, families realize they’re in a very dire strait in paying many of their bills and I don’t think the hydro scheme they’ve put in place is at all helping Ontario families.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Queen’s Park’s energy greenwashing: Woodcock

By CONNIE WOODCOCK, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: February 5, 2011 7:53pm

There was a pale green and grey brochure from the Ontario government in my mail last week.
Its low key message: “Electricity prices are changing. Find out why.”

Wow, there’s a surprise. Who knew? I guess they think I might not have noticed yet that my bill is nearly double what it was three years ago.

Inside, it burbles on ungrammatically about Ontario electricity prices going up “like in a lot of places around the world,” the need to build new infrastructure, shut down coal generating plants and find cleaner sources of electricity.

Then it tells us that although prices will be going up more than 7% a year for the next few years, the government wants to “help manage costs.” Right, that’s the 10% they’re knocking off bills, the tax credit some seniors may receive and an energy credit available only to Northern Ontario residents.

I wonder how much this self-congratulatory little publication cost to tell us what we already know: That we’re choking on our energy bills and it will only get worse.

Such hypocrisy. Yes, electricity rates are going up in many places — but nowhere higher than in Ontario, studies have shown.

There’s another example of the province’s hypocrisy surrounding electricity that’s been bothering me for weeks.

It started with the mid-January release of Ontario’s air quality report for 2009 which showed our air is getting cleaner. In fact, three major pollutants — nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide — were down between 40 and 64% since the turn of the century. There were only three smog advisories in 2009. Last year’s stats aren’t out yet but 2010 didn’t have many smog days either.

Wouldn’t you know it, the government quickly patted itself on the back for the good numbers. It’s all because of the province’s clean air efforts, including shutting down those evil coal-fired generating plants, according to Ontario Environment Minister John Wilkinson.

“We made that important decision that it was more important to have cleaner air even if clean air costs a bit more because it’s better for all of us and better for our children.”
La la la. Yet another tune from the green energy hymn book.

And everyone from the media to the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, an anti-coal lobby group, let him get away with that — not once but over and over as the report was publicized.

Kudos go out to the NDP’s Peter Kormos for at least pointing out it’s more likely the recession, which shut down factories all over Southern Ontario, that really cut the pollutants. But even he was ignoring the obvious, as we’ll see.

The province’s claim was repeated last week when the Living City Report Card, prepared by the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, was released. The report credited the coal plants’ closures with the huge reductions in carbon emissions and sulphur in the city since 2005.

Still, the obvious answer was ignored even though it was splashed all over the biggest U.S. newspapers at roughly the same time as the environment minister was claiming bragging rights.
The U.S. energy department reported on Jan. 14 that the recession has led to massive drops in American greenhouse gases since 2005. And at the same time a utilities consortium said when demand dropped, the utilities cut back production from their most inefficient plants — the old, heavily polluting coal fired stations — and produced more energy from cleaner gas-fired plants.

Since Ontario gets at least 50% of its pollution from the U.S., it seems likely that high American unemployment — not Ontario’s clean energy policies — is the biggest reason our pollution is dropping.

But of course, you’ll never hear that from Queen’s Park.
http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/connie_woodcock/2011/02/04/17160911.html

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why the need to export electricity subsidized by the Ontario consumer?

By: Donald Jones, P.Eng.
http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/why-the-need-to-export-electricity-subsidized-by-the-ontario-consumer/

Ontario exports large amounts of electricity to neighbouring jurisdictions day and night. Exports occur for technical and financial reasons. Ontario presently has an excess of baseload generation so it makes sense to export the surplus. In the immediate future there will be many thousands of megawatts of installed wind power on the grid and exporting will be the only way to maximize its accommodation on the grid while maintaining grid reliability. Since supply contracts with the non-utility gas generators apparently mean that consumers pay whether the generation is needed by Ontarians or not, it makes some sort of misguided sense to export at a subsidized price and get at least something for it.

At times of the year, usually the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, the province presently has a surplus of baseload generation. This Surplus Baseload Generation (SBG) occurs when baseload generation, from nuclear, must-run hydro, combined-heat-and- power, and wind, that cannot be reduced for technical or contractual reasons, exceeds demand. If an export market is available of sufficient capacity this will prevent powering down or shutting down nuclear units that could be offline for up to three days leaving gas and coal to take up the slack. In this case it makes sense to export even at negative prices if it prevents manoeuvring our present nuclear units.

Wind is a take-when-available energy source and has priority to the grid during SBG periods ahead of nuclear but the latest wind contracts with the Feed-In Tariffs, signed in early 2010, provide financial incentives for future wind generators to curtail production during SBG periods (although such incentives are not provided for the 1,400 or so megawatts that will be on the grid from the earlier Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program-RESOP). For example the feed-in-tariff of 13.5 cents/kWh for on-shore wind is reduced a cent for every cent/kWh the electricity price goes below zero but wind generators will get paid the full cost of forecast production if they voluntarily curtail production when requested to do so by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). For wind generators installed under the old pre Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program, RESOP, the wind has priority to the grid over nuclear unless there are technical or reliability reasons to prevent it. The IESO cannot dispatch wind off for economic reasons under either program, only for technical or reliability reasons, although it is trying to be allowed to do this.

The governments Long-Term Energy Plan calls for 12,000 MW of nuclear capacity to provide just 50 percent of total generation, since anything more than 50 percent causes concerns about nuclear turndown in low demand periods. For details see, “Ontario Needs More Than 2000 MW of New Nuclear” By 2018 there will be 10,700 MW of installed wind, solar and bioenergy – let us assume 8,500 MW of installed wind – and 9,000 MW of hydro, including run-of-the-river and storage. The gas-fired generation will be maintained at its current level of over 9,500 MW – say 10,000 MW – and there will be 1,000 MW of Combined Heat and Power added to the baseload supply.

If we assume the maximum available 10,000 MW of dispatchable gas generation is on line and that it is all combined cycle and that it can get down to, say, 50 percent, then it can integrate 5,000 MW of wind. The 50 percent is an average figure since some plants may be kept at the bottom of their dispatchable range while others may be down at say 20 percent with some turbines in a multi-gas turbine plant shutdown. The other 3,500 MW of wind would have to be integrated by reducing hydro generation by 3,500 MW. If hydro can be dispatched down to the must-run hydro minimum of around say 2,000 MW it means that there must be at least 5,500 MW of hydro on line to accommodate the remaining 3,500 MW of wind.

This shows that there could be potential concerns during a day when gas and hydro are operating at less than their maximum capacity (which is most of the time) and wind kicks in since all the installed wind generation would not be able to be accommodated on the grid. However if there were high levels of export much more of this wind could be accommodated. This also has technical advantages since the combined cycle gas turbine generators on the grid might not have to be powered down below their dispatchable range of around 70 to 100 percent of full power. When in their dispatchable range the units can respond appropriately to dispatches sent every five minutes by the IESO. When operating below their dispatchable range they might not be able to raise power quickly enough if the wind suddenly drops, putting the grid at risk. The safe and reliable operation of Ontario’s nuclear units depends to a certain extent on the reliability of the grid to which they are connected. In the future, without exports, there could be insufficient dispatchable gas and coal-fired generation available on the grid that could be powered back to accommodate the potential wind generation. Exports maximize the amount of wind that can be integrated into the grid and improves the grid reliability. This is explained in detail in, http://coldaircurrents.blogspot.com/2011/01/more-wind-means-more-risk-to-ontario.html

Minister Duguid recently said that ”exporting Ontario power at prices lower than those paid by the province’s consumers makes sense”. Exporting at prices that do not include the Global Adjustment (GA) charge that Ontario consumers pay does not make sense. In a properly run system this would not happen. The only possible rationale for this is that the gas-fired non-utility generators have been contracted by the Ontario Power Authority to supply a certain amount of megawatt hours per year, for many years, and they get paid even if their supply is not needed by Ontarians. Without this type of contract the generators would only produce what was needed and consumers would save on the GA charge and less fuel would be burned with less accompanying pollution. The financial saving is shown in the lowest plot on http://morecoldair.blogspot.com/2011/01/mcguinty-thinks-this-is-fun-it-hasnt.html Something is better than nothing in Minister Duguid’s case only because of the poor management of the electricity system.

This shows that rather than trying to minimize the output of gas and coal-fired generation technical and financial issues will increase the output, burning more gas and producing more Ontario pollution. With controversial unconventional shale gas becoming more of the mix, gas prices are surely to rise. With large amounts of installed wind coming on to the grid and without exports the grid reliability will be reduced.

Follow the wind power money

By Don Waffle, The Windsor Star February 2, 2011


What's the dirty secret behind Dalton McGuinty's clean energy program? Why did McGuinty choose the most expensive plan possible for harnessing wind power to generate electricity?
Public ownership of wind energy generation would supply kilowatts at rates competitive with traditional hydro generation.

Once equipment was paid for, electricity from wind would be virtually free.

McGuinty chose private ownership. In doing so, he designed profit to private developers so generous they can contemplate the horrendous cost of building wind farms out in the Great Lakes.

He opted to commit ratepayers to the high cost of private borrowing from private banks. Turbines erected on public land like hydro corridors would save farmland and save ratepayers almost $200,000 over the life of each tower.

For this, Ontario gets obsolescent and short shelf-life technology.

Governments in the earlier part of the last century worked to keep the cost low on vital services. Hence the term "public" applied to hydro and water utilities and highways.

Directly after the Second World War, Ontario converted from 25 to 60 cycle AC power.
Every electric motor in the province was removed, rewound and replaced. This was done without disrupting the economy.

In contrast, the primary function of politics and the parties today is to shovel the public's money into private pockets.

The debacle of power privatization in California seemed to slam shut our Ontario government's agenda to turn hydro over to private ownership.

With the clean energy program, party strategists saw McGuinty's great chance to please profit-hungry banks and global corporations and investors, at the expense of Ontario's economy and its people.

He did an end run. Clean energy is henceforth privately owned.

Ontario ratepayers are on the hook with home and industry-busting private electricity rates.
Does the McGuinty government really care about clean energy or Ontario saddled with obsolete wind technology?

DON WAFFLE, Harrow

Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/technology/Follow+wind+power+money/4208909/story.html#ixzz1CoxdFxRG

McGuinty's plans will doom Ontario

By Pete Szabo, The Windsor Star February 2, 2011


In December 2010, on Global TV a spokesperson who has knowledge about Ontario hydro stated that hydro bills will not double in 2012, they will quadruple, and the Ontario deficit will be close to $80 billion and that includes our current deficit of $13 billion and here is why.

The spokesperson stated that Dalton McGuinty and Dwight Duncan will purchase thousands of wind turbines and scatter them all across Ontario.

Living or being near these can cause health problems over time. This is a fact. Wind turbines have a hefty price tag for their upkeep and so do two more nuclear power plants that McGuinty wants to build at a deficit increasing cost of $50 billion to $60 billion.

The spokesperson on Global TV also stated that McGuinty and Duncan will leave Ontario and will not be around to see and hear how happy the taxpayers will be. Taxpayers have the HST for one reason and that is to pay for McGuinty's and Duncan's mistakes.

Personally, I am upset that these two politicians will cause a never-ending tax burden to the taxpayers of Ontario. In closing, some of what I have written came from articles printed in The Windsor Star on March 2, 2005.

Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/McGuinty+plans+will+doom+Ontario/4208900/story.html#ixzz1CowxAZYS