Some recent political stories that caught my attention.
A story by Alison Jones, of the Canadian Press, was carried on the CBC website with the title, Ontario government polling shows improving numbers on hydro file:
…polling conducted by the Gandalf Group — headed by the man leading the Liberals’ 2018 re-election bid — found large support for the government’s plan for a $15 minimum wage, general support for carbon pricing, if not necessarily the specifics, and even improving assessments of the hydro file, over which the government has been consistently hammered.
The Gandalf Group is led by David Herle, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s campaign manager. Mr. Herle is, in my opinion, a very good policy person and astute pollster. I wrote on his work influencing policy last September (opposition Finance Critic Vic Fedeli cited my work in his Focus on Finance 4).
This isn’t meant to imply policy-by-poll is a good thing. It’s entirely possible the people polled prefer not only poor policy, but ignorance.
Within days of the first story on new government policies polling well (without noting they became policies because they polled well), the Liberal Party friendly Toronto Star published Kathleen Wynne wants you to like her policies, not her. The Premier has implemented this shtick in her canned pre-campaign appearances.
There is a saying in politics that “anger is not sustainable.” I believe that, but I’m not sure most potential voters are simply not liking, or even angry with Premier Wynne. Anger is an energy, but disgust is a sense.
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Bayshore broadcasting reports:
Approval for wind turbines in Clearview Township has been revoked.
The Environmental Review Tribunal released its decision today (Wednesday) to revoke the previous Renewable Energy Approval.
Although the article notes the proponent has 15 days to appeal, I’ve switched the status to “Cancelled” on my map of industrial turbines in Ontario.
The Environmental Review Tribunal’s action might prove contagious. It’s unclear why the IESO is not exercising contract clause’s to revoke other feed-in tariff (FIT) contracts. I reviewed FIT 1 contracts and found this:
TERMINATION AND DEFAULT…
9.1 Events of Default by the Supplier
(j) The Commercial Operation Date has not occurred on or before the date which is 18 months after the Milestone Date for Commercial Operation, or otherwise as may be set out in Exhibit A.
So I checked my import of data from an IESO contract data listing (should match this
). Aside from the Fairview site just cancelled, the off-shore contract persists despite a ban on offshore. The Amherst Island project has advanced to the stage of barge sinking in harbour
– but not far beyond that, while White Pines was greatly reduced by the ERT yet ponders a future despite having run out the clock.
What’s in Exhibit A of these deals preventing the IESO from terminating?
On July 26th Alberta’s electricity market hit its regulated peak price of $1000 per megawatt-hour (MWh) and stayed there for hours 17, 18 and 19. The price soon dropped back down but the commentary continues.
Upon seeing there had been a price spike, I checked to how industrial wind turbines had performed and saw they’d performed exactly as I’d expected, with output dropping from hour 14 to hour 18.
I expected that as I’d seen it in 2014 and in 2012. I didn’t think this was a particularly big event. Prices have been very low in Alberta and this spike will do little to change the yearly average. Alberta is examining a capacity market, and the intent of those is to prevent high price hours – but Texas is an example of a jurisdiction thus far avoiding capacity markets/costs by upping the maximum peak market price. Theoretically, peak pricing can be healthy in encouraging new market entrants with peaking generation, or demand reduction, products. While seeing the one event as not particularly problematic, I did put some short thoughts up on twitter:
Capacity credit is an awkward term I’ll return to.
A response to my tweet tagged Andrew Leach who later put some other suspects for the cost spike up on Twitter, including:
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Parker Gallant has a new post covering the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI), or Class A Global Adjustment mechanism: Ontario’s class distinction stings ordinary hydro customers.
In early 2010, then Minister of Energy Brad Duguid issued a directive to the OPA (Ontario Power Authority) instructing them to create and deliver an “industrial energy efficiency program” specifically for large transmission connected (TX) ratepayers.
That directive led to the creation of the two classes of ratepayers that now exist in Ontario.
It’s an appropriate time to revisit the topic because this past week Ontario’s Minister of Energy was touting the electricity cost-saving opportunities for businesses that qualify for participation in a newly expanded ICI, because those savings come from shifting costs to other consumers.
If you are unfamiliar with the topic the latest article may inspire you to learn more, I recommend some articles for doing so at the end of this short post.
One statement Parker makes is not entirely correct: “IESO did not start disclosing the consumption by ratepayer class until 2015.” While they did not publish the data to their website, they did share it with those who asked.
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There’s an Ontario Energy Report (OER) that drips out quarterly.
It’s often got a mistake on the first page. Half of that page is static graphics. The other half is some simple data presented in big fonts.
The report could be useful as it contains data that is difficult to find elsewhere. The intent when it started, as I understood it, was to bring data from multiple sources together in a coherent fashion. I suspect it was supposed to be definitive – to avoid people getting information from rogue sources such as Parker Gallant and I. The official data would be a good thing if it were credible – but the first page often reveals it is not.
This quarter the very first data set – the “Transmission Grid-Connected Generation Output (Q1)” – has errors.
Ontario’s use of gas in generation electricity during the first quarter was very low. It was lower than it’s been in over 50 years. But it wasn’t this low.
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Some numbers I’ve compiled for the most recent periods of Ontario electricity consumption.
IESO weekly reports run from Wednesday to Tuesday – presumably because the market opened on Wednesday May 1st, 2002.
1 The week beginning on the 20th Wednesday of 2017, May 17-23, 2017, is the first one where the average Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP), weighted to the system operator’s “Ontario Demand”, was negative.
On average, it cost money to give away electricity
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