Zombie Docs: Environment Defence’s latest offence

Environmental Defence issued what they consider a study, and it was treated as news (Globe, Star).

It shouldn’t have been.

Your Home Electricity Bill: A Study on the Costs in Ontario includes some pedestrian costing estimation by a consultant, and regurgitates the spin from past reports that we had felt slain multiple times.

EDThe costing breaks down a bill for $137 which it claims is “based on 800kWh/Month” – which I calculate as working out to 17.25 cents/kWh.

The report also cites a Hydro Quebec study to demonstrate how Toronto and Ottawa, collectively known as Ontario (prices are actually higher in the rest of Ontario than these cities).   One problem is the HQ data being graphed is in base units, with Montreal set to 100, as the base:  Montreal’s $68.66/month (1000kWh residential demand) is the index, making Toronto’s $124.75 182 on the index (because it’s 82% higher).

This E.D. publication has Toronto rates at both 12.465 cents/kWh and 17.25 cents/kWh.

Awful.Read More »


No net metering without grid connection, no net metering controversy where wires and energy products are unbundled

An overview of net metering issues – with a possible model resolving some of them.
“one can oppose net metering and still favor “energy choice.” In fact, net metering is in the end incompatible with energy choice since net metering requires a grid connection and a cross-subsidy from grid-connected, non-net metered customers to survive. Giving energy choice to the customers subsidizing their solar-paneled neighbors will, if the burden grows large enough, push unsubsidized customers off the grid.”

Great article out of Germany: In Ontario it’s the cost of a Tim’s. In Germany it’s a scoop of ice cream.

From an article I wrote in November 2011:

Three days before Ontarians headed to the polls, the Star brazenly provided Jürgen Trittin, formerly Germany’s Federal Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety 91998-2005), editorial space to intervene in Ontario’s election. Tritten’s lecture ended with “Ontario is on the right path. Now it must stay the course.” According to Der Speigel, that course involves politicians enriching allies: “Few people in the hinterlands are familiar with the name Aloys Wobben, but the founder of the wind power company Enercon is now a multibillionaire and one of Germany’s richest people. Thanks to former Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin, companies that got their start in garages were able to earn millions upon millions during the years when Germany was run by a Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Green Party coalition government…..” . Germany’s experience indicate they understood that increased contributions from wind must displace baseload (constant output) sources…. Germany, having found wind production was primarily driving exports, is now finding the same limitations are true of of the solar capacity which has seen enormous growth since wind output started dropping.

Quixotes Last Stand

From Spiegel Online, this article has been Google translated, so it may not be 100% accurate.  I’ve tried to adjust the grammar where I could.  You will get the general idea though.  If anyone can do a better translation for me, please let me know and I’ll make the corrections.  Funny how even with the rough translation, this sounds EXACTLY like Ontario.  Now we know what those delivery fees, etc. on our electric bill REALLY are.  Read on….


Eine Kolumne von Jan Fleischhauer — Spiegel Online — March 17, 2014

Expensive defense projects, agricultural subsidies: all are nothing compared to the cost of the energy transition, because the state guarantees investors a real windfall.  In normal business life such deals are banned and for good reason.

Last week, I looked up the cost of an ice cream scoop in Munich. Prices vary – seasonally adjusted – between 80 cents and 1.40 euro. The most expensive…

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Bonfire of insanity

“How to do something that actually makes sense, economically and for the environment, is becoming increasingly challenging in the face of government regulations and incentives.”
David Rose reported on the continually unfolding biomass debacle this weekend with “The bonfire of insanity…” and Judith Curry’s commentary here is particularly relevant as it comes from the U.S. southeast – although no commentary on the topic should omit noting Will Boisvert’s “Harmonic Destruction: How Greens Justify Bioenergy’s Assault on Nature

Curry’s commentary on Southern Company idling coal plants is also very important – and all ties into my Cold Air Currents post yesterday on bioenergy and CCS.

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

Biomass pellets transported from North Carolina, U.S. are shipped 3800 miles to the UK and burned in Drax power station.  Drax is switching to pellets as it is deemed ‘carbon neutral’,  even though it belches out more CO2 than coal.  – from David Rose

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Enbridge seeks nearly 40 per cent hike to natural gas rates

Smart meters for all on the electricity side – on the gas side prices go up steeply in April because of expense in, primarily, February and early March.
People will be mad at their gas utility, but those utilities don’t make money on the commodity.  Perhaps anger should be turned on electricity sector decisions, and particularly coupling the early closure of coal-fired generation with heavy January exporting of gas-fired generation.

My initial summary of February figures for Ontario’s Electricity sector began: “February was a disaster for Ontario’s electricity consumers – but not nearly as bad as it will be for Ontario’s natural gas consumers.”  I should have noted I was referring only to large industrial, class A, electricity consumers.

Parker Gallant: Ontario Power Generation: then and now

Kill the GEA and send the OLP up the Lower Mattagami!
A new Parker Gallant post also contains:
-OPG spills water to curtail hydro … almost as much as Niagara tunnel was expected to add to production;
-resource fees have tripled for OPG.  The OLP must think OPG is a mining company.

Energy Probe

(March 12, 2014) Ontario Power Generation (OPG) on March 7, 2014, released its results for the year ended December 31, 2013, which claims they eked out an after tax profit of $135 million on gross revenue of $4.9 billion.

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Power exports lighten Ontario’s woes

Good article – from a different perspective than I’ve looked at the issue. Exporting at low prices (which hasn’t been much of an issue thus far in 2014) is only a symptom of a problem.
Better something than nothing – but best not to be purchasing, at high cost, supply that can’t be consumed in Ontario, but only dumped on export markets at lower cost.

Parker Gallant: Biomass is carbon neutral, and the World is flat!

Interesting and informative: groups in the norht are noting Thunder Bay (and I assum Atikokan) should have far more fuel inventory on site that currently planned – which makes sense to me.

Energy Probe

(March 5, 2014) The largest coal generation plant in the UK is transforming itself by converting half of its coal burning generation units into biomass (wood pellets) by 2016.

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Ontario Liberals Often Fail to Honour contracts

The Toronto Star ran an article recently indicating a political leader in Ontario would not honour contracts.   That leader was PC leader Tim Hudak, and since I’ve said in the past Ontario’s ratepayers would have saved billions by electing Hudak’s party when they had the change in fall 2011, I thought I’d take some time to show why that is, and how the current government has not honoured the contracts signed prior to that election.

The PC’s party “Changebook” 2011 campaign platform included;

We will end the feed-in tariff program that, in some cases, pays up to 15 times the usual cost of the hydro. Hardworking farmers and other Ontarians who signed contracts to host energy production on their property will have their contracts honoured. But there will be no more of these deals.
We will end the king of all secret, sweetheart deals – the $7 billion Samsung deal…

As Mr. Hudak’s stance of trying to end contracts is portrayed as being impractical, in the Toronto Star article and elsewhere, it’s important to note that in the two years following that election there has been little new contracting of supply.    Comparing the OPA’s 2013 Q3 – A Progress Report on Contracted Electricity Supply to the same report for the quarter prior to 2011’s election, only 33.6MW more “wind” shows as being contracted ( 5,755MW total), and 62.7MW more solar (of 2,050MW total).    The majority of renewable supply contracted since July 2011 is the conversion of Atikokan from coal to biomass (Hudak is currently being criticized for supporting another biomass project).Read More »