Metro Martin electrocutes reality

Just when the fools’ Quebec as a solution to nuclear energy in Ontario meme seemed to be disappearing, the chief Liberal propagandist wades in with an article devoid of reporting.

Martin Regg Cohn wants your perception of reality to include some interesting things. Writing for the paper that finds Toronto’s lowest common denominator most successfully, Metro Martin drop some bon mots from a spritzer bistro

After months of negotiations kicked off by Wynne and Couillard, the two provinces are set to sign a historic power-sharing agreement — electrical, not political. The goal is to backstop each other’s base load electricity during peak periods

Base load refers to load that is always there (the base), and baseload supply refers to supply that is always there. Backstopping baseload is a stupid combination of words

This new approach will lead to ongoing power swaps without any money changing hands

It’s a pity Regg Cohn didn’t ask for confirmation this wasn’t already happening. I know it is. I explained it 3 years ago and have tracked it ever since. Some of the unexplained trade occurs at a plant co-owned by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Hydro-Quebec. In the past 12 months my data queries show 767,531 megawatt-hours (MWh) quietly sent onto Quebec’s grid without OPG noting the generation on their books. The generation wasn’t worth much as it usually occurred in off-peak hours, but so does much wind generation purchased above $120/MWh, or twice the rate of nuclear, which would price the power flowed to Quebec at over $90 million.

Ontario’s peak is … during the summer air conditioning season when its nuclear reactors are tapped out.

I can’t even guess what “tapped out” is supposed to mean here, and in the past year the 85 highest “Ontario Demand” hours were in the winter according to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) files. Only 4 of the top 110 were in the summer. That hasn’t been true of electricity in recent years, but it’s always been true of energy.

It’s a perfectly complementary seasonal match, and the price will be complimentary

It’s also a creative solution that could save each province the trouble of building extra generating capacity for those seasonal peaks

Ontario does have some spare capacity for winter peaks. Not much, but a little. Quebec does pay a very efficient 550MW natural gas combined cycle generating station, with combined heat and power capability, not to run at all, so I doubt they are terribly worried about the capacity, but we have a little

better than before, when the two provinces were sidelined by political myopia and electricity inertia

the sidelines seemed to be a productive environment as the 1250 megawatt Outaouais intertie was completed only in 2010

An analysis by Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, to be released this week, argues that Queen’s Park could save $700 million a year by contracting for firm hydroelectric exports from Quebec instead of rebuilding our aging fleets of nuclear reactors.

And before that Jack had an analysis that said $1 billion a year, and before that he was thought of as an ethically bankrupt scheming hack of the natural gas industry – at least by me, but I presume that’s why the Liberal powers dragged him into the light to sell the Oakville Generating station. I’ve written about this, and then so too did the IESO and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) in their Review of Ontario Interties.

“backstop each other’s base load electricity during peak periods” and “instead of rebuilding our aging fleets of nuclear reactors” don’t go together. Baghdad Bob would probably refuse to spin the nonsense Metro Martin happily typed out in this column.

Quebec’s short-term exports are a bargain these days, thanks to the ripple effect of shale gas discoveries and a global energy glut pushing down prices for fossil fuels. Quebec’s long-term contracts are also eminently affordable, notably the latest deal with Vermont.

Vermont’s deal with Quebec is more expensive than Ontario’s deal with Bruce B. Throughout New England the thrill over cheap natural gas prices has combined with contempt of pipelines to cause surging rates and uncertain electricity capacity. Don’t take my word for it, check out Winter Gas Crunch Again Threatens New England.

Nuclear power, on the other hand

On the other hand? What was the first hand doing.


Gibbons bases his savings on a best-case scenario of our government-owned utility, Ontario Power Generation, coming in on budget for its upcoming rebuild of Darlington nukes.

ah, back to the single source Regg Cohn sites.

what is the other hand doing?

nah – nevermind. I don’t want to know.


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