Ontario celebrates earth minutes

The annual silliness of Earth Hour has passed in Ontario.

It was from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m., perhaps because that is when demand is dropping anyway.

The system operator posts “Realtime Constrained Totals” that show “Ontario Demand” every 5 minutes. I pulled the data for tonight from 8 to 10 pm, as well as the same data for the previous three Saturdays.

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Obviously there are factors driving the differences from one Saturday night to the next, primarily temperature, but the trend is similar each Saturday night.

Earth hour’s arrival is apparent, as demand drops 1% uncharacteristically (from interval 6 to interval 7). The drop doesn’t persist for an hour though – there’s even an uncharacteristic rise in demand during 2 intervals in the hour, as people appeared to tire of the heavy burden (that most of us took no interest in bearing to begin with). The first half hour the drop in demand was larger than it had been the previous 3 Saturdays, but the second half hour demand rose, whereas it had dropped significantly during the same minutes the previous 3 Saturdays.

Throughout Earth Hour Ontario was exporting over 2,200 megawatts to Americans while the market rate was about 1.3 cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The system operator reported the average price of electricity generation in Ontario was 8.3 cents/kWh in 2015, which implies losses on exports of about $150,000 during earth hour.



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