Samsung officially open another ugly industrial wind facility

 

This past week Samsung and Pattern officially opened the Armow industrial wind facility.

Today I ran my routines estimating curtailment at the province’s industrial wind facilities and found, for the second consecutive month, Armow topped the ugly list of sites ordered by share of potential generation curtailed. The large curtailment isn’t because Armow is a new site – it really isn’t.

The party as June ended was surprising as the IESO’s most recent Hourly Wind Generator Output data file show the site producing electricity January 3rd. In hour 17 on January 17th the site first showed output above 85% of its nameplate capacity (180 megawatts).  This is mark by which my routines treat sites as operational.

In it’s news release on the start up of the facility (which wasn’t really near the start up of the facility) Samsung claimed, “Armow Wind is expected to generate enough clean energy to power approximately 70,000 Ontario homes each year, based on average annual residential energy use in Ontario.” I’ll return to this figure, but I don’t believe it was intended to generate any incremental power for Ontario homes.

The project is the outcome of:

  1. Ontario’s January 2010 contracting of a Korean syndicate to generate expensive electricity with wind and solar technologies. At the time Paul Khanert was quoted as saying “It is a private scheme to generate electricity at outrageous (and therefore secret) rates — for years to come,”
  2. Samsung’s buying out of existing projects ranked lowly by Ontario’s contracting authority, utilizing guaranteed transmission space to block better projects owned by other suppliers.

A ruling of a NAFTA case detailed how, once guaranteed transmission rights, the contract holder bought out, cheaply, projects:

By August 2011, the Korean Consortium had acquired two low-ranked projects in the Bruce region that never stood a chance of obtaining a FIT Contract, but were nevertheless granted PPAs under GEIA [Green Energy Investment Agreement, a.k.a. the Samsung deal]. First, the Korean Consortium acquired the Armow project from Acciona, which was ranked 21st in the Bruce region. Second, the Korean Consortium acquired the K2 wind project from Capital Power, which was ranked 24th in the Bruce region.

Armow is the most curtailed site the past two months, displacing from top spot it’s neighbour K2, also a Samsung property.

Armow
Highlights most curtailed each month (data from this google doc)

Armow is a totally unnecessary project stupidly located in an already generation-heavy area of the province -near the Bruce Power Nuclear Generating Station.

I was annoyed by a Toronto reporter whom I respect for coverage of urban issues upon seeing this tweet regarding politician George Smitherman:

JMGtweet

“On the substance”?

No – “on the surface” would have been tolerable, but Smitherman came to the Ministry of Energy (and Infrastructure), in the summer of 2008, an uneducated man with fluff preconceptions. The damage has been substantial. Smitherman’s destruction to Ontario’s professional electricity planning was immediate. By the summer of 2009 he was being awarded a “World Wind Energy Award“. Smitherman’s legacy are incoherent “green” energy targets and the inflated feed-in tariff contracted values the Auditor General calculated will cost Ontarians over $9 billion by the time they end (~$5 billion net present value – if inflated ever appears) – including the expensive relationship with Samsung.

The claim that Armow will produce enough power for “70,000 Ontario homes each year” implies a 40% capacity factor (a typical Ontario residence now consuming approximately 750 kWh each month). This sounds high, but if my curtailment estimates are close, it isn’t far off the production (including curtailment) Armow has operated at since mid-January, and right about where nearby K2 is performing.  Of course they could only power homes that were comfortable with flipping “on” switches having unpredictable results, but…

A 40% capacity factors is, by my estimates, slightly above Samsung’s other 2 industrial wind facilities (South Kent and Grand Renewable). Despite the individual monthly titles for most curtailed, average curtailment levels at Samsung’s South Kent and Grand Renewable facilities are slightly higher than levels at K2 and Armow averaged throughout the first 6 months of the year. Overall, Samsung’s 4 industrial wind facilities, all of which arrived after Ontario’s last coal-fired power plants exited, look to have had 1/3rd of potential generation curtailed over the first half of 2016.

Functionally this means that each usable kilowatt-hour from Samsung’s wind generators is costing Ontario’s system 21.75 cents/kWh (14.5 divided by 2/3rds) – and practically that means the Auditor’s $9+ billion additional costs for feed-in tariff contracts is low. This high rate is before any attempt at costing added transmission expense, and other incremental expenses due to the spasmodic character of wind generation.

Reasonable priced electricity, however, was never Smitherman’s intent- which is why he continues to opine on operations at Pickering.

The primary reason Armow and K2 exist is to make baseload generators, particularly the nearly Bruce nuclear power plant, appear to be less economical.

They exist because wind is not practical to integrate into a large baseload nuclear system.

They are not, from my observations, primarily generators of electricity, but primarily saboteurs of Ontario’s nuclear rich generation mix.


 

Related original content:

The spreadsheet holding data for this post is here -but will be updated/change over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Samsung officially open another ugly industrial wind facility

  1. Is it possible to retrofit nuclear baseload to make it dispatchable? If so, is this ability included in any of the retrofits?

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    • The answer is yes – it is possible.
      but…
      I’m not an engineer, but I’ll provide my understanding and if you like I’ll dig up some links to better credentialed source
      Right now Bruce Power can divert steam away from the turbine to avoid generating power. This allows them to cut output by about 1/3rd. They first developed the capable on the 4 Bruce B reactors, and have now added the same capability to all 4 Bruce A reactors.
      My understanding is this capability will be added at OPG’s Darlington reactors as they are refurbished, which would add 1000-1500 megawatts of flexibility.

      To an extent that’s “dispatchable”.
      The CANDU reactors at both sites were designed with a reactor-following-turbine mode that would increase the flexibility considerably (making units truly dispatchable), but the mode is not used. I lack the ability to determine the wisdom of that – my understanding is the regulator opposed the mode, and the operators were probably content to oblige as the current mode maximizes production.

      So – for both wind and nuclear there is now the ability to be dispatched down (to an extent), but in neither case are cost savings achieved.

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  2. […] This chart makes perfect sense up to 2010, as initially 30% was the expected capacity factor of wind turbines. Weather muddies the picture after 2009. I’ll posit 2010 was not windy (reducing performance of existing turbines), and that explains the bump the following year. The spike in 2013 is likely because the small increase in wind capacity coupled with slightly higher wind speeds. However, the overall trend is not as it should be – which is sloping upward as the capacity factor of new generation increased from the original 30% values of 2007 era turbines to the 40% offered by some of today’s models. […]

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