A short post to debunk some belligerently dishonest claims regarding Ontario’s most inane electricity/social science project, Henvey Inlet Wind.
The contract, according to the IESO’s contract list, was signed in June 2011 under the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program that paid $135/MWh, plus up to another $15/MWh as an “Aboriginal Price Adder.” While those contracts were expected to be operational 3-years after the project data, apparently this one is exceptional in ways other than costing $150/MWh (roughly 5 times what new 2019 wind in Alberta will cost).
Here are the claims I’ll rebuke (emphasis added):
Development of wind energy will help Ontario in meeting its goal of phasing out coal-fired power generation.
The windfarm is expected to displace 851,000t of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide released by 200,000 cars. It will also offset 4,100t of sulphur dioxide, 1,200t of nitrogen oxide, and 13.4kg of Mercury emissions per year.
Unlike coal-fired power plants, the project will not use water leading to the conservation, which normally uses approximately two billion litres of water a year.
The project, of course, missed the coal era in Ontario’s electricity sector. The “goal of phasing out coal-fired power generation” is long since met.
According to the Government of Canada’s Air Pollutant Emission Inventory, for 2015, Ontario’s electricity sector emitted 436 tonnes (t) of sulpher oxides. It is simply ignorant to claim nearly 10 times that will be displaced by an irrelevant, aside from costs, industrial wind project.
The Air pollutant data for 2015 shows 9,572 tonnes of nitrous oxides emitted in generating electric power, which 7,801 t of that coming from natural gas. In 2017 the IESO reported generation from natural gas down 61% from 2015’s level, so if the wind project were to displace 4,100 t of nitrous oxides, it would again be displacing all emissions in the sector.
The claim that the project will displace 851,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is also driven by the fantasy the slow and expensive project participants are displacing coal-fired generation. Assuming coal plants emit 1 tonne of CO2 per MWh, 851,000 MW displaced would be the 851,000 tonnes of CO2 displaced – and it would coincide with an annual capacity factor of 32.4% from the 300 MW wind project, which may be achievable in the mediocre wind setting due to the delay in construction allowing for the project to use much bigger industrial wind turbines newly designed to be efficient in low and mild winds.
But there is no coal to displace, and there’s not much gas to displace either.
Ontario’s electricity system operator (IESO), reports 5.9 TWh of transmission-connected gas/oil fueled generation in 2017, down sharply from 12.7 TWh in 2016. Preliminary greenhouse gas reporting for 2016 shows 4.5 million tonnes CO2e for the electricity sector, so I’d expect 2017’s emissions to be roughly half that. It’s unlikely this one big, late, unnecessary industrial wind facility will further reduce emissions by 40%, despite the ignorant claim of the proponent.
The biggest reductions due to this project seem to be in honesty.
 Preliminary 2016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory tables:
- ECCC_STB_SRAD_GHG_IPPC_ON_1990-2016_prelim_EN.xlsx | 412.83 KB
- ECCC_STB_SRAD_GHG_ECON_ON_1990-2016_prelim_EN.xlsx | 62.42 KB