The magic of the phantom demand

The Ontario Energy Board’s Market Surveillance Panel (MSP) released a report on December 19th which attracted some attention:

“Over the 11- month period in question, the estimated impact on the HOEP and transmission loss uplift combined could have ranged as high as between $450 million to $560 million, although a simulation accounting for additional potential variables could yield lower estimates.”

Some big numbers, but upon investigating I initially generated a thread on Twitter which concluded, “the impact of this mostly-grey money forensic investigation is an imperceptible lessening of the cost shift from class B to class A consumers.” My position was supported when the system operator (IESO) responded to the MSP report:” IESO analysis shows a net market impact across all customer groups of less than $10 million.”

And that’s sort of the end of that hysteria, but since I looked I can’t shake the feeling something is very wrong with the analysis – from the OEB report to the IESO response and the reporting on what occurred.

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Lower Mattagami could become a $10 billion boondoggle

Today the government of Canada approved a pipeline, which some see as contrasting with it declaring a climate emergency yesterday. To assuage the concern the government has promised to do blindingly good things with profits from the pipeline, including promising “every dollar the federal government earns from this project will be invested in Canada’s clean energy transition,” and launching, “the next phase of engagement with Indigenous groups on ways they could share in the benefits of the expansion, including through equity ownership or revenue sharing.”

When the Prime Minister was elected he brought two veterans of Ontario’s Liberal government to Ottawa as his top advisors, so this seems an opportune time to examine one “clean energy” initiative geared to invest in Aboriginal communities.

The $2.6 billion expansion on hydroelectric generating stations on the Lower Mattagami river.

Ontario’s nominally public generator says of a hydro project completed for 2015:

The $2.6 billion Lower Mattagami Project has allowed Ontario Power Generation [OPG] to produce more clean, renewable electricity from new generating units.

I checked – all the way back to the construction of the first of 3 generating stations OPG built on the Lower Mattagami. A fourth site, Smoky, already existed but it was a private generator until 1991, so I had to estimate that data. If the completed project has allowed OPG to to more, OPG has found other reasons not to do so.

view graphic in Google Sheets

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Large Parry Sound 33 is not the first fire started on Henvy Inlet industrial work site

8 days ago I posted on the Henvey Inlet fire that continues to burn with an unchanged status of “Not Under Control”, as indicated on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s GIS application (shown below)- but following my post the “Cause” status was changed, from “HUMAN” to nothing at all.

I was alerted that the MNR’s GIS tool also has an “Out” option, and that reveals a fire identified as Parry Sound 7, started May 17, 2018. As I post this, that fire remains identified as having a “HUMAN” cause.


Parry Sound 7 is listed as only 0.2 hectares in size (Parry Sound 33 is nearing 9000 ha), but it was reported and that begs the questions about the Ministry’s, and the wind farm developer’s, investigation and response. This is particularly true as fire intensity codes for industrial operations exist.

Were fire intensity codes applicable to Pattern’s wind project, and were the “several small fires” the CBC was told, by “a number of workers”, preceded Parry Sound 33 reported to the appropriate authority – presumably the MNR?

1 last question: will the MNR scrub the “HUMAN” from the Cause field of Parry Sound 7 too?Read More »

New Ontario Government cancels renewable energy contracts

The official news release includes:

TORONTO — Ontario ratepayers will benefit from $790 million in savings thanks to the Government of Ontario’s decision to cancel and wind down 758 renewable energy contracts, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford announced today…

All of the cancelled projects have not reached project development milestones. Terminating the projects at this early stage will maximize benefits for ratepayers.

Rickford also confirmed that the government intends to introduce a legislative amendment that, if passed, will protect hydro consumers from any costs incurred from the cancellation. Even after all costs are accounted for, ratepayers can expect to benefit from $790 million in savings from this one decision.

I thought a short post is in order as the incoming mainstream media reports are not informative or in any way helpful.

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Niagara Fails

A quick post with commentary on a graphic.

NY_ON_comparable hydro gen YTD

I’ve been writing little but learning more recently. I’ve written multiple times on the inability of Ontario to fully utilize its water rights on the Niagara river, so that’s some data that I looked to learn some new data connections and summary techniques. Having advanced to where I can easily update to the latest available data I thought I’d share this view summarizing it – and offer some brief comments explaining the significance.

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American electricity data – for a perspective on Ontario costs

Electricity prices, and costs are aspects of a project I’m trudging through working with electricity data from the United States. I’ve developed a Power BI report which probably deserves a lot slicker interface, but time is limited. This post offers directions on controlling the reporting, and adds some Ontario context to the graphics.

My primary intent was to create imagery of average monthly electricity cost, by state, for residential consumers. Rates get a lot of discussion, even more so in recent weeks, but I’m not convinced an isolated rate analysis is useful.

A recent Scientific American article featured a smart BI report by Abhilash Kantamneni ( @akantamn on Twitter ).

Dashboard 2

Due to an exchange on Twitter I’d had with Abhilash a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to build a view that showed both rates, and average monthly consumer costs – because it turns out these are much different things.

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OPG’s 2017 results grate

Yesterday Ontario Power Generation released their 2017 Financial Results:

Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG or Company) today reported net income attributable to the Shareholder of $860 million for 2017, compared to $436 million in 2016.

That must be considered a great number in the context of the income history at OPG as it’s the highest they’ve ever accomplished. The apparently excellent results may leave some wondering what critics commenting on the sector have been braying on about. I, a critic, have reviewed the results and found some things to bray about.

OPG annual financial results

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Henvey Inlet isn’t harbouring honesty

A short post to debunk some belligerently dishonest claims regarding Ontario’s most inane electricity/social science project, Henvey Inlet Wind.

Background: Clement/Thibeault $billion negligence: 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.Read More »

The IESO’s June mistake, and the July victims

Ontario’s electricity system operator (IESO) made a mistake in June.

In July they made it better for themselves in a way that specifically punished one set of consumers – Class B ones not covered by Regulated Price Plans (RPP). The OEB’s lacklustre oversight in recent years continues to harm this same set of consumers. This will be a wonkish post but if you’re connected with a company with a substantial electricity bill, it will alert you to probable overcharges.

This situation should be difficult to explain, because I’ve had friends questioning the IESO on it for half a year and I haven’t seen any evidence that a fulsome explanation is pending. That may be due to the beginning of the tale.

2017 IESO global adjustment consumption page on Feb 10

The beginning was the final global adjustment calculations the IESO made for June 2017. They erred in calculating total consumption. The inability of the organization to admit that, along with the regulator’s (OEB) disinterest in monitoring the IESO’s collection of global adjustment charges, is why confusion persists.

I noted on Twitter when the figures were released that they made no sense. To explain why requires getting into some obscure details.

  • the IESO reports “Ontario Demand” hourly, but that figure is essentially demand for supply from their market participants,
  • the IESO elsewhere reports a summary breakdown of this figure as “Monthly Energy Demand” which shows some of that figure is “Generator Consumption” and some is “Losses”,
  • the IESO has not reported on generators embedded in the Local Distribution Companies (LDC’s) it services, but in the past couple of years it has noted monthly distribution-connection (Dx) figures in it’s 18-Month outlooks,
  • the Global Adjustment process requires knowing the share of consumption for each consumer, so that reporting includes a “consumption” figure .

If you took the time to subtract out the generator consumption and losses from the IESO’s reporting of “Ontario Demand”, and added the embedded generation, you’d find you were usually about 1% short of the consumption as shown in the global adjustment reporting.  In June 2017 the difference was far greater:

Consumption mistake_

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Worthless and worse wind

My friend Parker Gallant has written on my updated estimates of annual curtailment in Wind waste should worry Ontario ratepayers.  Producing the estimates doesn’t take me nearly the effort Parker puts into writing on them, so I felt compelled to add a new view of the data just to make our contributions a little more equitable.

The French language Radio-Canada has posted AU PAYS DE L’EAU NOIRE
Des résidents en Ontario vivent un cauchemar depuis l’installation d’éoliennes proches de leur domicile. I assume it’s best read in French, but the Google translation to English sufficed for me. As the journalism at Radio-Canada is more focused on the impacts to people of turbine construction of the North Kent wind farm, I decided today’s show of data will be on the performance of individual industrial wind turbine facilities.

Capacity Factor is the output of a generator divided by the theoretical maximum (full output in all hours). To estimate costs I need to estimate curtailment, but just viewing the history of capacity factors has the benefit of allowing the cynical reader (ie. the good ones) to verify my claims just by adding up columns from the IESO’s wind file. I won’t make it easy to do though, because for fairness I limit results to years where a facility was in commercial operation throughout, and to compare 2017 results I’ve made all years’ data the total as of the end of November.

NovYTD_CFs

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