Surplus power: the other side of wind’s “success story”

Great post from Parker Gallant

Parker Gallant Energy Perspectives

Napanee gas plant: more flexible resources needed to offset intermittent wind -- trouble is, they also push emissions up Napanee gas plant: more flexible resources needed to offset intermittent wind — trouble is, they also push emissions up

January 23, 2017

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) summarized their submission on Ontario’s long-term energy plan (LTEP) to the IESO on their website.  “Ontario is the Canadian leader in clean wind energy with 4,781 megawatts of installed capacity, supplying about 5 per cent of the electricity that Ontarians depend on,” CanWEA said. “Wind has been the largest source of new electricity generation across Canada over the past decade. Over this time, costs have come down as capacity factors have increased.”

Here’s the other side of that apparent success story. It’s not as rosy as CanWEA, the wind power industry lobbyist, would like you to believe.

The IESO just released the 2016 Electricity Data indicating industrial wind turbines (IWT) were responsible for the generation of 9.0 terawatts (TWh) of power, representing…

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Climate Heretic: to be or not to be?

Judith Curry discusses 3 thought provoking articles – all worth a full read.

“The truly astonishing thing about all this is how little climate heretics – such as myself, Roger Pielke, and Matt Ridley – actually diverge from the consensus science position: RP Jr. hews strictly to the IPCC consensus; Matt Ridley is on the lukewarm side of the IPCC consensus, and I have stated that the uncertainties are too large to justify high confidence in the consensus statements.

RP Jr and Matt Ridley provide appalling examples of the personal and arguably unethical attacks from other scientists, journalists, elected politicians and others with government appointments.

Scott Adams provides some genuine (and as always, humorous) insights into the psychology behind the dynamics of the climate debate.

As to the question: to be or not to be a climate heretic?

I’m planning a climate heretic blog post shortly after the first of the year. After seeing RP Jr’s title, perhaps I will title it ‘Happy Heretic’ (stay tuned). Here’s to hoping that the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives on climate science and our policy options .”

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

On experts, lukewarmers, and unhappy heretics.

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Brown, Wynne, share ignorance of $500+ million ratepayer hit

The Ontario PC party put out some tweets that tweeked my interest yesterday, on payments due to a court ruling.

The parties in the case included those in a ruling I wrote about in May’s Ontario appeals court upholds sentence of higher costs for ratepayers – but the hit on ratepayers in the case I wrote about IS estimated at over half a billion dollars.

After watching an exchange between Premier Kathleen Wynne and Leader of the Official Opposition Brown, I decided to see what they were on about.

It turns out I knew most of what they were on about, it was just hard to be certain as neither of them did.

Two new pieces of information since I wrote on the court case in May:

  1. the case was appealed to the Supreme Court
  2. additional payments/penalties were paid to compensate for more months of generation. [1]

The Ontario PC party seems totally unaware what the nature of the case is, and it seems blissfully oblivious to the fact the latest $94.7 million payout was not the first payment, nor will it be the last if the court case fails – and Northland is only one supplier getting the payouts as a result of the court case against the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC).

The exchange in the legislature doesn’t reveal:

  1. the payment is less than 20% of the cost impact of the court judgement
  2. the OEFC is a shell corporation
  3. the control of the OEFC is essentially under the Minister of Finance [2]
  4. the contracts involved in the court case originate prior to 1995, under Premiers Peterson (Liberal) and Rae (New Democratic Party) [3]
  5. the court case is due to changes in payments due to calculations changed with the introduction, for 2011, of the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI – or Class A global adjustment mechanism)

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Curtailment of contracted electricity supply still rising in Ontario

October 1st is here, so the third quarter of 2016 is now history. Seems like a good time to review some things – like Ontario’s move towards world leader status in the curtailment of potential supply from wind turbines – mostly paid whether or not their output can be handled by the grid.

Over the first 3 quarters, I estimate curtailment of supply from industrial wind turbines is three and a half times greater than the same period in 2015 – and 14 times higher than in 2014.


The kicker here is that the greatest period for curtailment in the past has been the fourth quarter.

Curtailment data is difficult to find (which is why I produce it), but increasingly of interest across the world. China is often noted for high curtailment – one report shows 21% of all potential generation in that country curtailed in the first half of 2016.

It’s difficult to compare jurisdictions, but Ontario seems to be chasing China for lowest utilization of potential wind output. Depending on whether or not calculations included estimated distribution-connected turbines (which we have little reporting on in Ontario, but expect can’t be curtailed), I have the 12-month running average curtailment levels at 16-18.3%, and I expect that to rise rapidly until cold sets in.

A warm December and Ontario could set a record for annual wind curtailment levels.Read More »

Tom Adams’ Open Letter to Dr. Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario


Tom Adams has a very good post following a discussion on Zoomer radio with the current Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

Dr. Dianne Saxe Environmental Commissioner…

On Wednesday last week, you and I were guests on the radio show “Fight Back with Libby Znaimer” on the AM radio station CFZM Toronto. A podcast of that interview is available here. You made the following six major points:

  1. Climate change means that Ontario has much higher temperatures and longer heat waves. Ontario’s infrastructure was built for the climate that we used to have but unfortunately that is over and won’t come back…If we look at the data, there is a very significant difference that we’re seeing in the last couple of decades from the average temperature of the 20th century, which is what most of our infrastructure was built to.
  2. If you look at what is driving Ontario rates up, conservation contributed only 4% of Global Adjustment in 2015.
  3. Residential rates in Ontario are average for North America.
  4. Ontario’s eliminating coal-fired power is one of the big reasons why last year, for the first year since records began, that we didn’t have any smog days.
  5. When the Ontario Liberals formed government after the Conservatives, Ontario’s whole power system was running at the very edge of its capacity with shreds and patches.
  6. Ontario’s publicly-backed electricity debt is being paid down.

Read the rebuttals to these points at Open Letter to Dr. Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario — Tom Adams Energy – ideas for a smarter grid


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Intermittent Renewables Can’t Favorably Transform Grid Electricity

If you’ve never read Gail Tverberg, this would be a good place to start.

Our Finite World

Many people are hoping for wind and solar PV to transform grid electricity in a favorable way. Is this really possible? Is it really feasible for intermittent renewables to generate a large share of grid electricity? The answer increasingly looks as if it is, “No, the costs are too great, and the return on investment would be way too low.” We are already encountering major grid problems, even with low penetrations of intermittent renewable electricity: US, 5.4% of 2015 electricity consumption; China, 3.9%; Germany, 19.5%; Australia, 6.6%.

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It…

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Ontario Energy Board points to $1.35 billion solar costs hidden by IESO

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has finally released Ontario’s System-Wide Electricity Supply Mix: 2015 Data. Previous years’ versions of this reporting have been almost unique in providing an indication of the costs of embedded generation.

Although the OEB supply mix data shows only percentages by supply types, assuming all nuclear is grid-connected (Tx, or direct) generation, it’s reasonable to use the annual nuclear generation reported by the IESO (including curtailed nuclear) to calculate estimated generation from each source – and having done that to estimate the cost of the generation not reported by the IESO using estimated unit costs from Table 2 of the most recent OEB Regulated Price Plan supply cost documentation.



There’s $1.35 billion in hidden solar costs here!

Why is the IESO contracting more solar when the can’t provide any accounting on what they’ve already contracted?

Wynne’s wind 88% waste

Today column is on the Premier of Ontario’s negligence.

I’m on CPP disability as I’m in remission from cancer. In the winter we use our wood burning stove because we shut our breakers off as we have baseboard heaters. Next week we’ll pay our bill and buy maybe $50 worth of food to hopefully survive. – Andre Richards, Sutton

Three of my previous four posts at my Cold Air blog dealt with difficult topics that included capacity factor and capacity value/credit.  The fourth post discussed statistics for the first half of the year. This post uses a small set of IESO statistics and first half-year generation with industrial wind turbines to display the economic damage of a collapse in value of incremental wind turbines.

Most data for this post is directly from Ontario’s system operator (IESO) 1. The one small change to the data is I’ve omitted records for facilities prior to the first day an hour produced at 85% of nameplate capacity. This chart illustrates the changes between years for the first half of the year (January 1 – June 30, inclusive):

The first half of 2016 saw the second largest annual increase in wind. With average generating capacity up 711 megawatts (MW) over the first of 2015, the increase in output was only higher than in 2013 (which had only a 39 MW increase), and  2008, which had just a 70 MW increase.

In the winter we huddle by the fireplace with heavy clothes and blankets and barely switch on the furnace. On most days, it seems like I am living in a third world country. Satpal Channa, Dufferin

This type of analysis can be misleading for any individual year, because wind speeds do vary, so wind output does to. That explains why anomalies exist, but the trend is clear, which is apparent graphing the trend as a capacity factor – the increase in output as a percentage of the theoretical output from the added capacity generating at full nameplate capacity at all times:Read More »

when that grandchild asks me what I did for the planet

Ontario’s Pravda is reporting the head of the province has written, in introducing “the plan”:

“When my grandchildren ask me what we did to help our planet I want to be proud of what we accomplished.”

When that child asks me I’ll be able to say I had a house powered solely on electricity, got me a NEST thermostat, between my wife and I planted hundreds of trees (not evenly divided), we cleaned up the ash bore damage and supplemented electric heat with a high efficiency wood stove, and at times we even grew our own carrots – and then I just might turn around, drop trou and let the sun shine out of my ass.

Should I have my own grandchildren, that won’t likely be my response – particularly as if they ask this question they’ll probably notice the gas stove, and barbeque…

And furnace.

What’s in the plan that makes it the thing wherein Kathleen will catch the conscience of the king grandchild?Read More »