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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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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Spilling on OPG’s wasted hydro

Ontario continues to waste its water rights on the Niagara river.

I revisited some posts I’ve written on this topic today, and updated data to bring the graphics up to the end of 2015


A very quick refresher to explain this first graphic.

  1. The U.S. and Canada share water rights on the Niagara river. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) runs the Niagara river power plants in Ontario, and there are similar plants on the U.S side (R. Moses Niagara). When I first encountered the issue in 2011, the U.S. side had additional generation because OPG could not get enough water through its turbines to utilize the full allocation.
  2. In March 2013 OPG completed the Niagara tunnel, which was to get more water to it’s turbines. OPG claimed output would increase by 1.6 million megawatt-hours (MWh).
  3. I’ve collected Ontario generation data back to 2010, and compared monthly summaries to the U.S. Energy Information Administration data for the U.S. sites.

The opposite of what should have happened is what has happened, as the gap that had disappeared about the time the tunnel entered service re-emerged, and continues to grow.Read More »