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.


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Industrial wind turbine industry found dead in Ontario

North American Windpower has Mark Del Franco Eulogizing Ontario’s Wind Industry

Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to Ontario’s utility-scale wind industry, which has passed away from unnatural causes (a lack of government support).
Those of you knew who knew Ontario will recall it was a place of great passion for renewable energy. In just a short time, Ontario grew to become Canada’s leading wind province. And with the passage of its Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009 – which introduced North America’s first feed-in tariff – the province became a leader on the global stage. Those were good times. Soon after the act’s unveiling, global energy players, such as Samsung Renewable Energy and turbine manufacturer REpower Systems (now Senvion), as well as U.S. developers, such as Invenergy and Pattern Energy Group, set up shop north of the border. And Ontario was also an early pioneer of climate change. In 2014, the place rid itself of coal-fired generation.

You could continue reading at the wind site, but at this point let me remind you the industry did remarkably well considering it was born with neither a brain nor a heart.

It’s survivors seem to be similarly lacking in intelligence and empathy.
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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.

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

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bad wiring: renewables in Ontario

I do often write about the limitations of variable renewable energy sources (vRES). Wind and solar in Ontario seem to have an additional problem: wiring.

A tweet alerted me to news from Manitoulin Island and “the most expensive wind electricity captive ratepayers are forced to buy”:

McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm will be laying a new submarine cable across the floor of the North Channel this summer due to issues with the existing cable.

“When we first put it (the submarine cable) in (in 2013), we had some issues, a short to ground,” explained McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm Manager Rick Martin. “We made the repair, but now we have decided to lay a new one, leaving the old cable as back up.

I suspect they’ll be leaving it there as garbage.

I wrote McLean’s Mountain Wind Joke isn’t funny in August 2015. A comment attached to that article, from LSARC, discussed the transmission issues. In that article I noted the performance of the generator trailed the performance of other projects built in the same period.

I’ve extracted current data summarized by month, and while McLean’s Mountain has been the worst site to enter service since 2012, perhaps due to the transmission issues, the Grand Wind Farm is not too far behind.

Samsung’s Grand Renewable project also has transmission issues.Read More »