Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:12 pm Post subject: Ontario lost up to $1 billion selling clean energy
( more bad but not surprising news on Ontario's hydro situation )
Ontario lost up to $1.2 billion selling clean energy: engineers
Antonella Artuso Antonella Artuso
Published on: November 21, 2017 | Last Updated: November 21, 2017 9:29 PM EST
Ontario lost between $732 million and $1.25 billion over the past two years selling surplus clean electricity outside the province, an analysis by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) estimates.
That’s the difference between what Ontario agreed to pay to produce nuclear, water, wind and solar power, and the bargain basement price it sold it for on the international market.
Energy expert Paul Acchione, OSPE’s past president and chair, said excess clean electricity should be offered first to Ontario businesses and residents at that lower wholesale cost.
New wind turbine projects will be affected by the Ontario Liberal government cancelling their green energy act to save money. Photograph taken on Tuesday September 27, 2016 near Strathroy, Ont., west of London. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press) Mike Hensen / Mike Hensen/The London Free Pres
“This represents a year’s worth of power for more than a million homes that Ontario has sold to other jurisdictions for less than it costs us to produce,” Acchione said. “Ontario ratepayers are essentially subsidizing hydro bills in places like Michigan and New York to the tune of $500 million per year.”
Only after all possible domestic demand has been satisfied should the provincial electricity system try to sell off its extra clean power to other jurisdictions, he said.
Instead, Ontario has been directly exporting excess clean energy to adjoining power grids since 2014, the OSPE says.
“You don’t build clean capacity for export – that’s suicide because you can’t make enough money on the export market,” Acchione said Tuesday. “If you have some extra of the clean electricity you sure as hell don’t want to export it. You want to use it yourself.”
The OSPE report touched off a debate during Question Period Tuesday with Progressive Conservative MPP Todd Smith demanding if the Liberal government had actually lost almost $1.25 billion exporting power.
Ontario PC Energy Critic MPP Todd Smith talking about a hydro relief plan during Question Period at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday March 1, 2017. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun) Ernest Doroszuk / Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun
“The numbers from the engineers are staggering,” Smith said. “We’re subsidizing power for Michigan, New York and other neighbouring jurisdictions and to make matters worse, they’re poaching our jobs because they’re taking our electricity at a low cost.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne said the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) estimates that electricity exports save Ontarians hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
“This net benefit to Ontario was $236 million last year,” she said.
The provincial government number includes the export of natural gas generation, which is excluded from the engineers’ report.
A statement from Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault’s office says that the “net benefit” to Ontarians was $320 million in 2014 and $300 million in 2013.
Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault talks hydro prices on the release of the Ontario Long-term Energy Plan 2017, on Thursday October 26, 2017. Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun
“We are obligated as a province to produce enough electricity to meet North American reliability standards,” the minister’s office statement says. “Our electricity supply provides grid reliability and affordability which we lacked before 2005, when Ontario was a net importer of electricity. That lack of reliability was partially responsible for the province-wide blackout of 2003, which was an enormous economic hit.”
Acchione said the $236 million in net benefit the government estimates it earned last year does not represent profit to Ontario hydro customers, but rather is a reduction in the loss that the system is incurring by having that capacity idle, he said.
“That’s not the way you do accounting in Canada; you can’t say you’re making a profit unless you pay all your costs,” he said.
What isn't evident is that the maintenance bill on wind turbines is high. I live in a regional municipality that has 650 of them, maybe more. I can see one now. I know that the maintenance trucks are at these huge turbines regularly, and they are fairly new.
The truth is that these plans were undertaken as a form of pandering, at least in part. They dreamt that it would usher in a new green economy that would flourish because the decent people of the world would put aside their Chinese (environmental scofflaws) made goods, and instead buy the expensive products of Ontario. They seemed to believe, for example, that the EU would use environmental standards as a tariff, and Ontario products wouldn't be affected.
They were wrong on every score. No new jobs, no new industry, wasted resources.
The problem is the wind doesn't blow all the time, and it isn't very predictable. Wind turbines don't produce an even flow of power -- it fluctuates with the wind. There has to be a power source that relies on combustion as a backup. So it requires a lot of thought about how to integrate these turbines into the whole system. I don't think they went through that process.
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Ontario lost up to $1 billion selling clean energy