CanWEA’s President finally speaks some truth

(October 14, 2019) For those who may have missed it, CanWEA just held their annual conference in Calgary for the 2nd year in a row. They published some interesting stuff, including the announcement that they’re planning to merge with CanSIA. That’s right. CanWEA and CanSIA, probably the two most expensive sources of unreliable electricity in Canada.

By Parker Gallant (a former banker who didn’t like what he was seeing in his Ontario electricity bills).

For the original version of this posting, see here.

For more analysis by Parker Gallant, check out his blog here:

Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA, finally admitted at their annual conference in Calgary on October 9, 2019, something about industrial wind turbines (IWT) most of us have known since they first started to appear throughout Canada!

He didn’t suggest they cause health problems from the audible and inaudible noise they generate, nor did he admit shadow flicker has health affects nor did he state they kill birds and bats, including many of them labelled; “species at risk”!  He also didn’t admit IWT have an effect on property values or that it is intermittent or how it drives up the costs of transmitting power through our electricity grids!

What Hornung said: “He says it’s also why members of CanWEA and the Canadian Solar Industries Association will vote in late November on a motion to merge the two organizations, thus promoting the benefits of wind, which tends to generate most of its power at night, and solar, which works only during the day.”  We should suspect his admission about IWT penchant for generating power at night was related to the upcoming marriage of CanWEA with CanSIA, probably the two most expensive sources of unreliable electricity in Canada.

Pushing the merger agenda may well be a key factor to curry favour from politicians in order to ensure they stay on side to contract more wind and solar generation, presumably to resolve the reputed “climate emergency”.  Interestingly they have touted the marriage with what they see as a future child in the form of “energy storage”.  In the latter case they enabled Electricity analyst Kathleen Spees*, a principal with The Brattle Group to augment the gathering’s message.  She stated: “The shape of the future will be anything but circular—instead it will be triangular, with wind energy, solar energy and energy storage each making up one of the three sides,”

A few weeks before the conference an unnamed individual interviewed Rochelle Pancoast, current Chair of CanWEA’s Board of Directors.  Ms. Pancoast is the City of Medicine Hat’s General Manager, Utilities Business Development & Support.  Interestingly enough Medicine Hat identifies itself as “The Gas City” and proudly proclaims it generates its own electricity from gas plants!  Ms. Pancoast in the interview responding to a question said:  “In the shorter term, partnering will be a dominant theme – whether it be in the form of PPAs [power purchase agreements] between suppliers and sustainably interested corporate entities, or through integration of wind, solar, and storage technologies that collectively work to meet suppliers’ and/or customers’ pursuit of low-cost, reliable, and low-carbon energy.” Most of us on the planet would find that comment coming from someone who is the GM of The Gas City’s utilities oxymoronic but as we have all witnessed on many occasions the reputed “climate emergency” has created some very strange output from a variety of people around the world!

So, what Hornung, Spees and Pancoast were implying is they believe the combination of wind, solar and storage may be able to deliver a reliable electricity supply.  What they don’t say is costs for ratepayers will climb immensely as the combined bill for all three sources will easily exceed any of the current costs of supply from nuclear, hydro and gas.  To top that off they don’t suggest what type of “storage” will actually solve their intermittent and unreliable generation.  The “storage” assertion is an unknown unless they presume batteries will cover the times when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.  It seems as if the three of them are anticipating some shiny things like battery plants** would help politicians buy into adding more wind and solar to our grids!

Co-incidental with the CanWEA conference the World Economic Forum released “The Global Competitiveness Report” and the Toronto Sun carried an article which noted we had again slipped in global rankings.  The Sun article highlighted in particular, Canada “took second place when it came to electricity access, but 69th when it came to the quality of our electricity’s supply.”  The 2015 report had Canada ranked as 13th that year.  Co-incidentally 2015 was the year the Liberal Party was elected to run the country.  If CanWEA and CanSIA are successful in cajoling the politicians into buying into this concept we should expect Canada’s quality ranking will continue its downward decent while electricity prices climb!

With the “quality of our electricity’s supply” falling from 13th place to 69th place in just four years I was reminded of Phillip Morris’s launch of the female cigarette “Virginia Slims” in 1968 with the catch phrase: “You’ve come a long way, baby”.   We sure have but it’s in the wrong direction!

*The Brattle Group have worked closely with the OEB and IESO and were instrumental in the creation of what Ontarians have come to known as the “Time-of-Use” pricing model.

**The 100 MW lithium ion Tesla battery’s cost of $90 million for South Australia was just revealed. It will be capable of providing 70 MW of power for 10 minutes and 30 MW of power for 3 hours.  That works out to $880 thousand/MWh if it operates once annually for ten years. Used ten times annually over ten years would reduce it to $8,800/MWh and using it 100 times each year drops it to $880/MWh.

Parker Gallant is a retired banker. Retirement allows Parker to spend time researching the energy sector, applying his banker’s common sense to analyzing the sector’s approach to the production, transmission and distribution of electricity to Ontario’s consumers. Parker is a regular contributor to the Financial Post on matters related to the energy sector. He is a former director of the umbrella organization Energy Probe belongs to (see Energy Probe Research Foundation).

For previous blogs by Parker Gallant, published by Energy Probe: see here.

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