Wind turbines – clearly not needed

(October 30, 2019) Energy blogger Parker Gallant looks at a day of wind in October and finds that just one day provides a good example of what wind turbines do on spring and fall days. While ratepayers take a beating, the president of CanWEA talks up wind’s reliability and low-cost!

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:

Noted in a recent article was the following admission by Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association); “wind, which tends to generate most of its power at night,”!  His reflection was related to the very strong probability CanWEA will merge with CanSIA and the merger will reputedly produce harmony as solar generates power when the sun shines.

What Hornung failed to admit was wind habitually produces power during low demand times which are a regular occurrence in Ontario during Spring and Fall months.  The month of October is confirming its bad habit which costs Ontario ratepayers dearly.

A recent example of the foregoing occurred on October 23rd when wind was blowing during the night and during the day.  IESO’s “Generators Output and Capability Report” discloses wind was blowing!  Approximately 47,000 MWh of wind was accepted into the grid and about 50,650 MWh were curtailed.  So, wind could have delivered 97,650 MWh when Ontario demand averaged 13,910 MW and peaked at 16,235 MW for the day.  Contracted nuclear at 10,700 MW of capacity could have easily teamed up with some of the 8,000 MW of contracted hydro and supplied all our needs.  During high demand periods in the summer and winter months gas plants can easily supply additional needs when demand exceeds nuclear and hydro’s capacity.

The IESO report also suggests we were steaming off nuclear (and paying for it) and probably spilling hydro (which we also pay for) but IESO don’t disclose either of the latter two events.  To top things off we were paying gas plants to idle (around $2.5 million per day). Many of them were originally contracted to back up wind and solar for when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun doesn’t shine.

The effect on ratepayers, in simple terms, is, we picked up the costs of wind’s generation as well as the costs of curtailment.  We paid $120/MWh (megawatt hour) for curtailed wind and $135/MWh for grid accepted wind.  The total cost for wind (without factoring in costs related to spilled hydro, steamed off nuclear or idling gas plants) on the 23rd therefore was $12,423,000 or $264/MWh (26.4cents/kWh).

When IESO finally published their Daily Market Summary for that day it disclosed the average HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) was in negative territory at -0.88($/MWh).  It also disclosed Ontario’s net exports (exports minus imports) averaged 1,943 MW per hour so totaled approximately 46,600 MW or 400 MW less than grid accepted wind.

At the CanWEA conference where Hornung uttered his omission he also stated the following:  “This opens up some interesting opportunities for wind for two reasons: 1) wind energy can provide more services to the grid than just low-cost energy and can support grid reliability if encouraged to do so as regulatory and market frameworks modernize; ”.  The activities on the day this article highlights and most other spring and fall days clearly demonstrate, wind energy is neither, low-cost energy or has abilities to support grid reliability (forced curtailment does)!

What the above clearly shows is the $12.4 million we paid for the 47,000 MW of grid accepted wind was simply Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers being forced to give our money away to NY, Michigan, etc. without the ability to stop it!

The time has come for Hornung to admit all the failings of industrial wind turbines!

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

This entry was posted in Benefits and Risks, Costs, Renewables, Utility Reform and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wind turbines – clearly not needed

  1. Andrew Roman says:

    Part of the problem is that the contracts entered into with wind power providers are take-or-pay. Whether they are dispatched or curtailed we still pay. When these contracts expire and are not renewed on the current basis but on the same basis as other generation (with dispatch and payment only as needed by the grid) what will happen to the owners of the wind generators?

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