Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ontario will have less actual electrical generation capacity in 2030 than in 2010 — and will have spent $87-billion to accomplish this!

Ontario’s Power Trip: Plug your toaster into ‘conservation’

Ontario claims huge power capacity from ‘conservation’
By Parker Gallant

Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, released his much-touted Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) on Nov. 23. It promised great things, as one would expect from an expenditure of $87-billion, including no more coal plants and a wonderful world of clean energy. Ontario would be the first and possibly only jurisdiction to eliminate coal from the electricity grid!

A quick trip through the plan brings you to the “Installed Capacity” chart on page 65, which shows that in 2003 the Ontario electricity system had installed capacity of 30,000 megawatts. By 2010 this had increased to almost 37,000 MW under the watch of Premier Dalton McGuinty. Looking ahead 20 years to 2030, Ontario will have 48,000 MW available to power the province. “Good things grow in Ontario” — or do they?

Most jurisdictions around the world count their installed capacity as coming from their power generating plants. The Ontario chart credits Ontario with installed “conservation” capacity of 1,837 MW in 2010 and by 2030 it claims this conservation capacity will climb to 7,100 MW. Plug your radio alarm clock into the conservation outlet and I guarantee you will sleep right through it! I am sure the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) will run into difficulties throttling “conservation” up or down, but maybe by 2030 the smart grid will allow them to do that.

The “installed capacity” forecast indicates Ontario will have a little more nuclear, a little more hydroelectric and a little less gas. On the big-increase list of installed capacity, Ontario will have another 9,000 MW of those sporadic supplies from wind and solar.

If you deduct the fictitious claim that conservation is “installed capacity,” the 48,000 MW becomes 40,900 MW in 2030 and 35,138 for 2010, which looks like a gain of about 5,000 MW by 2030. If you do the math on the reliability factor of wind and solar and adjust it for an average of 30% actual generation capability, to account for the fact that the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, the capacity in 2010 drops to 34,298 MW and in 2030 to 33,900 MW.

The end result: Ontario will have less actual electrical generation capacity in 2030 than in 2010 — and will have spent $87-billion to accomplish this!

Financial Post
Parker Gallant is a retired banker who looked at his electricity bills and didn’t like what he saw.

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