Monday, April 25, 2011

Reply to Carl's Comment #2

Best to reply to Carl's last comment here in separate post because there is much not understood that everyone can benefit from. Carl's in white, mine in yellow.

The literature does not say what I should be producing, it says what was produced during real world condition independent testing, not the same tests that determines nameplate capacity or power at standard test conditions. I agree market dominated polycrystaline technology hardly ever deliver rated power as we seldom have standard test conditions in real world. However recent devolopments in photovoltaic technology is closing the gap with inmproved thermal coefficients and better aborbtion of diffused and low level light ei winter. Research tandem junction amorphous silicon. These panels have half the name plate efficiency as traditional solar panels but will out produce and provide a much more levelized production curve over an entire year. This technology can produce 1350kwh of energy over one year per installed kw.

I'll believe that when I see it.

And sell power at production cost? Be realistic, that will never happen. Unless you produce something yourself you will be purchasing it from someone else with a profit margin built into the cost. No one works for free and noone would invest capital into nuclear plants or coal refineries or anything else for that matter without a profitable return.

We produced power at cost for 80 years under government control. It's only since deregulation that profit became part of the cost to consumers. It needs to go back to not-for-profit.

The $0.802 rate is heaviliy dependent on the capital cost of equipment and is the rate used to get he ball rolling on alternative energy manfucaturing in Ontario. Increased manufacturing will lower the price of equipment which will be reflected with lower future fit rates as is clearly defined in the program description. Sooner or later, alternative energy costs will be on par with then below conventional energy resources but that wont happen unless it is invested in now.

Yeah, right. We've heard that before and it never happens. Wind and solar will never be viable alternative power sources because their Capacity Value is ZERO. Your power is not worth 80c. We have a glut of power, which is why the spot price is around 3c. We are paying you 80c to send your power to the US.

I agree that we should have cheap plentiful power but you will never reach that by harvesting diminishing energy sources(Just look at oil cost over the last 30 years, we have to pay for wars and better refinment techonolgy and off shore drilling just to fill up now).

Ontario does not use oil for power production. Not one erg of energy from your solar panels will offset increases in oil prices, it will just make that worse.

The sun provides virtually unlimited energy in the form of solar and wind and is right outside your front door for the taking.

Not even close. Not at night, not on cloudy days and not when the wind is not blowing. See my detailed analysis on wind here. Wind provides less than 5% of their name plate when demand is within 10% of peak. I plan to do the same thing with solar once the data is available.

When the cost of production gets low enough everyone will be able to purchase solar and battery technology cheaply and harvest free energy for life onsite without distribution, degradation, operational, profit grid upgrades costs etc etc etc. Tell me how you can beat that..

You have no clue what's involved in doing that. First, do you know how many batteries you will need? How much they cost? How long they last? Anwer: Hundreds, hundreds of $ each, less than 6 years.

Also, the retail cost of any product has nothing to do with the cost of production, its all in how much the market will bear. I agree it sucks when you get a 500 dollar hdyro bill after using hydro as sparingly as possible(which I have had several of) but its the price you pay for not producing it yourself. Noone is forcing you to purchase hydro from Hydro One. If you think you pay to much than produce it yourself or live without.

Right, we should all go back to living in the dark ages. This is the cost of producing power in Ontario: Hydro 2.3c, Coal 3-4c, Nukes 5-6c. They are the bulk of our power production (99%). Your "alternatives" will never contribute anything more than token power when we don't need it, and will drive up the cost. Do you know how many turbines would be needed to produce the same power as one nuke plant? Hence there is no excuse for power being expensive,. It's political ideology only that has rates this high.

And being off grid involves balancing your load profile with your generation profile on a continual basis and buffering the descrepancy with a battery storage system. Minimizing battery requirements is implemented with a system of variable technologies and effective load management. Battery techonology is also constantly improving, research Vanadium Redox, these batteries never lose capacity out and can be built incrementally with additions of an electrolyte fluid which is plentiful and safe for the environment.

Your ability to go off line has nothing to do with the technology. It has everything to do with the weather. Your panels have a rated capacity, the only time you will get near that is between 11am and 4pm on sunny July days. At best you might get is 75% name plate output during those hours. Add in some clouds and your output will plumet to less than 25%, add cloudy days and you get nothing. On sunny December days the highest output will be between noon and 2pm. But with the sun so low your output might hit 15% name plate.

Now, the number of panels will be a function of how many batteries you need. Your panels have to not only power your home but charge the batteries at the same time. The number of batteries will depend on how long you want them to power your home. So, in the winter, you have some 4 hours of daylight to power your home and charge your batteries. Those batteries will need to run your home for some 8-10 hours. So right there you will need at least 3 times the number of panels you think you need. Now add in cloudy days, and how many batteries AND panels would you need? Some 10 TIMES the number. It is not uncommon for us to go without the sun for weeks on end in November and December. You could fill your basement with hundreds of batteries and have thousands of square meters of panels, and not be able to deal with that. Then after 6 years or less, all those hundreds of batteries will have to be replaced. Going off grid is a pipe dream, and totally unnecessary in Ontario with our abundant renewable power we have been using for 100 years. But you cannot see that, so you will need to experience this yourself, but in the mean time, don't make us pay for your experment.

Technology is improving and gearing towards this. Stop badmouthing a solid path before researching and weighing all the facts. Our Energy future has a lot more faces than just he cost you pay at end.

This is not a solid path, it's entirely experimental. You don't even have a clue how many panels or batteries you will need until you hit the period you cannot run your home. I go on the physical realities of the situation, you have not provided that because you don't know what that is. I plan to spend time this summer visiting people with panels and getting real hard data on output.

I cannot send you a list as I have not had enough time to compile one over an extended period of time, however all indications including verbal verification from other system owners who have been running longer match research data so I am goin on that. I will gladly submit after one year to help improve your confidence in the system.

Please do. You will be greatly disappointed at your output.


  1. Typical want something for nothing mentality....want to use as much energy as you want whenever you want and it better be cheap or about entitlement.

    The production costs you provided by no means represent the true price of producing electricity. $0.80 per kw may seem alot more to pay for electricty until you realize that the cost of electricty in Ontario is highly subsidized and Ontario Energy has basically been selling loonies for nickels all this time. It sucks when I have to pay the bills but Im kinda glad that Ontario finally has the gull to start selling hydro for a price that better reflects what it actually costs to produce.

    Let take a look at what your cost to produce does not include:

    1) Construction Costs: All the nuclear power plants we have right now were paid for with government bonds which meant they could be paid for at a later date. This cost was never reflected in our electricity rates until our system was degulated and that cost (which is upwards of 40 billion) was finally past on as the Hydro One debt recovery charge. If this costs had been included from the start our bills would have been much higher. Keep in mind any future generation capacity we construct needs to reflect this cost as well so our kids dont have to pay for our free ride with interest charges on top.
    2) Waste Disposal - estimated to be another 30 billion to dispose of waste, not reflected in the bill as it not be unaffordable for typical rate payers. Again, increased capacity = increased disposal costs.
    3) Refurbishment - 80% of our plants need to be refurbished because they are old at a cost of 10s of billions of dollars - 5 billion at Bruce Power alone - the cost of which is covered by the facility and not passed on to the rate payer (sense another debt recovery charge on the horizon). Refurbisment will likely be required again in 20 years.
    4) Inflation - HUGE cost and applies to all of the above as well as fuel and operating costs (keep in mind 80 cents is a fixed price for 20 years)
    5) Distribution - (remember your price only reflects production). The grid doesnt pay for itself and its 40 years overdue for improvements thanks to continual budget cuts. Ontario now charges ontario to maintain the grid via our distribition cost on our bill. Thanks to urban sprawl and increasing demand our grid has reached the point where it absolutely has to be upgraded and that needs to be paid for.

  2. and what about the more indirect costs..

    1) Environmental damage, healthcare, pollution - dont even try to tell me that burning coal doesnt harm the environment, pollute our air and make people sick. Oil the same (gulf coast disaster) Nuclear the same - look at Japan, one of the most industrilized nations in teh world and a proven leader in technological advancement and development now facing a nuclear environmental and public health catastrophe. Devoloping countries want power too but cant afford the safety measures industrialized nations take for granted
    2) Nuclear proliferation - iran, korea, russia......shouldnt need to explain the huge price of this.

    The 80.2 cent rate covers or prevents all of these costs. I as a fit contract holder have to provide the sytem, maintain it and cover inflation...and at the end of the day, I expect atleast a modest but safe return.

    Your concerns about zero capacity may be true if we were looking at one wind turbine or one solar panel but the reality is that we have thousands of these spread out over a vast geographical region and the sum of which do produce reliable power. This is part of the green energy acts wide angle view.

    Also, why dont you look at the flip side of that coin. Nuclear can only provide our base load which means we need coal or natural gas or hydrological plants to provide our peak load or else we have to import it at $1 per kwh our only to sell it for 5-9 cents. We only reach our peak load a fraction of the time so in essence convential production is just as intermittent as renewables.

    And about the off grid, I agree i would need 3x as many solar panels and batteries in winter which is why you use a combination of systems. When its cloudy the wind typically blow. It blows all day long in winter too. Using a combination of technologies will provide a much more levelized supply per anum.

    Also, research vanadium redox batteries. These are touted as the storage solution of the future. Simultaneous charge/discharge, high conversion efficiency, 100% discharge capability (vs 30% with best lead acid) zero degradation of electrolyte capacity (ei, battery never needs to be replaced), environmentally safe, electrolyte is cheap and plentiful, system capacity is increased simply by increasing storage tank size, no special storage required.

    I've done the research on off grid. It is you who have no idea.

  3. I read this last night after posting these comments and it explains how ontario electricity is heavily subsidized much better than I ever could. I encourage you and everyone else on this forum to read thouroughly.

    If it doesnt open just google "Eliminating Subsidies and Moving to Full Cost Electricity Pricing" First link should be a pdf link.

  4. Carl, the cost is high but the reason its high is mainly due to the over the top wages paid the most enployees of the energy companies. If these orgainisations were converted to simple public utilities (no profit) with most workers wages stripped back to just below average for the province then the costs would be very different. This is where we need to direct our attention, not toward the consumer who are asked time and time again to foot the lavish wages packages for these glorified public servants.


  5. Carl, Something you just don't seem to understand. These glorified public servants are living off of the back of us private sector creators of wealth, they don't make anything new, electricity has been around for years. If this country is going to survive for the next 100 years, these blood suckers are going to have to have their mouths pried away from the public teet so the private sector workers will have a chance to make a few dollars to create things, things that the fat energy organisation staff will never create.

    They are the reason our rates are so high.

  6. Agreed, overpaid workers are also a huge part of the problem, I know very well paid people who work at the bruce who say they hardly even work when they are there on top of that...

  7. Aside from that though, ontario had 'seamingly' cheap hydro for years when supplied under governemnt run Ontario Hydro. We ended up paying for it and still pay for it though through our tax base as upwards of 10 billion tax dollars went to subsidizing them annually. If people want their energy costs lower they should accept full costs pricing and petition to government to cut subsidy costs and lower income taxes or at least subsidize the public for energy efficieny measures instead.

    Residential accounts add up to roughly 30% of the demand in ontario meaning that big business and industry are the ones who benefit most from subsidized cheap energy at the expense of the joe blow taxpayer who gets taxed at a higher rate.

    If you want more efficiency from public workers than we should cut off the subsidy supply. If you dont want the pig to get fat, then dont feed it so much.

  8. Carl:

    #1: The costs of Darlington, for example, was over the estimate because of government interventon, postponing the project.

    #2: Local storage work fine.

    #3: It's not 80%. Closer to 30% need rebuilding or upgrading.

    #4: Inflation dilutes the value of debt.

    #5: Distribution is a separate line item on your bill. It's one of the costs going up to tie in wind and solar.

    The other post:
    #1: Ross McKitrick at Guelph U proved that health issues are gettng better, coal isnt killing anyone.

    #2: I guess we should just shut society down. it cannot function with high energy costs.

    " reality is that we have thousands of these spread out over a vast geographical region and the sum of which do produce reliable power"

    Nonsense. You have not read my wind turbine analysis. I showed thatyour claim of wind somewhere is factually not true. Same with solar. It's more likely that when we have coudy days it covers all of Ontario, like it did the previous 4 days. But you will need to find that out yourself.

    "essence convential production is just as intermittent as renewables"

    Nonsense. Go read my wind analysis. I proved that when we need power the most in summer, wind's output is less than 5% name plate. Wind doesnt blow on hot muggy days of a high pressure system.

    ". It blows all day long in winter too."

    Factually incorrect. Go and download the IESO hourly data for all wind output. When you do you find that the Median Capacity Factor in the winter is 17%. That means half the time wind output in the winter is below 17% name plate. You are grossly uninformed.

  9. "Agreed, overpaid workers are also a huge part of the problem, I know very well paid people who work at the bruce who say they hardly even work when they are there on top of that... "

    Count youself as one of the hih paid power producers who don't work for it.

  10. "big business and industry are the ones who benefit most from subsidized cheap energy at the expense of the joe blow taxpayer who gets taxed at a higher rate."

    They will just leave and go where power rates are lower, taking jobs with them. I don't get your desire for higher energy costs which cripples the economy (recessions). So explain how high energy costs are to be paid by the poor. Some retired granny will lose her home so you can make $11K per year.

  11. Carl, that pdf is written by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance Research, which has a vested interests in wind and solar. I don't trust anything they say.

  12. Carl, this is what I mean about biases. One of the things I have noted about the environmentalists and letists is they continously redefine words.

    Note the list of "subsidies".

    This is what a subsidy is:

    sub·si·dy   /ˈsʌbsɪdi/ Show Spelled
    [suhb-si-dee] Show IPA

    –noun, plural -dies.
    1. a direct pecuniary aid furnished by a government to a private industrial undertaking, a charity organization, or the like.
    2. a sum paid, often in accordance with a treaty, by one government to another to secure some service in return.
    3. a grant or contribution of money.

    Not one of those items is a subsidy. Tax credits, tax incentives are not a subsidy. It's allowing corporations to keep more of their own money.

  13. 1) Darlington was way over budget, agreed. But it was the right thing to do public safety studies considering chernobyl happened at the time and it was also delayed because there was less demand than forcasted
    2)Local Storage has worked fine so far but thats a speculative approach for the future. Nuclear waste has a half life of thousands of years and is very deadly. Anybody who understand geolocy will understand that plans for pumping it into deep underground reservoirs is very short sighted.
    3)80% 30%.... but 100% sooner or later at a cost of billions of tax dollars
    4)Inflation dillutes the value of debt in theory only. Realistically, the debt burden increases with interest charges past the rate of inflation. Almost 2 billion tax dollars go to debt interest annually without touching principle.
    5)Agreed there are upgrade costs associated with hooking of Fit projects but ultimately grid upgrades are directly connected to demand. Centralized prodcution will always cost more in grid upgrade than localized production as it requires the entire length from the generation facility to the end user to be upgraded.
    1) Hard to explain then why childhood athsma and breathing abnormalities are at an all time high in urban areas isnt it, im sure that natural gas plant outside milton for expample that emits millions of cubic meters of chemical containing exhaust has nothing to do with it,its half as clean as coal though so lets embrace it. You'd have a hard case to prove that solar panels cause athsma/cancer.
    2) We do have high energy costs, you just dont pay it all on your hydro bill

    Your concerns about capacity factor are interesting. Without renewables, would you agree we have to install enough capacitity to handle our peak load or else live with rolling blackouts when we have too much demand? Since we only approach our peak demand for a few hours a year when its excessivly hot out, this top capacity is used less than 1 percent of the time. Obviosly this would improve as we move down the capacity line but is still a rather inneficient use of tax dollars in my opinion. Coal plants and natural gas plants may have great capacity but that bucket doesnt hold any water if we dont have enough demand to warrant using it. So let me rephrase, the return on conventional generation is extremely intermittent.
    Why do you care about the capacity factor of my solar panels? They are privately owned (zero tax investment) and if they are so unreliable in their generation it is I who suffer, not you the rate payer. The only cost you pay for is the actual kwh they produce so shouldnt you be pleased that they apparently put next to nothing on the grid.
    The spot market price to import electricity when solar panels typically work the best is actually higher than 80 cents so dont you see the benefit there? Sure we dont have to import it if we just had the capacity to make it in Ontario but then we're spending billions of your tax dollars for capacity that we hardly ever use...

  14. Big business probably would leave if we incurred full cost pricing all at once. It should be done incrementally over a series of year with matching tax cuts or subsidization funds being instead used to finance energy efficiency upgrades.

    High energy costs are being paid for by the lower income earners right now. Hydro costs what it costs, you either pay for it on your hydro bill or through your taxes which are used to subsidize hydro generation. It is regular people who pay a higher tax rate that ultimately pay. If anyone should be subsidized, it should be the old granny you speak of.

  15. Im overpayed and dont work for it....getting sick of this label. Do you have GIC`s or RRSP`s etc.??? If so, we are on the same boat. You dont work for the return on that either. My solar panels dont even earn a compounded return so over 20 years they may even underperform compared to GIC.

    I am definitely not overpaid.

  16. I agree with your analysis of wind, its not the right approach for lowering our peak generation requirements which right now are in the summer during air conditioning season but solar is definitely a viable option.

    That may all change though if our annual load profile changes and we have higher electrical loads in the winter. I have geothermal heat so my loads are actually highest in the winter. If more people switch to this which will likely happen as oil and natural gas prices increase, then wind will definitely be better used.

  17. Carl writes: "Do you have GIC`s or RRSP`s etc.??? If so, we are on the same boat. You dont work for the return on that either"

    Carl, you cannot compare a publically subsidised payout ($0.80/kwh) to a GIC or RRSP which are not subsidised.
    In one case the taxpayer is massively subsidising the payout in the other case the money is used by organisations for a reasonable return which is usually below most other available instruments.

  18. "Hard to explain then why childhood athsma and breathing abnormalities are at an all time high in urban areas isnt it,"

    And where is the scientific link to coal fire emissions? Do you know what the Null Hypothesis is?

    "So let me rephrase, the return on conventional generation is extremely intermittent."

    Under our direct control. Wind and solar are not.

    "Why do you care about the capacity factor of my solar panels?"

    Capacity Value, not factor. Google it.

    "The spot market price to import electricity when solar panels typically work the best is actually higher than 80 cents so dont you see the benefit there?"

    We only import a small portion of power mosly in places that cannot be connected to Ontario's grd system We have about a 25% net excess of production ability right now. Your solar power, along with wind, is excess and exported to th US. Yet Ontarian's pay you for that power.

    "Big business probably would leave if we incurred full cost pricing all at once."

    We are already paying moe than the real costs, that document's "subsidied" is pure bull shit. They arnt.

    "Do you have GIC`s or RRSP`s etc.??? If so, we are on the same boat."

    My investments are in private corporations that generate wealth. Your solar income comes from ratepayers which is a leach on wealth.

    "solar is definitely a viable option."

    No until you prove it. You only THINK it is, prove it is with hard numbers.

    "If more people switch to this which will likely happen as oil and natural gas prices increase, then wind will definitely be better "

    How do you expect to supply power to homes in the winter when wind's output is less than 25% name plate? The dominant number of winter hours is no wind output.

  19. Late but still, fail.

    Overpaid public sector utility workers? You wouldn't want a job in power utilities if it paid crap wages. Not worth it. You want the power, you pay for it. Don't complain when a storm blows down the LT line feeding your town and no one comes to fix it. I dare you to go up to any self respecting line worker or nuclear tech and tell them they make too much.

    Solar on cloudy days. Moderate clouding can be good. Refractive sunlight has more energy than direct sunlight. Good for solar.

    Batteries only lasting 6 years? Can I have some of the drugs your on? If you cant get 10 years out of a conventional lead acid batter bank then your system is designed incorrectly. I know of one 24v battery bank that has been in operation for 12 years now and still operating. Proper charging and maintenance does wonders.

    Wind power sucks. Its second hand solar energy.

    Solar is great for niche applications. Such as powering off grid buildings and camps, providing portable power and reducing a buildings grid usage. If 1 million people in a large city had one 100w panel on their roof or apartment patio then you would have 100Mw reduced power during peak usage. Pretty cool huh?

    By the way, what does this site have to do with Hydro One anyways? This blog should be called OEB rip-off or Ontario Government rip-off. Hydro One operates similar to every other LDC, with the added perk of self regulation and legacy Ontario Hydro/HEPCO plant. If anything you should be thanking Hydro One and its ratepayers for the millions in profit it contributes to the province every year.

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