Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Green energy failure


"In countries like Spain and the U.K., which launched their own versions of the GEA a decade ago, the job losses are now being confirmed by independent analyses. In the U.K., a report by Verso Economics used the Scottish government's own macroeconomic model to show that, despite receiving net transfers of about £330-million ($521-million) from the rest of the U.K. for its renewables sector, Scotland still experienced a net job loss from wind power, and for the U.K. as a whole, 3.7 jobs were lost for every job created in renewable energy.

In Spain, researchers at King Carlos University found that, on average, each job in the wind sector cost the country more than £1-million, implying a loss of 2.2 private sector jobs for every new job created in the renewables sector."

"The Ontario Clean Air Alliance has published claims that Ontario's coal-fired power plants cause 316 deaths, 440 hospital admissions, 522 emergency room visits and 158,000 minor illnesses each year. Its numbers are based on a 2005 simulation study for the provincial government that focused almost entirely on the effects of PM2.5. (It also considered ground-level ozone, but emphasized that most of the ozone precursors originated in the United States).

How plausible are these claims? If correct, they imply that wood-burning fireplaces cause 520 deaths per year, etc. But that is nothing compared with the implied effects from people driving on unpaved roads. According to Environment Canada, dust from unpaved roads in Ontario puts a whopping 90,116 tonnes of PM2.5 into our air each year, nearly 130 times the amount from coal-fired power generation. Using the Clean Air Alliance method for computing deaths, particulates from country-road usage kills 40,739 people per year, quite the massacre considering there are only about 90,000 deaths from all causes in Ontario each year. Who knew? That quiet drive up back country roads to the cottage for a weekend of barbecues, cozy fires and marshmallow roasts is a form of genocide."

Does money grow in wind farms?

"The wind turbines required in Britain alone, says Prof MacKay, would amount to about double the number of all turbines in the world. Even then, “the maximum plausible production from on-shore windmills is 20 kilowatt hours per day per person”, about a sixth of Britain’s actual consumption.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Please don’t re-elect McGuinty

Barrie Examiner

So you think you’re saving money with the change in Smart Meter hours? That shaving of two hours off the peak interval gives you 10 more hours per week in the off-peak interval. The Ontario Government says it will save you money. Think again.

The peak rate is going up 8%, the mid-peak 10%, and the off-peak a whopping 15%. You will pay for every cent of the two-hour change and then some.

At the time of the interval change press release, they ignored the rate increases while selling the virtue of the 10% clean energy benefit. Add that benefit to the list of Dalton McGuinty government’s billion-dollar boondoggles, because that is what it will cost us every year for the next five years — money borrowed from our grandchildren.

When Dwight Duncan was the minister of energy, he said, “It would be irresponsible for the province and taxpayers to continue to subsidize electricity consumption, because it jeopardizes our ability to invest in health care and education.”

This is simply not sustainable, nor is it acceptable. The people of this province deserve better.” (Ontario Hansard Volume B, Nov. 26, 2003)

Why the sudden change in policy? Is it because an election is looming?

The government, by its own admission, is embarked on a plan that will increase our power bills by 46% by 2015.

That is 46 reasons not to re-elect the McGuinty government.
We do deserve better.

Grant Church Cayuga, Ont.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ontario’s Power Trip: The end of FIT

Ontario’s Power Trip: The end of FIT
By Parker Gallant

After being challenged by the Ontario Liberals for the past six months to “show us your plan,” Tim Hudak, leader of the Ontario Conservative party, did just that on Tuesday. In a speech that outlined what could well become the defining issue of the coming Ontario election, Mr. Hudak promised to take down the key elements of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s green energy program.

The Green Energy Act is rightly billed as the most aggressive legislation of its kind in North America. Modelled after programs in Europe, it established Ontario as a pioneer feed-in-tariff jurisdiction, promising solar and wind power operators massive subsidies of up to 80¢ a kilowatt hour. The McGuinty Liberals also signed an industrial development agreement with Samsung, the giant Korean conglomerate, to produce and install solar and wind equipment in Ontario.

In a speech to energy industry executives at their annual Ontario Power Summit in Toronto, Mr. Hudak promised to gut what the Liberals created over the past seven years, a government-controlled electricity industry marred by constant political meddling. Mr. Hudak promised to end “the daily political interference that emanates from Queen’s Park,” home of the Ontario legislature. He focused on how he will “put families first,” “use a competitive, transparent approach to our diverse supply mix and put an end to sweetheart deals.” Finally he promised to “treat energy as economic policy,” a turnaround for a province where energy has been treated as a green policy by the McGuinty government.

Two sentences stand out in Mr. Hudak’s speech. “Let me be clear. An Ontario PC government will end the sweetheart Samsung deal.” The Samsung deal is largely a secret agreement whereby Samsung would install 2,000 megawatts of wind power and 500 MW of solar power. The company would also build plants in Ontario to produce components for solar and wind projects. The value of the investment was publicly said to be $7-billion.

The second standout sentence targeted the feed-in-tariff regime: “Also, we will end the FIT program.”

Ending the FIT program is one way to slow the growth rate in consumer bills. To replace the FIT program, which gave industry 20-year fixed prices for generation, Mr. Hudak promised to create a bidding process for all future energy contracts, allowing all the players in the sector to compete. Since the price of green energy is supposedly coming down, competitive bidding should accelerate that trend. Existing contracts would be honoured, Mr. Hudak said.

As for the Samsung contract, Mr. Hudak pointed out that the McGuinty Liberals signed the deal without seeking competitive bids from other firms and without providing any information to Ontario taxpayers.

With this speech, Mr. Hudak has certainly set up electricity and the McGuinty government’s green energy program as dominant issues for the October provincial election. He clearly is willing to risk antagonizing industry players in wind and solar, along with the green NGO community.

On the other hand, Mr. Hudak will find allies among consumers, business consumers of electricity and many ­local governments. Mr. Hudak promised to revisit what many consider one of the most offensive parts of the Green Energy Act, provisions that took away local decision-making powers. These provisions would be tossed out, he said, allowing local municipalities to decide if they wanted industrial wind or solar or other generating installations — hot-button issues across rural Ontario.

Wind and solar “can complement a 21st century economy, but they cannot power it,” said Mr. Hudak, adding that “Ontario has been well served by hydroelectricity and nuclear power.”

He promised the audience that he would work with them to set out a “long-term policy framework and then leave it to the sector … to implement and execute.” There would be “no more day-to-day directives that hinder long-term objectives.” That was a direct swipe at the Liberals’ constant revisions to electricity policy, especially their killing of an integrated power plan that had been years in the making. Spiking the plan triggered the departure of Jan Carr as head of the Ontario Power Authority and his replacement by Colin Andersen in 2008.

Mr. Hudak promised to dismember the Ontario Power Authority, which has grown to a 300-person “big bureaucracy” under the Liberals. It also looks as though Mr. Hudak would re-establish the role of the Ontario Energy Board as an arm’s length entity that would balance consumer and power-sector needs. This might have the beneficial effect of putting the brakes on the spending habits of the provincially owned Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation, whose costs have continued to grow while their output remains flat.

An Ontario election is five months away. With this speech, I’d say Mr. ­Hudak has laid out a platform plank that has the potential to change the future for Ontario’s electricity industries, and change the province’s political course.

Financial Post

Parker Gallant is a former banker who didn’t like what he was seeing in his Ontario electricity bills. His series, Ontario’s Power Trip, can be reviewed here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ontario could be coal-free by 2010: report

I thought it would be commical to post this from 2 years ago. Example of how the fantacy world some people live in works. Something to keep reminding them of.


Published On Mon Feb 9 2009

Michael Oliveira

Ontario's energy mix could be virtually 100 per cent coal-free by next year, especially if the government boosted conservation by residents and acted boldly with its upcoming Green Energy Act, suggests a new report.

As of December, Ontario had a maximum energy capacity of 33,045 megawatts, or 26,611 megawatts after subtracting the power generated from its coal plants.

By June 2010, the government hopes to have an additional 3,913 megawatts of coal-free power available for consumption. That would push its total capacity well beyond the record-high electricity demand of 27,005 megawatts set on Aug. 1, 2006.

The numbers suggest Ontario can phase out its use of coal-fired electricity well before its self-imposed deadline of Dec. 31, 2014 and the province should commit to only using those dirty plants in emergency situations, said Jack Gibbons, chairman of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, which released the report.

"We haven't called for a complete coal phase-out but we're saying to only operate the coal when there's no other option to keep the lights on," Gibbons said.

"Ending coal use five years ahead of the government's official deadline would be the equivalent of taking an extra 2.3 million cars off the road each year between 2010 and 2014."

The Independent Electricity System Operator, which runs Ontario's electrical system, said it's not confident about accelerating the coal phase-out plan, and added that the new power coming online next year will be largely gas-fired and may not be 100 per cent reliable right away.

"With the amount of gas that's being introduced there are going to be some teething problems," said spokesman Terry Young.

He also said the province needs a sizable buffer of power for contingency purposes and there's no way to guarantee how much of the province's total capacity will be available at any given time.
He cited Ontario's wind power as being particularly unreliable for baseload power.
"First of all, those units don't always operate," Young said.

"And during the peak, wind availability is not that high. To take you back to the summer last year, the output of wind varied from as low as two megawatts one afternoon (in the summer) to over 700 during the winter."

Gibbons countered that there's still lots of unutilized potential for conservation and said the government should convince another one million homeowners to sign up for the Ontario Power Authority's ``peaksaver" program, which automatically reduces energy consumption when demand gets too high.

He said that could cut demand by 1,000 megawatts, giving the province an even larger buffer.
Any additional measures in the province's Green Energy Act – which Energy Minister George Smitherman has promised will be bold – would only make the goal more attainable, Gibbons said.

"We're counting on minister Smitherman to deliver a Green Energy Act that will give a huge boost to energy efficiency and renewables," he said.

Ontarians will pay dearly for McGuinty’s ‘green’ energy fantasy

May 6, 2011 – 11:46 AM ET

Last month, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, announced that investment in alternative energy in Europe fell 34% in just the first three months of 2011. Why would it fall by a third in so short a time? Because European governments have begun withdrawing the huge subsidies they pay to green-energy companies, and massive tax dollars are about the only thing that make most green-energy projects make economic sense.

Much of the investment in alternative energy is obviously what’s called “subsidy farming,” i.e. planting a little money in a project in the hopes of reaping a harvest of taxpayer-subsidized profits because, if left to market forces, green energy makes little sense.

If you want to know what’s ahead for Ontario taxpayers and electricity consumers, just look at what’s going on in Europe. Thanks to Premier Dalton McGunity’s green-energy dreams, Ontarians, like Europeans, will be paying big bucks for all types of energy — including old, cheap sources such as coal and hydro – and getting little more “clean” energy than now.

Ontario’s green-energy plan, introduced in 2008, was always dependent on the “if you build it, they will come” theory. If only enough tax dollars could be used to subsidize the construction of wind farms and solar panels and algae ponds for biodiesel, eventually there would be enough of these clean sources to make them economically viable competitors to coal and oil.

I like to call this the magic wand approach to energy reform. If a government merely wishes hard enough for green alternatives — if it spends enough taxpayer money and makes enough high-minded announcements, convenes enough expert and stakeholder panels to reinforce its ideas — its wishes will come true, whether or not they are practical, feasible or financially sustainable.

That has very definitely been the case with Dalton McGuinty’s green scheme: He and his government have pledged billions to new energy projects over the next couple of decades. This was an easy promise to make, because the billions were not his. His plan was to have Ontario residents and companies pay premiums of up to 40% for electricity to fund solar, wind and bio energy. More would be extracted from taxpayers as needed.

Now most of the alternative-energy projects are dead — less than four years after they were announced — and all that is left are the high (and rising) energy prices charged to pay for them and the potential for billions more from taxpayers to pay off the contracts made with green-energy companies.

Building giant farms of wind turbines in Ontario’s Great Lakes was about the last green dream to evaporate in the cold light of day. It went “poof!” in February when the Ontario Liberals conceded there was too little evidence that wind power was economically viable, so it abandon its efforts to ring the provinces shorelines with unsightly commercial windmills. The government had abandon solar power last fall, leaving scores of farmers and small private investors with unusable solar panels on private property around the province.

Of course, Ontario is not the only jurisdiction to be stung by its politicians’ green ambitions.
Last week, the BBC and Telegraph both reported that the British government is paying subsidies of up to $2 million a day to Scottish wind farms when they produce more energy than the power grid can absorb. On one especially windy day in April, some companies were paid upwards of $500,000 each to shutdown their turbines.

This may prove how good wind farms can be at producing electricity (when the wind is blowing, that is), but it also demonstrates the impracticality of most alternative sources. The power some of them produce may be impressive — when the weather conditions are right — but the weather is unreliable.. And even when these farms are producing lots of power, there is too little transmission capacity to bring their power to market. Building the farms before the infrastructure exists to get the power from A to B is putting the environmental cart before the economic horse.

When politicians, such as Mr Guinty, seek to plan the energy future based on touchy-feely environmental sentimentality — rather than solid science and sound engineering — the peoople who will end up paying are consumers and taxpayers.

National Post