Monday, November 28, 2011

A Dubious Distinction: Another Wind Record For Ontario

Sunday November 27th saw a record for hourly electricity production from Ontario's wind turbines.
Hour 10 has 1427MW recorded, which is 1MW higher than the 1426 recorded for hour 9 only two Sundays before.(endnote 1)  The day was also notable as mild temperatures further reduced Ontario's demand, which had already been trending down for the previous 6 weeks.

Comparing hourly production data from Sunday November 27th, 2011, to the production from Sunday, November 28th, 2010, and estimating hourly demand from intertie activity, shows that the additional wind generation of 20,119 MWh coincided with a drop in demand of approximately 38,365MWh of demand.(endnote 2)   That required over 58GWh  of other supply to be curtailed, or exported, which is essentially all production from natural gas and coal that occurred in 2010.  Cas and coal reductions were only about 25.6GWh, nuclear 22.1GWh, and exports were upped by 10.5GWh.

Nuclear Hydro Wind Gas Coal Other Ontario Demand Net Exports
2010 240,696 83,415 6,782 52,156 8,082 2,424 371,778 21,008
2011 218,610 81,907 26,901 29,280 5,242 3,046 333,413 31,573
Variance -22,086 -1,508 20,119 -22,876 -2,840 622 -38,365 10,565

The decreased natural gas output during the early hours of the day appears to have been bought by curtailing natural gas output from non-utility generators, which typically account for about 1000MW of supply, but dropped below 660MW as the day began, and didn't return above 1000MW until 11 am.  Two nights earlier, during similarly high wind production, reducing output was bought by curtailing Bruce Unit 8 (nuclear).  The Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) for the 27th averaged only $27.44/MWh, but dropped as low as -$13.51/MWH, with the 5 minute MCP price bottoming out at -$128.30/MWH.(endnote 3)

Over the 24 hours of November 27th, wind output was the 10th highest on record - the highest coming 2 weeks earlier, and 4 of the top 10 days being in November 2011.  Over the first 27 days of the month, wind turbines show as generating over 500GWh of electricity, which exceeds the previous monthly record (set in February), by a wide margin.  Increased monthly wind output has been more than offset by a reduction in the monthly production of nuclear energy - fossil fuels are relatively unchanged from 2010.  The trend in increasing events resulting in curtailing nuclear production was just emphasized in a report from the system operator: "So far in 2011, nuclear units have been maneuvered 113 times for a total of 364 hours. Compared to 2010 which had nuclear units maneuvered 14 times for a total duration of 64 hours, this represents a significant increase."

The impact of the supply curtailment impacts all customers, but the most immediate impact will be on wholesale market customers, and it will show in the increased Global Adjustment (GA), which is added to the market price in order to recover the full costs of generation (almost all of it being contracted).  The system operator first estimated November's GA would be $37.85/MWh.

I anticipate the 2nd estimate for the global adjustment, due by the end of the week, will be about $10/MWh higher than the first one.   If not for curtailed nuclear production, which avoided subsidizing additional exports, the Global Adjustment might also be setting a record this month.

Endnote 1:  That figure includes 4 locations that are not officially in service, and therefore seem to be reporting as 0 when the IESO produces it's weekly .csv file updates.
The previous record high, and still record daily volume, I noted here.
Prior to that, the record was Saturday, October 16th, which I noted here
Spreadsheet is here
Endnote 2:  not all production shows in the IESO hourly reporting, both for generation, and interties, so there will be some upward movement in 2011 demand when final figures are released
Endnote 3:  The IESO daily reporting is here.


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