Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Mainstream Press Addresses Electricity Records Noted Here - 7 days ealier.

On January 3rd I posted to this blog that there were a number of statistical records to end 2010 and begin 2011. Today some of the mainstream press did to: Don Butler, at the Ottawa Citizen, and the Toronto Star's John Spears. Choose Bulter's – or read this to counter the Star's Silly Spin
Friday, January 7th John Spears dutifully reported on the IESO press release summarizing 2010's generation totals. He parroted the increase in coal and gas, as well as the official government spin.
Mr. Spears explained the use of gas and coal rose 7900GWh because hydro dropped 7400GWh while Ontario consumption rose about 3000GWh. Which is quite lovely except it ignores that we had to export 15000 GWh yet again, at enormous loss – yet again. My view of the IESO release is here.
Coal and gas replaced hydro because they were the only sources that could, when demand required it.

Minister Duguid said, in his most dudly way, that we only used coal because it was hot and dry. So we're on track not to use it, unless the climate changes as anticipated - which is the reason we want to stop using it.

Mr. Speers did note the coal use has been trending down, but either stupidly or dishonestly goes to 2003 to note the start of the trend.
The trend actually started in 2001, following the peak in 2000. 1998's reorganization had seen coal assets stranded with OPG and an all party committee unanimously agreed on 2015 for a phase out in the following years. 2003 is the year the first McGuinty government wrote off $500 million on the value of the coal units, and cancelled the scrubbers to be installed until the 2015 date, because the plants would close in 2007. Furthermore, the reductions following 2003 had much to do with Bruce 3 and 4, and Pickering 1 and 4, all of which were brought back by the preceding Conservative governments – the same that announced Lakeview's closure. Spears notes coal at 36.6TWh in 2003, but doesn't note nuclear at 62TWh. In 2010 nuclear was at 82.9 and coal at 12.6. They balance out. Hydro (water) was down 5.3TWh in the same period, but use was down 14TWh. The big difference is in 2003 we imported net 4.1TWh, and in 2010 we exported, net, 8.8TWh.
Which has everything to do with the supply mix.

The article also says consumption rose in 2010, bucking a five-year trend. Well, it also rose in 2007, which doesn't mean down isn't the trend.  But the trend can also be seen as one the decline in annual change in demand that goes back 60 years across North America - 5 years ago we crossed a milestone where demand switched from under the 0.75% a year increase it had been averaging for a decade and a half, to a decline.
And the big new driver in exports is ...
natural gas!

Which makes Jack Gibbons the most biased choice of quotable manipulator possible. Did the reporter think the bureaucracy is so stupid they exported all this power for fun? Gibbons opined all those exports were from coal.
Total nonsense. I recall quite clearly coal coming to the rescue when an early heat wave hit in may as the vacuum outage had all Pickering reactors offline. All 4 of the units closed later in the year were at full production – a situation repeated with at least 3 of the 4 units at each peak spell, coinciding with short heat spurts, right through the first days of September.
The reason we export so much is the mix, and the reason it is becoming unmanageable is, more than anything else, the natural gas that has come online – and perhaps the need to run significant amounts of it constantly to peak the needless wind turbines infecting the countryside.
Mr. Spears was back with his spin on the 11th focussing on the nuclear plants. That's somewhat true, but what is new is not the nuclear plants. It's wind and gas.

Here's an astonishing figure. Prior to 2009, the record natural gas production I have seen was 12,959 GWh, in 2002 (that figure is likely from the National Inventory Report for 2004, page 364, although I can no longer locate the document). Divide by 365, and divide by 24, and you get an average hourly production of 1479MW). On January 1st, the low point gas hit was 1169MW at 9 am.

Let's be clear. Basically the minimum amount of gas the grid needs now is more than the average it need as little as 2 years ago. And it is 1200MW, and that is how much wind is on the grid. It is one helluva coincidence – or a necessity.

And that 2400MW (we got 1200 of wind and still maintained the 1200 of gas) was a huge contribution in the production of too much output for the Ontario market on January 1st.

I've been observing Mr. Gibbons' game for years – how to replace public nuclear with privately rewarded natural gas under the guise of wind. Mr. Spears serves Gibbons very well.

I should also say the the quotes from Mr. Murphy were offensive – and I'm a fan of the IESO's openness with all things. It is that openness which allowed myself, and others, to observe statistically the abandonment of any attempt to meet Ontario demand with wind output in 2010. That led to the bizarre situation with the Hourly Ontario Energy Price being more aligned with the wind speed than Ontario demand.
Damn right he prefers to have too much power. What bureaucrat doesn't?
He's institutionalized it – Ontario's exported over 15TWh of electricity each of the past 3 years, and over 10TWh each of the past 6.

There are thoughts on the appropriate mix, and meeting demand, on this site, and many of the links to the right on each page. You are likely using far less electricity than you did 15 years ago – your actual cost/kWh has probably doubled in the past 7 years if you include all delivery charges, allocations for line losses, and taxes – the 30% figure Mr. Murphy states must be the nonsensical cost/kWh that is now almost a minor portion of the current Ontario electricity bill. He's likely got more cable channels, is in a very high rent district, and of course has infinitely better cell phone service than 15 years ago.

His comparisons, like the scheme he's become a part of, seem designed to give us gas.

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