Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ontario's Surplus Baseload Generation Forecast Skyrockets

The IESO describes Surplus Baseload Generaton (SBG) as, “a condition that occurs when electricity production from baseload facilities is greater than Ontario demand. There are limited options available to lower output from baseload generators in order to maintain the balance between supply and demand. It is expected that incidences of SBG may increase as Ontario's supply mix continues to change. “

It is expected, because it is planned!

As we exit the highest demand period of the year (winter), one where the Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) has averaged only 3.31 cents/kWh but the contracts for supply bring that up to around 7 cents/kWh, the full extent of the foolishness in planning our supply is made apparent in the SBG report for March 8th.

During the 26 days starting March 9th, Ontario is expected to have excess generation 34% of the time, with a total planned purchase of 226,815MWh. At the average contracted price, $70/MWh, we have planned on purchasing approximately $16 million of product we will need to find external markets to dump at, if we are exceeding lucky, maybe half the purchase price. In terms of a supply mix that can be matched to demand, it is most notable that in the 6 hours of day from 12pm – 5 am, we are expected/planned to have excess supply 80% of the hours in the referenced report.

Around the same time the SBG report was generated, Pickering Unit 1 was taken offline. When the IESO wrote of “limited options available to lower output from baseload generators” this might be called the nuclear option. Bruce Power seems to have become very profecient at dropping the output level of 2 of the Bruce B reactors in surplus periods. My understanding, admittedly limited, is that this is accomplished by a steam bybass (the same fuel and operating costs are involved, they just don't output power!), but for extended periods of oversupply, it appears safe to assume Pickering is to be idled.

That's the plan.

No comments:

Post a Comment