Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ontario Pays Tribute to Our American Neighbours

A month ago I wrote on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), noting it indicated the largest wind production states were not reducing emissions as quickly as the other states.  One notable exception was New York state, which is amongst the best performing states in reducing CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions since 1990.  I’ve been meaning to revisit this once more by comparing the generation, and consumption, histories of New York state, and Ontario.  Premier McGuinty jogged my memory when I read an article stating Mcguinty had argued, “The province imported a net $400 million worth of electricity in 2003, while last year it made a net $300 million from its sale.” 
The only way Ontario could have made anything from the sale is if the product had zero value – because $300 million is about the total received over the course of the year from the net exports of 8.8 TWh (that’s about $34/MWh).   In 2010 Ontarians paid about $65/MWh for the electricity we used (the charge per/kWh is an increasingly small portion of our total bills).

It hadn’t occurred to me that there was an explanation for the Premier’s Goebbelsesque approach to dealing with questions on the cost of exports (I believe he even got it up to $1.3 billion over the past few years at one point).  Then I created some graphs – the data sets aren’t entirely comparable, but they give the trends adequately.
The Ontario data accounts for line loss in the demand figures, so this should be pretty accurate in showing the level of imports and exports (the difference between the bars and the lines).

The New York data, from the EIA’s dataset, is, as expected, somewhat the inverse of this (exporting in 1990 and importing by 2009) – I do not believe the U.S. data adjusts sales for line loss – the line for sales would be higher if the same data rules applied to the NY graph as the Ontario graph.

There are some interesting similarities in the two jurisdictions.  Both show strong increases in nuclear and gas generation, and both have similar levels of wind being introduced.  Demand peaked in both jurisdictions in 2005.  Production in New York peaked in 2005 too.
In Ontario, production kept increasing through 2008.   I’ll be reviewing, in a future post, the generation brought online since 2005 in Ontario.
It is almost inconceivable that government could not see our supply mix is resulting in excess production being dumped on export markets.  Primarily that involves either Quebec, New York (could be both – Quebec could buy cheap to keep the reservoirs full, and then sell to New England, or New York, at higher prices), or Michigan.  Michigan would be the hardest to stomach subsidizing production at $135/MWh to sell to at under $40 – because the strides Michigan has made towards cleaner energy at their own expense aren’t noticeable:

The peak is again in 2005 – but Michigan is the unique entity in this little group by virtue, or sin, of it’s relatively consistent reliance on coal.
The graphs terminate in 2009 because that was the end of the data set from the EIA.   Premier McGuinty referenced ‘last year’ making $300 million on the sale, but sale is the wrong word – because if we made $300 million we considered the cost of producing the exported power to be nothing.  Essentially, Premier McGuinty is considering 1 out of every 3 MW being produced at OPG’s Niagara Plant group as belonging to Ontarians – who pay for all production – and the other 2/3rds are our annual tribute to Michigan and New York state.

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