Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beyond Oxford: Capacity Markets and $263/MWh IWT Output

This is the fifth, and final, post in a series inspired by a UKStudy that concluded a “truism” for natural gas in the coming decades is ‘want wind, need gas.’”

My previous post noted that the need for variable generation capacity, presumably primarily natural gas-fired, does not decrease as wind capacity increases over the next decade, although the annual generation from ‘peaking’ type sources may drop from about 20TWh annually, to 17TWh annually.[i]   The decline for gas producers may be more than offset by the removal of coal-fired generation.  In Ontario, it is frequently noted the costs of the feed-in tariff programs for renewable (FIT and microFIT) have not yet impacted bills.  I’ll demonstrate that isn’t entirely true.  I’ll explore market mechanisms required in a system that includes intermittent generation that is provided with priority purchase status; and the alternate, non-competitive, mechanisms Ontario has substituted for market mechanisms.  That will provide the basis to calculate a figure to add to the accounting for the cost of Ontario’s wind strategy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Cost of Wind Generation: Bumping Hydro and Duplicating Capacity

This is the fourth post in a series inspired by a UKStudy that concluded a “truism” for natural gas in the coming decades is ‘want wind, need gas.’”

My previous post contained the promise of more data modeling work, allowing for an estimate of the true cost of Ontario's Electricity policy, particularly the cost of increased industrial wind turbine (IWT) capacity in an existing low-emission, but low flexibility, supply mix..  The modelling is competed and the next cost, for hydro capacity that cannot be matched to Ontario's demand with the planned wind capacity installed, is almost $3 billion.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Industrial Wind, SBG, $3.3 billion ... and more

This is the third post in a series inspired by a UKStudy that concluded a “truism” for natural gas in the coming decades is ‘want wind, need gas.’”

 One of my goals is to determine the need for peaking capacity if more Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT’s) are added, but another is to provide a better accounting of the costs of the Ontario government’s grand experiment, inserting wind into a supply mix already dominated by a large contingent of baseload nuclear and non-reservoir hydroelectric generation.  My first post in the series showed the planned IWT capacity is essentially planned as excess capacity, and illustrated wind’s variant output, especially it's lowest output period, of summer, coinciding with the peak supply/demand requirement.  The second post developed the concept of ‘baseload’ supply in Ontario, based on summary estimates of daily output.  My definition of baseload included supply we were contractually obligated to take (or to pay not to take).  Today I’ll start putting price tags on the choices our government has been making for us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ontario’s Bizarre Industrial Wind Strategy

This is the second post in a series inspired by a UKStudy that concluded a “truism” for natural gas in the coming decades is ‘want wind, need gas.’”

This post continues the analysis, of Ontario electricity sector data, that is loosely guided by Chapter 6 of a recent study from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.   Previously I demonstrated what typical wind production will look like in the coming years.  Now we’ll look at the overall supply picture in an Ontario context.  
Ontario’s electricity system is characterized by a very large nuclear component, and a significant hydro component that generally lacks reservoirs.  As demand has dropped in recent years (it peaked in 2005), intermittent sources have come into the generation mix on a ‘must take’ basis.  I’ll address the current mix this has left us, and the issues already apparent in Ontario due to that mix, before forecasting some figures for future years.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Excessive Wind Power Generation in Ontario

This post became the first in a series inspired by a UKStudy that concluded a “truism” for natural gas in the coming decades is ‘want wind, need gas.’”

I received an e-mail today from a concerned reader wondering at the lack of new posts.
I wish I'd been simply doing other things, but I have been doing the back-end data collection to further my arguments regarding Ontario's electricity system challenges/follies.

I noted a study that came out in the UK recently; “The Impact of Import Dependency and Wind Generation on UK Gas Demand and Security of Supply to 2025,” from The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Chapter 6 of that study, "Wind Intermittency," was not only informative, it included a number of helpful graphs that I felt I would be capable of assembling, with Ontario data, to communicate a similar message in the context of Ontario.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2 Words Missing From the Ontario Liberals’ Platform

Forward. Together. The Ontario Liberal Plan 2011-2035” does not contain an electricity policy.  The platform, perhaps named as an homage to US President Nixon’s “Forward Together” slogan, has some very notable gaps where we’d expect some substance to be, the most notable of these being nuclear policy.  The word ‘nuclear’ does not appear once in the 60 page document.  I’m no Bob Woodward, but I’ll attempt the role in investigating why electricity policy went missing in the Liberal platform.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Liberal Education for the English Speaking Whirled

The Liberal Party has some terrific ads out for the election. Seriously.
The Leadership/Education ad sounds great, and Premier McGuinty appears confident and assertive.

But the message is deceitful.

Nothing is more important to Ontario's Economic Future Than Education Kindergarten.

Friday, September 9, 2011

August Electricity Stats, and Thoughts On the Election

I've been discombobulated this week, after driving my son off to begin university last weekend.  I did run my normal routines capturing summary figures for Ontario's electricity system in August, and I did watch energy specialists from Ontario's major parties, and the Greens, on The Agenda with Steve Paikin.  It was an ugly display for somebody with my positions on the electricity system.

My discombobulated might be far more coherent than people find in other places, so ... here's my look at August's stats using the Agenda discussion to indicate points of interest.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Coal’s Replacement in Ontario

Ontario had a record low pricing day, where we paid to dispose of generation, and the coverage in the press[i] meandered to quoting Minister of Energy Duguid;

“It’s a distinguishing issue for the Ontario Liberal party and its premier, who have stood up and taken the decisions needed to be taken to get out of dirty coal … You can’t do it without wind and solar being part of the energy mix.”
That’s a remarkable amount of incorrect information to fit into so few words. In July 2002, an all party committee recommended, “the Ontario government shall mandate the closure of all remaining coal or oil-fired generating stations by 2015.”  The current Premier distinguished himself, in 2003’s campaign, by promising to get rid of coal by 2007. Perhaps he is distinguishing himself now by claiming it could only be done by lying about everybody else while hand-picking recipients for rich wind and solar contracts. Wind, and solar, have not been significant factors in the reduction of coal-fired generation, in Ontario, over the past few years.