Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Sober look at Ontario’s 2011 Electricity Figures

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination."
                                    -Andrew Lang (1844-1912) Scottish poet, novelist and literary critic

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) issued a news release on January 6th titled,“Composition of Ontario’s Electricity Supply Mix Continues to Change: Consumer Response Supports Reliability.” The introduction posits there were three trends highlighted in the data; “increasing production from renewable resources, reduced dependence on coal-fired units, and a more active role for consumers in managing their consumption.”   Not exactly the 3 trends I'd look for
  • The 'customers' most active in curtailing peak demand are businesses, as Parker Gallant and I demonstrated in a recent article. Many of them pitch in by closing up altogether;
  • Use of coal-fired generation is reduced because the periods we need it are down, but at peak demand we relied on coal-fired generation (I wrote on that here);
  • There is no trend to increasing production from renewables in the IESO data.
There is a brief uptick. From only the data presented by the IESO, summing up hydro and wind the numbers go from 39.7 TWh in 2008 to 40.4TWh in 2009, 33.5TWh in 2010, and then we have a singular point as an uptick in 2011, to 37.2TWh. While up on a dry 2010, the total renewables figure is unimpressive against a longer trend. In the past 22 years, renewables have infrequently produced less output than in 2011.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Pledge Suggestions

I subscribed to a e-mail from the Ontario Power Authority, which sent out some power saving tips for the 'festive season.'  As the owner of an old home (1907), here's a review of the their 'tips for the festive season"

• Replace old, incandescent holiday lights with LED lights. LEDs run much cooler, have lasting power and are energy efficient.
Depending on how many 10's of thousand of $s you have spent on upgrading your building envelope, be careful not to freeze to death by buying $30 lightbulbs because you don't realize the heat coming from the $1 lightbulb isn't doing much harm at all.

• Turn off outdoor holiday lighting before bed or use a timer to automatically turn them off when you go to sleep.
Put all your outdoor holiday lighting inside (see previous point)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, Same Stories, Old Professions

 Goodbye 2011.
This blog was new as 2010 turned to 2011. My first post of 2011 noted huge exports in December of 2010, negative pricing records for January 1, 2011, and record wind production in hour 21 of January 1st. It took about a week before the first reporter picked up on the subsidized exports story, which generated some interest in the mainstream media (MSM). Remarkably, in hour 18 of January 1st, 2012, wind would again set a production record (1633MW).

Comparing the immediately available data for New Years' Day 2012 to the 2011 data, we see why the price disaster of 2011 was curtailed, to only intermittent periods of negative pricing, this year.
Nuclear was idled: one unit at Darlington just for this weekend (we'll see if they get it back up for tomorrow's deep freeze), and one at Pickering they seem to have decided not to bother with this season (a Bruce A unit is also offline for a fairly substantial project).

Net Imports are only up compared to last year: 1/1/2012 we were still a net exporter - of over 1000MW/hour