Thursday, February 28, 2013

A questionable 18-month outlook from Ontario's system operator.

Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator today released it's latest 18-Month Outlook - a document they update regularly, and I've written on regularly.

This one strikes me as less than coherent - some of the illogical content deliberate, and some irresponsibly unnecessary.
The supply advice going forward does not match the comfort level with the supply picture during the reporting period.

September 2012's report finished with:
As Ontario’s coal-fired generation is shut down over the next two years, its associated flexibility will be lost. Therefore, future capacity additions should also possess this flexibility to help facilitate the management of maintenance outages, provide effective ramp capability, supply of operating reserve and even provide regulation when necessary.
Today's finishes with
As Ontario’s coal-fired generation is shut down over the next year, its associated flexibility, such as quick ramping and operating reserve, will be lost. Therefore, future supply options, demand response programs, and storage solutions should also possess this flexibility to help facilitate the management of maintenance outages, provide effective ramp capability, supply operating reserve and even provide regulation when necessary.
From that it seems like ~3000MW of coal-fired capacity recently slated for closing at the end of 2013, halfway through the new outlook period, would be problematic.

Not so says the IESO:
Ontario will continue to have adequate generation and transmission capability to meet consumers’ needs over the next 18 months.

Friday, February 22, 2013

He Played Everything

I do not know how to act, or what the occasion demands of me.

A few days ago a tearful son gave me the news about his friend.  I did not know the boy.  
My son plays the bass; they had sometimes played together, in the music room, at lunch.  
Lately, they have not - nobody had.

Years ago, I posted comments on the site of a national newspaper under my name; Scott Luft.  My youngest son came home from elementary school one day - which that year was a wonderful environment for him -  and said he and his excellent teacher had googled my name and my comments on that site had come up.  At the time elementary teachers were threatening job action if they, ridiculously, were not paid the same rate as high school teachers.  The government was poised to introduced full-day junior kindergarten and was, stupidly, acquiescing to make that a windfall for teachers, rather than an important step to increase the role of the physical school as an anchor of a community.  
I switched my online comments to the "Cold Air" pseudonym.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

American Tales: True stories from Electricity Data

U.S. President Barack Obama's annual State of the Union address (SOTU) provides an excuse to review the recent release of comprehensive 2011 Electric Power Annual data from the The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).  I've looked at the EIA data in previous years: reviewing the data to 2009 I found little indication of unique accomplishment in reducing emissions through increased generation with renewables; and a year late another look at the same issue with 2010's data reinforced that finding.  This post will look at the national data to show the main reasons for reduced emissions is better pollution control, and increased efficiency.

A switch from coal to natural gas is generally cited as a reason for reduced emissions in America's electricity generation [1] .  The President's SOTU noted emissions of "dangerous carbon pollution" have fallen over the last four years.  The last 4 years nicely commences with an economic collapse, and features a glut in natural gas supply depressing prices.  Charting U.S. production by source, back to 1997 [2], indicates the trend of increased generation from natural gas didn't begin in 2008; total generation is up ~608TWh, and generation from natural gas is up ~534TWh.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monthly Ontario Electricity Bills Soar and Fall with Nonsensical Global Adjustment Charge

A certain type of electricity consumer in Ontario is subject to billing based on their hourly usage at a market rate, plus a global adjustment charge.
The Global Adjustment (GA) is the difference between the total payments made to certain contracted or regulated generators/demand management projects, and market revenues. (IESO)
The 2nd estimate for January's global adjustment charge, posted January 31st, is $623.6 million, or $50.65/MWh.

Which is nonsense.

An average "Class B" consumer, if charged by the calendar month, had a November 2012 commodity charge at $80.90/MWh, the highest rate since 2002 (not accounting for inflation).
The next month, December, the charge dropped to $66.15/MWh; the lowest price in 27 months.
I estimate a preliminary figure for January of $82.84/MWh, smashing through November's elevated level (HOEP of $31.59 in addition to the $50.65 2nd estimate of the global adjustment).

There is no rational basis for this monthly roller-coaster, lottery inspired, pricing.