Tuesday, June 6, 2023

on the risk of power shortages in Ontario this summer

A regulatory body with a mission “to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid,” delivered its “Summer Reliability Assessment” for North American jurisdictions last month. The brief news release for the document:
warns that two-thirds of North America is at risk of energy shortfalls this summer during periods of extreme demand. While there are no high-risk areas in this year’s assessment, the number of areas identified as being at elevated risk has increased. The assessment finds that, while resources are adequate for normal summer peak demand, if summer temperatures spike, seven areas — the U.S. West, SPP and MISO, ERCOT, SERC Central, New England and Ontario — may face supply shortages during higher demand levels.
Toronto Centre MPP, the NDP’s Peter Tabuns, used that document to launch an attack on the government’s management of the electricity system in the Ontario legislature on June 1st:
“…the body that oversees electricity grids in North America reported that Ontario risks power outages this summer. In fact, Ontario is the only province in Canada that is rated with elevated risk that it can’t meet peak demand. After five years, this government’s policies of cutting funding for efficiency and conservation, of demolishing wind farms and cancelling other renewable projects have led to this.”
This has gotten the rabble roused - if the media is any indication. The Toronto Star and CTV news both reported on topic. CTV’s reporting included comments from an expert, who advised, “There really is not any cause to be alarmed”, but also commentary from the opposite sort - politicians Tabuns and the leader of Ontario’s Green party.

Since this topic doesn’t seem to be going away I’ll explain some of the structure and content of reporting on reliability, and address the substance, or lack thereof, in the criticism of the government as reducing reliability through canceling plans for additional ‘green’ energy.