Posts Tagged ‘Ontario power needs’

From Steve Aplin, Ottawa-based energy analyst, published in Canadian Energy Issues in 2009.

According to Ontario’s long term energy plan, in 2030 the province will get
26.3 billion kilowatt-hours from wind, solar, and bio-energy. Most of that
will be from wind, which according to historical statistics produces
electricity 33 percent of the time. To get 26.3 billionn kWh, then, Ontario
will need around 10,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity.

If you think this seems an odd way to plan a power system, you are right.
Wind is not dispatchable; the electricity system operator cannot call the
operator of a wind turbine and say “I’ll need 50 MW of power in five
minutes, so start ramping up.” Well, he actually can call and request
exactly that, but there is a 67 percent chance the wind operator will say
“sorry, the wind conditions are such that I cannot fulfill your request.”
i.e., the wind isn’t blowing.

This points up a central reality of power systems whose planners want to add
a lot of wind capacity. In the words of Dr. Ulrich Decher, a nuclear
engineer with Westinghouse, wind turbines “do not replace the need for any
other generators. All the generators that are needed without windmills are
needed with windmills.”

Comparisons are often made of how many windmills it would take to eliminate
the need for a conventional power plant. These comparisons are totally
meaningless because windmills do not add any megawatts to the grid when the
wind is not blowing. Windmills must be paired with some other power plant or
energy storage device (such as pumped hydro storage) to add capacity to the
grid.-Dr. Ulrich Decher (source: ANS Nuclear Café)

This means that when the Ontario system operator is forced to turn to
another power generator to meet the provincial demand-not if, but when-it is
almost certain that that other generator will run on natural gas.

This is because the province plans to phase out coal-fired generation by
2014. Which raises a critical issue that is directly related to the reason
for the coal phase-out. The coal plants are being phased out because of
their heavy carbon and pollution emissions. That is why coal is being
replaced by wind and gas: wind turbines ostensibly put no emissions into the
air, and gas puts less emissions than coal.

But because of the reality that Dr. Decher describes, those 10,000 MW of
wind must be matched with 10,000 MW of gas. Let’s also be clear that gas
will actually be the main energy source in that pairing, producing those
10,000 MW of energy 67 percent of the time. Depending on the type of gas
generator, each kWh of gas power can dump 330 to 550 grams of carbon dioxide
into the atmosphere. In view of this, it is reasonable to consider what the
emissions implications of the wind/gas pairing will be.

The spreadsheet below compares that the wind/gas pairing in Ontario with
nuclear/coal. You may be surprised to see that nuclear/coal is actually
cleaner. Ten thousand MW with wind/gas would dump over 19 million metric
tons of carbon dioxide and other bona fide air pollutants into the air every

For a pollution-reduction plan, the wind/gas pairing is terrible. Ontario
could reduce more pollution simply by shifting more of coal’s historic
production to nuclear.

The wind/gas pairing is terrible also in terms of pure economics. As I
showed in my post “Ontario nuclear power subsidizes gas and renewables,”
wind and gas are responsible for 66 percent of the Global Adjustment dollars
that Ontario ratepayers will have to cover just so the wind and gas
generators will do business with the province.

Nuclear and coal are far cheaper, and the generators already exist and are
connected to the grid.

Ontario could achieve bigger emission reductions with equipment it already
has, and for cheaper, than it could by embarking on the wind/gas science
project. More people need to know this.


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February 23rd, The Ottawa Citizen ran an editorial called “Seeing the wind” in which every popular notion about wind development is listed. Trouble is, none of them are correct.

Wind power is clean energy. No, it isn’t: the manufacturing and construction process for industrial wind turbines is significant, and huge amounts of fuel are required to transport the gigantic turbine parts. And, the turbines require power to run. In the “Wind Energy: the case of Denmark” study prepared by CEPOS in 2009, it was noted that in that country, which has had wind turbines for 20 years, ” wind power … saves neither fossil fuel consumption nor CO2 emissions.”

That’s a fact.

Ontario’s wind turbines are already in places where most people never see them. What? That would be nice if it were true, but it isn’t. In Melancthon there are over 100 turbines (soon to be almost 200) and the same for Amaranth. Turbines as far as the eye can see. Chatham-Kent? Hundreds and hundreds of turbines within kilometers of 6,000 people. North Gower? As many as 10 626-foot turbines within kilometers of hundeds of people and just over 3 km from a school. The turbines should be north of Superior where there is plenty of wind and no people but they’re not. Why? the transmission lines aren’t there but they are in the south of Ontario, which is also where all the people are.

That’s a fact.

New wind farms in Ontario will create long-term opportunities for manufacturers to supply them–and replace some of the jobs that the auto industry can no longer provide. Nonsense. The jobs created will be very few in number, and the subsidization means Ontario taxpayers are handing out more than $200,000 for each new job. Again from CEPOS in Denmark: “creating additional employment in one sector through subsidies will detract labor from other sectors, resulting in no increase in net employment.”

That’s a fact.

We’re unsure as to why the Citizen ran this editorial when their own columnist Randall Denley has gone on record with the truth about the wind development business in Ontario, which he says is more of the same “branch plant mentality” which does not foster innovation and long-term job or economic growth in Ontario.

For more information go to


and take special note of Michael Trebilcock’s column on wind development in Ontario.

Sorry to those who are only on dial-up: there is a binder of information at the North Gower Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, and the Library also has high-speed Internet (wireless, too!).

To get in touch with the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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