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Posts Tagged ‘wind power Ontario’

Professional engineer Bruce Sharp has written an excellent summary of the wind power situation in Ontario, which appeared in the April 5th Financial Post. Well worth a read, Mr Sharp neatly summarizes the government’s green energy program as it has been executed and concludes that the cost to taxpayers is overwhelming.

Here is the story:

Power bill cover-up

Ontarians will pay $319 more per year for green energy soon — despite government denials

By Bruce Sharp

The Ontario green-energy ship is taking on water and yet one would never know it from how the captain is talking. On March 22, the provincial government announced the results of its highly anticipated feed-in tariff (FIT) review and the message from the bridge was “Everything’s fine … stay the course.”

In supporting this message, the current captain/Minister of Energy Chris Bentley made reference to how green energy accounts for only about 5% of the increase in electricity bills. The problem with such a statement is it begs many questions, including 5% of what, and over what period?
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A recent electricity price-increase forecast for 2012-16, filed with the Ontario Energy Board, helpfully provides answers, with wind and solar energy forecast to directly add $3.05-billion to annual provincial energy bills. Furthermore, if one makes conservative estimates for the costs required to integrate wind and solar, the added annual cost rises another $850-million. So, the additional annual cost for wind and solar will reach $3.9-billion by 2016, resulting in a residential bill increase of 3.17¢ per kilowatt hour or an annual $319 per household by 2016. In contrast to the current captain’s recent statement, this represents 54% of the total increase expected for 2012-16.

This number is a lot higher than 5%, so how did we get here?

The ship’s first captain — who long ago left the ship — allowed an external and somewhat self-interested group to craft the legislation that set Ontario electricity on a course for dangerous waters. At the time, the captain assured everyone that the Green Energy and Economy Act would increase bills by only 1% per year, while acknowledging that unit prices would rise significantly, so the only way for consumers to limit their increase would be to conserve. The problem is that in a business such as electricity, where most of the costs are fixed, uniformly reducing consumption leads to higher unit rates and largely unchanged bills. The only hope for conservers is that no one else will conserve and that they will be in the small minority.

Past and current captains alike have and continue to pull out a number of other life rafts that are full of holes. Here’s a few:

Renewables Replace Coal The Retire Coal movement started in the run-up to the 2003 election, when the Liberals matched the New Democrat Party’s promise to phase out Ontario’s coal-fired generating plants. To deal with this loss, the Ontario Power Authority procured over 7,000 megawatts of new, natural gas-fired generation, most of which is now in service. The Renewables Replace Coal argument has come up belatedly, as a way of justifying the runaway development of green energy, the associated gold rush and approaching high bill increases. Too bad wind and solar are none of what coal and natural gas are: firm, dispatchable and flexible. So, Ontario’s onslaught of renewable energy could not be coming at a worse time — just as uber-flexible coal is being replaced by flexible-but-less-so natural gas and as renewable energy provides too much power at the wrong times. One ugly result is that Ontario will be paying more and more to generators to not generate.

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Health savings Back in 2005, the Ontario government commissioned a study that claimed that replacing coal would result in annual health savings of $2.6-billion. The preferred option to generate these questionable savings was — you guessed it — natural gas and not renewables. And what made the claimed savings questionable? The study authors incorrectly concluded there was a statistical cause-and-effect relationship between coal-fired generation and respiratory deaths — a fact that hasn’t prevented rampant misuse of the study (see University of Guelph economics professor Ross McKitrick’s work debunking this claim). On the off-chance the research was correct, now that coal-fired generation is down 85% from the study’s reference quantity, one would have expected that in his recent report Don Drummond would have talked about the supposed (pro-rated) annual health savings of $2.2-billion.

Green jobs Any projection that never changes is worthy of suspicion. From the introduction of the Green Energy and Economy Act, it has always been claimed that it will produce 50,000 green jobs. These jobs are largely to come from expensive wind and solar and with their 20-year contract lives, one would hope that these types of generation would then produce the lion’s share of the million person-years (50,000 jobs x 20 years) of employment Ontario should expect to see. Not so, according to studies done in 2011 for Canada’s wind and solar trade associations. Looking at the 2009-28 period, wind is to produce 73,000 person-years of employment while solar is to produce 85,000 person-years. Within these numbers, once the renewable energy gold rush ends around 2018, the combined ongoing employment drops to a measly 2,100 jobs. And before we leave the green-jobs topic, let’s not forget the jobs issue the government never discusses: the other jobs destroyed by high electricity prices.

Income from electricity exports Some see this as a good thing, but the fact that the quantity is growing and the sales are taking place at very low prices are both very negative factors. The increasing export quantity is a sign of excess supply — something that will only get worse over the next few years as Ontario adds huge quantities of wind, solar and other generation. The export sales also take place at prices that represent only pennies on the dollar relative to what was paid for the electricity. The current export price is under 2¢ per kWh and over the next five years is forecast to average under 3¢. So, if Ontario is buying at the respective prices of 13.5 and 44.3¢ per kWh and selling at small fractions of that, an increasing volume will only make matters worse.

In the end, Ontario will have expensive renewables that do not replace coal, do not deliver health savings, may cause a net job loss and that also contribute to a costly supply glut.

Who pays for all of this? Ontario electricity consumers in steerage. The upper decks, including offshore suppliers, far-flung and local project developers and investors, are all making out like bandits … and those setting Ontario’s course seem strangely indifferent to what’s happening on the lower decks.

Financial Post
Bruce Sharp is a professional engineer and 25-year veteran of the Ontario energy ­industry.

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Word is getting around: the very successful branding of wind power by the global wind power development industry as “clean” and “green” and “good” is finally giving over to some common sense.

Industrial-scale wind power is not good for the environment, it doesn’t save lives (if Ontario wanted to turn off its remaining coal plants because they are killing people, it could. Right now. Today.) and it is a job killer, not a job creator.

This week’s Manotick Messenger editorial by Jeff Morris puts Ontario’s push for wind power in the context of Ontario’s financial picture. “Aside from basic mismanagement,” Morris writes, “one of the black holes of tax money is the government’s wind energy program.

“As one Conservative politician told us this week, the wind energy situation is ‘like the government paying $100 for a loaf of bread, and buying unlimited loaves of bread, then turning around and boasting about how many bakery jobs they have created.’

“Simply put,” Morris concludes, “wind energy was a good idea, but it doesn’t work. It’s impractical. It’s too expensive. People don’t want it. Nobody can afford it.”

In our view, wind power (the wind itself is the energy which can be converted into power) at this scale was never a good idea: smaller scale applications work fine, but the colossal wind turbines at 400+ feet (what’s proposed for Ottawa is 600+ feet) are overkill, and do not belong in populated areas.

Mr Morris bemoans the state of Ontario’s finances but then says he doesn’t want an election. How are we going to get out of this mess if the McGuinty Liberals aren’t taught the only lesson they will ever understand? Total defeat at the polls.

Because the chances of them looking realistically at what they’ve done, and heeding the advice of Ontario’s own Auditor General and consultant Don Drummond, and deciding, Hey, we made a mistake, folks, sorry! are very very slim.

It is time for an election. Ontario simply cannot continue its downward slide under this government.

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

P.S. We are often asked if the wind power generation project planned for the North Gower/Richmond area of Ottawa will affect Manotick. Yes. At 626 feet or 190 meters with flashing red lights, the wind power factory will certainly be visible from a great distance. Health effects are being observed due to the environmental noise the machines produce at distances as great as 5 km. And bear in mind, the 8-10 turbines proposed would be just the start. Wolfe Island was supposed to be 20, it’s now 86; Kincardine’s Arnow projects was 40, it’s now 90; Shelburne was supposed to be a few dozen, they now have over 100 with dozens more proposed.

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A standing-room-only meeting was held last evening in Picton Ontario about the proposed wind power generation development, to be situated on the southern shore of Prince Edward County at Ostrander Point.

This is madness: as many as 750,000 birds travel through there during migration periods. It is a very, very important bird area–and yet, the province seems to think it’s OK to turn this place into a wind power factory.

For a fuller report, go to http://www.windconcernsontario.ca

For more information on the birds and other life in danger, go to: http://naturestuff.net/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=137&Itemid=33

The Ontario government says its push for wind power is all about health and the environment; clearly, nothing could be further from the truth.

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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After the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) announced it had serious problems with Ontario’s renewable energy policy, especially wind power generation which is being forced onto communities throughout Ontario, there has been plenty of reaction. Citing the expense of this unreliable power source and the fact that wind projects are dividing communities, the OFA asked the province to STOP until a plan was in place to deal with the many, serious problems.

Hardly surprising, the wind developers’ lobby, the Canadian Wind Energy Association/CanWEA, said it was “disappointed.” Interesting, that: people are losing the value in their homes, communities are being ripped apart by controversy, friendships and even families affected by the greed of a few, and worse, people are being made ill from the environmental noise produced by these huge machines (But CanWEA doesn’t want us to call them “industrial”), and the corporate lobby group is “disappointed.”

From this week’s The Advance, the following editorial comment:

Wind turbines, once touted as the answer to all our energy ills, are spinning in limbo. There was a time when agricultural energy experts saw the wind turbine as not only a source of inexpensive and renewable energy but also as more revenue for the farmer’s bottom line. The turbines could redeem all the usable wetlands on farmers’ properties that cannot be used to produce much in the way of crops.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has waded in on the controversial topic of wind turbines on agricultural land, despite the temptation to believe that the giant windmills may be the answer to everyone’s energy problems. While urban residents south of Ottawa have been of two minds regarding wind turbines near their homes, farmers and the OFA have been quietly looking at the pro’s and cons of wind turbine use.

These slow economic times may be a blessing in disguise as rural Ontario takes a breath to think over the wind turbine issue.

In a recent note of caution from the OFA the province is asked to pay special attention to the developing tensions between rural residents and community neighbours rergarding this alternative energy source.

The OFA wants issues such as health, pricing, the efficiency of wind power, setback issues and the loss of municipal input about industrial win turbine projects to be placed on the table for discussion. The province is not about to run out of power in the foreseeable future but the OFA’s request for resolution or at least a very loud argument about wind power may be just what the area needs to set the stage for what comes next.

It is time to make a plan.

Well, thank you. But it must be noted that the Auditor General’s Annual Report for 2011 pointed severe criticism at the Ontario Government, not for not having a plan but rather, for having a plan that benefitted  few companies in terms of huge profits while pretending to create jobs (it won’t, said the AG), won’t save the environment (wind needs back-up, most likely natural gas) and won’t create a stable electricity system for Ontario (wind actually destabilizes the system and produces power exactly when it’s not needed). In fact, the AG said, Ontario launched this plan without doing ANY sort of cost-benefit analysis, and without looking at the effects on the economy (every “green” job created comes at a huge cost in subsidies and acually results in job losses) or the environment.

The OFA was being very low-key. The truth is, Ontario’s plan to push wind power onto rural Ontario’s communities is a monstrous “boondoggle” that will wreck our landscape, ruin our economy, tilt our electricity system toward expensive undependability, and make hundreds of people ill, while slashing property values for young families and others.

It needs to stop. Now.

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Member of Wind Concerns Ontario http://www.windconcernsontario.ca

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It’s been a breezy weekend in Ontario…which means, more money flying out of Ontario taxpayer and ratepayer pockets. According to energy analyst Scott Luft, record amounts of wind power were produced…but we didn’t need it. Parker Gallant estimates that Ontario sold off the excess power to other jursidictions at a huge cost: “So yesterday we paid the wind turbine operators $4,229,280 ($135 per MWh) to produce their record 31,328 MWh and exported it at an average price of $21 per MWh generating about $650,000 in revenue for a net cost of approximately $3.6 million. We also paid Bruce $931,000 ($65 per MWH) for steaming off (using your comparative drop from same day last year) the 14,325 MWh of nuclear so the net cost to produce the 31,328 MWh from wind fully costed was $4.5 million or $143 per MWh for power we didn’t even use! That $4.5 million will be added to the Global Adjustment and will push up the TOU & RPP rates.”

Wind is first to the grid so even if we don’t need it, the producers get paid the exorbitant FIT rates.

Seen on a sign held by demonstrators in Devon, England in the film “Wind Wars” (Part 2 airs tonight on TVOntario at 8 p.m. in the program “Blown Apart”):
WE PAY
THEY PROFIT

The North Gower Wind Action Group is a group of concerned citizens who believe that a proposed industrial wind power generation project with 10, 190-meter wind turbines right beside hundreds of homes in the North Gower and south Richmond areas of the City of Ottawa is NOT  an appropriate development. Evidence is showing that setbacks of less than 1.5 km are not safe for human health due to exposure to the environmental noise and vibration produced by these huge structures.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Just days after we have the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association’s Kristopher Stevens ranting against Parker Gallant in The Financial Post, claiming green energy is responsible for jobs and wealth in Ontario, we have the truth: a global picture of wind power development as a “House of Cards.” Here is the article by Steve Goreham. Executive Editor of this publication is Robert Bryce, author of Power Hungry, also one of the speakers scheduled for the conference in Picton, October 29-31.

Wind energy’s house of cards

Steve Goreham

The Energy Tribune

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently issued their 2009 Wind Energy Report. Brian Smith, chair of the IEA Wind Executive Committee, states that wind member countries “installed more than 20 gigawatts of new wind capacity” (nameplate capacity). The report was written by representatives of 20 member countries, consisting of 14 European nations, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and the United States.

The report is very optimistic about wind energy’s prospects. Member nations report on “how they have progressed in the deployment of wind energy, how they are benefitting from wind energy deployment, and how they are devising strategies and conducting research to increase wind’s contribution to world energy supply.” But a deeper analysis shows that the wind industry is a house of cards built on a foundation of sand.

The house of cards is a global industry based entirely on subsidies, price guarantees, and mandates. Wind generation systems are not deployed anywhere in the world without extensive government financial or mandated support. Fourteen of the 20 IEA member nations use feed-in tariffs (FITs) to force utility companies to buy electricity from wind farms at above market rates. Examples are FITs used by Finland, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, which are set in the range of 7.8-12.1 Eurocents per kilowatt-hour, equal to 11.2-17.4 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. These are subsidized wholesale prices, yet significantly above the average U.S. retail price of 9.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. Nine of the twenty nations mandate that utilities supply a percentage of electricity from renewables. Nations that have provided little government support for wind, such as Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Norway, have seen little growth in installations.

In the U.S., the 2009 Recovery Act authorizes a direct cash grant of 30% of the total value to wind projects. Alternatively, the federal government provides a 30% investment tax credit, or a 2.1 cents per kW-hr production subsidy. State governments add loan guarantees, further investment tax credits, and the forbearance of property and sales taxes. Twenty-nine states have enacted Renewable Portfolio Standards to force utilities to purchase renewable energy, primarily wind. These mandates raise the price of wind energy, a further subsidy to the industry. In total, taxpayers are subsidizing 30-50% of the price U.S. wind energy installations. Wind must be subsidized because it is much more expensive than electricity from coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear sources. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind-generated electricity is about 80% more expensive than coal-fired power, and off-shore wind is significantly more expensive. The IEA representatives from Denmark and the United Kingdom estimate costs for offshore wind at roughly double the cost of onshore wind. The planned Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound reportedly will deliver electricity at a whopping 27 cents per kW-hour, compared to the Massachusetts average price of 16 cents per kW-hour and the U.S. average of 9.7 cents.

US Electricity Generating Costs

Advocates claim that subsidies are needed to help wind energy move down the learning curve to become cost competitive with other technologies. But wind turbines have been deployed for more than 20 years. As of 2009, the United States had installed about 33,000 wind turbine towers. World installations have exceeded 140,000 turbines. When will this cost competitiveness be achieved?

Despite the growing number of installations, total wind energy costs are increasing. Wind installation costs per kilowatt-hour decreased from the early 1990s until 2001, but have been rising since. For example, U.S. installations reached a cost low of $1,285 per kw-hr in 2001, but have since risen steadily to $2,080 per kw-hr in 2009, an increase of 62%. It’s unlikely that electricity from wind will ever be competitive with conventional fuel sources.

A close read of the IEA Wind Report reveals issues with actual wind turbine operating lifetimes and maintenance. Wind turbines that were installed in the 1990s are now being replaced in Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, and other nations. In the harsh weather environments of high-wind corridors, many of these turbines have not reached the 20-year lifetimes claimed by manufacturers. In comparison, operating lifetimes for coal-fired power plants consistently reach 50 years.

Very costly repairs are often required to maintain wind turbine operation. Japan reports that lightning hits and typhoons have damaged “a considerable number of wind turbines,” finding that on average, each turbine will fail three times over its 20-year life. Denmark reports that each turbine’s gearbox must be replaced on average four times during its lifetime, costing about 20% of the price of a wind turbine.

The story of Denmark is illustrative. Over the last 20 years, Denmark has installed 5,100 wind towers, one for every thousand citizens. A map with a black dot for each wind farm shows that 300-foot-high steel and concrete towers can be seen from almost every field, farm, hill, and seashore of this nation. In 2009, these towers provided only 767 megawatts of electricity, less than the output of a single conventional coal-fired power plant. This single power plant would occupy the space of one black dot on the map.

wind farms in denmark

Wind towers provide only about 10% of Denmark’s electricity, but contribute to electricity rates of 28 Eurocents per kilowatt-hour, the highest in Europe and four times the U.S. price. Yet, Danish government officials are proud of their wind system. Why would they install 5,000 towers instead of one coal plant? It’s because they believe they are reducing global warming.

In fact, the global wind industry is built on a foundation of sand—the hypothesis that man-made global warming is destroying Earth’s climate. The IEA report contains repeated statements about carbon emissions saved by wind installations in each nation. Yet, mounting satellite temperature data, new studies of ocean cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and research on solar activity, show that global warming is due to natural cycles of the Earth,not man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Should global warming alarmism fail in its efforts to promote wind energy, the subsidies will disappear, and the house of cards will collapse. Then the world will be left with 140,000 silent monuments to Climatism.

Steve Goreham is Executive Director for the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century’s Hottest Topic.The link is here:

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/5131/Wind-Energys-House-of-Cards

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, please email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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