Saturday, December 31, 2011

Local Distribution Companies: Fingers in the Dike! | Energy Probe

Local Distribution Companies: Fingers in the Dike! | Energy Probe:

Parker Gallant exposes the impact of municipalities usage of LDC's -- as with most things these days, that impact is higher electricity costs.
"Toronto Hydro-Electric isn’t the only local distribution company (LDC) that is seeking increases as Hydro Ottawa also has sought significant rate increases for similar reasons. Hydro Ottawa also has paid out 60% of their after PIL profits to their shareholder, the City of Ottawa whose council endorsed the payment of 60% or more of Hydro Ottawa’s earnings be paid to them; and over the past 6 years dividends paid were $104.8 million."

Hydro mulls order to cut $3M

Hydro mulls order to cut $3M:
This article from the Ottawa Citizen is another example of a local distribution company seeking rate increase, but the big news is the Ontario Energy Board told them to control their expenses instead.
"Alta Vista Councillor Peter Hume, who sits on the holding-company board, said that in a way, the board's ruling speaks well of the company's management, which has turned more money than expected over to the city, as its sole shareholder, than had been projected over the last several years.
"The OEB has said hey, you're doing such a great job at managing against revenue expectations, you can take some of that from your rates," he said."

TheRecord - Cities seek to hike, reduce electric bills

TheRecord - Cities seek to hike, reduce electric bills:

Two interesting aspects to this informative article: the increasing tendency of municipalities sucking funds out of local distribution companies and then applying for rate increases for infrastructure spending; and, not quoted here, the charges added to bills due to decreasing demand (we pay one level for demand reduction programs, and another hand charges us to recover the revenues lost due to the demand reduction).
"Politicians have taken more than $149 million out of three municipal electric utilities since turning them into profit-making ventures in 2000. They’ve spent the cash to build a new city hall in Cambridge, pay RIM Park debt in Waterloo and build the Kingsdale Community Centre in Kitchener, among other projects.
The utilities are now seeking Ontario Energy Board approval to adjust distribution rates starting May 1, 2012. The utilities distribute electricity but do not generate it."

Mayors defend taking cash out of electric utilities, arguing the money is well spent and helps ease property taxes. Electricity had been delivered at cost before city councils took control of the utilities.
“We’re all benefitting from it,” Halloran said. “That money helps to reinvest back into providing services for the community, recreational facilities, repairing roads, repairing other things that the city needs.

Friday, December 30, 2011

South Korea firm on nuclear power growth -

South Korea firm on nuclear power growth -
"South Korea has reiterated its commitment to increase its share of nuclear power.

"There is no change in the government's nuclear energy policy," Yonhap News quoted Hong Suk-woo, South Korea's minister of Knowledge Economy, the government arm in charge of the country's energy affairs, as saying.

"The government will continue to construct nuclear power plants."

Hong's comments came after the government's announcement last week of two proposed sites for nuclear power plants: Yeongdeok in North Gyeongsang province and Samcheok in Gangwon province, both about 190 miles from Seoul."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors to be Mass Produced in US? at Oil Price

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors to be Mass Produced in US? at Oil Price:

Aside from opining that small modular reactors (SMR’s) could be a tremendous business opportunity, the article takes some shots at Gregory Jaczko, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the NRC).  The two issues are intertwined, but the article doesn’t make that clear.  Internationally, NRC certifications are highly respected once awarded, but the inability of the NRC to deal expeditiously with applications is seen as crippling to the USA’s ability to be a leader in nuclear technology.  There is little to no chance of SMR's being developed in the US with the currently dysfunctional NRC acting as an impediment to innovation.
The other news this week is the realization by many that the Obama appointment of Gregory Jaczko, to Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should be removed.  Apetition drive is underway at, following an inspector general’s report released last June that said Jaczko intimidated staff members who disagreed with him and withheld information from members of the commission to gain their support. The report also said several high-ranking employees at the independent agency complained that Chairman Jaczko delayed and hindered their work on important projects.
The inspector general report times well with the four experienced and well-educated nuclear energy professional commissioners, who among them can count close to 100 years of working with nuclear reactors, nuclear safety analysis, nuclear propulsion plants, advanced nuclear energy research and development, and nuclear project management, that have signeda letter addressed to the Chief of Staff of the President of the United States detailing their frustration with the leadership style and decision making processes used by the 41-year-old, politically-appointed Chairman.
Its far past time for Jaczko to return to Congress where his skill set can be hidden more effectively.
The bolding of the last line is mine - out of admiration.  More on Jaczko’s capacity to do that job is at Rod Adams’ Atomic Insights blog.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wyoming and Ontario Move in Opposite Directions on Wind Turbine Taxation

An article from Wyoming shows the legislature ending the Governor's pet tax breaks:
Gov. Mead pushes to reduce tax on wind energy projects despite lawmakers' opposition | The Republic:

"Wyoming next month will begin imposing a $1 per megawatt hour tax on wind energy production. The state sales and use tax exemption on equipment used on wind energy projects also expires in January.
The sales and use tax rate varies by county but generally exceeds 5 percent. That tax promises to add up, considering that a typical 1.5-megawatt wind turbine costs up to $3 million and a typical wind farm has about 66 turbines.
The Legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee in October shot down Mead's proposal to continue the tax exemption for wind energy projects while imposing a 2 percent impact fee on wind projects to support county governments."
Meanwhile, in Ontario, the Electricity Act is being redone, under the lie that it is related to accountability after the Auditor General's calling out the contemptuous Minister of Finance on obfuscating on the amount of the Residual Stranded Debt (the legislation thinks the Lieutenant Governor would have a far better idea of financial matters than the Minister of Finance - which is, admittedly, almost certainly correct at the current time).

Section 92 of the new act deals with what happens to the 'payments in lieu' of taxes (PIL) after the Stranded Debt is retired (unlikely to ever occur as the government, cheered on by the NDP, is strangling the price paid the pubic generator in order to subsidize private operator friends gifted with contracts).  Most will revert to being taxes paid to municipalities, with a notable exception: wind.

State view: Wind energy isn’t reducing carbon emissions | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

An article from the famed Iron Ridge shows the rugged there aren't falling for the normal nonsense!

Pity Ontario's north voted for socialism only to get Greenpeacism, devoid of results or honesty.

State view: Wind energy isn’t reducing carbon emissions | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota:

"The Lakefield developer, EnXco, has not disclosed the cost of its ratepayer- and taxpayer-subsidized project, but similar developments are in the $400 million to $500 million range. EnXco, owned by the French, expects to receive 30 percent of the project’s total cost upfront from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Midwest System Operator grid actually will receive the power for transmission to Indiana. Midwest System Operator or Indianapolis Power and Light will need additional backup power, probably from a natural-gas plant, to supply Indianapolis Power and Light when the Lakefield wind farm isn’t producing. Intermittent-energy wind farms everywhere have created demand for new natural-gas “peaker” plants. These plants are kept in spinning reserve to respond rapidly during the 75 percent of the time when the wind is too light or too strong for the wind turbines to function at capacity."

'via Blog this'

Monday, December 26, 2011

N.R.C. Clears Way for Nuclear Plant Construction -

N.R.C. Clears Way for Nuclear Plant Construction -
"WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a radical new reactor design on Thursday, clearing away a major obstacle for two utilities to begin construction on projects in South Carolina and Georgia.
The decision, a milestone in the much-delayed revival of plant construction sought by the nuclear industry, involves the Westinghouse AP1000, a 1,154-megawatt reactor with a so-called advanced passive design."
'via Blog this'

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ontario’s debt, Canada’s woes - The Globe and Mail

"While many Ontarians are concerned about the state of the province’s finances, discussing the affordability of a pricey program like full-day kindergarten is politically taboo. As the mother of a four-year-old who just started kindergarten, I understand the appeal of “free” care. But Ontario is like the divorcee who can’t stop maxing out his credit card at Holt’s even though his alimony payments would suggest a trip to Sears.
Despite being in the worst fiscal straits of all the provinces, Ontario is embarking on the most ambitious early-learning program in the country, introducing not one but two years of full-day kindergarten for four- and five-year-olds. It also went for the gold-plated plan – using teachers instead of early childhood educators for half the day as originally envisioned. Additional cost: $500-million a year."
'via Blog this'

Friday, December 23, 2011

Liberal Shell Game-Smart Meters and Conservation | Energy Probe

Liberal Shell Game-Smart Meters and Conservation | Energy Probe:

Parker Gallant and I have an article on Energy Probe's Site illustrating the largest drop in Ontario's electricity consumption is from the small, and getting smaller, group of energy-intensive wholesale customers, such as manufacturers.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Response to HGC Literature Review by John Harrison | Ontario Wind Resistance

Response to HGC Literature Review by John Harrison | Ontario Wind Resistance:
"The low frequency report, prepared by Howe Gastmeier Chapnik Ltd. was commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), released in draft form in August 2010, released in final form to MOE in December 2010 and to the public in August 2011.  Why MOE is issuing it now as a press release is a mystery.   This response will address the report itself and the news release from the Ministry of the Environment.
A glaring omission from the report and the news release is the motivation for the commission to HGC.  The motivation of course is that a large number of residents living in proximity to wind turbines are suffering from annoyance, sleep deprivation and resulting adverse health effects."

'via Blog this'

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The World from Berlin: 'Canada Should Be Shunned for Kyoto Ignorance' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The World from Berlin: 'Canada Should Be Shunned for Kyoto Ignorance' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International:

This is an interesting article because it shows the gap between right, and wrong  left even in opining on Canada from a German perspective.  Contrasting with the title:
"The center-right daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
"The decision made by the Canadian government to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol … represents a victory of reason. It shows that protecting the environment produces costs that, given concern over jobs, not everyone is willing to pay, particularly when important countries refuse to be pressured into joining environmental-protection treaties. The government in Ottawa thus deserves our praise. They have clearly shown that the Kyoto emperor is not wearing any clothes ... Canada has revealed the farce behind the international agreement, which was more of an informal arrangement than a treaty with teeth."

'via Blog this'

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ontario Government Paid Wind Lobby Group Member to Review Literature

The Ontario Government put out a press release today stating "Expert Report Confirms No Direct Health Effects From Wind Turbines"

The News Release omits the name of the "expert" - which is CanWEA member Howe Gastmeier Chapnik Limited (HGC Engineering).
The news Release also omits the title of the report, which is, "Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound Associated With Wind Turbine Generator Systems: A Literature Review"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FERC Sides for Big Wind over Biodiversity

FERC Finds for Wind Generators in BPA Curtailment Dispute :: POWER Magazine:

The dispute stemmed from high seasonal river flows and hydro generation this summer that had prompted the BPA to temporarily limit output from nonhydropower resources—including wind. The BPA said it was forced to make that decision because it would “safeguard protected fish and assure reliable energy delivery without shifting extra costs to BPA electric customers.” But the decision made by the agency—which also operates and maintains about three-fourths of the high-voltage transmission in a service territory that includes Idaho, Oregon, Washington, western Montana, and small parts of eastern Montana, California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming—was “wrongheaded,” the wind industry said, claiming it could cost wind companies tens of millions of dollars.

The group of wind generation owners filed a complaint with FERC in June 2011, protesting the BPA’s “discriminatory management” of access to its transmission system to favor its own generation.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bruce Power will not proceed with nuclear option in Alberta | Bruce Power

Bruce Power will not proceed with nuclear option in Alberta | Bruce Power:

“Innovative businesses develop and consider new opportunities, but we’ve made a business decision to continue to put our full focus on the safe, reliable operations and ambitious investment program on our Bruce site,” Hawthorne said.
That didn't sound very negative, especially as Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan called for the refurbishment of all 8 Bruce reactors.  With 1 and 2 having been fueled and expected to return to the grid by the mid-point of 2012, I was starting to wonder if the refurbishment of Bruce B's 4 reactors was being reconsidered, as plans seemed long overdue.

"Bruce Power will continue to work with its investors and the Ontario Power Authority on the feasibility of securing 6,300 megawatts (MW) from the Bruce site following the successful restart of Units 1 and 2 in 2012, which will inject another 1,500 MW of baseload generation into the Ontario market."
I'd say the Bruce B refurbishment is now a bigger question mark..

'via Blog this'

Dead Wind

BPA Balancing Authority Load and Total Wind Generation:

Over the past 7 days (December 7-13), the BPA (US Pacific Northwest) is reporting a combined capacity factor of about 1.37% for it's 3,522 MW of wind capacity.  The high over that time is 328MW (7.31% CF, the low is 0).

Look carefully for the wind trend line, or you'll miss it altogether:

'via Blog this'

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spin Room: Electricity Market costs helps Ontario keep revenues down for Families.

Electricity Market Benefits Ontarians is the release from the government.

Ontario's electricity market generated over $16 million in November by exporting electricity to other states and provinces, bringing total net export revenues to nearly $264 million this year.
This revenue helps Ontario:
  • Keep costs down for families
  • Build and maintain a clean, reliable and modern electricity system
These people are delusional - or deceptive - or maybe dyslexic.

Some updated graphics for 12-month running averages.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gates Advances Travelling Wave Reactor Concept

American Innovation (Alas, Made in China) - By Carl Shockley - Planet Gore - National Review Online:
"Gates returned from a secret visit to China where, it was revealed in the Chinese press, he struck a deal with the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation to develop the Travelling Wave Reactor, a highly innovative technology that Gates has been developing with his spin-off company, TerraPower."

Gates has previously discussed the concept in a TED talk:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hydro One Video Explaining Distribution Challenges

Hydro One offered a video similar to this months ago - which disappeared at some point, probably during the election campaign.
Regardless, here's another informative one. 

Over 75% of all applicants are in Hydro One's rural service area.

2 acres, 2 SUV's and 2 trackers, each containing 5000 Watts of solar panels. 
The chosen people.

Do urban voters know this is what they voted for?

Is Ontario Losing Money Exporting Its Extra Electricity? | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid

Is Ontario Losing Money Exporting Its Extra Electricity? | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid:

I had a comment to offer Mr. Adams and Bruce Sharp, who has previously commented- but it needed graphics.

I don't I like the question: "Is Ontario Losing Money Exporting Its Extra Electricity"

It is easy to say that Ontarians would pay about $550 million a year for the same wattage export customers are getting (because we pay the Global Adjustment and they do not).

Tom says "without exports consumers would be much worse off," and perhaps that is true.  But the bulk of net exports (and I'll use that instead of exports because we do frequently import from Quebec as we export into Michigan - and other places) aren't driven by excess baseload.  Much of it occurs during the day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Poland Looks Away from Germany on Energy Policy

A simple Google translation of a Spiegal Online article in German (bold italics are mine):

Overcome on the way to energy policy, Germany has still many hurdles. One of them may soon emerge on the German-Polish border: A map of Poland, green electricity from Germany to regulate more, alarmed, according to a report obtained by SPIEGEL, German energy expert. "When excess wind and solar power can not be discharged abroad, then the German power grid unstable," warns the head of the German Energy Agency (Dena), Stephan Kohler.
The background is that the Polish network operator PSE Operator is planning to build on the value of current locks.This is to prevent the Federal Republic of forwards excess eco-electricity. The operators of Polish coal-fired powerplants must in such cases the plants shut down suddenly to avoid an overload. In Warsaw, one worries that theongoing high-power stations and shutdown are not up to it and by an unexpected surplus of energy could even lead to a blackout.Therefore, in future, so-called phase-shift interrupt the current flow between the two countries. Surplus energy would then be distributed in the German network, which would increase this side of the border, the risk of blackouts.
Dena Head Kohler is now demanding an accelerated expansion of power lines from eastern to southern Germany."The federal government also needs to quickly get in touch with Poland and other neighboring countries,negotiations to the European energy policy to vote," said Kohler.
Earlier this year Poland invited Germany to comment on Polish nuclear plans.

Perhaps they already received a response - and disliked it.

George Monbiot – A Waste of Waste

George Monbiot – A Waste of Waste:
"This year the environmental movement to which I belong has done more harm to the planet’s living systems than climate change deniers have ever achieved.

As a result of shutting down its nuclear programme in response to green demands, Germany will produce an extra 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2020(1). That’s almost as much as all the European savings resulting from the energy efficiency directive(2). Other countries are now heading the same way. These decisions are the result of an almost mediaevel misrepresentation of science and technology. For while the greens are right about most things, our views on nuclear power have been shaped by weapons-grade woo."

'via Blog this'

Monday, December 5, 2011

Terence Corcoran: The dark side of green energy | FP Comment | Financial Post

Terence Corcoran: The dark side of green energy | FP Comment | Financial Post:

Similar stories exist in other jurisdictions, the logical outcome when governments are allowed to run free with uneconomic green policies that are aimed at overthrowing basic economic realities. The massive spending and arbitrary policy-making become central planning run amok, an abuse of power and a neglect of sound policy.
Contrast this with the lack of coverage in the Globe and Mail, where Queen's Park 'columnist' Adam Radwanski tweeted : "Quick take on the auditor's report: not too much new on green energy..."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The myth of renewable energy

The myth of renewable energy | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
"Renewable energy sounds so much more natural and believable than a perpetual-motion machine, but there's one big problem: Unless you're planning to live without electricity and motorized transportation, you need more than just wind, water, sunlight, and plants for energy. You need raw materials, real estate, and other things that will run out one day. You need stuff that has to be mined, drilled, transported, and bulldozed -- not simply harvested or farmed. You need non-renewable resources ..."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why Silicon Valley will never become Green Energy Valley

Why Silicon Valley will never become Green Energy Valley:

Another article following the withdrawal of Google from the development of renewable energy
"Silicon Valley’s defenders continue pretending that an exclusively private venture capitalist risk-taking model in green energy can deliver clean, reasonable priced and secure energy. The storyline is “trust us – give us more money and time”. This investment model, exactly the same which has produced the most intense and dangerous global economic and financial crisis since 1945, is basically an elitist flight from reality, featuring a clique of influential and rich business players who “sincerely believe” they deserve huge government subsidies – while proclaiming their proud support of private venture capitalism. All too often, investor and government cash flowing to such ventures is frittered away on elitist pet themes, with little or no regulation, oversight or obligation to perform."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Moore's Law is NOT Applicable to Solar Panels

The American Spectator: Paul Krugman Flunks Moore's Law, By William Tucker

"Moore's Law is about information, not energy. The reason computer chips have gotten smaller and smaller is that we keep using less and less energy to store the same amount of information. Think of each logic gate as a light bulb that can be turned on and off to represent a "1" or a "0." The original computers used vacuum tubes that consumed lots of electricity. Now we use transistors printed on microscopic circuit boards that require only the faintest electrical current. We may eventually get down to the level of individual electrons, but the point is that all this is accomplished by using smaller and smaller energy differentials to represent the ones and zeroes.When you go looking for energy, however, you can't do that. You can't go down, down, down into the microcosm using less and less energy to produce more and more energy or even the same amount of energy. Energy is energy. You're stuck with what's available.With solar energy this is all very easy to calculate. The average amount of solar energy falling on a square meter of earth is 400 watts. It will never be any different. With present technology, we can convert 25 percent of this to electricity. This means powering a 100-watt light bulb on a space the size a card table. If we could raise this conversion to 35 percent -- a 40 percent increase -- it would be a technological marvel. That's a lot different than doubling every two years."

Et Tu Canute?

Kyoto protocol may suffer fate of Julius Caesar at Durban climate talks | John Vidal | Environment |

"If Canada – once Kyoto's friend, now its undisguised enemy – were to withdraw it would probably be a death blow to the only international treaty that obliges by law rich countries to reduce emissions. The world can just about live with the US outside the treaty but to have Canada formally outside too, really signals the rich countries' diplomatic flight from the treaty that the world signed up to only 15 years ago. Japan and Russia are set against the treaty, leaving the EU as the only rich grouping of countries which is hedging its bets.

It all reminds me of the assassination of Caesar in Julius Caesar. In the play, Caesar's friends and colleagues hide their weapons before ritually stabbing him together, thus sharing the responsibility for his death. The US may be the country that has plotted the end of the treaty but Canada now has the dagger in its hand."

'via Blog this'

Did Ontario Energy Minster Bentley's statement Send Market Prices Crashing?

Statement from Ontario Minister of Energy Chris Bentley:

Within 16 hours of this statement from the Minister, the Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) had crashed  below $0, and we were paying over $100/MWh to any takers of our generation.
We are limited in our ability to export by interties, partially because of the Six Nations holdup of additional transmission - Bentley may not be aware of this - but in the previous cabinet he had dual roles as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Attorney General, so there's a possibility he might have heard something about it.
Or he may have devoted himself to a pet project fixing up Attawapiskat.   
I dunno.
I do know nuclear units 6 and 7 at Bruce B were once again dumping power (they are guaranteed a floor price regardless), and the reason is not hard to spot.
The reason for the price crash is also not hard to spot.  It isn't the Minister's statement - it's the deeply flawed policies the Minister is braying about.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Writer Fred Pearce Calls for Nuclear Power

Nuclear power? Yes please!: A former opponent calls on Chris Huhne to embrace the energy source that's cheap AND good for the environment | Mail Online:  by Fred Pearce

The truth is that our energy industry is in a mess. Ever since privatisation, the utilities have been mired in short-term thinking and have failed to invest. The big power stations built by the old Central Electricity Generating Board are reaching the end of their lives.Unless Huhne does something to replace them, he will be remembered as the Minister who left us huddled over candles as well as forking out for a green tax.
Hopefully, Chancellor George Osborne will kick-start that process on Tuesday by announcing plans to accelerate infrastructure building as a recession-busting measure.

'via Blog this'

Friday, November 25, 2011

IESO Release New 18-Month Outlook

Ontario's Independent Electric System Opertor (IESO) has released an 18-Month Outlook, to May 2013.
The headline summary is we will have adequate supply.
That hasn't been the issue for years though.

French study: Electricity liberalisation has failed to deliver benefits to households

French study: Electricity liberalisation has failed to deliver benefits to households:
"A new study by the Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI) shows that the liberalisation of electricity markets in the EU 'has not had a major effect on prices'. It also shows that opening up and connecting markets does not necessarily lead to a more efficient system. "
I'd expect there to be some substance to claims the goals of market 'liberalisation' was to benefit consumers.

This study indicates there may be no substance to the claims.

The author also has an interesting, and I think correct, view of smart metering:

"The smart meter can be developed for those who have an intermittent use of electricity, such as those who have an electric car and who can decide when to charge it up again. At the end of the day, all these systems imply that we replace consumption with an investment, which is a possibility that not everyone has. That will be the case for a third of small consumers at most, according to studies on the subject. Those who don’t have access to it (e.g. people who don’t have the internet, elderly people etc.) are not mentioned in official speeches."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bruce soon firing on all eight - Owen Sound Sun Times - Ontario, CA

Bruce soon firing on all eight - Owen Sound Sun Times - Ontario, CA:

This article from Owen Sound answers some questions, such as regarding the transmission (I think this says no way will Hydro One be able to move the output of all 8 reactors):
"Hawthorne said he is optimistic the new Bruce to Milton transmission line, which is needed to carry all the power Bruce will be able to generate, will be ready "when we need it."

"The construction work is going very well. I'm assured by Hydro One people that is the case . . . There's two things. One is there's a contractual, if you like, element which says we should not assume it's going to be there before the end of 2012 from a contractual point of view. But that's not the programatic date that they're working to. Really Hydro One have to speak for themselves, but I'm working on the basis that the transmission will be there when we need it and I've got every reason to believe that's the case," he said.

A Hydro One spokeswoman could not confirm the transmission capacity would be ready that soon. Nancy Shaddick said she could only say the projects is "on schedule to meet its service date of December 2012."

So far 486 of the 727 towers along the route have been completed and 219 towers have power lines attached, she said."

The article raise new questions to. While the two reactors were being refurbished, so to were units in Point Lepreau, New Brunswick, and Wolsong 1 in South Korea, both of which were operational until the refurbishment project began with. Mr. Hawthorne seems, to me, to be giving notice that such refurbishments is not in his plans for the remaining unit at Bruce:

Hawthorne said he doubts Bruce Power will undertake such a massive project again, despite the provincial government's long-term energy plan which "assumes all of the units at the Bruce site will be refurbished when it is necessary to do so . . . (Units) 1 and 2 were very unique because they'd been shut down for more than a decade before I got here so they needed a different approach whereas the other units are all operating today so it would be more a phased replacement of life-limiting components," he said.
He might mean they have more affordable methods of accomplishing the same thing with minimal interruption of output.  If so, why are OPG building a mock-up structure at Darlington to practice refurbishments?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bruce Begins Fueling of 2nd Refurbished Unit

Bruce Power begins loading fuel in Unit 1 | Bruce Power:
“Following the successful completion of fuel load in Unit 2, just a few months ago, we are pleased to be now moving forward with fuel load in Unit 1,” said Duncan Hawthorne, President and CEO. “Fuel load in Unit 1 is another significant milestone as we move into the final stages of returning these units to service in 2012.”
Hey, Hydro One ... how's that transmission line progressing?

The only references to the project, in the recent quarterly report, was that it existed and; "On September 14, 2011, the Niagara Escarpment Commission issued our Development Permit ..., allowing us to immediately proceed with necessary work ..."


Friday, November 18, 2011

Ontario Power Generation Posts 3rd Quarter Loss

Ontario Power Generation posts third-quarter loss - The Globe and Mail:

I don't often reference comments I make on articles, but the figures I looked up to comment on this story fell into place much more neatly than I anticipated.

I don't believe the 'nuclear funds' should be included in OPG's reporting, so the headline number isn't a big deal to me. My concern has generally been the plundering of public assets for distribution based on dubious political goals.

I wrote about the structure of the heist here.

OPG's statement on 3rd quarter results is here.

OPG is not allowed to build solar or wind - only private companies are.
Public OPG produced, in the first 3 quarters:
36.6TWh @ $55/MWh with nuclear
14.5TWh @ $35/MWh with regulated hydro
10.3TWh @ $33/MWh with unregulated hydro
 3.1TWH @ $35/MWh with thermal (coal)
The average price to Ontario consumers over that period was about $71/MWh - meaning OPG was paid about $1.3 billion less for their production than it was sold for.
The difference funds a couple of things. Over $300 million will go into programs to reduce consumption, and some will go into funds writing off the coal plants, but mostly is distributed to private generators.
At 2.5 TWh, end of Sept YTD, that would include over $300 million to the wind companies.
There aren't good figures on the solar, but likely about 250MW of capacity probably puts the figure up to around $125 million.
A big chunk also would go to pay the owners of contracted natural gas capacity, which were lured to a market only by guarantees of Net Revenue Requirements (because as wind and solar capacity grows there was an expectation - probably incorrect - the plants would operate infrequently). Estimates put those contract prices averaging over 10 cents/kWh -- so $30/MWh above the market price on 17.4TWh would be around $525 million going to those producers.
The sum of OPA's demand reduction funding, wind, solar, and the capacity payments for gas (which are not unconnected to wind and solar policies) do equate closely to the value drained out of OPG's production, which is primarily hydro and nuclear.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tim Hudak addresses Association of Power Producers of Ontario | Ontario PC Party

Tim Hudak addresses Association of Power Producers of Ontario | Ontario PC Party:

According to the Ministry of Energy, electricity prices in this province will double over the next two decades, while the U.S. Energy Information Agency actually projects electricity prices in the United States to decrease over the same time period.
You tell me, if you were an entrepreneur looking to start a business, where would you choose?

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Transmission System Operator Gives Notice On Offshore Wind Farms

Tennet Warns Chancellory and Federal Ministries of Difficulties for Offshore Grid Connection « German Energy Blog:
"TenneT TSO GmbH informed that offshore grid connections in the North Sea are no longer desirable and possible at the current rate and in the current form.

Tennet explained its move with a lack of personnel, material and financial resources of all parties involved, i.e. suppliers and Tennet.

The company was in the process of connecting nine wind farms in the North Sea and would carry on with these projects as planned. However, awarding further direct current connection projects was not possible under the existing framework conditions and at the current rate and form. "

'via Blog this'

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spin Room: Ontarians DON'T Continue to Benefit from Electricity Exports

Ontarians Continue to Benefit from Electricity Exports: is the release from the government.

Ontario's electricity market generated over $23 million in October by exporting electricity to other states and provinces, bringing total net export revenues to nearly $248 million this year.
This revenue helps Ontario:

  • Keep costs down for families
  • Build and maintain a clean, reliable and modern electricity system
I've done some quick graphing of estimates based on 12-month moving averages from IESO publicly available data.  The first shows the estimated cost, per MWh, of exported electricity (at the Hourly Ontario Energy Price - HOEP), compared to the cost  in Ontario (the HOEP plus the Global Adjustment).
This might benefit families  ... if they live in Michigan.

'via Blog this'
-spreadsheet here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

German Council of Economic Experts Criticism of Germany's Energy Policy

The first section of the annual report from the 'five wise men' of the German economy is now available in English.  Comments specifically geared to energy policy begin on page 13 of the German Council of Economic Experts – Annual Report 2011/12.

I highly recommend reading the full section if you have an interests in economics and energy policy, so I hesitated to pick out a particular section for reference, but ...
The main problem of the Renewable Energies Act is thus the costs associated with its (apparent) success. It has proved to be very effective in fostering extra capacity, but is at the same time extremely inefficient. In particular, the 20-year guaranteed minimum remuneration period at the prices valid at the time of constructing the renewables plant means that the renewables structure currently in place will continue to involve very high payment obligations for a lengthy period. Hence it would be impossible to lower the costs of the Renewable Energies Act in the foreseeable future even if the promotion of newly installed plant were to be ended immediately. This is because an immediate stop to the renewables expansion programme would merely reduce the volume of promotion over time only in so far as a plant that has been producing electricity for 20 years reaches the end of the promotion entitlement term. In this way additional costs had already been incurred by the year 2010 vis-à-vis expected future electricity prices amounting to a present value of over 80 billion euro.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thomas Walkom Notes The Privatization of Ontario Power

This article appeared initially in The Toronto Star. The topic is one I've noted on my morecoldair blog frequently. It was interesting The Toronto Star, via the Atkinson Principle a publication designed to support Liberal traditions would print it. The Star should explain their support of the government's energy policies in the context of upholding the Atkinson Principles - now that they have printed an acknowledgement public assets are subsidizing private wealth.

Also noteworthy is how frequently, and where, the article is being republished.

McGuinty's stealthy privatization of public power - Power Engineering:
"Ontario is quietly privatizing its electricity system. Unlike former Tory premier Mike Harris, Dalton McGuinty is not advertising this fact. But slowly and inexorably, his Liberal government is squeezing out public power.
The evidence is in the figures. When McGuinty became premier in 2003, about 72 per cent of the province's electricity was produced by Ontario Power Generation, the Crown corporation once known as Ontario Hydro.
By 2010, that figure had dropped to 62 per cent."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, November 10, 2011

German Academic Group Criticizes Energy Policy - Calls to replace Feed-in Tariffs

German Council of Economic Experts Critical of Energy Policy and Current Promotion of Renewables « German Energy Blog:
"Yesterday the German Council of Economic Experts (GCEE) submitted its Annual Economic Report 2011/2012 to Chancellor Angela Merkel. The report also deals extensively with German energy policy. GCEE criticises the German reversal of its energy policy following the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima and the costly promotion policy for renewable energy. It calls for a radical rethinking and a European approach for the expansion of the share of renewable energy instead of a a go-it-alone national approach."

It proposes to replace the German system of fixed feed-in tariffs pursuant to the EEG by green electricity certificates. To be able to exploit specific locational advantages for renewable energies in Europe, the system should be harmonized throughout Europe in the medium term, the council says, calling for a harmonisation of promotion rates in Germany across all technologies as a first step.

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ontario's CANDUs can be more flexible than natural gas-fired generation and hydro generation

The following entry is written by Donald Jones.  The piece is particularly timely as it comes during a week when KMPG released their estimated costs on low carbon electricity generation possibilities, showing the lowest cost option as 70% nuclear. 

There is a widely held belief that commercial nuclear-electric plants are only capable of baseload operation when in fact they can be more flexible than a natural gas-fired generating station. This belief has led the Ontario government to restrict nuclear generation to 50 percent of total demand, in its Long-Term Energy Plan, to avoid more surplus baseload generation (SBG). It may also have provided some of the rationale for the expansion of wind/gas generation. In France nuclear meets nearly 80 percent of the electricity demand so the output of nuclear units has to be changed throughout the day to match the load on the grid, load-following. In Ontario the nuclear units operate baseload but units at Bruce B can be held at reduced output overnight when demand on the grid is low, load-cycling.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

KPMG Report shows Lowest Cost Low-Carbon Energy Mix as 70% Nuclear

KPMG Global Energy Institute's “New nuclear – an economic perspective” concludes that in a market not required to generate low carbon, “the cost of electricity would be approximately £70/MWh”

A “high nuclear” scenario (approximately 70%), supported by abated gas and coal (i.e. through the use of CCS) would increase this cost to £75/MWh.

A third scenario, in which the percentage of nuclear power is reduced to 32%, replacing the difference with alternative low-carbon sources, of which 22% is off-shore wind, increases this price to £100/MWh.

However, recognising that CCS may not be viable and replacing this component with alternative sources, principally off-shore wind (40%), increases the electricity cost further to £110/MWh.
Finally, in a scenario where CCS is considered a viable alternative and is used to reduce the nuclear component to zero (off-shore wind remaining at 40%), the electricity cost rises to £120/MWh.

Monday, November 7, 2011

KPMG Reports Scrapping Wind, For Nuclear, would save each person in the UK £550

Scrapping wind farms in favour of nuclear and gas will save each of us £550 | Mail Online:
"Shelving expensive wind farms in favour of cheaper nuclear and gas-fired power stations would save every Briton almost £550, it is claimed.
Government plans to cut pollution by a third by 2020 rely heavily on wind power and will cost £108billion to implement, an accountancy firm has calculated.
But shifting the emphasis away from turbines and towards nuclear and gas-fired power stations would slash the bill by £34billion, according to KPMG.
This equates to around £550 for every person in the country."
'via Blog this'

PwC Reports a Rise in Carbon Intensity for 2010

For the first time we have made no improvement in our rate of decarbonisation. We have in fact increased the carbon intensity of growth. The economic recovery, where it has occurred, has been dirty. Even where there has been growth in OECD countries during the global financial crisis, it has not been decoupled from carbon. The rapid growth of high carbon intensive emerging economies in this period, has also pushed up the average carbon intensity of the global economy.

In sum, the 2011 PwC Low Carbon Economy Index shows that the G20 economies have moved from travelling too slowly in the right direction, to travelling in the wrong direction. The annual percentage reduction now required is 4.8% per year, a figure in excess of what has been proven to be historically sustainable. The results call into question the current likelihood of our global decarbonisation ever happening rapidly enough to avoid 2 degrees of global warming. But 2011 has thrown up a second challenge as well. The events of the Arab Spring have shown the social, economic and political necessity of delivering not just low carbon growth, but growth that delivers on the basic needs, including power, of the billions at the bottom of the pyramid

'via Blog this'

UK Considers a Fast Breeder Reactor to deal with waste

New life for old idea that could dissolve our nuclear waste - Green Living - Environment - The Independent:

"The NDA has asked General Electric to come up with a detailed proposal, including costings, of how to licence and build a nuclear fast reactor on the Sellafield site to burn the plutonium stockpile without the need to first convert it to Mox fuel."
Fast breeder reactors promise to close the nuclear fuel cycle, by using the 'waste' of traditional reactors as fuel.

Writer Mark Lynas has a brief explanation of the importance of dealing with the waste issue.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player