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."
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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."
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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."

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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."

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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..

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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."

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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 ..."

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