Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interview with Paul Gipe in Renewable Energy Magazine

- Renewable Energy Magazine, at the heart of clean energy journalism:

From an Ontario perspective, the question and answer here communicates that, in Mr. Gipe's sales pitch, $195 is way too much because we need the $135 stuff to balance out the $430 stuff.
Question: "Offshore wind is upon us, offering access to xtensive wind resources, avoiding the public resistance often faced by onshore wind project developers, and helping to forge international partnerships to establish supergrids. Do you envisage the day when existing onshore turbines disappear for good as we move increasingly offshore?"
Answer: Offshore wind is a chimera and a dangerous one at that. Offshore wind is very expensive and while we will need it, just like we’ll need all other sources of renewable energy, we should use it for only a small percentage of supply. Wind on land, because it is so cheap, is what we need to balance the high cost of solar so that the total cost to consumers is manageable.
On a not unrelated note, Mr. Gipe has been communicating a proposal petitioning the Ontario government to alter it's supply mix to up solar to 6000 MW, and keep wind at 7000MW.  The total is not intended to meet any demand need, as is clear from the disjointed logic in Gipe's answer here, but to introduce a volume of unreliable intermittent power sufficient to ensure baseload nuclear cannot coexist.
It's meant to wipe out CANDU, and it would raise Ontario's emissions even more than the green saint Maurice Strong's actions, at the old Ontario Hydro, did.

That, admittedly, would be an accomplishment.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Solar blanket on arena to transfer costs of hockey to electricity consumers

InsideToronto Article: Solar blanket on arena roof will help curb electricity costs:
""The electricity that George Bell generates (with its new solar blanket) will contribute to the Ontario power grid," said Ralphs.
The capital budget for utilities at the arena in 2011 was $105,000. Ralphs anticipates an increase of 15 per cent this year. The solar project is especially good news because not only does it generate renewable energy, but also keeps the rental costs of the ice for the community as low as possible, he said."
We are already starting to see regulations changed to reduce the rates for large industrial consumers - so the most likely destination to fund the costs of  the solar blankets are residential consumers 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oil Sands bitumen should be bound for Sarnia

Tyler Kula has written an article in theObserver noting the economic benefits of refining bitumen from Alberta in Sarnia; "Oil sands could be a boon to Sarnia"
Upgrading the oil in Sarnia would allow the area to flourish again, Petryschuk said, noting there have been 7,000 Chemical Valley layoffs over the past three decades.
Upgrading in Sarnia would pay huge huge dividends for Canada’s Gross Domestic Product and help for health care and education, said Petryschuk, adding pipelines already exist to bring bitumen to Sarnia.The Communications Energy and Paperworks (CEP) union, which represents many Chemical Valley workers, has been lobbying the federal government to invest in Canadian upgrading, said national representative Glenn Sonier.
“I think you could see in the near future some visits to our MP Pat Davidson, and looking at trying to push it,” he said.
In a letter to the editor in The Observer in November, he quoted
A study by the Alberta government estimated upgrading in Canada would add 1.5 million Canadian jobs and boost federal government revenue by $748 billion, Sonier noted.
Read the full article at The Observer

Toronto's energy related editorial content today

In an editorial today, The Toronto Sun offers, "some ideas for how McGuinty could have saved money in the past, which might provide helpful guidance for the future."

McGuinty must restrain himself | Editorial | Opinion | Toronto Sun:
(3) McGuinty could have saved another $1 billion, approximately, by not cancelling two natural gas plants to save the political hides of two Liberal MPPs leading up to the 2011 election. In fairness, McGuinty has said one of the plants will be moved. We invite readers to treat this claim with all the seriousness it deserves.

(4) In future, we urge McGuinty not to force Ontarians to pay, through higher electricity rates, up to $250 million annually to green energy companies not to produce electricity. Someone in government should tell the premier you can actually pay zero dollars for zero electricity.
Read the full article at The Toronto Sun site

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Manitoba Hydro's Questionable Projects

"Building generation for export costing more than seven cents per kW.h and selling it at even the long-term average of five to six cents is not reasonable."
The quote is from an extensive article by Al Myska on Manitoba's economically curious hydro projects - Newfoundland's grab much of the attention, and Quebec has some on the go too.

It's time to push Manitoba Hydro's 'pause' button - Winnipeg Free Press

There is no basis to forecast the price of electricity sold to the U.S. will rebound, and Manitoba Hydro's forecast of a 3.5 per cent per year increase is overly optimistic. Shale gas discoveries in the U.S. are projected to keep the price of natural gas low.
While Manitoba Hydro blacks out all prices, the fall 2010 Minnesota contract extension was submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission revealing Manitoba Hydro had to accept a reduction in the price and the volume of electricity it was selling.
What had been a potential 500-megawatt sale was cut by Wisconsin in the fall of 2011 to 100 megawatts...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Generation Subsidy Domino Falls in Spain:

Business Week: Spain Halts Renewable Subsidies to Curb $31 Billion of Debts

What is today an energy problem could become a financial problem,” Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said in Madrid. The government passed a decree today stopping subsidies for new wind, solar, co-generation or waste incineration plants. The system’s debts were racked up as revenue from state- controlled prices failed to cover the cost of delivering power. Costs have swollen in the past five years because of an increase in regulated payments for the power grid, support for Spanish coal mines and subsidies for renewable energy plants.

N.S. companies compete to build wind farms - Nova Scotia - CBC News

An article caught my interest on how NS is handling procurement of politically correct generation:
N.S. companies compete to build wind farms - Nova Scotia - CBC News:

In July, the government appointed an independent renewable electricity administrator to oversee a call for bids from independent producers to develop large, renewable-electricity projects.
Developers can only be awarded one project under the competitive bidding process, which will be overseen by Power Advisory, based in Carlisle, Mass.
"We expect that this will be very competitive and in the end, I think, deliver a great value to this province," said Woods.
Hmmmm - as an Ontarian I just don't get it.
Why not base it on high rates offered in an idiotic feed-in tariff mechanism with contracts gifted in a opaque process driven by influence peddling?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ontario Power Rates Headed for #1 by 2013 | Tom Adams

A great breakdown of where Ontario's electricity policy is taking us:

Ontario Power Rates Headed for #1 by 2013 | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid:

The Ontario Government’s Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) issued in the Fall of 2010 forecast that monthly residential costs would rise from $114/800kWh in 2010 to $167/800kWh in 2015 — a 46% nominal increase or a 33% inflation-adjusted increase.Here are examples of new cost pressures driving up rates that have developed since the LTEP was issued:
  • The LTEP did not include Global Adjustment (GA) cost shifting. GA cost shifting will add about $3.50/MWh to residential rates by 2015 or 2%.
  • The LTEP did not break out its price projection by cost element, so we can’t easily track against actuals. However, the LTEP did provide an illustrative TOU bill for June 2011. The actual TOU rates last June were higher by 8%-12% depending on the time slice.
  • The LTEP assumed that wind would provide 10% of system energy in 2030 and solar would provide 1.5%. The IESO is currently assuming 6800/7900MW of wind by the end of 2015/17 respectively. That would translate into 12% of the LTEP’s forecasted demand in 2015 and 14% in 2017. This level of production is substantially higher than the OPA was publicly discussing last fall. Solar also appears to be far ahead of the LTEP outlook. Only a fraction of this power will be delivered to the grid but almost all of it will be paid for by consumers.
The delivered cost of residential power by 2015 appears to be on track for rates in the order of $180/800kWh
...continue reading at tomadamsenergy.com

Ontario Ministry Announces California and Quebec to link emissions Trading sysstems

The rechargenews.com website has a report titled: "California and Quebec to link emissions trading systems"

The report notes a surprising source for an announcement on California and Quebec:
California plans to link its emerging cap-and-trade system with that of Quebec this year under the auspices of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), but challenges remain as allowances trade at record lows. 
“This will create the largest carbon market in North America and provide a model that can guide future efforts to establish a creative road map for future national approaches in Canada and the US to reduce greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions,” say WCI co-chairmen James Goldstene, executive officer of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) ,and Jim Whitestone of Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WTO to Hear EU and Japan Together over Ontario Feed-in Tariff

The trade charges against Ontario's renegade regime are moving into the hearing stage

ICTSD • WTO to Hear EU and Japan Together over Ontario Feed-in Tariff:
A heated election process in Ontario in autumn 2011 where the FIT programme itself took centre stage, had fuelled hopes for such a scenario. With the former Liberal governmental party staying in office, however, the FIT programme has been endorsed.Though renewable energy subsidisation in and of itself is not being challenged in the dispute, experts suggest most WTO members would prefer the WTO not to rule on a dispute so close to the larger climate change mitigation and trade debate. Also, many EU members maintain similar FIT programmes, thus shying away from litigation.Canadian policy experts further continue to warn that even a victory for Japan and the EU could result in eventual disappointment as in this case Canadian provinces cannot be forced by the federal government - which is accountable to the WTO - to bring their measures into compliance.Japan and the EU contend that Ontario’s law violates most-favoured nation treatment rules in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) since the FIT regime requires dedicated amounts of Ontario-originated green energy goods and services. Moreover, they content that the measure constitutes a prohibited subsidy under the WTO’s Subsidy and Countervailing Duty Agreement (SCMA).
More in the full article here

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Traditional, and New, Media Weigh In on 3rd Party Money in Campaigning

I did my best to ignore Tanya Talaga's nonsense in The Toronto Star the other day, but Parker Gallant's response inspired me to post some other current articles on the topic of third party influence on election campaigns.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More on Germany's struggle with Feed-In Tariffs

PV faces political headwinds in Germany as jobs disappear - Politics - Renewable energy news - Recharge - wind, solar, biomass, wave/tidal/hydro and geothermal:
"Acknowledging that the current system of twice-yearly reductions to the feed-in tariff (FIT) is fuelling end-of-year installation bonanzas, and not curbing overall demand as much as desired, the German solar industry has proposed a new system to environment minister Norbert Röttgen whereby FIT decreases are implemented more regularly – perhaps on a monthly basis."
The full article at ReCharge

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Solar Feed-in Tariffs Under Review « German Energy Blog

Solar Feed-in Tariffs Under Review « German Energy Blog:
"He wanted to maintain the feed-in tariff promotion scheme under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), but discuss further cuts of solar feed-in tariffs with industry, Federal Minister of the Environment Norbert Röttgen (CDU) said at an annual energy industry conference in Berlin. His comments came as a reaction to calls by his colleague Economics Minister Philipp Rösler for a system change due to surging costs following the strong expansion in particular of PV installations in Germany in 2011."
and the article continues to note how the feed-in tariffs are subsidized by consumers who;

...have to pay the so-called EEG surcharge (EEG-Umlage, also called EEG reallocation charge). The surcharge has steadily risen, in particular in 2011, mainly due to the solar boom.
Even if the EEG promotion scheme is upheld, the 2011 solar boom is likely to further tariff reductions to avoid overburdening and endangering the whole promotion system. Currently more than half of the EEG reallocation charge can be attributed to solar costs, while solar energy only covers 3% of the electricity demand, 

More on the German Energy Blog

Germany's Solar-Powered Bubble Bursting

Solar Subsidy Sinkhole: Re-Evaluating Germany's Blind Faith in the Sun - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International:
"Because of the poor electricity yield, solar energy production also saves little in the way of harmful carbon dioxide emissions, especially compared to other possible subsidization programs. To avoid a ton of CO2 emissions, one can spend €5 on insulating the roof of an old building, invest €20 in a new gas-fired power plant or sink about €500 into a new solar energy system.

The benefit to the climate is the same in all three cases. "From the standpoint of the climate, every solar system is a bad investment," says Joachim Weimann, an environmental economist in the eastern German city of Magdeburg. Hans-Werner Sinn of the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research calls solar energy a "waste of money at the expense of climate protection.""
Read the full article at Spiegel Onliine

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

PBS Frontline: Nuclear Aftershocks

A poll displayed in the Guardian today indicates whatever chill Fukushima put on the nuclear industry may be starting to dissipate, PBS Frontline covers nuclear:

Watch Nuclear Aftershocks on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Unfit for FiT: Hydro Plant Idled

Yesterday, I noted on my original content blog that production from renewable energy sources in Ontario was actually at a relatively low level in the context of the past decades.
Here's one reason why, as yesterday's efficient renewables can't be renewed under the poor feed-in tariff (FiT) program of the past couple of years.

Pulling the plug on Bancroft Light and Power - Bancroft This Week - Ontario, CA:
"In a letter from Bancroft Light and Power Board member Frank Anrep, notice has been given that BLP can no longer make payments on their loan to Infrastructure Ontario (IO).
The letter, dated from December and shared with Bancroft This Week during an interview on Jan. 11 says that "the power plant is in danger of serious and irreparable damage now that winter is here."
The power plant is now sitting idle, in need of around $15,000 in repairs for the turbines and they are also in need of what they deem a fair rate from the Ontario Power Authority for the green hydro they want to produce."

CBC's The Passionate Eye to Air Cape Spin

the Passionate eye will show Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle.
Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 10 pm ET on CBC News Network

North Bay LDC Using Ratepayers To Subsidize Taxpayers

A local article from North Bay proves Parker Gallant's argument that Local Distribution Companies are making electricity ratepayers subsidize taxpayers.

Hydro profits keep city taxes down - The North Bay Nugget - Ontario, CA:
"City council is increasing how much it pulls out of North Bay Hydro Distribution Ltd. profits to keep the 2012 property tax increase below 3%.
The dividend the municipality charges its utility corporation will increase to about $700,000 from $500,000 if the operating budget is adopted as presented to council Monday.
The dividend is in addition to $1 million the utility pays the city annually as interest charges on a $19.5-million promissory note.
North Bay is using the interest payments to cover the $20 million it committed to the North Bay Regional Health Centre.
But Don Rennick, a local businessman and chartered accountant, said it doesn't make financial sense to use the utility to create profit to offset municipal property tax increases — mostly because the provincial and federal governments charge tax on utility bills.
"The Ontario Energy Board allows North Bay Hydro Ltd. to make a profit. They don't have to make a profit," Rennick said, adding that the utility is seeking to raise even more revenue through bills beginning May 1."
The entire article is at The North Bay Nugget

Tim Hudak Says Hydro Towers Should Carry Electricity, Not Mohawk Warrior Flags

Caledonia: Tim Hudak Says Hydro Towers Should Carry Electricity, Not Mohawk Warrior Flags:

"TORONTO - Ontario needs to restart a long-stalled expansion of hydro transmission lines in the southwestern Ontario town of Caledonia despite objections from aboriginal groups, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Tuesday.
The 76-kilometre hydro line has been in limbo for years because Six Nations warriors won't let workers put up the wires.
The $116-million project was stopped in 2006 to ease tensions after aboriginal protesters occupied a residential development in the picturesque town near Hamilton, saying the land belonged to them.
The protest triggered a bitter standoff that is still ongoing nearly six years later.
Asked if hydro workers should complete the job even if it means that they have to do it under police protection, Hudak agreed.
"Clearly, something has to be done," he said.
"Some leadership should be shown on this file after six years of paralysis and a total abdication of rule of law. Those towers, those lines should be carrying electricity, not flying Mohawk warrior flags.""
Read entire article

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Electricity Prices Decline 50% - Bloomberg

Electricity Prices Decline 50% - Bloomberg:

A shale-driven glut of natural gas has cut electricity prices for the U.S. power industry by 50 percent and reduced investment in costlier sources of energy.
With abundant new supplies of gas making it the cheapest option for new power generation, the largest U.S. wind-energy producer, NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), has shelved plans for new U.S. wind projects next year and Exelon Corp. (EXC) called off plans to expand two nuclear plants. Michigan utility CMS Energy Corp. (CMS) canceled a $2 billion coal plant after deciding it wasn’t financially viable in a time of “low natural-gas prices linked to expanded shale-gas supplies,” according to a company statement.
Mirroring the gas market, wholesale electricity prices have dropped more than 50 percent on average since 2008, and about 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a Jan. 11 research report by Aneesh Prabhu, a New York-based credit analyst withStandard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC. Prices in the west hub of PJM Interconnection LLC, the largest wholesale market in the U.S., declined to about $39 per megawatt hour by December 2011 from $87 in the first quarter of 2008

'via Blog this'

Friday, January 13, 2012

Monbiot on feed-in tariffs as a 'useless, middle-class subsidy'

The green deal is a useless, middle-class subsidy | George Monbiot | Environment | guardian.co.uk:
"Two years ago, I warned that the feed-in tariff, a tax on energy bills which pays for people to produce their own low-carbon electricity, would be deeply regressive. To install solar electricity, for example, you would need your own roof plus £10,000 or more in cash. If you were lucky enough to possess both these assets, you would be making, at other people's expense, one of the most lucrative of all possible investments. It would give you a state-guaranteed return of 5-8%, fixed for 25 years, which was both index-linked (making a nominal return of 7-10%) and tax free.

Those who angrily denounced my analysis claimed that it could in fact be a progressive scheme, as communities of poorer people could be helped to cash in. They're still claiming it, even though the facts deserted them long ago. Today, Andrew Pendleton of Friends of the Earth insists in the Guardian that there are "countless" examples of community feed-in tariff schemes in the UK.

They're not countless; they've been counted by the energy regulator, Ofgem, in its annual report. There are 403 such schemes, as opposed to 29,265 domestic installations. "
Read the entire column at the Guardian

My fellow residents of Ontario should question whether the NDP is the least bit relevant as the party of Greenpeace, instead of the party of social justice.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Garbage In, Anti-Nuclear Propaganda Out: The 14,000 Death Fukushima Lie - Forbes

Garbage In, Anti-Nuclear Propaganda Out: The 14,000 Death Fukushima Lie - Forbes:
"In trying to make a case against nuclear power, the authors have succeeded only in embarrassing themselves. They are asking us to believe that radiation released from a plant in Japan (where no one died) somehow traveled 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to the U.S., where it haphazardly killed (or in some cases saved) thousands of Americans by a process that is utterly implausible—all by manipulation of dubious statistics. Nice job, guys."
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Testing of India's fast breeder reactor by September - Yahoo!

Testing of India's fast breeder reactor by September - Yahoo!:
"Chennai, Jan 11 (IANS) Systems testing of India's own 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) is expected to commence in September this year -- by when the construction work is expected to be over, a senior nuclear power official said Wednesday."
'via Blog this'

Monday, January 9, 2012

AMO backs EFW: Notes Feed-In Tariff Insanity

A great point made by East Garafraxa Mayor Allen Taylor, as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) gets behind Energy-From-Waste projects (AMO)

Orangeville Article: AMO throws its weight behind DEEP project, indirectly:
"Taylor finds it more disheartening the province is dishing out more money to those who recover landfill gas than it is willing to consider for EFW.
I can’t see it as good business, paying people more to produce landfill gas than you would pay them to prevent putting stuff in the ground in the first place,” he said. “I just don’t understand the logic of that.”"

Read the entire column at the Orangeville.com

Friday, January 6, 2012

Giant, floating wind turbines set to conquer deep ocean final frontier - Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

Giant, floating wind turbines set to conquer deep ocean final frontier - Governors' Wind Energy Coalition:
Last month, the first offshore turbine ever to be installed without using heavy lift vessels gently floated away on a platform built at a shipyard in Portugal and was towed by a boat 217 miles to the coast of Aguçadoura for a year-long test. It’s a regular 2-megawatt turbine made by Denmark’s Vestas bolted on one of three columns of a triangular floating platform made by Seattle-based Principle Power. 
“We are making a similar leap towards new energy resources as the oil and gas industry did in the 1970s when it began using floating structures...”

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Windstream Offshore: A Recap of the Day's Reports

This morning a press release announced that Windstream had signed a binding agreement with Siemens - either a very bold move considering the moratorium introduced on offshore wind projects prior to last year's election, or an indication that the moratorium was never anything but an election stunt to begin with.
WCO reported on that release here.

Within hours another article appeared, from The Canadian Press, which seemed to support the implication the moratorium was a stunt.  That release had the McGuinty government hallmark of questionable job claims and the location of assembly buildings.

Perhaps the most informative article appeared in an online renewables site, RECHARGE.  The article includes information on both the turbine selection, and a reported strategy Windstream is implementing in moving on the Feed-In Tariff contract they had been awarded prior to the moratorium.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mississauga MPP Delaney on DRC: Irrelevant and Wrong

Hydro debt retirement: Time for the truth:

The Debt Retirement Charge exists to retire the residual stranded debt.

The residual STRANDED debt has nothing to do with any expenses that followed the breakup of Ontario Hydro.

The ONLY thing the government needs to do is to have the Minister of Finance say what the figure for the Residual Stranded Debt is. He can't and now the whole team is sent out to lie to their constituents instead.

The main change between Ontario 2003 and Ontario 2011, for electricity production, was the additional 23 million MW of generation from nuclear (the previous PC government instigated the return of 2 units at Pickering and 2 at Bruce A), and 10 million MW less demand in Ontario - most of that reduction not being related to the previous PC government.

The Liberals can accept responsibility for the reduction in electricity reduction that has come from gutting the industrial sector.

I'd have no problem with that.
With this article, Delaney is hopefully irrelevant - and he is certainly wrong.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stress on the High Seas: Germany's Wind Power Revolution in the Doldrums - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Stress on the High Seas: Germany's Wind Power Revolution in the Doldrums - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International:
"The energy industry is currently under more stress than almost any other sector of the German economy. The country's utilities are being forced to completely change their focus: away from nuclear power; away from their centralized structure; and away from their accustomed business models. The quartet of E.on, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall, which for so long have been spoilt by enormous profits, has had to implement tough cost-cutting measures, and countless jobs have been sacrificed. E.on alone is shedding up to 11,000 of its workers, and the industry as a whole could ax more than 20,000 jobs in all.

At the same time, the sector is forging aggressively into the business of regenerative sources of energy -- or at least that was the plan. Now it's becoming increasingly clear that the promised expansion will not progress as hoped due to a lack of the necessary conditions for its success."
'via Blog this'

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Breakthrough Institute: Top Ten Breakthrough Moments of 2011

The Breakthrough Institute: Top Ten Breakthrough Moments of 2011:
"1. Bipartisan support grows for making clean energy cheap. Back in 2007, Breakthrough was almost alone among greens in arguing that the focus of climate policy should be on making clean energy cheap, not on making fossil fuels expensive. Four years later, innovation has become the watchword for much of the progressive movement. In his 2011 State of the Union, President Obama highlighted the critical role of innovation to economic growth, citing the technologies Breakthrough had highlighted in "Where Good Technologies Come From," and calling for increases to R&D funding. A few months later we co-authored "Climate Pragmatism," whose framework is increasingly treated by policymakers in the United States and around the world as the future of climate policy. "Breakthrough took an idea that was heresy just five years ago," noted Armond Cohen, Executive Director of the Clean Air Task Force, "and made it mainstream.""