Wednesday, July 31, 2013

PJM Implements the Advanced Control Center

Most won't believe me, but this is terrific. 
From "Terry Boston ... president and CEO of PJM Interconnection.... He oversees the largest power grid in North America and the largest electricity market in the world."

PJM Implements the Advanced Control Center | Smart Grid content from Transmission and Distribution World
In terms of information technology, AC2 was envisioned to move PJM’s systems and capabilities to new levels of security and resiliency instead of opting simply for marginal improvements to the legacy technology systems. It has accomplished that. The cutting-edge approach adopted in AC2 enables the RTO to incorporate new technology developments quickly, scale to accommodate growth, enhance reliability and protect against sophisticated security threats.
Schematic from source article
The AC2 program was a breakthrough in creating a shared architecture for a new generation of energy management systems (EMS) and market management systems. Significantly, it marks the first industry implementation that employs a shared architecture platform and places standard interface definitions supporting system integration into the public domain, allowing grid operators and member electric utilities to integrate software systems that support reliability.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BMW launches first EV offering as Electric Vehicles overtake Plug-In Hybrids

Interesting stories for at least a couple of reasons:

  • moribund EV sales have been noted, but usually not along with notation that the hydrid was around many years before sales suddenly took off
  • Germany didn't put it's policies into subsidizing purchases of EV's, but rather into research and development.  The government there recently reaffirmed targets for 2020 despite what people saw as a slow start.  

John Hanger's Facts of The Day: Surprise Fact: Battery Only Electric Vehicles Outsell Plug-In Hybrids:

Image from source article
In 2011 and 2012, the plug-in hybrids dominated electric vehicle sales, but no more. In the first 6 months, of 2013, as total electric vehicle sales surged, battery only electric vehicles pulled a surprise and led the way. [source]

... Once all-electric vehicles extend range and decrease cost, the plug-in hybrid will sharply lose market share.
read the entire post

To put an exclamation point on John Hanger's claim

BMW Launches First Pure Electric Car i3 | German Energy Blog

Monday, July 29, 2013

What’s the Point of an Electricity Storage Mandate?

Another fine post from the excellent Energy Economics Exchange blog, this time dealing with the changing needs from dispatchable generation, or increased consumer demand management, due to the growing ouput of solar generation in California.

What’s the Point of an Electricity Storage Mandate? | Energy Economics Exchange:
An aptly named picture – the “duck graph” – is captivating the California energy policy world. It depicts electricity demand net of projected renewable generation (“net load”) on a representative day in the not too distant future.

The Duck Graph - from source article
One point of concern is the duck’s long neck, representing a 14,000 MW swing in net load in a roughly one hour period from 5 to 6PM. Currently, the largest swing system operators typically have to deal with is less than half that size. Adding insult to injury, the duck graph swing is projected to happen in shoulder months like March or October, when total system load will be low.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Trading Halt Shows UN Carbon System in Jeopardy

Can you believe a carbon market is not healthy?
Me too.

Trading Halt Shows UN Carbon System in Jeopardy: Energy Markets - Bloomberg:
An unprecedented freeze in United Nations carbon trading is fanning speculation the five-year-old market designed to combat greenhouse-gas emissions in poor countries is in danger of becoming superfluous.
Image from source article
Not a single UN Certified Emission Reduction, or CER, changed hands on July 22 and July 23, according to data from ICE Futures Europe, keeping the market on course for the lowest monthly aggregate volume since March 2008. The 14.3 million tons of offsets bought and sold this month compares with the record 211 million tons traded in October and an average 52 million over the past 12 months.
The collapse shows factories, power stations and airlines in the European Union have already bought most of the 1.7 billion tons of UN credits they can use to offset domestic emissions through 2020. That threatens to undo a market formed under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol as a way for richer nations to help developing countries limit greenhouse-gas output.
Trading Halt Shows UN Carbon System in Jeopardy: Energy Markets - Bloomberg:

E.ON Avoids Shuttering Ultramodern German Combined Cycle Units Despite Profit Concerns

Germany slips into capacity payments

E.ON Avoids Shuttering Ultramodern German Combined Cycle Units Despite Profit Concerns :: POWER Magazine:
E.ON had said the highly efficient combined cycle units were unprofitable because, while Europe’s wholesale power prices had fallen by 50% since 2009, low-cost coal imports and low carbon trading prices had squeezed profit margins of power plants burning much pricier natural gas to near zero. An agreement reached between E.ON, Germany’s Federal Network Agency, and the local network operator Tennet TSO this April ensures, however, that E.ON will receive “acceptable compensation” for its fixed costs of the two units. Tennet said the units were needed to enable support of tremendous renewables growth in the country and for redispatch measures, if necessary.
Picture from source article
Germany’s Federal Network Agency recently ordered that fixed costs should be paid to power plants that are operated more than 10% of the time on demand of transmission operators. A paradigm market design in Germany was still necessary, as E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen said in a statement, particularly one that provides acceptable compensation for maintaining technologically advanced, climate-friendly generating capacity. Germany is still “too fixated on megawatts,” installing wind turbine after wind turbine and solar panel after solar panel “in the belief that by doing so it has already transformed its energy system,” he added.

President of German Cartel Office Calls for Reform of Renewables Law and Questions Feed-in Priority

From the German Energy Blog, an entry on recent statements by "Andreas Mundt, President of the German Cartel Office."
I find it noteworthy for 3 reasons:

  1. the excellent German Energy Blog gives it a lot of space
  2. feed-in tariffs are assailed (see my Wind Feed-in Tariffs in Ontario: An Info-Obit)
  3. a strategic reserve model for capacity is championed - a position I share for situations where plentiful legacy capacity exists but is no longer economically viable 

President of German Cartel Office Calls for Reform of Renewables Law and Questions Feed-in Priority « German Energy Blog:
If one could start all over a again, a quota model (that would oblige utilities to buy certain quota of renewable energy) was probably the most preferable approach, Mr Mundt said (this approach has also been suggested by various sources like the German Council of Economic Experts, former Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle, the Monopolies Commission and RWI in the past).
Producers of renewable energy had to become subject to the pure conditions of competition to overcome the existing “produce and forget” mood. A support scheme for renewable energy was still needed, but should be more market-oriented, e.g. by introducing auction models, Mr Mundt said, adding that the feed-in priority could be abolished...
...he advocated for a strategic reserve model (also proposed by the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry – BDEW), in which conventional power plants provide reserve capacities for situations of special demand. This model could be easily introduced, was reversible and relatively low-cost, he said (regarding the current regulatory framework to ensure the security of supply, please click here).
Continue reading at the German Energy Blog

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A trouble with negawatts: Reward for Cutting Power at Peak Times

Great article on customer demand management (CDM).  It even includes a penalty for bad behaviour.

There's a message here for public-private partnerships (PPPs) too ... where the public sector procures management consultation service in order to operate public assets like a private sector company.

Reward for Cutting Power at Peak Times -
Last month, Enerwise Global Technologies Inc. agreed to pay a $780,000 penalty and disgorge $20,000 in payments for its role in an alleged scheme to get paid for fake reductions.
FERC investigators concluded that Enerwise, a unit of Comverge Inc., coached the state-owned Maryland Stadium Authority to turn on stadium lights at the Camden Yards baseball park, home of the Baltimore Orioles, when lights weren't needed. Then when it cut back power use later in the day, it got credit.
Read the entire article, and listen to audio, at

EIA electricity reporting appears contradictory

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) posted a couple of things today that aren't contradictory, but appear to be.

Wholesale electricity prices rose across the United States | EIA

Image from source article
Average on-peak, day-ahead wholesale electricity prices rose in every region of the Lower 48 states in first-half 2013 compared to first-half 2012. The most important factor was the rise in the price of natural gas (the marginal fuel for generation in much of the nation) in 2013 compared to 10-year lows in April 2012. 
However, the increase in power prices was not uniform across electric markets as regional natural gas supply issues drove larger increases in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest.
Prices in New England were the highest in the nation mostly because of pipeline constraints that limited the delivery of natural gas. This factor drove electricity prices in New England and New York above $200 per megawatthour (MWh) for several days this winter.... continue reading at EIA site
However, the price paid for delivered power doesn't change proportionally with market rates.

Russian nuclear ambition powers building at home and abroad

The Russian nuclear program includes construction/development of floating reactors, a lead-bismuth cooled small modular integral fast reactor and a utility-scale fast reactor.

Of the 68 nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, Rosatom is building 28 – the nine in Russia plus 19 abroad including a controversial first plant for Iran, information from the IAEA and Rosatom shows.
In comparison, French rival Areva has just four reactors under construction while Toshiba Corp unit Westinghouse – although involved in building in the United States, China and South Korea – has not completed a reactor since 1995.
Kiriyenko said Rosatom has increased its foreign contracts by 60 percent, to $66.5 billion (43.2 billion pounds), in the last two years. It wants to triple sales by 2030 and has opened marketing offices in six countries.
Rosatom is pitching a new all-in-one offer to “Build, Own, Operate” (BOO) reactors aimed at allowing nations to enter the nuclear sector.
It has won recent sales by offering full package deals to nuclear newcomers such as Belarus and Bangladesh, which have neither the money nor know-how to build a first reactor.
“Right now, Russia is it if you want that kind of help,” Gordon said.
Continue reading at Reuters

Friday, July 19, 2013

The cost del sol

I hate hearing people state we need to do something that is not currently sensible, such as procuring expensive intermittent electricity suppy, because it is the future.
It is one possibility for a future
This article from the Economist presents another possible future for Ontario, and in particular, Ontario's microFIT contract holders

ÁNGEL MIRALDA was proud of his 320 solar panels in a field near Benabarre, in northern Spain. They added 56 kilowatts of clean-energy capacity to a country that depended on oil imports. The panels cost €500,000 ($735,000): €150,000 from an early-retirement pay-off from IBM’s Barcelona office, the rest from a bank loan. The government promised a 10% annual return on such projects. That was in 2008. Five years later, after subsidies were cut on July 12th for the third time since 2012, his income is down by 40% and he is struggling to repay the loan. “There is no legal security in Spain,” he complains.
Graphic from source article

Mr Miralda is the victim of a bungled, overambitious renewables programme. Governments everywhere want to turn green and create environmentally friendly jobs. But as Spain shows, good intentions are not enough. If the policies are wrong, the benefits are wasted, the jobs disappear, the costs remain—and business investors bear the brunt.
The government failed to cut subsidies when renewables were booming, so the cuts have had to be draconian. It imposed no cap on new capacity and stood by while that grew uncontrollably (this also happened in Germany). The promised jobs have vanished. The solar-energy business has lost tens of thousands of jobs from its peak. And after repeated retroactive cuts no one is willing to invest in renewable energy any more. Yet because projects often receive subsidies for 20 years, the costs remain.
Read the entire article at The Economist

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Messages from Toronto Heat Waves 8 years apart

The Toronto Star's John Spears has a feel-good story in "Ontario’s power grid handling heat with ease."
Eight years ago, almost to the day, Terry Young was warning Ontario that a heat wave gripping the province could force rolling blackouts.
But this week, with the city again broiling, Young was issuing no such dire warnings.
What’s changed?
Simply put, there’s more supply and less demand, said Young, now vice president of the IESO.
Young noted that the current figures slightly understate consumption, because they don’t capture the output from wind and solar facilities that feed power directly into local systems.
That adds about 1,000 megawatts of supply, he said – about 700 megawatts of which is solar, which has been producing at a high level for much of the past few days.
I located the public appeal issued by Young's IESO eight years ago (to the day ... but it was a Monday in 2005), and then I pulled the figures for Monday-Wednesday of the week in 2005 to compare the demand shape to the most recent 3 days this year.

I was expecting to see lower daytime demand in 2013 shown as the inverse of what would be an expected output from ~1000MW of solar capacity.

But I didn't expect to see the dramatic shift to late-day demand.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Conservation in Ontario: the graph data

UPDATE July 18:
The graphs I note a discrepancy for in the initial post are for different things.
The first is consumption Per Capita - which must include commercial and industrial consumption OR it would need to indicate there is less than one person to a household.

I work with data and sometimes we discuss the poor data design, and data management practices, related to energy reporting in Ontario.

A theme being pushed by Ontario's Ministry of Energy this week is conservation.  In providing background for claims on conservation, the ministry provided:
Sources: Natural Resources Canada and Ontario Energy Board
Since 1990, average household electricity consumption has declined by almost 25 per cent, representing about $350 in savings each year for the average household, based on current electricity costs.
Look at that graph carefully, keeping in mind 12,000kWh in 1990, <10,000 in 2013, and separate sourcing from NRC and the OEB.

Previously Ontario had a Chief Conservation Officer, before the position was rolled into the rest of the Ontario Power Authority.  They showed higher demand in 1990, and a drop from ~12,000kWh to ~10,000 would have occurred since only 2007- if the numbers are comparable.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

German Energy Companies Threaten Shutdown Of Power Plants

The threat of German power plants closing is a growing story - but one often told incompletely.

German Energy Companies Threaten Shutdown Of Power Plants | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF):
German operators of coal and gas power plants are sounding the alarm: the operation of many power plants is no longer profitable as a result of the green energy transition. Dozens of plants could be closed down, the industry warns.
Numerous coal and gas power plants apparently are threatened by a shutdown. According to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung(SZ), many companies and municipal utilities are assessing the cost of dozens of power plants. As a result, the security of supply is at risk because many of the plants could be shut down. Of approximately 90,000 megawatt of conventional power capacity in Germany up to 20 percent could be shut down, the newspaper quoted the CEO of a utility. In the worst case scenario, Germany would face blackouts.
The entire article can be read in German at Spiegel Online; the entire translation at The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)
But ...
The translation gets the end wrong with;
However, the government could pass a law to keep power plants on the grid if the supply security were in danger.
The Google translation is:
However, the government had the ability to hold investments by law from the mains when the security is in danger.
A better explanation is given at the German Energy blog in Süddeutsche Zeitung: Utilities Plan to Shut Down Many Unprofitable Conventional Power Plants:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ontario's incomplete transmission line costly today

Remember that transmission line that's been held up for years and years because the government can't resolve any issue in the Caledonia area?


Well, today as Ontario prices for electricity remained low ($40/MWh range), while the zone of the New York system the line would strengthen saw prices surge - and that will probably happen for the next couple of days too.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners

More good than bad in an article tackling electricity trade/transmission issues.

Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners -
The grid is divided into regions that cover a state or a compact area (like New England) or slightly larger units, like PJM, which once stood for Pennsylvania-Jersey-Maryland but now extends through West Virginia, Ohio and the Chicago area. Almost all planning is done within those regions, as if they were islands. Federal officials say there is not even a regulatory mechanism for planning a line that does more than connect two regions.
“Given the history of this particular industry and its complexity, it is just not going to happen, at least not any time soon,” said James J. Hoecker, a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has some jurisdiction over transmission lines. One problem, he said, is “resource nationalism,” in which individual states want to use local resources, whether they are coal or yet-to-be-built offshore wind, rather than importing from neighbors in a way that could be more economical.
For now, engineers in the grid redesign project have determined that conducting business as usual between 2010 and 2030 would require $18.5 billion in new transmission lines in the United States, while a system designed to integrate renewables like wind energy on a large scale would cost $115.2 billion.
Read the entire article at

Miscommunication is Everything: Bomb-Grade Logic

by Jeremy Whitlock

Miscommunication is Everything (Published on the Canadian Nuclear FAQ):
CAMBRIDGE BAY, NUNAVUT, June 2045: Anti-diesel groups are decrying a plan by the federal government to ship over two million litres of the bomb-grade liquid petroleum product to the U.S. for safe conversion and recycling.
The material has been in storage under high-security at this remote northern Canadian community for most of the last two decades, following the start-up of a suite of "micro" nuclear reactors that now provide the municipality's heating and electricity needs.
Diesel once saw widespread use in the Canadian arctic, particularly in regions without ready access to natural gas, and wherever natural gas price volatility made it increasingly less practical.
The advent of nuclear energy has now limited the use of diesel to transportation, leaving millions of litres of the fuel under close scrutiny in storage tanks.
The problem, according to groups like the Canadian Coalition for Fossil Responsibility (CCFR), is that diesel oil can be directly used in weapons of mass destruction and other forms of terrorist bombs.
Moreover, it is used in over 80% of mining and construction explosives in North America, which, according to the CCFR, means that the knowledge of how to manufacture an explosive with it is widespread.
"These so-called ANFO, or fertilizer bombs, have been the weapon of choice for terrorists and insurgents around the world since the 1970's," says the literature on the CCFR website.
Continue reading at

Plan to change Lake Ontario water levels - "bowing to the preferences of environmentalists"

Fascinating article on the many implications of water level management in the great lakes region

Of the 5 great lakes there are only two with the level regulated (although the level of others has been impacted by dredging of the St. Clair river).  The control of Lake Ontario's level is via the dam that includes the Moses (U.S.)-Saunders(Cdn.) hdyroelectric facilities.

Hearing set Sunday on plan to change Lake Ontario water levels - City & Region - The Buffalo News:
"LOCKPORT – The International Joint Commission will hold a public hearing Sunday night in Lockport on a new plan to govern water levels in Lake Ontario.
The plan would produce more frequent fluctuations in water levels, with high water being higher and low water being lower than under the current rules."
“The (proposed) regulation will not supply the same level of protection to coastal communities,” IJC public information officer Frank Bevacqua confirmed.
The IJC tries to regulate water levels by altering flows out of the east end of the lake, past the Moses-Saunders Dam at Massena, into the St. Lawrence River.
“The water level will go up and down under any plan,” Bevacqua said. The IJC’s ability to control lake levels is limited by the supply of water flowing into the lake, and he said scientists believe the water supply is “trending downward.”
Frank Sciremammano, a Rochester Institute of Technology engineering professor who has served on the IJC control board for 18 years, said the plan will harm the south shore of the lake while protecting the Canadian shores, benefiting power generators and bowing to the preferences of environmentalists.

Friday, July 12, 2013

More companies in Germany look to escape the solar-powered Renewables surcharge

Nothing new to this blog's readers, but I did make a graph to show the share of the EEG attributable to the 3 main 'renewable' energy sources in Germany, and their share of 2012 generation.
If you look carefully, you might perceive solar to be extraordinarily expensive.

Increased Applications for Renewable Surcharge Reduction in 2014 « German Energy Blog:
EEG stats from here, Generation states from final .pdf here
Record applications by large electricity consumers for reductions of the renewable energy surcharge (EEG surcharge) worth up to EUR 5 billion for 2014 might further increase the burden for the remaining electricity consumers, several newspapers and website report, based on an answer of the government to a minor interpellation by Alliance ’90/The Greens.
The EEG surcharge for 2013 amounts to 5.277 ct/kWh, after having steadily and often steeply risen over the last years (A table showing the development of the EEG surcharge can be found here). Given the above market price feed-in tariffs for renewable energy paid pursuant to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and the steadily growing amount of renewable energy in Germany it is expected to rise again significantly in 2014. It could then be about twice as high as the market price of 27.63 EUR/MWh the four transmission system operators averaged in June for the sale of renewable energy at the European Energy Exchange.
Continue reading at the German Energy Blog

Too bad Ontarians have no solar data, and no intelligent accounting of the components of our global adjustment charge.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Which will end: freeloaders, traditional financing models, or both?

From a southern Ontario perspective ...
As dense Toronto suffers from blackouts due to a failure at a transmission station the province has long failed to develop appropriate redundancy for, there are pampered environmentalist claiming the problem is a lack of local distributed generation.
Which makes me wonder why you'd keep increasing the density of an increasingly vertical city if you really thought that was important... but that's not what I am posting on today.

Today I'm posting wondering if free-riding should be eliminated before flailing technologies are allowed to thoroughly disrupt existing systems.  The article cited noted the impact of solar on utilities; in the U.S. many programs for solar panels involve net metering - and where the entire cost of transmission and distribution is collected through a single rate for electricity consumption, that does allow the solar panel owner to escape fair connection charges for being on the grid.
Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that in encouraging a new technology, but, as Severin Borenstein recently indicated, the entitled tend to become very attached to their entitlements.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Germany to pull plug on solar subsidies by 2018

I looked for an English language report of this news that got the units right, but in the end selected so I could correct smart people.
Germany's solar productivity is such the ~32GW of capacity (GWp) produced about 28TWh of electricity in 2012 - so the article is referring to GWp of supply capacity, which will produce similar numerals of TWh, but the similarity with different units is just a quirk of the annual productivity level.

So ... if 32GWp produced a little over 4.5% of Germany's total electricity generation in 2012, a cap of 52GWp would be a cap at under 8% of it's total annual generation.

Perhaps it isn't just units that's a problem - maybe somebody's misplacing the decimal in the push to 80% renewables!

Germany to pull plug on solar subsidies by 2018:
Germany will stop subsidising solar energy by 2018 at the latest, its environment minister said Monday after last year initiating a scaling-back of generous state support for the faltering industry.

Bad Incentives For Green Choices

" EV charging? Free parking? Higher speed limits for EVs? Discount air travel for EV owners? Complimentary massages?"
A particularly entertaining post on ridiculous incentrives - from economist Severin Borenstein.

Bad Incentives For Green Choices | Energy Economics Exchange:
When we subsidize cleaner electricity, we may get the relative price of green versus brown electricity right, but we get the relative price of electricity versus everything else in the economy wrong.
The fundamental problem is not that green energy has positive spillovers — running your A/C on solar power doesn’t make others better off — but that brown energy has negative spillovers. Thus, when we subsidize green instead of taxing brown, we end up making electricity too cheap overall.[2] Green electricity subsidies also fail to account for how much GHG emissions they actually prevent. Is that wind turbine crowding out coal-fired generation, a gas-fired plant, or another wind turbine? The answer determines the value of the green power, but is not reflected in today’s subsidies.
While renewable electricity standards and subsidies are the big gorillas of green behavior rewards, there is a plethora of smaller reward systems that create further problems. They offer some indirect benefit that creates a new set of distortionary incentives. A perfect example was in the news earlier this year when Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) cancelled its free parking for electric vehicles — which began in the 1990s when EVs were as rare as $4 gas — because the program had become “too successful.”
The advantage of electric vehicles is that they put out less pollution (yes, even counting the electricity generation process), but only when they are moving. Why would anyone think that subsidizing EV parking at LAX gives the appropriate incentive to buy and drive an EV? In fact, it lowers the overall cost of travelling by air, which is itself a GHG-intensive activity. Complimentary massages for EV owners would probably make more sense.

Germany sets new solar power record: so does Ontario

Clean Technica reports that Germany set a new record for electricity generation from solar panels yesterday.    The post based it's report on "SMA Solar Technology’s live solar power output tool for the country."
At its peak at about 1:45pm local time (one hour ago), the output got up to 23.9 GW. (Actually, I thought I saw it reach 24 GW at that time, but the replay isn’t showing it go above 23.9 GW.)
I’m sure an official number still needs to be confirmed, but a full 0.5 GW increase according to SMA’s site makes for a very safe conclusion that we have a new record. It is an estimate based on the output of thousands of SMA solar power systems spread across the country.
The entire article can be read at Clean Technica

It begs the question: What is the record in Ontario and when was it set?

Nobody knows.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ontario Wind Turbine Production

The past week's heat and humidity was not accompanied by much output from Ontario's wind turbines.

This is a quick post to demonstrate that last week's wind output was a typical level of production for an Ontario July.
The capacity factor is determined by calculating the period's actual generation divided by the total generation that would be produced in the units produced at 100% of capacity throughout the period.
Data stuff

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The will to power renewably is producing the obvious - surprisingly

There is a lot of news out of Germany's electricity sector adventures lately, and most of it I now view as adhering to my rule of the obvious:
That which must happen, does

The news cited in this column relates to variable renewable energy systems (vRES - wind and solar); the rule of the obvious appears to be considered irrelevant by vRES proponents.

The German Energy blog reported on solar capacity additions in Germany, indicating the pace of annual additions has slowed from ~7,500GWp per year (since 2008); searching through the links it appear the past 12 months have seen less than 5,000GWp added, and growth may still be slowing.

Because Germany now has feed-in tariff rates that drop with installed capacity, due to rules instituted as solar installations soared.
Apparently the lower rates may be seeing lower new installations.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ontario's Highest Daily Market Prices in 2013 driven by Quebec?

There are a number of factors in pricing, but the neglected one is consideration of the other regions Ontario is connected to (and the ones those regions are connected to, and ...)

The highest weighted average prices in Ontario thus far in 2013 are January 23, 24 and 25, and July 3rd.

The January highs correspond with a cold snap that did see the highest demand of the winter (and thus far the year) in Ontario, but Ontario had plentiful supply and net exports averaged over 2000MW an hour. [1] 

Quebec didn't just have the highest demand periods of the year - Quebec is a winter peaking jurisdiction, and it experienced the highest demand periods ever.

On July 3rd three major transmission lines failed in Quebec as a result of forest fires.  The impact in Ontario must have been complex as the Hourly Ontario Energy Price ended the day much higher, but Ontario also experienced it's first hours as a net importer since April.

Indications are the grid is a complex environment we don't often consider.

[1] Which I noted in Ontario's Electricity Exports Surge: Are they killing us? - a column with a comment section where Claude Boucher rewarded my writing with an education in trade.

Not to ignore my normal villains ...
I did also write about how poor wind forecasting was at crunchtime in January - and wind output was feeble on July 3rd too.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Merkel Says She Blocked Car Carbon Curbs to Shield Auto Jobs

This article is pertinent politically, but I'm posting it for the reference to automobile emissions

For Ontario residents: Your average emission level for electricity is 110g CO2 eq / kWh - it strikes me as far easier to cut 1 km of driving that to cut 1 kWh of energy consumption

Merkel Says She Blocked Car Carbon Curbs to Shield Auto Jobs - Bloomberg:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she blocked a draft European Union law aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions from cars over concerns the measure would cost jobs in theauto industry.
A coalition of EU states led by Germany prevented approval of the measure at a meeting of diplomats in Brussels earlier this week. Merkel said that she moved to delay the proposal -- which would cap average carbon discharges by passenger vehicles in the bloc at 95 grams a kilometer in 2020 -- to defend jobs.
Merkel’s intervention, made less than three months before federal elections, collided with EU efforts to cap pollution by cars through varying targets for individual manufacturers ranging from Volkswagen AG (VOW) to General Motors Co. (GM) Current EU legislation requires carmakers to cut discharges to 130 grams a kilometer on average in 2015 and sets a non-binding goal of 95 grams for 2020.
Continue reading at Bloomberg

Ontario Smart Grid Fund makes a comeback/remains moribund

For a third time the Ontario government has announced the same funding for something called smarter.

The article is posted first respecting readers who visit for news, and not rants
The backgrounder is a rant that will put the proper context on the article - which is contempt

Ontario Smart Grid Fund makes a comeback | Ottawa Citizen:
OTTAWA — Ontario’s Liberal government attempted to reignite interest behind its flailing $50-million Smart Grid Fund on Tuesday by reopening calls for applications from businesses and educators interested in developing technologies to help the province’s electrical grid in the future.
Ontario Minister of Energy and Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli made the announcement Tuesday, calling it the fund’s “second round” of calling for applications and encouraging businesses to examine their eligibility for the program.
The fund was initially introduced as part of the 2009 provincial budget. However, numerous false starts pushed out its official opening until 2011. In June 2012 the province announced 13 projects from companies making Smart Grid technologies that would receive funding, accounting for around $25 million of the fund. Only nine of those actually ended up getting money. Those companies accounted for around $14.1 million of the fund’s total amount, according to Chiarelli.
The energy minister applauded companies that did get funding from the province. Those companies included Energate Inc., an Ottawa software maker focusing on home energy
management, Ecobee, a Toronto thermostat maker, IBM Corp. and General Electric (GE).
“It’s awful. It’s embarrassing. It’s an absolute admission that the entire Liberal energy plan is an abject failure in Ontario,” Fedeli said.
Chiarelli defended the fund, saying that not only has it helped to create new technology that can be sold by Ontario firms all over the world, but it has also helped to create 600, both direct and indirect, jobs in the province.

In 2004, a relatively new Premier wanted smart meters forced upon all and by 2011 they were - which was about the time they realized there was no plan to do anything useful with them
A technically ignorant government shaped an equally inept bureaucracy that doesn't understand the most fundamental design aspects of data architecture - like ownership, responsiblity, and portability/communication standards
Recently another charge was added to Ontarians' bills for a data repository it was felt the increasingly suspect IESO should manage - according to the IESO's 2012 Annual Report (note 10) their approach has been to run up a debt primarily by contracting out to consultants - Substantially to IBM

It has also been over a year since the government announced a group of people they perceived as smart constituted a "Clean Energy Task Force" (see "Green is the Old White") to:
facilitate collaboration within Ontario’s clean energy industry to identify export markets, marketing opportunities and approaches to demonstrate Ontario’s advanced clean energy systems.
There's been no report from the clean as your brightest whites team - we don't even know if they have yet selected an American firm  to outsource their task to.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Report recommends Ontario consider a moritorium on generation procurement

I don't endorse the Mowat Centre's Getting the Green Light: The Path To Public Support for Ontario's Power Plans, but I certainly respect it's positions on transparency, statistical availability (Tom Adams deserves recognition for raising this), and the role of the Ontario Power Authority.

Getting the Green Light: The Path To Public Support for Ontario's Power Plans | The Mowat Centre
Good Governance
  • Define the role of ministers and elected officials and limit the use of ministerial directives. 
  • Require a provincial energy plan prepared by an independent expert agency. 
  • Enhance the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) review criteria.
  • Give the OEB the ability and resources to review and approve the Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) procurement plans and leave-to-construct applications for new generation, as it does for transmission and distribution; or alternatively, create an independent generation siting board.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Green Energy Bust in Germany

"The Energiewende is not the swift, bold advance that greens imagine but a slow, timid, and inadequate response to the crisis of climate change. It represents a failure of nerve, a failure of imagination, and a failure of arithmetic. It is visibly failing now, and if it succeeds in all its stated goals it will still fail."

If Germany keeps up with the 2012 pace—a big “if”—it will meet its current target of raising the renewable share of electricity production to 35 percent by 2020. Yet the really important target isn’t the share of renewables on the grid but the share of “low-carbon” generation—both renewable and nuclear generation. By that metric, Germany will be at a standstill for quite some time.
At the planned and current rate of expansion, when the last German nuclear plants shut down in 2022, renewables will be generating about 38 percent of the electricity; with no more nukes in operation, that will be the total share of low-carbon electricity. But that’s almost exactly the same share of low-carbon electricity Germany produced in 2010, when the share was 38.8 percent—22.4 percent nuclear and 16.4 percent renewable. The next ten years will be a lost decade for German decarbonization efforts. Meanwhile, Germany’s coal and gas plants will spew as much pollution, methane, and carbon dioxide as ever.
But the German policy of favoring renewables over nuclear has been in effect for thirteen years now, so it’s more like a lost generation. In 1999, a peak year for nuclear power, the low-carbon share of electricity was 36 percent, with nuclear contributing 31 percent. Thus, during a twenty-three-year period of shuttering nukes and subsidizing renewables, from 1999 to 2022, Germany will have managed to decarbonize all of 2 additional percentage points of its electricity.
Read Will Boisvert's entire article at Dissent Magazine

The site also contains a response rebutting the thrust of the article, by Osha Gray Davidson. and ...
A response to the rebuttal from Will Boisvert

German Renewables Surcharge for 2014 to Increase from 5.277 to 6/6.5 ct/kWh?

A forecast for 2014's renewable surcharge in Germany.
Coming alongside news that Germany's wholesale rate hit a new monthly low in June (2.8 cents), I am skeptical the increase would be only 15-25%, but ...

The renewables surcharge added to German electricity bills may rise to around 6 to 6.5 ct/kWh in 2014, the newspaper Rheinische Post (RP) reported on Saturday. The EEG surcharge would then be getting close to twice the average market price in May 2013 of 3.257 ct/kWh for power from renewable sources.
RP referred to energy experts among them Andreas Löschel, head of the expert committee “Energiewende” (energy transformation) set up by the government.
A rise of the EEG surcharge to 6.5 ct/kWh would mean an extra EUR 3 billion on top of the current electricity bills for German consumers
If, when and to what extent EU law might (also) force a change of the EEG remains to be seen. The Commission is in the process of investigating compliance of the EEG feed-in tariff scheme and the EEG surcharge exemptions with EU state-aid and free movement of goods rules. At the same time three middle-sized textile companies have brought lawsuits against the EEG surcharge, which they consider unconstitutional.
The entire article can be read at the German Energy Blog