Tuesday, August 13, 2013

10-years Before the Blackout 10 years ago: Re-Energizing Ontario

The mainstream media has lots of stories about the great blackout of a decade ago - here's a speech from Bob Rae's second appointed head of Ontario Hydro from 1993.
As Ontario dabbles in long-term system planning once again, it's worthwhile to consider the scarcity of supply during peak demand periods in 2003 wasn't necessarily due to decisions in only a couple of years preceding 2003.

Re-Energizing Ontario: The Empire Club Addresses:
In light of our current surplus capacity, which we project will continue for the next 10 years, Ontario Hydro cannot commit to developing new capacity, to extending existing capacity by retubing the Bruce A reactors, or purchasing new supplies from non-utility generators at a time when we don't need the power. To do so would result in unnecessary rate increases at a time when our customers can least afford them.
Read Maurice Stong's entire 1993 speech

We currently have an abundance of supply in part due to Bruce A refurbishments/life extension projects - although I suspect we will need to lean very heavily on imports in the summer of 2014 without the contribution coal-fired generation provided for peak periods this year.

Some other notable quotes from Strong's 1993 speech:
We have also begun a dialogue on other key issues that are basic to the future of the new Hydro, issues that can only be decided through the political process.
Some of the issues are fundamental to the future of Ontario Hydro and to the economy of the province. They include basic questions as to the nature of the relationship between Ontario Hydro and the government, as well as its relationship with the municipal electric utilities which were largely responsible for its creation and are Hydro's partners and principal customers as part of the province-wide electric power system.
Some of these questions are:
• Should Hydro continue to set its own rates and those of the municipal electrical utilities or should these functions be performed by the Ontario Energy Board?
• To what degree should the market for electricity be opened up to competition in light of the fact that if the Ontario economy is to be competitive, electricity prices must be competitive?
• How can this best be done without unnecessary impairment of the major investment Ontarians have in Ontario Hydro?
• What is the optimum mix of energy sources on which we should rely for our future electricity supplies? And what are the most promising alternatives to current sources?
• How much should we continue to depend on nuclear, how much on fossil fuels, how much on our own generation and how much from private, non-utility generators? And how should these decisions be made?
deja vu?

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