Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Better Electricity Reporting includes distributed solar

A big report is out in Ontario today, and a post by the American Energy Information Administration (EIA) deals with one point I'd like to discuss from it.

The Ontario Report is the Annual Report from the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario (the Auditor's report), and the chapter of primary interest to me was Section 3.05: Electricity Power System Planning. I think the report is fine - a few things I could argue about over pints with friends, but it's a very solid report.

I was reminded, by reading it, of astute articles from the people I've come to respect a great deal; some of which I've taking liberally from in my writing. One case in point is a graphic in the Auditor's report and one I'd created for a report by stealing Bruce Sharp's methodology:

The figure on the left is from the Auditor's report; the one on the right from my Better Reporting of Ontario's Electricity Generation. If you're not impressed (I am) maybe you are unaware that on the IESO's website they report solar generation of 0.0185 TWh for 2014, so estimating 1.7 TWh was not bad.
What's interesting is in the Auditor's report the source cited is the IESO!

I've been preaching reporting on distribution connected generation is desperately lacking in Ontario, so I have mixed feelings seeing the IESO has finally provided some figures at least this once.

Stateside, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) today announced:
Small-scale distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, such as those found on residential and commercial rooftops, have grown significantly in the United States over the past several years. Starting this month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is including monthly estimates of small-scale distributed solar PV capacity and generation by state and sector in EIA's Electric Power Monthly.

From this I get 7,691 MW (ac) distributed solar capacity in the United States.

The head of the IESO recently claimed "Ontario currently has about 1,800 MW of distribution-connected solar..."  That's a rather large story, given that it is 23.4% of the entire U.S. capacity.

I continue to estimate the costs of distributed generation, and supply curtailments. My methodology has changed over time, each time altering past estimates a little, and I've adjusted 2014 figures to co-ordinate with the 1.8 TWh total shown in the Auditor's report, again changing past estimates.

It's apparent to me that a large component of increased costs of generation in Ontario is due to elements that are infrequently reported - such as distributed generation and particularly the distributed solar generation the Auditor notes costs 3.5 times more than in other jurisdictions.

Exorbitantly paid with minimal transparency, it's not difficult to believe Ontario's distributed solar capacity is 23.4% of the US total.


The Auditor's report brings up some good points on wasteful conservation spending. I re-recommend Brady Yauch's excellent summary of that issue, A $2.6-billion stimulus for Ontario.

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