Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ontario's Regulator exploring charges on behind-the-meter generation

Two of the best Ontario electricity commentators have written on an Ontario Energy Board (OEB) notice that it is is:
"initiating a policy review to address the question of how a commercial and industrial customer should be billed when they have a Load Displacement Generator (LDG) behind the meter."
It's an important, but obscure issue I feel best explained by looking at the situation in Germany - but let's start with Tom Adams' Selfie Power (With and Without Transmission Charges):
March 31 tweet on tour of, presumably, preferred consumer CHP site
The Ontario government has identified load-displacement generation as “conservation” and provided big businesses with massive incentives and even direct subsidies to expand investment in this type of behind-the-fence generation. A little brew-your-own power is looking like a lifeline for your business. Right?
Not so fast.
The Ontario government is instituting a rate change designed to punish those with behind-the-fence generators...
The rate change seeking to wipe out the incentive to invest in load-displacement generation but will only apply to non-preferred smaller customers.
Bruce Sharp's Linkedin post on the letter is Ontario CHP (Combined Heat and Power) at Risk ?
The primary purpose of the letter is to discuss the retail transmission treatment for CHP, with the possibility of aligning the treatment of LDC-served customers with transmission-connected customers or perhaps leaving LDC-served customers slightly worse off.
Much more ominous is the reference to the Global Adjustment (GA).
GA Class B customers with or contemplating CHP depend on avoiding this charge when they generate. Recently, the GA Class B charge has been near-stratospheric, clocking in at a simple average of $ 95/MWh for the period of Dec15 – Feb16. Meanwhile, the total net benefit of a base-loaded CHP (including the avoided GA Class B charge) ranges from approximately $ 70 - $ 85/MWh.

So, if all of a sudden the GA Class B is charged on a gross load (total load, i.e. net load + generated power) versus net load basis, CHP economics go poof. CHP as a Conservation and Demand Management (“CDM”) measure would be dead in the water
Most of the commodity charge for electricity in Ontario is now in the Global Adjustment charge.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Weekly roundup:ISO's, CSP, nuclear, at the Post,

Solar thermal troubles, no plans for new nuclear, big overbuild due to variable renewable electricity sources (vRES)...

Things from around the web that caught my attention this week included the article I co-wrote with Tom Adams being the first story at the top of the National Post home page for a couple of hours Thursday.

There's a lot I could ramble on about connected to the article, but the one I'll pick to emphasize is communication. It was terrific to collaborate with Tom Adams. Our histories are different, with me being perceived as pro-nuclear, and Tom not so much. My favourite comment received regarding this week's column was "Never thought I would "like" an article (co-)authored by Adams."

Well, there's reason to like most of the posts at

On the nuclear topic...

Saturday, March 12, 2016

holding errorists to account

The fifth anniversary of the the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami passed this week.

Stephen Aplin has an extraordinary post on authority - earned and fearmongered

Accurate and inaccurate predictions, garbage dumping, and death threats: an easy lesson about nuclear power, still not learned after 1,827 days
...While I am immensely pleased that nobody has died or even gone to the hospital because of the effects of ionizing radiation released because of the meltdowns (radiation has of course been released, but in amounts simply too small to cause harm to anybody or anything), I have found these past 1,827 days to be rather frustrating. I harbour this naive fantasy that those who were surprised to hear me tell anybody who would listen to expect few if any casualties might revisit their initial surprise.
I understand why they were surprised. I was one of very, very few people saying what I was saying. The vast majority of other commentators on the nuclear situation in Japan following the earthquake were saying just the opposite. They were telling everybody who would listen that there would be untold death and disease because of the release of radiation.
I also understand why these prophets, false prophets I should say, got on the air: from the point of view of a media vehicle locked in mortal hyper-competition with other media vehicles for readers/viewers/listeners, it is much much sexier to prophesy doom and destruction. Reassurance is boring, even if it is bang on. I get that.
What I find disappointing is that the prophets of doom, having been proved laughably wrong, are not being called to account. I mean, they said this stuff in public. You might think that having said things that prove they do not know what they are talking about, somebody might, you know, call them on it.
Apparently such correcting of the public record is not a priority in the current media universe.
It should be. There are real consequences to allowing alleged experts to utter falsehoods in the public sphere.
Please read the full post at Canadian Energy Issues.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The deteriorating era

I attended a concert the other night. Donovon Woods opened for Matt Anderson. I was surprised how few young people were there.

That struck me, particularly as I was with my son, and then today I received a link to the following article from my father - the writer of a post on an historically edgier blog I have, After the boom - what?

From the Guardian, Revealed: the 30-year economic betrayal dragging down Generation Y’s income:
A combination of debt, joblessness, globalisation, demographics and rising house prices is depressing the incomes and prospects of millions of young people across the developed world, resulting in unprecedented inequality between generations.
...Where 30 years ago young adults used to earn more than national averages, now in many countries they have slumped to earning as much as 20% below their average compatriot. Pensioners by comparison have seen income soar.