Saturday, October 28, 2017

base load to base cost - and back again?

This week the government of my province, Ontario, released its latest Long-Term Energy Plan. There's not much in it that I haven't commented on before, rather specifically, so in this post I'll discuss some international energy events of the past month to try and put Ontario's decisions in a broader context - not for the benefit on Ontario, but for the jurisdictions copying mistakes made in the past decade around the world.

The Cost of Energy Review produced by Dieter Helm notes the 2008 CCA "commits the UK to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050."
The review will provide recommendations as to how best to minimise the costs of energy consistent with the overarching objectives, taking account of the costs and benefits of the recommendations. It will set out options for developing and enhancing energy policy.
The very meaty meat of the lengthy report's digestible Executive Summary:
The measures necessary to reduce the costs include: the unification of the capacity and FiTs [feed-in tariffs] and CfDs [contract for difference] auctions on the basis of equivalent firm power (EFP); the gradual reforms of the structure of FiTs and CfDs in the transition to their eventual abolition; and further enhancements to competition in the wholesale and balancing markets. There should be significant reforms of the regulation of transmission and distribution focused on the role of system operators at the national and local levels, and the replacement of the specific licences for distribution, supply and decentralised generation with a general licence. A default supply tariff should be required and the margins published. Finally, carbon prices and energy taxes should be harmonised. 
19. This package of measures is a major shift from the original market design and regulation model at privatisation, and moves on from EMR. It would create a simpler, more competitive structure fit for the new purposes. Instead of low-carbon technologies being grafted onto the fossil fuel-based system, the new world is radically different, backed up by new smart technologies, data and smart energy networks and services. A common carbon price would significantly lower the cost of decarbonisation and greatly enhance incentives.
The bombshell there is "equivalent firm power" being valued.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Transcanada sell-off of Ontario solar assets an ugly reminder of FIT debacle

TransCanada had issues a press release announcing it's disposal of solar generation assets in Ontario:
TransCanada Corporation (TSX:TRP)(NYSE:TRP) (TransCanada) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Ontario solar portfolio comprised of eight facilities with a total generating capacity of 76 megawatts to Axium Infinity Solar LP, a subsidiary of Axium Infrastructure Canada II Limited Partnership, for approximately $540 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2017 subject to certain regulatory and other approvals as well as customary closing adjustments.
It's not uncommon to read of really low prices for solar somewhere in the world (an example), so I thought maybe displaying the price for specific projects in Ontario might be an interesting contrast.

The 76 megawatts of solar capacity being sold are: