Wind, Solar and Biomass Continue Soaking Ontarians

The OEB just released the “Ontario’s System-Wide Electricity Supply Mix: 2020 Data” report and it provides information beyond what the IESO had in their mid-January report: the 2020 Year in Review  and the subject of an earlier article.  The OEB report includes generation occurring within the DX (distributor connected) sector in addition to what is TX (transmission connected)* generated and the basis of the IESO report. 

The OEB reported DX generated electricity in 2020 was 7.3 TWh (terawatt hours) or about what 810,000 average Ontario households (approximately 18% of all Ontario households) would consume in one year. DX generation in 2020 was up by 5 GWh (Gigawatt hours) compared to 2019 but the increase came from what is described as “Non-contracted” generation defined in the report as “a variety of fuel types that the IESO is unable to categorize due to a lack of information from Local Distribution Companies (LDCs).”

As it happens the three renewables classified as wind, solar and biomass actually had a decline in DX generation falling from 5.1 TWh in 2019 to 4.9 TWh with solar producing an identical 3 TWh compared to 2019, while wind declined from 1.7 TWh to 1.6 TWh and biomass from 4 GWh to 3 GWh.  If one adds what IESO stated was curtailed wind of 2.6 TWh in 2020 to what those three renewables generated it comes to 20.6 TWh or 2 GWh more than our gross exports were! 

Those exports** of 20.4 TWh (sold at an average price of $13.9*** million per TW) generated about $284 million. That’s $3.8 billion less than we paid for them had they consisted of the three renewables.  The latter is derived from the individual costs of wind at $135 million/TWh accepted, plus $120 million/TWh for curtailed wind which collectively cost us $2.3 billion.  Adding solar’s 3.8 TWh at $449 million/TWh  ($1.7 billion) and biomass at $150 million/TWh ($100 million) brings the costs of all three renewables to $4.1 billion. If all of those renewables were exported, they would have returned the estimated $284 million as noted costing Ontario ratepayers $3.8 billion.

What that means is; as ratepayers pick up the loss of the $3.8 billion it would represent a cost of 2.72 cents/kWh or $244.80 to the average household consuming 9,000 kWh annually. The annual cost would be much higher for small and medium sized businesses.

In Ontario we continue to suffer from the perils of the McGuinty/Wynne push for renewable energy brought to us via the GEA. It appears we will continue to suffer the consequences until those outrageous 20 year contracts for wind and solar expire or the Ford led government is inspired to actually do something to correct the Liberal endowment!

*The OPG’s annual report disclosed they were instructed to spill 4.3 TWh of hydro due to surplus baseload generation (SBG) conditions over the 2020 year which IESO did not disclose.

**The actual makeup of exported generation is not available as it depends on many factors.

***The average market price referred to as the market price ie; HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) averaged 1.39 cents/kWh in 2020.

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