Wind missing in action as heat wave pushes Ontario grid past 20,000 MW

At four p.m. on Tuesday, with temperatures pushing toward 30 degrees, Ontario electricity generators were collectively cranking out 20, 514 megawatts. To that, the province’s wind farms were contributing a laughable 0.3 percent. That works out to around 5 percent of their capability at that time (see the IESO’s output tables). Nice to know they’re there when we need them.

Ironically, the Toronto Star on the same day carried this letter to the editor, saying that wind turbines are a “sustainable power source and a necessary part of our green energy future.”

I’ll try to remember that next time I’m about to step onto an elevator in an air-conditioned high rise.

This is the first time in a long time that the Ontario system has cracked 20,000 megawatts. For months, Ontario has had mild temperatures and because of that an easy time, power-wise. That all changed last Sunday with the first high-twenties day of 2010.

 This is a bit early for Ontario to have a major heat wave. Is it a harbinger of the summer to come? We’ve had a couple of very easy summers in 2008 and 2009. I think that on that basis people assume we don’t need that much electricity.

That assumption has produced the non-action at the Darlington nuclear station. The province said a few years ago that it needs over 3,000 MW of new nuclear capacity. In 2009, it even asked reactor vendors to submit bids. The vendors did so, at which point Ontario declared one—Atomic Energy Canada Limited—to be “compliant” with the bid requirements but far, far too expensive. And then the process stopped, hung up on the rocks of federal-provincial disagreement over who should pay what in the event of cost overruns involving AECL, a federally-owned company (see article).

Either the weather cooperated with the stoppage, or the stoppage was because of the weather. But Ontario had an easy summer of 2009, an easy fall, a mild winter, and a long, cool spring of 2010. During that time, there was almost no mention of the Darlington situation.

Will the current and subsequent heat waves put pressure on the feds and Ontario to work something out? I hope so. We don’t want to rely on wind. That just puts us into a dangerous dependence on expensive, emission-heavy natural gas (see article).

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13 years ago

I remember reading somewhere a while back that the $7 Billion Samsung deal is actually more expensive than the AECL bid that was trashed for being too expensive.
It was something along the lines of the AECL bid was $23 billion for 2,500 Mw over 60 years (reactor life) and the Samsung deal is $7 billion for 2,500MW for 20 years (Turbine life)

Not sure if the math is right but that would be:
Nuclear deal=$153,333 per MW-year
Samsung wind/solar deal=$1,400,000 per MW year.

The Samsung wind deal is almost 9 times more expensive than a new nuclear plant.

Like I said, not sure how accurate that math is but either way we’re pumping way to much money and subsidies into an energy source that doesn’t deliver. And everyone seems to be fine with that? How McGuinty has been able to do this is criminal.

Steve Aplin
13 years ago

Weemz, I remember seeing something like that too (but can’t remember where). Your math is fine, though I think the cost for the ACRs was reported to be $26 billion.

I’d also add that the reactors would produce 19.7 billion kWh per year (assuming a 90 percent capacity factor), and the wind turbines would produce 6.5 billion kWh (assuming 30 percent CF).

i.e., the reactors would produce three times as much power per year. And three times as much revenue, at one-third the price per kWh.

Another way of saying, the Samsung deal is bad for Ontario. And right this minute (11:11 on Thursday, May 27) wind is contributing 0.2 percent of Ontario’s electricity.

Melodie Burkett
13 years ago

Finally the truth about wind turbines is getting out there! After, of course that many families have had to abandon their unsellable homes! It is criminal what McGuinty has done to the people of Ontario! Many coalitions in Ontario have worked relentlessly to educate urban people to the effects of Industrial wind turbines. Dr. Arlene King our Chief Officer of Health has refused to talk to even one victim in Ontario. She prefers to rattle off bias statistics from a wind company brochure! Her mandate is to investigate any and all complaints about commercial and industrial health impacts! Her and McGuinty should step down. There are rumblings that rural Ontario would like to SECEDE from Ontario. Can you blame them!
Wind has destroyed the economy in much of Europe! When I went to Business school, we were taught to copy success not failure!

As more and more European Countries are stopping the wind subsidies as they have reported that for every 1 green job 2.2 jobs are lost! Investors are fearing that the renewable energy bubble will burst!

It might be worth all the investment and loss if wind turbines where in fact green. But they are NOT green. Conventional gas and coal must run constantly to back up the intermittent and inefficient turbines! This uses even more coal and gas and causes even more emissions.

Ask yourself this. If the wind turbine industry could reduce emissions anywhere in the world, do you not think that headlines proclaiming that would be splashed across newspapers around the world???

Germany boasts shutting down a nuclear plant but is opening 26 new coal plants. Ontario wants to shut down coal plants but wants to open 2 new gas plants to support wind!

Smoke and mirrors, lies and half truths. 410 coalitions in 27 European countries have marched in protest to wind power. In Ontario there are over 60 counties that have passed a resolution asking for a moratorium. They were refused at Queen’s Park!

McGuinty is hell bent for self destruction at our expense. So that he can appear to be Green, the only thing green is all the money the mostly foreign wind power companies are making off the backs of Ontario taxpayers.

Do some research and save Ontario…..Your Grandchildren will thank you.

13 years ago

I believe Tom Adams has a good point in his new article “Resisting Green Constitutional Mayhem”. The only way out of this green energy quagmire may be through the courts. The question is: do we act now, or wait until more damage is done?

13 years ago

The ‘theatre of the absurd’ energy situation in Ontario just took an even more bizarre twist. Apparently, the OPP are now calling and visiting people who have the temerity to question wind energy, under the guise of maintaining ‘public safety’. As you have written several intelligent and fact-based posts about wind, that would definitely qualify you as a “resistor’. Read this article and weep.

Steve Aplin
13 years ago


Thanks for the heads-up. So far, I haven’t had any contact with the “authorities” regarding this issue—and hope I never do.

BTW, see this comment from Norm Rubin of Energy Probe on EP’s opposition to the FIT for renewables: