Infra-red water faucets are now a fixture (pun intended) in many public washrooms. Everybody appears to have bought in to the conservation mantra: use as little as possible. Chief among the purveyors of the conservation ideology are the mainstream environmental organizations. These groups also push for renewable energy in the form of wind turbines and solar panels. Do they know that Ontario is, right this moment, wasting huge amounts of water because of wind turbines?
At the bottom of this post are two tables comparing the electricity output of Ontario’s 49 hydro generators with that of its 18 wind farms. The first table shows daily generation from May 1 to May 8; the second shows hourly generation on May 4 (last Saturday). I put the Hydro and Wind columns next to one another for easy comparison. You will note that generally increased wind output at night corresponded with lower hydro output. This is because of grid rules that favour wind. That is to say, when wind starts blowing and wind turbines produce more electricity, the market rules mean that other generators must throttle down so the grid doesn’t blow up.
The kicker is, wind costs at least 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, and hydro costs at most 4 cents. In other words, hydro costs less than half what wind does, but the rules say that wind gets priority.
Why does wind get priority? Because, according to mainstream environmental lobbyists, wind is “free” and wind power comes with no carbon emissions.
But running water is also “free” and hydro power also comes with no carbon emissions.
And if wind is really “free” then why does the cheapest wind cost us ratepayers more than double the price of the most expensive hydro?
The answer is, wind is a very unreliable and inefficient energy source when it comes to making electricity. If the owners of wind turbines received even half what they get for their cheapest output, their electricity would still cost more than the most expensive hydro. But they would go out of business. That is because their turbines are simply too inefficient, and make too little electricity: they couldn’t make enough revenue, even at the “low” rate, to be economically worth while. The only reason wind turbine owners are in the wind generation business in the first place is because the government forces you, me, and all other Ontario ratepayers to pay them ridiculously high prices.
Moreover, the government forces us all to buy this inferior product even when a much better and far less expensive alternative is available. As has been the case with hydropower over the last while.
And the mainstream environmentalists, who love all this water conservation stuff, support these rules—even though the rules mean hydro plants are currently wasting not cups but millions of cubic meters of water!
So there you are: this is just the latest environmentalist disconnect of the day. This is a crazy mixed up world.
|Daily Ontario electricity generation by fuel, May 1-8 2013, megawatts|
|Hourly Ontario electricity generation, megawatts, May 4 2013|