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|
To be technically correct, the water is not wasted (it still exists); its gravitational energy is.
well okay… to be totally precise, we’re wasting the temporal interaction of water with gravity!
If you want to see Niagara in all its glory pick a spring or fall day
when the wind is blowing in Ontario.
Both friday and saturay wind picked up during the night and peaked at close to 50% of capacity. We spilled water and it appears reduced nuclear to accomodate and still drove the HOEP into the negatives.
And the Liberals in the last couple weeks gave contract offers to NextEra for two more large projects (70 turbines or so)adjacent to Lake Huron. That’s smack in the midst of where two major migratory flyways converge. This province has gone nuts.
Well, the Water Conserwation Campaign is a disaster as well. I know how its been in Germany where I live. Water Consumption has been cut by 50% or so, which sounds nice,the problem is that the sh… I mean feces dont get flushed properly and get stuck in the calalization. Regulary special maintenance squads must clean the canalization with hektolitres of water under high pressure in places where it never was necesary before. The concentrated waste speeds korosion up, so more repairs are necesary than before.
In short, instead of using something that falls for free from the sky in a plentiful amount, we are now having a costly repair and maintanance problem, resting mostly on the shoulders of those who have been to poor to instal water saving equipment, and not those who are responsible for the problem, because they are conserving water.
And all of this in a country that didnt have a shortage of water. Because of what? Solidarity with countries that have water shortages?
Don’t get me started on water conservation. My city, Ottawa Canada, is next to a river system that empties into the ocean. The conservationists would rather see that water just flow into the ocean than see it do a proper job of dealing with our waste. So now every PR-conscious retailer has installed either those infa-red toilets that don’t let you courtesy-flush or the low-flow types that as you describe don’t efficiently do their job of carrying away the waste, thereby foisting onto some low-status employee the degrading and ongoing task of scrubbing the “waste” off the inside of the bowl. There’s nothing like cleaning the toilet bowls of the environment-conscious rich that better lets you know how low your status is.
I also can’t stand those infa-red sinks that during the long cold Ottawa winter only dispense ice-cold water. Every time I go through that, my sense of self-righteous environmental superiority almost, just almost, outweighs my irritation at all the useless symbolic posturing the “greens” have persuaded us to adopt.
Obviously, Ottawa needs to mine some tunnels beneath the city and build a bunch of CANDUs down there to supply low-pressure steam for DHW and space heat as well as electricity.
Or maybe just a bunch of Slowpokes.
“Do they know that Ontario is, right this moment, wasting huge amounts of water because of wind turbines”
Thank you for proving the point about “decrepit arguments”!
What’s your point? That it’s better to spill water and pay double for the same thing but from an unreliable source, because the owner of that unreliable source can’t make a profit unless he gets at least double?
Steve, get a grip, I’m from Ireland and we don’t pay any taxes for water that is provided to domestic households, a disgrace in my opinion. It rains in the west of this country more than anywhere in the world, that doesn’t make it free. It cost’s the country €1.2 billion a year to clean water so we can shit in it. Another disgrace. The problem I have with people who don’t like conservationists, and I am a conservationist, is you’re all to connected with materialistic bullshit and you’d rather have more money than a clean river flowing through your city, you think of nothing but yourself. Do you even know how much energy it takes to clean water so you can drink it? Seriously nobody is wasting the water, you have the whole importance of water the wrong way around.
Mark, thanks — but give the water economics a cursory runthrough and you’ll see that it’s much cheaper to just clean all of it that comes into your house than to engineer two parallel systems, one potable and the other not, and run ’em both to and from your house. If you don’t like the €1.2 billion you’re paying to clean all the water, you’ll like the greater amount for health care to deal with the waterborne diseases even less.
But that’s not the point of my article. The point is, the same conservationists don’t mind wasting low-cost energy so they can make us all pay for their politically correct but low quality energy. And the kicker is, wind requires fossil backup and therefore a parallel fleet of fossil generators. That’s not less, that’s more.