There has been much press regarding the health issues and Wind Turbines, but I would like to address their impact on energy strategy and management in Ontario. I will focus the two key regarding the connection of Wind Turbines to the grid: (i) do they sustain and improve the reliability of power? (ii) do they provide value for money? Let us now examine power management in Ontario.
Anyone who manages a business knows it is vital to match supply with demand. An over-supply, particularly in the face of stable or declining demand, results in selling product at fire-sale prices. The Ontario government pays rich prices to foreign corporations to install Wind Turbines and bring large amounts of power generation capability on stream. Observe that presently in Ontario business activity is flat or declining. The predictable result of more Wind Power is that the province does indeed sell this over-supply at fire-sale prices; sometimes it actually has to pay our electrical neighbors to take our excess! Even so, the price that I personally pay per kilowatt-hour has doubled in 3 years.
Hourly Management of Supply and Demand:
Power demand fluctuates significantly hour-by-hour every day. Nighttime demand is about half of daytime peak. Demand province-wide is measured every 5 minutes, and power generation sources must adjust their generation to match demand exactly. Failure to do so is catastrophic.
Wind Power fails to match demand:
With the Ontario Feed-in-tariff (FIT) program, Wind power completely fails to match these hourly fluctuations. This makes the task of keeping the power running continuously exceedingly difficult. Wind Power is frequently at its greatest at night when demand is low and at times absent during the peak demand. This places a much larger burden on nuclear and hydro to match power generation to demand.
Impact on conventional sources:
This sporadic nature of Wind power now pushes the flexibility of the conventional power sources beyond their original design capabilities. Overnight over-supply caused by Wind power has already caused the costly shutdown of one nuclear unit. When this occurs, these units each take at least 72 hours to restart. Immediately following overnight shutdowns, the demand quickly rises in the morning thus requiring the rapid turning-on of coal and/or gas turbines to meet the peak, in the absence of the shut-down nuclear unit(s). A possible daytime drop off of Wind Power further exacerbates the difficulty.
Likelihood of Blackouts:
More Wind Turbines will cause the shut down of more nuclear units, thus increasing the probability of daytime blackouts. Such blackouts will be directly attributed to the failure of Wind Turbines to match demand. By 2015 the evidence indicates that nuclear shut-downs will occur frequently. The only possible actions will then be: (i) keep gas turbines running on standby and/or burn more coal to fill the daytime shortfall, (ii) pay the wind generators to stop sending power. Both options are exceedingly wasteful and costly and are the antitheses of ‘greening’. Note also that because Wind can not match demand, conventional generating capacity must still be built for the peaks! So Ontario consumers pay twice for generating capacity. Thus the Wind power is excessively costly whilst providing minimal benefit.
The continuing implementation of Wind Turbines and the FIT program fail miserably on both the critical issues I named. The damage is most clearly visible on the electricity bills of families and businesses across Ontario. Ontario electricity rates are now 2nd highest in Canada (PEI is 1st). These high prices are driving and will continue to drive businesses out of Ontario causing further hardship. There are now many other world jurisdictions that are taking rapid steps to stop Wind power. It is urgently necessary for Ontario to do likewise.
Sincerely, Mike Osborn, Meaford
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