There’s a simple way to understand the real story of electricity generation in Ontario – as opposed to the bafflegab coming from Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals.
Go to www.ieso.ca, the website of the Independent Electricity System Operator, and look at the graphs at the right hand side of the page marked “Energy Demand” and, below that, “Generation By Fuel Type.” From that, you’ll learn three things Wynne and Co. are loathe to tell you about electricity generation in Ontario.
1. Nuclear power is the backbone of our system and will be for generations to come.
2. Contrary to their claims, the Liberals aren’t replacing coal power with wind, but with natural gas.
3. Wind power, despite its massive cost and the fury it has ignited in rural Ontario because of the dictatorial way the Liberals imposed it, actually supplies an inconsequential amount of electricity. (Solar is even smaller.)
While the numbers vary day to day, right now (12:30 pm, Friday, July 5), the ieso.ca website says we’re using 19,479 Megawatts (MW) of electricity, with peak use of 19,941 MW expected at 4 p.m.
At this moment, nuclear power is providing 11,629 MW of electricity; hydro 4,686 MW; natural gas 1,963 MW; coal 2,107 MW; wind 77 MW, other sources 174 MW.
The fact we’re using coal at all may strike you as odd, given that former premier Dalton McGuinty promised in the 2003 election that brought him to power to eliminate it by 2007.
But then again, maybe not, since it’s just another broken Liberal promise.
That said, the Liberals have significantly reduced coal power, and now say they will eliminate it by the end of 2014, but not by using wind.
What the Liberals have actually done is to replace coal with natural gas. (Natural gas, also a fossil fuel, burns more cleanly than coal.) Which brings us to wind power, and the fact that never has so much been spent by so many – us – to generate so little electricity, so inefficiently.
The ieso.ca website explains while Ontario now has “more than 1500 MW of wind generation capacity connected to the province’s power grid” – with much more planned for the future – alas:
“Unlike some other generation sources, wind farms cannot be called upon to generate specific amounts of megawatts on demand. Wind power generation is dependent on weather conditions, temperature and even the season.
“From month to month, wind capacity (the amount of energy actually produced compared to the amount the turbines are capable of producing given perfect conditions) can vary.” This is why wind can’t replace conventional energy sources – it’s incapable of supplying base load power to the grid on demand – and has to be backed up by conventional electricity generation.
What’s really happened is that the Liberals are using natural gas to replace coal, and as a backup for the tiny amount of wind we use.
Because wind is so inefficient, the only way to make it economically viable is to do what the Liberals have done.
They’re forcing us to pay inflated prices for it on our hydro bills, for 20 years, and forcing us to buy wind power first, even though we don’t need it, because Ontario has an energy surplus, due to its beleaguered manufacturing sector.
This means we dump less expensive (and “green”) hydro power, for example, or sell it at a loss to Quebec or the U.S., to pay for wind.
To be fair, the Liberals inherited a mess in the energy sector. Hydro rates were going up anyway because successive governments of all political stripes failed to maintain and upgrade the system.
But what the Liberals have done is waste billions of dollars of our money on the useless boondoggle of wind, when they could have achieved the same environmental results through the use of nuclear power and natural gas, which is what they’re really doing anyway. Idiots.
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