When you apply the most basic laws of nature to wind turbines – no wind, no spin – it’s clear why they haven’t been producing much electricity during this week’s heat wave. The blades are as still as the air.
On Thursday morning there was enough wind power being produced in Ontario to supply the small city of Woodstock (pop. 35,000).
Rural residents could be forgiven for wondering why they’ve had to watch their regions torn asunder by the wind turbine controversy for such little gain.
To be fair, a communications staffer from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) pointed out it isn’t always thus.
Martine Holmsen, manager of communications for IESO, said wind power would make its biggest contribution to the grid during winter and the shoulder seasons.
But on Thursday morning (demand and generation vary hour to hour) wind at 62 megawatts (MW) was producing .26% of demand of 23,210. That demand is well below the peak of 27,005 recorded in August 2006.
Even at full capacity current wind installations are capable of producing only 4.3% of Ontario’s capacity.
Nuclear produces the majority of Ontario power with hydro, coal and natural gas rounding out the top four.
Even with these wind numbers, the IESO website tells us that Ontario is at the forefront of wind energy in Canada, with more than 1,500 MW of wind generation capacity connected to the grid. More than 1,100 MW of new wind projects are expected to be added by next summer.
Which shows the McGuinty government created the great rural-urban divide for next to no gain.
But it wasn’t just McGuinty since the government continues to push wind developments.
Here’s Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO): According to the latest press release from Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, “everything old is new again,” if we are to believe any of the diatribe contained in it.
On July 15, 2013, hour 17, the wind turbine generators were producing 47 MW of power, less than .2% contribution to peak demand of 24,025 MW.
WCO says “not to worry though as the Ontario Power Authority has contracted for an additional 3,000 MW of wind development and when they are up and running Ontario might get as much as one half a per cent from wind generators on those peak summer demand days.”
Perhaps because of that miserly production Minister Chiarelli suddenly became aware that the “old” energy plan has severely harmed Ontario, WCO said.
That evidence may have convinced him that if he simply relabels the plan as the “new energy vision” things will get better.
In the release he has discovered conservation and given it his “top priority” perhaps recognizing that wind isn’t the panacea environmentalists had promised.
Opponents of wind power fall mainly into two camps. First are those who oppose wind factories of any kind because of their high costs, contributions to health problems and low return to Ontario taxpayers.
Others support small-scale wind power developments that aren’t rammed down the throats of rural residents.
You’d think the tiny contribution wind is making to the province’s power demand during this hot spell would take the urgency – and the heat – out of the debate over new wind factory developments.
However, with the provincial government committed to high price renewable energy agreements with offshore companies, that kind of common sense is unlikely to prevail.
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