New projections that 28 per cent of Ontario’s power will come from wind, solar and biofuel by 2040 are being dismissed by an independent energy analyst.
A new report by the National Energy Board concludes that the recent shutdown of Ontario’s coal-fired power plants, including the Lambton Generating Station near Sarnia, and upgrades to its nuclear plants – that includes the massive Bruce Power complex near Kincardine, the world’s largest operating nuclear plant – will provide a major boost to Ontario’s renewable and natural-gas fired electricity generation.
The 28-per-cent figure for wind, solar and biofuel generation is four times higher than what those three sources of green power contributed in 2015, when wind supplied six per cent of Ontario’s power and solar and biofuel about one per cent.
“That is way out there – far beyond even what the Ontario government, at its most fanciful, anticipates,” said energy analyst and researcher Tom Adam.
Despite Ontario’s controversial plunge into wind power, most of which is based in Southwestern Ontario where the largest number of wind farms are found, wind energy still accounts for only eight per cent of the province’s energy mix, according to its Independent Electricity System Operator.
Cost and mix of electricity in Ontario have come under a harsh spotlight in wake of a report by the provincial auditor general last year that found Ontarians paid $37 billion extra for power over the last eight years because of the Liberal government’s decisions to ignore its own planning process for new power generation projects.
Bonnie Lysyk found the electricity component of power bills rose by 70 per cent from 2006 to 2014, with the province going against the advice of its own power planning authority, and warned power rates will keep climbing, costing consumers another $133 billion extra over the 17 years.
Adam said suggesting wind, solar and biofuel generation will quadruple in the next 24 years shows a lack of appreciation of the massive impact of the generation already in place on the electricity system.
The trouble with wind and solar, Adam said, is that most of the power is generated when it is least needed, forcing Ontario to cut back hydro-electric and nuclear generation and sell surplus power to the United States at a fraction of what it’s paying for it.
“The timing of delivery is horrible. The most active hour for production of wind power is between one and two o’clock in the morning,” Adam said.
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