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PostPosted: January 4th, 2016, 9:33 am 
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You would have thought they would have learned what happens to Politicians when they act like harper.

As new electricity technologies are moving production into developed areas and small personal producing systems are becoming mainstream they continue to make it easier for large producers to use public resources (crown lands) at give-away costs.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commenta ... icity.html

Jeff

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PostPosted: January 4th, 2016, 10:32 am 
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Here come the dams. Never mind that the province produces an excess of electricity and has to sell that off at dirt-cheap prices, they're clean and green on TV and what's good for the environment makes voters happy.

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PostPosted: January 6th, 2016, 12:41 am 
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It's the star. Consider the source, and the politics of the source.


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PostPosted: January 6th, 2016, 10:29 am 
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C. Potvin wrote:
It's the star. Consider the source, and the politics of the source.

Not totally sure what you mean... the Star has generally been friendly to the provincial Liberals, so their criticism is noteworthy I would say.

On the flip side of course, the disclaimer says the author of this piece (whom I don't have previous knowledge of) has been an intervenor at the OEB, so to some extent he's speaking in defense of a function that he himself has served.


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2016, 11:56 am 
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Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
I don't know what will happen up in Canada, but the proliferation of low cost hydro--and to a lesser extent higher priced wind in Maine--is contributing to an enormous effort to build new transmission lines across the Maine/NH/VT borders from Quebec and New Brunswick to serve the southern New England market. I suspect this is due more to Quebec and Labrador development than Ontario.

In the bigger picture, cheap hydro from Quebec reduces the competitiveness of greener options like solar, wind, and (especially) reduced demand through more efficient appliances and fixtures.

Here in Maine, we get socked all ways. (1) We already wrecked virtually all our rivers with hydro development in the 20th century, and are a net exporter of power much of the time; (2) We pay very high electric rates by being in the same market with the rest of New England, where price is generally set by natural gas; (3) We are seeing aggressive development of ridge-top wind in the more remote parts of Western Maine; and (4) We get to have our north woods further mucked up by a bunch of new transmission lines.

There is no free lunch, and surely some of these projects are necessary, but up here we sort of feel like an energy colony to send our "clean" wind and hydro south, and also host the transmission lines to send your "clean" hydro through us, too.

On the other hand, with the world price for oil and decline of natural gas production off the Maritimes, the proposals for new natural gas and oil pipelines seem to be drying up, and a lot less people think sending Canadian oil by rail through Maine is a good idea since the Megantic disaster.

Locally, solar panels have reached the point that payback times for home installations now ALMOST make sense as an investment--and at least don't have you losing money if you choose to do the right thing. The low oil prices may change that as electricity prices continue to drop. At my house, we will look hard as PV solar when we need to replace our roof, which should lower the installation cost if we combine the two jobs.

That's maybe 2 years out.


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PostPosted: August 23rd, 2016, 7:39 am 
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Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics at University of Guelph, is Research Chair, Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
Financial Post
National Post -
10 August 2016

THE MORE THE WIND BLOWS, THE BIGGER THE LOSSES AND THE HIGHER THE HIT TO CONSUMERS.. You may be surprised to learn that electricity is now cheaper to generate in Ontario than it has been for decades. The wholesale price, called the Hourly Ontario Electricity Price or HOEP, used to bounce around between five and eight cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), but over the last decade, thanks in large part to the shale gas revolution, it has trended down to below three cents, and on a typical day is now as low as two cents per kWh. Good news, right?

It would be, except that this is Ontario. A hidden tax on Ontario’s electricity has pushed the actual purchase price in the opposite direction, to the highest it’s ever been. The tax, called the Global Adjustment ( GA), is levied on electricity purchases to cover a massive provincial slush fund for green energy, conservation programs, nuclear plant repairs and other central planning boondoggles. As these spending commitments soar, so does the GA.

In the latter part of the last decade when the HOEP was around five cents per kWh and the government had not yet begun tinkering, the GA was negligible, so it hardly affected the price. In 2009, when the Green Energy Act kicked in with massive revenue guarantees for wind and solar generators, the GA j umped to about 3.5 cents per kWh, and has been trending up since — now it is regularly above 9.5 cents. In April it even topped 11 cents, triple the average HOEP.
So while the marginal production cost for generation is the lowest in decades, electricity bills have never been higher. And the way the system is structured, costs will keep rising.

The province signed longterm contracts with a handful of lucky firms, guaranteeing them 13.5 cents per kWh for electricity produced from wind, and even more from solar. Obviously, if the wholesale price is around 2.5 cents, and the wind turbines are guaranteed 13.5 cents, someone has to kick in 11 cents to make up the difference. That’s where the GA comes in. The more the wind blows, and the more turbines get built, the bigger the losses and the higher the GA.

Just to make the story more exquisitely painful, if the HOEP goes down further, for instance through technological innovation, power rates won’t go down. A drop in the HOEP widens the gap between the market price and the wind farm’s guaranteed price, which means the GA has to go up to cover the losses.

Ontario’s policy disaster goes many layers further. If people conserve power and demand drops, the GA per kWh goes up, so if everyone tries to save money by cutting usage, the price will just increase, defeating the effort. Nor do Ontarians benefit through exports. Because the renewables sector is guaranteed the sale, Ontario often ends up exporting surplus power at a loss.

The story only gets worse if you try to find any benefits from all this spending. Ontario doesn’t get more electricity than before, it gets less. Despite the hype, all this tinkering produced no special environmental benefits. The province said it needed to close its coal- fired power plants to reduce air pollution. But prior to 2005, these plants were responsible for less than two per cent of annual fine particulate emissions in Ontario, about the same as meat packing plants, and far less than construction or agriculture. Moreover, engineering studies showed that improvements in air quality equivalent to shutting the plants down could be obtained by simply completing the pollution control retrofit then underway, and at a fraction of the cost. Greenhouse gas emissions could have been netted to zero by purchasing carbon credits on the open market, again at a fraction of the cost. The environmental benefits exist only in provincial propaganda.

And on the subject of environmental protection, mention must be made of the ruin of so many scenic vistas in the province, especially long stretches of the Great Lakes shores, the once pristine recreational areas of the central highlands, and the formerly pastoral landscapes of the southwestern farmlands; and we have not even mentioned yet the well- documented ordeal for people living with the noise and disturbance of wind turbines in their backyards. We will look in vain for benefits in Ontario even remotely commensurate to the damage that has been done.

The province likes to defend its disastrous electricity policy by saying it did it for the children. These are the same children who are now watching their parents struggle with unaffordable utility bills. And who in a few years will enter the workforce and discover how hard it has become to get full time jobs amid a shrinking industrial job market.
Electricity is cheaper to make than it’s been for a generation, yet Ontarians are paying more than ever. About the only upside is that nine other provinces now have a handbook on what not to do with their electricity sector.


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