We are in damage control here in Texas – “the oil and gas capital of the world” according to the Texans. It is a major blow to the proud people of this state that they could not keep the power grid working in the epic winter storm of Feb 2021. Having rolling blackouts and loss of power is something that happens in a California heat wave, not something that happens in Texas.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers — representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 680+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 8 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.
The supply in Texas – installed capacity as listed on ERCOT:
This is the list of power providers for McAllen and a large part of the Rio Grande Valley – https://shop.comparepower.com/enrollments/#/compare/78501/10/500/0/0/00///0/0
Hopefully, you can get this link open because the providers state the portion of their power that is from “green”. As you scroll through you notice that some providers are .12% green, some 6% green, some near 20% green and some 100% green. Would you like to tell me what happened to the households that are 100% dependent on “green” energy in the last ice storm? We are in McAllen, Texas and some of our neighbours 3 kilometers to the north have been without power for five days now and they expect that they might have power as early as Friday!
The people in these communities are struggling – struggling to stay warm, struggling to keep the taps from freezing, struggling to cook food and struggling to prevent the food in the freezers from going bad, struggling to communicate because the internet is down. Some are using their vehicles to provide warmth and recharge batteries and cell phones.
Because we have all been running our taps to prevent them from freezing, the water pressure is down and the city of Edinburg (482,000 people) is under a “boil water” advisory. Fire trucks are having difficulty because without water pressure they are restricted in putting out fires. The city of Donna (16,500 people) has lost water pressure and they will be under a “boil water” advisory as soon as the water supply returns.
Because we operate on a “just in time” delivery system some of the major food stores can not get food delivered. Their delivery tucks can not get fuel because the gas stations can not pump fuel when they have no power. And most people saw the 130 car pile up south of Houston on Feb. 11 – one week ago, so the roads are treacherous. With the delivery system affected stores are running out of milk, bread, eggs and meat. But we do have toilet paper this time!
The distributors are in damage control and everyone is blaming someone or something else. Rule #1 The chain breaks at the weakest link!
Power suppliers that counted on .12% ‘green’ energy kept the lights on, the water running and heat in the households. Power suppliers that counted on 100% ‘green’ failed as soon as the wind turbines iced over and were taken offline. These providers were left scrambling – looking for additional power supply as were most others.
Because they have independent power providers here in Texas, each little company runs their own system. They do not pay for spinning standby like we do in Ontario where we pay power generators to not produce. Here if you need more power for your company you have to find it. For the power producers that could actually increase their supply it was a bonanza! Charge what ever the market will pay and the cost per MW went form $25/MW in normal times to as high as $7,000 per MW. (A 28,000 % increase in cost – I saw one report of $9,000 per MW)
The demand exceeded the supply and simply put they could not keep the lights on. The providers could not find the power they required or could not pay the price – or chose not to pay $7-9,000 per MW for the power they required. This failure certainly has a component in the decision making that is economic.
This is what happens when you install an intermittent power system, eventually you reach a tipping point where you are not able to provide reliable power and the system collapses like a deck of cards. This is what happens in California in a heat wave or Texas in freezing conditions. The lesson to be learned is that if you destabilize the power grid with intermittent, unreliable power generation that fails in a summer heat wave or a winter polar vortex you will eventually have a catastrophic failure.
A Concerned Citizen
Texas and neighbors hit hard by a severe winter storm due to polar vortex conditions causing temperatures to plummet dangerously low. The States’ self contained electrical grid faces collapse as generators not properly winterized become frozen. A state of emergency is declared while residents and businesses are plunged into prolonged electricity blackouts. People being left to face the harsh winter conditions for days without electricity and for some it results in deadly consequences.
Wind turbines frozen and back up generation from natural gas hampered. The spot price of gas soars by thousands of percent in cost while the blame game and finger pointing reaches a fevered pitch.
“The problem is Texas’s overreliance on wind power that has left the grid more vulnerable to bad weather. Half of wind turbines froze last week, causing wind’s share of electricity to plunge to 8% from 42%. Power prices in the wholesale market spiked, and grid regulators on Friday warned of rolling blackouts. Natural gas and coal generators ramped up to cover the supply gap but couldn’t meet the surging demand for electricity—which half of households rely on for heating—even as many families powered up their gas furnaces. Then some gas wells and pipelines froze.”
The Political Making of a Texas Power Outage; How bad energy policy led to rolling blackouts in the freezing Lone Star State; WSJ Opinion, February 16, 2021
“ERCOT said the supply of natural gas to power plants is being limited and some wind turbines are frozen. So, keeping up with the amount of power being used across Texas is even more difficult.”
Rolling power blackouts turn into lengthy outages in Texas as energy demand reaches record high; Fox News February 15, 2021
GREEN ENERGY vs JUSTICE
A second peer-reviewed manuscript relating to the CCSAGE legal case has been published and is available on line. Entitled Ontario’s Green Energy Policy vs. Social Justice, the manuscript was largely based on the documents written to support the CCSAGE legal case. It has the stated objective:
To explore the development and implementation of Ontario’s Green Energy Act and the outcomes on social justice and risk of harm to Ontario residents. To provide examples of government actions taken to achieve its goals, and the occurrence of consequences, whether intended or unintended.
In memory of Alan Whiteley
Whiteley, A., &Dumbrille, A. (2021). Ontario’s Green Energy Policy vs. Social Justice. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 9, 447-486.https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2021.91033
Received: December 22, 2020
Accepted: January 26, 2021
Published: January 29, 2021
Echauffour wind operated by Voltalia has been ordered to shut down its 5 industrial wind turbines based on findings found in an acoustics report produced by Venatech. The report highlighted persistent non-conformity. The wind project began operations in 2019 and is located in Normandy, France.
Christine Royer, the sub-prefect of Argentan acting as Mortagne-au-Perche made the decision which specified that the restart of the installation will be conditioned only with the realization of the installation meeting its obligation to operate within standards. Such a decision maybe a first in France.
The project has been the subject of complaints from adjacent residents since it began operations.
Echauffour. Le parc éolien est mis à l’arrêt par décision préfectorale; January 22, 2021
“To go mad or mad”
Annick Bouttier, a resident of Echauffour, testifies to her health problems:
“For a little over a year, I have been subject to many health problems like many other Echauffouriens, in particular vertigo (hospitalization in February 2020, because vertigo more and more violent), tinnitus 24 hours a day, even pains in the ears (I no longer know the silence), my nights are summed up to about 3 hours (fatigue and exhaustion are there, impossible to recover), headaches … well, I am very healthy. gone to a glass of health!
Since March 2020, confinement requires, and teleworking, the problems have intensified, in June 2020 a videonystagmographic examination (VNG) did not detect anything abnormal, and there we start talking to me about my environment, my place of life to come up with a possible “wind syndrome”, some people are supposedly more sensitive than others. To go mad or mad. And still what am I complaining about, I’m not in Val Soubry! “
V.C.Wind turbines. “Echauffour is the archetype of the environmental scandal”, August 10, 2020
Renewable energy’s Achilles heel is variability and intermittency. Electricity is generated in the wrong place and at the wrong time. The latest push is to use of battery storage to overcome these fundemental flaws. Southern Ontario is part of this global push and Parker Gallant gives his opinion about claims of cost savings.
Battery Storage will Save Ontario Ratepayers as Much as $760 million and Hell is about to Freeze Over|by: Parker Gallant|January 23, 2021
It appears, those who monetarily benefited from the GEA imposed on Ontario’s ratepayers by the McGuinty led Ontario Liberal Party in 2009 are back seeking more ratepayer dollars.
NRStor and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) have teamed up in an effort to obtain a contract from IESO. The latter, SNGRDC already have a significant portfolio of investments in 13 wind and solar projects including the 230 MW Niagara Regional Wind Farm. NRStor was founded by Annette Verschuren, former CEO of Home Depot and NRStor’s claim to fame is “energy storage” and as such they received several contracts from the OPA (absorbed by IESO) under the GEA. A former senior executive of IESO, Kim Warren is one of the three members of their Board of Directors and he presumably still has some pull within IESO.
It should be obvious that both SNGRDC and NRStor have benefited greatly from the contracts they received from the IESO to the detriment of Ontario’s households and businesses of all sizes and sectors—but they want more!
NRStor appear to be a Tesla agent in Canada and it is probable the project currently in the planning stages will use Tesla’s “Megapack” battery storage for the jointly owned “Oneida Energy Storage Project” (OES) which is a proposed 250MW/1000MWh storage facility.
Driving up Electricity Costs with our Tax Dollars
The OES is not the only “energy storage” project in the early stages as TC Energy, who sold their Ontario gas plants to OPG last year are also in the process of seeking a contract to create a “pumped storage” 1000 MW unit in Meaford, Ontario using water from Georgian Bay. Needless to say, the locals in and around the chosen site are fighting hard to preserve the local landscape and the affected area of Georgian Bay! In TC Energy’s case one should suspect they are trying desperately to obtain “carbon credits” to help offset the upcoming rising costs of both the “carbon tax” and the “clean fuel standard” (another tax) the Justin Trudeau Government has undertaken. Those taxes may make TC uncompetitive with other global energy companies.
The opportunity to make money in the “OES” case is twofold in that they will purchase power when the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) is low and sell it back either at a contracted price or when the HOEP is higher during high demand hours. One assumes they also want “carbon credits” they can sell to others for additional revenue.
Insofar as the two partners of the OES are concerned it looks to be simply a means to obtain more ratepayer dollars! In NRStor’s case the benefit will accrue to their new New York owners, Blackstone Energy Partners who purchased them in the spring of 2020 and is itself a subsidiary of Blackstone with $571 billion in assets under management.
Examining the Project Overview suggests in addition to the promise to save us ratepayers $760 million the energy storage project will also result in a “4.1 Million tonne reduction in CO2”. Not sure how buying surplus energy in Ontario that is basically emissions free will save those 4.1 million tonnes but if they say it’s a perfect solution, we should suspect both politicians and public bureaucrats will be swayed by those claims. One wonders if the politicians and bureaucrats recall the words of George Smitherman, former Ontario Minister of Energy when he told us the GEA would only raise electricity rates by 1% and it would create 50,000 jobs! His claims were praised by many ENGO at that time. Ontario’s ratepayers are well aware neither promise came to pass!
It is evident already that politicians and bureaucrats are excited about the OES project. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities had the CIB (Canada Infrastructure Bank) sign an MOU with OES and shouted out: “Renewable energy projects in partnership with Indigenous communities – like the Oneida Energy Storage project with the CIB, Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation and NRStor – are a great example of how our economy will grow in the future and how forward-looking investments can help Canadians achieve their economic and environmental goals,” One should assume the Minister and the bureaucrats at the CIB did not bother to determine the emissions required to manufacture the batteries nor the cost of recycling them!
It also appears from the “Project Review” that perhaps some politicians and bureaucrats in Ontario have also endorsed the project as Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Minister of Indigenous Affairs issued the following statement: “Ontario is uniquely positioned to take advantage of energy storage solutions and I congratulate the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, NRStor and the Canadian Infrastructure Bank on this important project milestone today.” To top that off IESO receives many laudatory mentions in the OES review suggesting their plan to secure a contract will be an easy one with the help of Kim Warren’s inside knowledge.
For some reason the review uses 2017 data which is now quite dated. It also notes; “Ontario’s Auditor General has confirmed using forecast data from the IESO that the province is expected to continue to experience on average 2.8 TWh of Surplus Baseload Generation (SBG) per year from 2022-2032”. Bearing the foregoing in mind, one wonders why adding storage of that surplus, storing it for several hours and then selling it back at a price higher than purchased will somehow save us overburdened ratepayers $760 million? Buy low, sell high, appears to represent an additional cost to ratepayers while rewarding OES!
The OES appears to be simply another Trojan Horse* that will serve to further undermine the Ontario economy!
* The Trojan Horse is a story from the Trojan War about the subterfuge the Greeks used to enter the independent city of Troy and win the war.
Credit: Parker Gallant
The sales pitch;The tech is finally ready and a big energy storage project is set to unlock benefits for all Ontarians|Toronto Star|January 23, 2021
It’s about time!
“A promise made on the campaign trail by Doug Ford in May 2018 to conduct a health hazard investigation on the possible contamination of private water wells in the North Kent Wind farm area is about to be met…..”
Chatham Daily News|January 21, 2021| Province to begin testing water wells in North Kent; COVID-19 prevented previous investigation from getting off the ground
Letter to Editor| Published January 19, 2021|Cornwall Standard-Freeholder
An open letter:
On Jan. 12, the Government of Ontario declared a state of emergency to address issues of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Doug Ford stated the government is following the advice of the chief medical officer of health for the province, Dr. David Williams.
In North Stormont, the Nation Rise Wind project, comprising 29 3.44-megawatt Enercon wind turbines, is being constructed and it is anticipated they will become operational soon.
People in our community and beyond believe the Province of Ontario should not be permitting a project such as this, given our understanding of the adverse effects expected to result by operating industrial wind turbines in residential neighbourhoods.
We continue to advocate the project should be terminated and the disastrous wind-energy program of Ontario and the harm it has caused to people should be investigated in a public inquiry format.
I wrote to Williams about this and received his email reply on Nov. 26, 2020. He wrote:
“Studies show some people find the sound level of wind turbines annoying.”
In correspondence to a local physician in October 2019, our local medical officer of health, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, wrote: “wind turbine noise is a “nuisance…”
In Canada, no business should be permitted to disturb the peace and security of our homes and threaten and injure the people in our communities.
A medical officer of health should be trying to prevent these adverse health outcomes; instead ours are ignoring and downplaying the disaster about to hit. This causes a loss of confidence about the advice these public health officers provide to the leadership of the Ontario government
Ford and Minister of Health Christine Elliott need the people of Ontario to buy in to their pandemic program and the restrictions they are attempting to impose.
As long as these politicians continue to overlook the bad advice they get about industrial wind turbines, they are less likely to achieve the support of the people of Ontario
Letter to Editor; published January 19, 2021 Cornwall Standard-Freeholder