Hydroelectric Power Sacrificed for Wind Power

Dear Editor,

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: Horseshoe Falls and Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station - hydro-electric generating plant - photo by M.Torres
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: Horseshoe Falls and Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station – hydro-electric generating plant – photo by M.Torres

While preparing to make a presentation to Haldimand County Council against the Townsend Wind Farm, I was reviewing the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) annual reports for 2013 and 2014 and discovered a bombshell. Despite an availability rate of 91% at our hydroelectric generating facilities and multibillion dollar investments made to expand them, it is the first to go when facing a surplus baseload power situation (SBG). It is only getting worse as more wind turbines are deployed. The loss went from 1.7 TWh (Terawatt Hour) in 2013 to 3.2 TWh in 2014. To put it in perspective, the new tunnel at Niagara Falls that cost us $1.5 billion has the potential to increase production by 1.5 TWh, which is able to supply 150,000 homes per year.

“Generation reductions at hydroelectric stations for SBG management will often result in spilling of water. As dispatching hydroelectric units down to reduce production is the first measure the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) uses to manage SBG, OPG’s hydroelectric generation was significantly affected, reducing generation by approximately 3.2 TWh in 2014.” (OPG 2014 Annual Report)

This practice was exemplified during the first five hours of October 3, 2015 when wind power exceeded hydroelectric power for the first time. Four cents/kWh power was exchanged for 13.5 cents/kWh power. Wind power is largely responsible for the $1.6 billion we lost exporting power in the first ten months of 2015. Frequently, I’ve seen wind power go up and hydroelectric power go down and vice versa at the IESO website.

OPG is largely compensated for their lost production at our expense. Nothing like paying for something twice.

The Ontario Liberal Government is contracting for even more wind power. The only thing wind power reduces is the lowest costing green power, the power that made this province great–hydroelectric power.

Grant Church,

Cayuga

 

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