Ontario’s power problem

Toronto Star   by Andy Frame, a former senior adviser on electric utilities in the Ontario Ministry of Energy, is a consultant in the electrical power industry.

The McGuinty government has a major electrical power problem, one created by its decision to use the power system as a political policy tool. This policy has resulted in the doubling of rates in Ontario to a level higher than in most U.S. states. Ontario’s former industrial advantage has disappeared, while the government has been pretending that nothing is wrong.

Now it has issued its “Long-Term Energy Plan” (LTEP) that addresses some of these problems but still makes major mistakes.

In 2003, it was decided to begin closing all coal-fired generation plants, without having any plan to replace the lost generation. Closing the three large coal plants — Lakeview, Nanticoke and Lampton, with a total generating capacity of about 8,000 megawatts — stimulated the decision to go green with environmentally friendly renewable sources such as water, wind, solar and biomass.

The government ignored the fact that cleaner coal options were available and that coal generation was reliable 24/7. Wind and solar are intermittent — when the wind blows and the sun shines.

And the green initiative also required high capital investment, so money was committed to pay for energy from windmills and solar panels, with the cost added to your hydro bill.

The government’s electrical power problem today has three major aspects: demand, supply and cost.

The economic recession of 2008 reduced demand, providing the government with time to make decisions on major new generation. Overall, load dropped 20 per cent in 2008, led by the forest industry (down 60 per cent) and mining (down 40 per cent). In 2010, we are seeing some recovery. The October 2010 industrial load was up 4.4 per cent over October 2009. The announcement last week in Sudbury by Vale-Inco of a multi-million-dollar investment means new jobs and the beginning of recovery in the mining sector — and new load for the power system.

In the province’s latest economic statement, electrical growth is forecast at one half of 1 per cent per year for the next five years. But the Ontario economy is heavily reliant on exports to the United States, such as lumber for housing, so the demand for power could increase in Ontario if the U.S. housing sector bounces back and there is a general economic recovery.

Other segments of the load are increasing as well. New schools, hospitals, condos and office buildings all have air conditioning and other power demands. Immigration adds new power consumers.

The government could be very wrong about growth — but it is certain that your electricity rates will go up 46 per cent in the next five years.

Turning to supply, the decision to shut down coal generation for environmental reasons was made in haste, without considering alternatives or the problems that result from providing replacement power. In Europe, coal gasification has become a major source of supply. Called “cleaner coal,” it results in lower emissions — much less than what blows over Ontario from Ohio Valley coal plants. If coal plants were converted to cleaner coal, existing transformer stations and transmission lines could still be used.

The program for new low-emission gas turbines requires sites that can accommodate new transformers and transmission lines and have a convenient gas supply. These new sites are a major problem, as the government learned when it had to cancel a plant in Oakville because of community anger. The government will have to settle with TransCanada PipeLines, which had a contract to build and operate the plant for 20 years. Millions of dollars will be paid for liability costs — all on your hydro bill.

With the new LTEP, however, the government has suddenly seen the benefits of existing stations. While Lakeview was demolished, and no consideration given to using gas turbines there, the new policy sees merit in “continuing the use of existing electricity generating assets.” Natural gas and biomass are mentioned.

When the government committed itself to encouraging wind and solar power, it authorized the Ontario Power Authority to buy wind and solar energy at rates up to 10 times higher than the selling price of conventional energy. This major investment for wind and solar power, hidden in your hydro bill, produces very little energy.

In 2010, projected use is 142 terawatt hours (TWH) — 1 terawatt hour equals 1 billion watt hours. But the installed solar panels will supply only 2 TWH and windmills 10 TWH, or only 7.8 per cent of the projected supply. And wind isn’t dependable; the system is supplied with power only when the wind is blowing. On a very hot afternoon in June, when we all turn on our air-conditioning units, we have a system peak. The records show there is very little wind on these hot days. We are paying a high capital cost that contributes very little when help is most needed. Does this make sense?

In the LTEP, the emphasis is still on creating capacity megawatts with no mention of the delivery of energy in megawatt hours. Additional capacity is useless if energy is not delivered when the customer needs it.

On the other hand, the government has seen the benefit of new hydroelectric supply with plans to increase capacity to 9,000 megawatts, up from the existing 6,000. This water power can deliver energy 24 hours a day and is very good for adding capacity and energy delivery at peak times.

As for costs, until Nov. 18 all the costs of the green energy program were buried in your hydro bill. Now the government is trying to make you feel good by cutting hydro bills by 10 per cent. But you will still pay these costs — on your tax bill.

The electrical power bill has more than doubled under the McGuinty plan because of all of the green projects. But feel-good green energy initiatives won’t help Ontario industry. It needs lower power rates to keep costs under control and maintain jobs.

The government ignores this problem and says green power is good for the environment — forget about the cost and pay your ever-increasing hydro bill. The voters will send Premier Dalton McGuinty an answer on election day 2011.

Andy Frame, a former senior adviser on electric utilities in the Ontario Ministry of Energy, is a consultant in the electrical power industry.

30 thoughts on “Ontario’s power problem

  1. “In the LTEP, the emphasis is still on creating capacity megawatts with no mention of the delivery of energy in megawatt hours. Additional capacity is useless if energy is not delivered when the customer needs it.”

    Frame raises a good point.

    IWTs do not create energy for us when the winds are not blowing–as is normally the case on hot, hazy and humid summer days.

    Likewise when it is extremely cold and strong winds are howling–the IWTs have to be shut down–again–nothing but eyesores on the landscape!

    It will be interesting to read tomorrow’s opposing viewpoint from Gideon Forman of the Association of Physicians for the Environment.

  2. Oh – but it will be interesting……. if only to see if he is referred to, once again, as DOCTOR Gideon Forman! (which, of course, he is not!)

  3. I would like to become membership secretary for the Canadian Association of Knights of the British Empire for the Environment – CAKBEE ….so I will continually be referred to as LORD PECV.

  4. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily Dalton’s in a dream!

    Yeah, his dream, our nightmare!


  5. Ya know…

    Ontario hasn’t had a problem with “electricity” for probably 70 years or longer.

    We have however, had a multitude of problems with “power” for probably the last twenty years! However this was “political” power meddling with the electrical variety! All political stripes were involved and it predates Mike Harris.

    Although to be fair and accurate…

    To err is human, to screw things up requires a computer, to cause terrible disaster of biblical proportions is CLUELESS LIBERAL human who probably doesn’t know how to use a computer!

    So, how do we get that to stop?


  6. I am surprised that Andy Frame is so excited about the added hydro-electric supply. While it is the ultimate when called upon to generate, he must also realize that Ontario is not Quebec or Manitoba when it come to future hydro generation sites. The only really large sites are in northern Ontario and will flood massive areas while affecting 1st Nation inhabitants in the flooded areas and downstream. This could be devastating to their lifestyle as witnessed by the Whitedog tribe and will be a bottomless well of payments by the government to them. There is also opportunites to “double up” on the Mattagami plants north of Timmins, but we are already using all of the water. This will be expensive in terms of capital used to build the generation and transmission that will be necessary to get it to the GTA, not to mention the environmental issues. Small hydro is possible in some areas, but there are more issues attached to developing them as there are sites with profitability not being the least of them unless we pay outlandish GEA FIT fees to these developments. Oh, and lest I forget, there is the hydro-electric generation we could buy from Quebec, Labrador, or Manitoba. Transmitting this power over the distances required will be a challenge that will cause system stability problems and costs that might exceed the cost of the exorbitant GEA fiasco. Just like wind energy, when it was first proposed, it sounds so great at first blush. There is a reason that Ontario Hydro stopped developing these sites. Very good reasons.

  7. Gideon Forman… Why am I not surprised…????

    “Mr. Forman holds a Master’s degree in philosophy from McGill University. He interned at The Nation – America’s oldest weekly journal – and studied creative writing at the Banff Centre for the Arts.”

    Creative Writing….


    That would certainly cover the egregious errors he made in his piece.

    His best piece of creative writing is this line.

    “Coal plants are inherently harmful while wind turbines are not.”

    I vote for this quote for number two…

    “When you burn fossil fuel, you produce toxic by-products. In fact, at their peak Ontario’s coal plants emit the greenhouse gases of 7 million automobiles. The plants also release lead and mercury (brain poisons), dioxin (an endocrine disrupter), chromium and arsenic (carcinogens), and sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide (which cause acid rain). Even if you capture and store these chemicals — and they’d need to be secure for thousands of years — there’s always the possibility they will escape. After all, storage doesn’t destroy them, it only takes them out of circulation.”

    He included lead, sulphur, nitrogen, arsenic, mercury and zinc — all natural elements. Either directly or indirectly these elements sustain human life or are used by us to sustain civilization.

    I remind you that scrubbers on coal plants cost far less than “fantasy windmills” and actually deliver as claimed.

    Greenhouse gases of seven million automobiles? Really? A citation please!

    As for sequestering these elements for thousands of years — why not just use them? We currently mine thousands and even millions of tons of these elements for every day use.

    It is unfortunate that the director did not include elementary science in his course load.

    The editors of the Toronto Star should be ashamed that they have printed such alarmist clap trap. Perhaps their excuse is that they know no better.

    The level of education of Toronto Star editors must be abysmal indeed. Perhaps they need to hire a consultant to fact check their articles — even for the most elementary of science information.

    There is much more, but why bother? A letter to the star would certainly fall on deaf ears.

  8. One of Gideon (Giddy) Forman’s problems is clearly that he is not Web Literate…

    Here is the wikipedia link to sulphur (sulfur) showing some of the commercial uses of sulfur.


    (Google Webmineral Dot Com for another source of mineral and element information)

    You can click on the elements on the bottom chart and get information about each of the elements he named…

    Pb = Lead

    Arsenic for example…

    Medical use

    During the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, a number of arsenic compounds have been used as medicines, including arsphenamine (by Paul Ehrlich) and arsenic trioxide (by Thomas Fowler). Arsphenamine as well as Neosalvarsan was indicated for syphilis and trypanosomiasis, but has been superseded by modern antibiotics. Arsenic trioxide has been used in a variety of ways over the past 500 years, but most commonly in the treatment of cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration in 2000 approved this compound for the treatment of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia that is resistant to ATRA.[30] It was also used as Fowler’s solution in psoriasis.[31] Recently new research has been done in locating tumours using arsenic-74 (a positron emitter). The advantages of using this isotope instead of the previously used iodine-124 is that the signal in the PET scan is clearer as the body tends to transport iodine to the thyroid gland producing a lot of noise.[32]


    For even more entertainment — look up Nitrous Oxide (N2O) in Wikipedia. Note the Medical Uses.

    And look up Nitric Oxide as well. (NO) (Hint: Oswald Process)

    If we have to sequester these chemicals for thousands of years — why do we produce and use them?

    The answers are out there — and they are easy to find.

    I leave the rest to the interested reader.

    …and please — no more graduates of creative writing courses as “directors” of supposedly science based organizations.

    Feel free to complain to the Toronto Star and the CAPE organization. (I’ll bet they wear masks with their CAPES — to hide their beet-red embarrassed faces.)

  9. On another note. I found the source of the seven million cars off the road comment…

    Here it is in the December 2008 Edition of The Ontario Reliability Outlook by IESO:

    “Replacing coal will represent the single largest greenhouse gas reduction initiative in North America – equivalent to taking almost seven million cars off the roads.”

    Link here: See page five LH side (Page 7 of 24 in the PDF)


    There is only one minor issue. The statement is completely unsupported. No references — no calculations – no explanation.

    Now IESO normally does an excellent job. They slipped on this one. I suggest the with draw the document and issue a public correction and apology — or simply support the claim. One or the other.

    This request is important. Literally billions of dollars are being spent because of an unsupported claim. Peoples lives are being ruined (As documented here and by Wind Action). We also have to ask how much industry and manufacturing is being damaged by overpricing of electrical energy because of this assertion and apparent misinformation.


  10. I tracked the quote through the “Clean Air Alliance”

    This document. (Page 1 of 4)

    “Ontario’s coal phase-out is the single largest greenhouse gas emission reduction initiative in North America – equivalent to taking almost seven million cars off the road.2”

    Footnote 2:

    2. Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), The Ontario Reliability Outlook, (December 2008), p. 5. Available online at: http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/siteshared/pubs_library.asp?sid=ic

    The link is no longer good — just search for the title at the IESO site.

    As for the rest of the misinformation in that document see the scientifically based statistically accurate documents produced by Dr. Ross McKitrick at his weebly site — linked elsewhere.

    For those who recall — his document refuting the effects of Ontario Coal Generation showed that back-casting using the methodology presented would have produced more deaths than actually occurred due to all causes in previous years when air pollution was much worse. In other words their methodology is likely unsound and hence the predictions are not valid.

  11. I don’t know why I’m even bothering to do this but…

    From Gideon Forman’s piece:

    “Wind isn’t perfect but its problems aren’t in its very nature; they have to do with where the technology is placed.”

    This is actually TRUE of residential, retail wind energy. As for the industrial variety…Why are these being erected too close to people, public transportation infrastructure AND directly on a provincially and federally recognized bird conservation area (Wolfe Island)?

    “No one argues it can replace fossil fuel on its own but it’s a vital component of a smart mix that should include solar energy”

    CanWEA DOES! In spite of the fact the attempt has been an abject failure in every jurisdiction that has tried it without exception. Empirical data overwhelming suggests industrial wind has NO redeeming qualities whatsoever!

    “It’s also worth noting that on some days wind’s contribution to the grid is actually greater than coal’s.”

    Yes… “SOME DAYS” indeed! DAMN FEW I think!

    WHAT A CROC! The awake among you will note that NOWHERE in this piece [of fantasy] does Mr. Forman mention natural gas! I wonder what “high-profile group of health organizations — including the Ontario College of Family Physicians, the Asthma Society of Canada, the Lung Association, and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario” have to say about THAT!

    If industrial green energy wasn’t causing such vast environmental and economic damage, Gideon Forman could be numbered amongst Canada’s foremost COMEDIANS!


  12. Now I find that the good citizens of Manitoba are being cheated… (Check my Math please…)

    According to this Canadian Chamber of Commerce in “Canadian Energy A Valuable Resoource”, May 2009:

    “Canada’s largest wind farm is slated for development in southern Manitoba. The project would generate 300 megawatts of electricity from 130 turbines and would bring the province one step closer to achieving its goal of developing 1,000 megawatts of wind power. Environmental benefits include displacing 800,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 145,000 cars off the road.”

    OK — 300MW — 145,00 cars…

    Ontario will shut down 2195 MW of Coal production (I am not counting the 2,400 at Lakeview because the claims were made after the shutdown.)

    So 2195MW/300MW = 7.31666R So we should shut down the equivalent of about 7.32 times more cars than Manitoba… That is 1,060,916 cars.

    We seem to be off by a factor of 7. (700%) Remember the claim that shutting down our coals plants would get rid of Seven Million Cars?

    Well — my math skills were never that good — somebody else may see the answer here…

    But here is the point. If we can’t agree on how many “car equivalents” we take of the road — and math varies by 700% on the calculations — why are we doing this as we have no idea as to the actual “value” of the investment — at least in “Green Terms”.

    Anyway — maybe my arithmetic is wonky or the air is worse in Manitoba. It’s possible.

  13. The link for the Chamber of Commerce Piece.


    Happy reading.

    Oh yeah: Go right to the back and check the list of references — conspicuous by their absence. ..and the calculation tables instead of references? I missed them too!

    Oops — it does reference Canwea (50) for the stats on wind. Thing is — no document showing the provenance of these statistics showed up on a google search. I’ll look harder.

  14. All right — enough fooling around — let’s go right to the horses er mouth — yeah the mouth.

    In this document: Wind Power Realities — Getting the Facts Straight — a Pembina Institute document listed on the CANWEA site we find the following…

    “In an average year, a single wind turbine (1.8 MW) will produce 6,000 MWh
    of electricity, or enough power for more than 750 Canadian homes. Using this
    wind turbine rather than burning coal to produce electricity will leave 2,700
    tonnes of coal in the ground and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6,000 tonnes
    annually. That’s equivalent to taking 1,260 cars off the road or planting 30,000 trees.”

    Let’s assume that they are correct — they invented the GEA — so it must be the horse’s mouth (yeah mouth) right?

    OK first there are 1.8MW * 24Hr X 365 Days = 15,778.8 potential MWHrs available. Based on a 30% capacity Factor that would give us:

    4,733.64 MWh of likely production — not the 6000 they state. So much for 750 homes. But since the output is intermittent — the IWT will not power 750 homes — it is an equivalent number and likely to be 4733/6000 X 750 = 592 equivalent homes anyway. But that aside… let’s use their numbers as gospel for the rest.

    According to them using this one turbine will take 1,260 cars off the road — so they must have accounted for the capacity factor.

    Lets compare energy output to energy output….

    The Coal plant: 2,200MW * 24Hr/day X 365.25 Days/year = 19,285,200 MWH of Energy Pretty impressive running full out — eh? (It doesn’t run that much)

    Let’s use their number first 19,285,200 MWH / 6000MWH = 3,214.2 Turbine equivalents. (That is 2.68 more turbines than we currently have installed.)

    All right each of those turbines gets rid of 1260 cars — right? So: 3214 * 1260 = 4,049,892 cars — not seven million.

    Let’s use the more realist 30% capacity factor.

    19,285,200 / 4,733.64 MWh = 4,073 turbines. That would mean 5,132,942 car equivalents.

    OK interesting result. Using more turbines will take more car equivalents off the road? I don’t think so…

    Well they were the ones that related it back to 6000 MWH of production. So if we look at it that way we can get two different results — depending on whether we use their capacity factor, or a realistic 30%.

    Think about it. If the turbine produces less electricity it will take more car equivalents off the road.

    Clearly ZERO turbines would remove an infinite number of cars from the road.

    All right enough fun — clearly we should just be looking at the 6000MWH and focusing on the real number of turbines. So more realistically (assuming a 30% capacity factor is realistic), it would take 4073 turbines to replace that coal plant.


    I will note again that wind turbine output is near zero on many days — so maybe 40,000 turbines is the right number — assuming that we have no zero output or near zero output days — and that is not likely.

    So the real number — according to Pembina is clearly:

    3214 * 1260 = 4,049,892 cars — not seven million. (Since there are 3,214 blocks of 6000 MWH units being examined)

    However may I be so bold as to point out that they did not provide a source for their emissions numbers. They leave it to us to research where their number came from. But still that is only 57% of the seven million car equivalents claimed. So we still can’t see where these numbers came from.

    And one more small point: Are their numbers correct on the emissions?

    And one more thing…. lot’s of days the coal plants provide only 200-400MW of power at any moment, some days (these days) they don’t even turn them on due to the economic downturn)… So this comparison business is really tough. And THAT is my real point!

  15. David, my brain hurts. You know as well as many of us that wind turbines do not replace coal, so the effort in comparison to houses, cars and coal is not only wrong but all fantasy. A lightning bolt could produce the equivalent of 1 TW but so what as it lasts 30 microseconds, is unpredictable and unreliable. Sounds a bit like IWTs doesn’t it? It can be debated as to exactly what portion of the 30% wind power is captured as another reliable power source is running to provide the amount needed. The amount in excess of what is needed has to be removed off the grid by any means possible. Curtailment does not only mean power production is reduced but includes the process used to not connect readymade power onto the grid to ensure grid stability. Power is wasted. IWTs are a waste of effort as no reduction of other power generation can be identified as a result of having wind there. The need for additional power generation can be identified (gas).

  16. Dalton, Brad, Dwight…..When can we see the details of the $7.5 Billion UNTENDERED Contract that was given to Samsung by the Ontario Liberal Government…I know that there were no jobs guarantees but if it’s a good deal then we should be allowed to see the details….Your hesitation to open the UNTENDERED Contract for public viewing leads us to believe that there is something to hide..We need transparency when your Government spends huge sums of Taxpayer monies…

  17. Zen:

    You’re missing the point.

    They are making their claims based on pollution reduction. It seems though that the claims are completely unsupported by calculations (modeling) or by data (empirical evidence). Why is this? Why the lack of scrutiny?

    Let’s suppose that you had the opportunity to present to one of the Executive Council. Do you suppose that they would demand proof of your claims. Do you suppose that Gideon Forman would be requested to back up his claims? Why not? Is he presumed to be a doctor, a voice of authority? Is that an accepted debating/reasoning tactic? The strength of his representation would appear to be his skill in “Creative Writing”. Should we committing billions of dollars on his say so? Should we be making a claim against the doctors that hired him to make the case? Ultimately the doctors who belong to CAPE are responsible for his statements. Wudn’tcha think?

    Let’s suppose that you wanted to put an article in the Toronto Star –do you suppose that they would ask you for proof of your claims?

    Let’s suppose that you are permitted to write an article for the Toronto Star and you are not required to support your B$ claims and your fantasies.

    Do you think that that just might demonstrate (or support the claim of) media bias? Hmmm???

    Give me some reasonable answers on those issues if you don’t like playing with the arithmetic. (I won’t dignify my posts by referring to it as “math”.

    Is this more clear?

  18. David, David, David…

    You keep this up you’ll make everyone’s brains hurt!

    You are trying to apply facts and logic to pure fantasy. Not even Chaos Theory can do that!

    I have provided some references with regards to CO2 content of both coal and gasoline in response to your question in another thread. Unfortunately, it has little to do with wind turbines.

    At least the math will work!

    kumbaya my dear David, kumbaya. Kumbaya my dear David, kumbaya. Oh, oh, kumbaya… (I may have omitted a kumbaya or two)



  19. “You are trying to apply facts and logic to pure fantasy. Not even Chaos Theory can do that!”

    That is a mathematical topic worthy of consideration. (One of a class of NP problems — in a way.) I am qualified to comment on that — but here is not the place.

    How about the question I put to ZEN — can you deal with that?

    And just to tweak you since I know you can do it… how about the number of cars off the road. Is that even close to reality? Is it off by a factor of three — using their method…? I have been waiting for someone to question that.

    If nobody answers — Ill post the short one paragraph explanation later….

  20. OK Here’s the deal. I used the (rough) standby figure of 2200MW.

    Coal stations:

    Atikokan: 211MW
    Lambton: 950MW
    Lennox: 2100 MW
    Nanticoke: 2760MW
    Thunder Bay: 306MW
    Total 6327

    That’s about three Times greater than the 4Million Cars figure I determined — so why aren’t they claiming that they can get rid of 12 Million cars by shutting down coal. Heck, if we include Lakeview they could have claimed they were getting rid of 15 million car equivalents? So why not make that claim?

    If technology has improved on cars (and it has) why not double that number? Go for a claim of 32 million car equivalents…

    Maybe the pollution control for the coal plant is far better than claimed and it is one half or one quarter the number of car equivalents claimed.

    That’s the problem with unsubstantiated calculations. You can see how I did mine — simple arithmetic, addition and subtraction — a couple of ratio calculations here and there.

    But what is the source of the 6000MWH number? I have no idea. Without the ability to check that and compare it to the “pollution” output of our plants we can’t verify anything.

    And that’s the problem — we’re tossing $100Billion dollars around on unsubstantiated numbers. And yes — I did work out the cost previously, and then added in the latest extravagances.

    So why doesn’t “Giddy” have to prove his numbers? Can anyone tell me?

  21. BBW:

    Are you suggesting I am a ZEALOT?


    Well, the point is that unless you state all the assumptions you can’t do the calculations and make the statements made by Giddy-boy — or any of the others.

    If you can do the calculations without stating all the assumptions it is way beyond my pay grade. I’ll stick to NP problems for amusement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NP_%28complexity%29

  22. David is only trying to point out that faulty or even false data is supplied to the MSM and it is accepted as truth without ever checking it out. This has been gotten away with for years.

    People pushing the green agenda like to use big numbers to fool the public.

  23. Well David I’m sure you’re a LOT of something but I’m certain it isn’t a ZEA!

    Knock yourself out on those NP problems…

    Forget payscale; those are way above my brain-scale !


  24. David, now you have something stuck in MY brain! Those damn NP equations and algorithms….


    I was thinking about them all the way home (Wee, wee, wee!) Anyway, I had seen something similar before and couldn’t quite nail it… Similar inasmuch as it is another attempt to mathematically quantify the un-quantifiable: Then I remembered; -FINANCIAL DERIVATIVES!
    I think it was a TV documentary…

    Anyway, it is beyond my abilities but you can go here for some brain-food:




  25. BBW:

    It’s not just for economic forecasting. There is an IWT connection!

    If you want to forecast wind — there is a regular component that you can forecast quite easily — large high/low pressure systems and the like. However there is a random element that cannot be forecast. You would use stochastic methods — like the Monte Carlo to refine the forecast and try to take into account the somewhat random nature of wind and weather systems. For example — you know that a storm system will be followed by a period of calm — you can forecast that with close to 100% certainty. What is more difficult is to forecast the time — again you get a decay curve — but –there is still a random element as to exactly when the wind will drop below a usable value and how fast the system will move across the region.

    This random element is what I think made IESO give up on using the current (and new) crop of of generators as “wind fill in devices”. It is quite difficult to decide what capacity to have on line and then align it with the but or take contracts.

    As Scott and JR Wakefield have persuaded me — much easier to ignore it and export it. Especially since we have (mostly American?) contracts standing by to take almost all surplus power — if the price is right.


    Non-deterministic systems. i.e. wind is not completely predictable so you have to use these methods to get the ultimate in “predictability”. Elementary my dear Dr. Watson.

  26. David…

    With these methods and algorithms you invariably end up wth a “yes” result even in a “no” situation!

    I am reminded of some peculiar method of statistical analysis whereby multiple data plots are randomly sampled at the same point in an obviously futile attempt to decribe the entire mass of data…

    I kew there was a reason I didn’t persue a career in math!

    My sister did! Now she is a stay at home mom with a degree in computing science and mathematics from Waterloo and a degree in teaching from Ottawa U.

    Go figure!

    Me, I went from a BURP-y (Big, Unintellectual Rural Person)
    to a YUPP-y

    Although, I still BURP a lot!

    Go figure


  27. BBW:

    “With these methods and algorithms you invariably end up wth a “yes” result even in a “no” situation!”

    Funny — I never had that problem. But then it’s what I do for a living is that type of math backing the design work.

    Maybe it is how you approach the problem. I can definitely give you any answer you want backed by math and science — if I cared to. Some of us still believe in honesty when we do our analysis and design work. Suggesting anything to the contrary could be viewed as fighting words. 🙂

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