Ontario sold power at a loss on Earth Day

By Antonella Artuso, Canoe News

TORONTO – Ontario was paying other jurisdictions to take its electricity on Earth Day.

“That’s the way we celebrate Earth Day in Ontario,” energy consultant Tom Adams of tomadamsenergy.com said Monday.

Ontario exported power to neighbouring utilities at a negative price for the final two hours of Earth Day – minus 0.09 cents per kWh for one hour and minus 0.023 cents per kWh for the second.

Alexandra Campbell, a spokesperson for the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), said demand on Easter weekend was at its traditional low, so the province exported 3,230 megawatts of electricity late in the evening Friday.

The negative export price is not available to regular Ontario consumers.

Residential ratepayers in the province pay the market rate for electricity plus a special provincial global adjustment to cover extra costs, such as the guaranteed prices Ontario has agreed to pay some producers of clean energy like solar and wind.

Adams said the province has been struggling with an oversupply of electricity – as potentially dangerous to the stability of the system as a shortage of power – for much of the past week.

“Ontario has become a gigantic exporter of power … there are some time periods where we rival Hydro Quebec,” Adams said. “We are buying high and selling low. We sell at low prices, sometimes negative prices, power that is costing consumers substantial amounts to have produced in the first place.”

Given that the province pays some generators even if their electricity is not needed, it’s also possible that hydro ratepayers picked up the tab for power that was never produced, he said.

Adams also suspects that hundreds of megawatt hours of the province’s greenest, cheapest electricity production may have been deliberately not used over the past week, including on Earth Day.

Supply at the Ontario Power Generation’s Niagara, Ont., facility fell dramatically as it frequently does during periods of negative pricing, suggesting that water was diverted from its turbines to lower output, Adams said.

The system is increasingly turning to Niagara when it needs to quickly rid itself of excess power, he said.

Neither the IESO nor OPG could immediately confirm that Niagara had diverted water from its turbines Friday, although spokespeople for both organizations said Monday that it was unlikely.

8 thoughts on “Ontario sold power at a loss on Earth Day

  1. High feed-in tariffs created a demand for useless wind turbines which in turn produce un-needed electricity. All paid for by Hydro customers through their electric bills.

    Correct me if I’m wrong in understanding Tom Adam’s information?

  2. Crazy indeed! Hopefully a new government will have wind and solar producers` power purchased ONLY when it is required to top up a shortfall from other energy suppliers. The wind and solar producers would take the hit for their power sold at very low prices or they would shut down their generation until it was needed.

  3. The people of Ontario should be outraged by this information. We can only hope that Mr. Tim Hudak gets this information out in a public forum. I expect to see full page ads that allow this story to be told. I have written a letter to Mr. Hudak and included this article. Also sent it to every member of our Council in my Township. I explained that the wind industry led us to believe that”The people of Europe are very happy with their wind power” Then last year we found out that there are 457 coalitions in Europe that oppose wind power because they have been paying more for power that is sold cheaper to other countries. NOW, due to so much opposition, subsidies have been slashed in much of Europe.

  4. Jay Dee,

    The more wind and solar that is added to the system will only multiply the the financial problems that are already showing up.

    Useless wind turbines that don’t supply a reliable source of electricity anyway will place a financial burden on Ontarians that will force the people into energy poverty and in addition there are all the health problems associated with them.

  5. More IWT history, Apr.23,2006

    the Watt Podcast 54
    http://www.thewatt.com/?q=node/96

    Has written transcript of discussion between Ben Kenny and Paul Gipe about IWTs.
    Read what Paul Gipe had to say about the wind industry in Ontario as well as Canada.

    Also has podcast available.

    More information about how Ontario got into the IWT situation.

  6. Any guesses on how much today will cost us given the winds blowing?

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