By Ron Hartlen, Owen Sound Sun Times
Mr. Oliphant’s letter revealed either a complete failure to understand the technical issues, or a blatant ideological and political attempt to mislead the Public. There is a fundamental mismatch between the demand on Ontario’s system, and the availability of wind power. When we need the wind to displace coal, it’s often not there; when it is there, we often don’t need it because we wouldn’t be burning any coal anyway. This mismatch between the system-demand and availability-of-wind is in fact a fundamental characteristic of Ontario.
Nothing can be done about it without storage capability; the storage technologies will cost more than the wind turbines; so the cost of wind power will go through the roof. Adding more wind capacity will create an increasing intermittent excess of unneeded power, and make the grid system more and more difficault to manage.
Ontario already has a very clean generation mix. In 2011, coal accounted for only 2.7% of Ontario’s generation, and much of this was essential for “ramping” to match rapidly-changing demand. Between 2008 and 2011 coal generation fell by 19.1 TWh, from 23.2 TWh to 4.1 TWh. Over the same time, wind generation increased by only 2.5 TWh from 1.4 to 3.9 TWh. And much of that increased wind would have occured when we weren’t burning coal anyway. So the increased wind generation contributed next to nothing to displacing coal.
If Canada’s Doctors are so concerned about medical effects of coal, perhaps they should do something toward helping people in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia know precisely when they are at risk, and what to do about it.