Tom Adams, Financial Post
Careless environmental ideology was a root cause of the blackout that cut off power to tens of thousands of Toronto homes, businesses, and institutions for several hours during rush hour on Monday this week.
Although a full technical report on the event is not yet available, it is clear that some transformer station equipment at the Manby transformer station in west Toronto failed. Transmission planning experts have long identified a failure at Manby as a known risk to the reliability of Toronto’s electricity supply. Three years ago, the Ontario Power Authority published a transmission plan for the province that included a detailed scenario analysis for a failure at Manby almost identical to Monday’s event. Unfortunately, that transmission plan got shelved, replaced by government directives to support more wind and solar generators.
Transmission experts have also long recognized that the power transmission network upon which Toronto depends is the most vulnerable to blackouts of the type experienced on Monday of any major financial centre in North America. Toronto’s special weakness is its lack of local transmission system redundancy.
The transmission system serving downtown Toronto is operated at its limit, with no capacity to spare. As a direct result, maintenance schedules are squeezed or eliminated, a factor that may well have played a role in initiating the event. The ability of grid operators to transfer load from one transmission path to another in the event of failures is severely limited, a factor that directly determined the scale and duration of the blackout. The large number of customers blacked out and the duration of blackout was a function of the system’s flawed design. Read article