Record Wind Production

Yesterday most likely had record wind production in Ontario. It was an unusual situation – there was wind across the province, from Sault Ste Marie, to Kingsville, to Wolfe Island. And when that happens, the coal plants are virtually turned off.
The wind turbines listed on produced an average of 781 MW. But there is more wind in Ontario than just on that site. For some reason, the output from Port Alma, a 100 MW facility has not been displayed there for a few days, and any sites smaller than 10MW are never displayed. There are about 150MW of sites smaller than 10 MW, including Sky Generation’s sites. Sky Generation’s 21.6 MW produced an average of 20.37 MW for the day, for a capacity factor of 94.4% for the day. We probably averaged over 1000 MW of wind production per hour across the province.

It wasn’t just wind at work, though. Demand was low – it is a Saturday, and the weather didn’t require heating or air conditioning. But also important was that the nuclear units were all working except for one.

So what happens on a windy day, with low demand, and high wind? The coal sat in piles. We burned enough to generate only 117 MW per hour, out of a possible peak of over 6500 MW. And we didn’t use much gas either, averaging output of 1039 MW per hour. And much of the gas generating capacity that we did use was co-generation – where the electricity generated is produced in conjunction with the production of process steam – a very efficient process. And also important, we were able to allow water to accumulate behind some of our waterpower facilities, to be used to generate electricity when we return to work and the temperature rises on Tuesday.

Wind can have a profound effect on how much fossil fuel we burn to make electricity. Install enough of it, and the fossil consumption and emmissions will drop even on less windy days.

On a further note, it is good to see the Gosfield wind project is beginning to produce power. Brookfield Power has been working on this project almost as long as I have been in the business. It is good to see them bring it to production. Congratulations!

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