Ontario Progress on Renewable Energy

The Ontario Power Authority has a report that provides data on the amount of renewable energy that has been deployed, and the amount in the pipeline, since they first began awarding contracts. It makes for interesting reading.
First some context. When I started in the wind business in 2000, coal provided 29% of Ontario’s power. Wind and solar contributed virtually nothing. Nuclear was 37%, waterpower was 26%, and gas was 7%. In 2010, coal provided 8%, nuclear 55%, Hydro 20%, wind 2.3%, and gas 13%. Our reliance on coal had dropped by a stunning 73%.

Interestingly, the demand for electricity in 2000 was 147 TWh. In 2010, it was 142 TWh, a decrease of 3.5% from a decade earlier, despite a bigger GDP, and population. Conservation measures clearly work.

As of August, the installed capacity of wind, solar, biomass and waterpower had all increased from 2010. So the supply from these sources will increase as well. In 2011, I estimate that wind will supply 3%, biomass 1%, and solar less than 1/2 of a percent. That is about 4.5% of supply. But there are a lot of projects in the pipeline. In just a couple of years, wind will supply an additional 4.75%, biomass .7%, water 2%, and solar 1.6%. That is a total extra 9% over the next few years from new renewable energy projects. This supply already has contracts.

And that is just enough to take out coal, without increasing emissions.

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