Russia, Gas, and Electricity

March 17th, 2014

US Republicans have been asking President Obama to fast track liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals to allow North American gas to flow to Europe on an accelerated basis. The thinking is that this will relieve some of the strain on Europe in the event of disruption of Russian gas due to the Ukrainian crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

Update on Gas Supplies

March 13th, 2014

Gas in storage continues to decline at an alarming rate. Natural gas in storage has dropped to 1,000 billion cubic feet. This is 49% below the same time last year, and 46% below the 5 year average. Gas in storage dropped by 195 Bcf last week. Last year in the same week, the gas in storage barely dropped.
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Ontario Power Generation’s Efficiency

March 10th, 2014

People in the utility often talk about the efficiency of power production. But one measure of efficiency is output per worker. OPG has just released some facts about the company for 2013.
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Something Strange in Ontario Electricity Markets

March 2nd, 2014

The last few days have seen very unusual things happen in electricity markets. Prices have soared, we have been importing large amounts of electricity, and we have left our natural gas plants idle. Prices today have been as high as 24 cents/kWh – more than enough to power up a natural gas plant, by a factor of probably 3. What is going on? Read the rest of this entry »

Cost of Climate Change

February 26th, 2014

The cost of climate change is becoming clearer. Anyone who thinks the weather isn’t getting strange must live – well I don’t know where they live, because our strange weather is happening pretty much everywhere. And the financial cost is very real.
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Baseload Nuclear Plants

February 11th, 2014

Utilities, and the anti wind crowd often like to talk about the importance of “baseload” generation to an electricity system. Baseload generation is generation that is supposed to run 24/7, and provides level output. The anti wind crowd also like to talk about the need to build back up generation for when the wind doesn’t blow. But what about nuclear? How is it at providing baseload, and what sort of backup does it need? Read the rest of this entry »

Cost of Wind Energy in Ontario

February 4th, 2014

The OPA has released some information about electricity costs, as well as reams of other data they gathered as part of the Long Term Energy Plan. Critics of wind energy, especially the Conservative Party, have blamed it for the increase in power prices. But what are the facts? Read the rest of this entry »

Wind Works

January 29th, 2014

This has been a very difficult winter in Southern Ontario. I am missing an appointment today due to road closures. The energy grid has been stretched in some cases beyond breaking. The Toronto ice storm left people without power for more than a week. New Brunswick had similar problems. Newfoundland had brown outs and rotating blackouts, and a longer outage for some as they ran short of power due to equipment failure, and very high demand. Quebec Hydro asked people to curtail or delay consumption due to a strained electricity grid during one of the cold snaps. 4000 folks in Manitoba were without natural gas due to a pipeline explosion. Propane is in short supply in the US northeast, and Ontario and Quebec, and prices have risen by 25-50%. Natural gas wholesale prices tripled in parts of the US, including New York City, and has risen at the Henry Hub by 50% since a year ago. Natural gas in storage is 20% below a year ago, and 10% below the 5 year average.

With these energy challenges, how has Ontario wind turbine fleet performed? Read the rest of this entry »

Neil Young’s Honour the Treaties Tour

January 22nd, 2014

The Federal government has criticized Neil Young’s statements about the tar sands. Young claimed that the bitumen was destined for China. And the government said that “even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day.” The government is missing the point. Read the rest of this entry »

Ontario Electricity Supply Mix 2013

January 9th, 2014

The IESO has released data on the supply mix of electricity for 2013. The data shows that wind generated 3.4% of Ontario’s supply, which is substantially below the number I calculated, which is 4.3% of demand. Read the rest of this entry »