Major Cracks Confirmed in IPSP Operability Assessment

In April 2008, the IESO undertook an operability review of the 2007 IPSP issued by the OPA. The major conclusion of the review was, “The IESO has assessed the operability of the IPSP and concluded that it provides sufficient flexibility to meet future system needs.”


One of the key documents the IESO relied upon in coming to this conclusion was a 2006 report by GE Energy and Truewind sponsored by CANWEA, the Ontario Power Authority, and the IESO on how a large fleet of wind power in Ontario could be expected to operate.


Tomorrow at the IESO’s Wind Power Standing Committee (WPSC), a response from GE will finally be tabled to attacks mounted by Francois Cadieux and myself against the GE Truewind study supporting the IESO’s operability endorsement of the IPSP. We presented our attack on GE Truewind to the WPSC on Jan. 28, 2009, identifying flaws in key mathematical results that suggest systematic errors in the base wind production data upon which the GE study was based. I have been begging the IESO to get a reply from GE ever since at almost every meeting of the WPSC. Now the response from GE confirms our major concerns.


GE’s acknowledgments suggest that a review of the IESO’s operability assessment is in order.


  1. Wow! Great job, your perseverance in this matter is to be commended. I’ll have to spend some going through these links.

  2. The whole Green Energy Plan is riddled with cracks and should be investigated. This Government is guilty of such a momentous “rip off” of taxpayers dollars that one day and hopefully soon, criminal charges can be brought into play here.

  3. Congratulations. At last someone is getting through on the technical points.

    I will go over their response as well as I find it interesting. I would also like to see your original questions to IESO or GE if that is possible. I looked quickly thorough your site but did not spot them.

    Sadly I expect your good work to be ignored by the politicians.

    Maybe you should issue a press release! Maybe CBC will pick it up and give it coast-to-coast coverage. They are after all the leaders in investigative reporting…

    I spotted a couple of things and may comment later. I suspect that you already covered them, but it is always interesting to work through the research anyway.

  4. Our complaints against GE are contained in the following draft paper circulated for comments to the members of the IESO’s Wind Power Standing Committee in advance of the meeting on January 28, 2009:

    At the meeting in question, Francois and I also presented a PointPoint slide deck, but the slides don’t have the detail on the specific complaints against GE. Instead, we spoke to the complaints during the presentation.

  5. At the WPSC meeting today, I asked that the minutes of the meeting reflect my concern that the IESO took 16 months to get a few straight forward technical questions answered on a subject that is key to Ontario’s power system’s future.

  6. Lynne: Thank you for the reference. That’s what my power analysis showed and I always wondered if it was an error. Perhaps not. 🙂

    Tom: I read your paper you referenced, the GE paper, ad the IESO references. I think the correlation is due to the large weather systems we experience across the American Mid-West, and the relatively flat Canadian provinces of Alberta (east of Calgary), Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

    Maybe the GE Researchers would have benefited form watching the Canadian Weather Channel for a few days as they often point out the size of the weather systems and the consistency of the Wind Patterns.

    My Technical work routinely tales me from Ontario thought to Nogales AZ via Cinc. Ohio, Louisville, Memphis, El Paso etc. and through to the Latin American West Coast via Mexico 15. Before that trip I watch for the large weather systems and only travel (by road) when the systems are bringing fair weather.

    I think the reason for the strong correlations in wind patterns across Ontario become “obvious”. I do recognize that we have some hilly geography in those regions, but the mid west of the Canada and the USA is conducive t large systems.

    Perhaps GE could benefit from the services of a consulting meteorologist.

    Based on your research I am pretty sure you are aware of potential reasons for the Wind Turbine Power Output correlation though you never explicitly state it.

  7. The article quoted above from, reprinted from This Magazine, is replete with technical errors. The article is correct in pointing out that Ontario is experiencing episodes of surplus power, but the discussion around the rules for ramping back generation is confused. The current grid rules allow for nukes to be shut down in preference to wind during surplus events if the surplus conditions are expected to extend for longer than 72 hours — which is the minimum nukes shutdown period. In addition, nuke steam is sometimes dumped at Bruce Power. Notice that Bruce now gets paid for foregone production, as do FIT generators. Running the grid without flexible generation would be grossly irresponsible, and therefore there are occasions when the IESO has to order nukes and/or wind to back down so that sufficient fossil generation can remain on to accommodate contingency requirements. Not doing so would bring the wrath of reliability regulators, like NERC and NPCC, down upon the IESO. In general, journalists getting their information from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance usually produce a confused mess.

  8. My understanding is that Wind Farms can indeed be “shut down” or “ignored” or their “production foregone” and that they now have to produce a “schedule” based on predicted wind conditions. We should have an entertaining few months as hey work out the scheduling issues.

    I have designed production scheduling forecasting and data collection systems. It’s not a trivial exercise as it falls into the NP space — even with “completely predictable machinery”. The nature of wind and weather systems adds an additional element. The somewhat random nature (stochastic nature) definitely adds some spice to the development of predictive mechanisms.

    I should have been more precise. I have indeed ran across negative numbers in the cost tables and wondered if it was indeed a mistake.

    The more I learn the more puzzling I find it.

    You are definitely adding some light to the situation. Thank you.

  9. Regarding Ontario wind power being dispatched off during surplus conditions, note that historic wind power contracts in Ontario did not contain provisions to pay generators for foregone production, whereas FIT does.

    Neither the IESO nor the OPA report on the energy or financial losses arising from surplus power. These are buried in congestion management payments and Global Adjustment. There is an urgent need for detailed tracking and disclosure of the consequences of surplus.

    As California is discovering, solar variability is yet another non-trivial challenge once capacity becomes significant. The IESO admits to having done zero analysis of this, a gap that I consider perfectly reasonable. Given the appalling economics of solar, the IESO could not have anticipated the irrationality that has cause the almost 1 GW of solar proposals that have already arrived under the FIT.

Comments are closed.