Digging the Hole Deeper for Ontario Ratepayers

With the ink still wet on its November 1 power rate jump and subsidized power exports to neighbouring jurisdictions gushing fresh losses, the Ontario government announced its next ratepayer gouge today. A new green power buying spree was announced by the Ontario Power Authority that will further burden Ontario’s electricity future with more stupidly expensive junk generation.

The new procurement spree drives off the current FIT price schedule, little changed from last year. However, the current schedule has evolved significantly from the beginning of the FIT program.

While the wind and solar programs get a lot attention, in part due to their significant overall rate impacts, less attention is directed at other elements of the FIT program.

Notice the massive escalation in subsidies to on-farm biogas. Where in 2010, farmers with small biogas systems could get paid 19.5 cents/kWh with escalation on 20% of the rate, now the same size of system can get 26.5 cents/kWh with escalation on 50% of the rate.

As Scott Luft’s data, referred to above, makes clear, the current value of exports is less than 10% of what the government is committing future ratepayers to pay for small biogas power.

Bruce Sharp has recently published an insightful look at the rate impacts of solar power coming soon to Ontario electricity bills. The solar industry has responded vigorously, arguing in part that solar power is always delivered when power is most needed. This argument is bunk. Except in air conditioning season, power demand almost always peaks as darkness falls. Except during aircon season, midday power demand is typically lower than evening demand. As the availability of solar increases, the fast ramping generators needed to meet evening demand will have to work harder to overcome the evening drop in solar output.

One theory to explain the Ontario government’s energy policies is that a key objective is to depopulate zones of the province suited for massive-scale industrialized agriculture. Small land owners often object to industrial agriculture practices. Accommodating diversified land uses can interfere with the efficiency of massive ag operations. Careless wind power developments and escalating electricity prices both disproportionately disadvantage rural non-farm residents. Ramping up subsidies to biogas directly benefits large farm operators and is consistent with an overall objective of rural depopulation while currying political favour with ag operators.

The expansion of the FIT contracting program dovetails with the government’s current practice of granting final approvals to as many already-contracted wind and solar projects as possible before a possible election.

The happy news for consumers in today’s announcement is that the FIT program is no long an open-ended all-you-can-eat feast on future ratepayer cash flows like it was in 2010. The government’s new program has a capacity limit — for now.


  1. Not only were the rate increases announced but also the Green Bonds initiative was announced last week.
    The Green Energy Act was Part 1
    Green Bonds are Part 2
    It’s known that large scale deployment of renewables is not possible without public/government financing. Not enough private financing is available to accomplish large scale deployment of renewables.

  2. Pingback: Tom Adams Energy: ‘Digging the Hole Deeper for Ontario Ratepayers’ | Quixotes Last Stand

  3. There has never been a more critical time, to get involved in the politics that is running this province, as well as the rest of the country. If you are enjoying your current lifestyle, and wish that your children, and their children will have the same opportunities that you did, you must make sure that anyone that is voted in to office, is completely against Agenda 21, against the Green Energy Act, and is not trying to sell our country off to the UN. It is all about money, and control. Their “environmental concerns”, are exaggerated wildly, to scare the population into compliance. Unfortunately, this is not just a conspiracy theory, it is cold hard facts, which a bit of research into Agenda 21, and the UN, will clearly show. Turning rural Ontario into a power plant, will drive away the people who live there, for a quiet, peaceful rural existence, and make room for industrializing farming practices. Control over the population’s food sources, is not something we will benefit by. We need to protect future generations from lives of restricted freedoms, and governmental control over their lives. Contact your politicians, and see where they stand on these issues, and vote accordingly.

    • Shellie has it right. There are bonuses for big ‘supportive to the government’ corporations and little attention paid to the sparse voters of the north. Our lifestyle seems to be threatened by the needs and interests of the big urban city ‘states’. Even those big cities can’t use all the power we are generating right now. We are giving away our excess power but continuing to build industrial windmills where people live. This is an outrage! If they have to be built, and I am not sure why we even need this technology now then why not place them on crown land, far away from people. Sadly, the birds will still die from the blades, but at least they will not create suffering for the people.

  4. Parliament of Canada
    The Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Apr.25,2013
    Toby Heaps testified on this date and supported an idea of pumped storage for the Niagara region involving Lake Ontario.
    Use evidence link for his testimony.

    Xylene Power Ltd.
    Pumped Hydraulic Energy Storage
    Pumped hydraulic storage between two very large lakes such as Lake Erie and Lake Ontario can potentially store sufficient energy for seasonal backing of wind generation in all of Ontario and New York State.
    No cost estimate is provided in this article.
    Possible but at what cost?

  5. Ingenia, Dec.,2011
    “No time to abandon energy density”
    “Policy measure to combat climate change that favour ‘green’ energy technologies go against the engineering principles that decoupled the cost of energy and human labour.”
    “moving towards spatially difuse and intermittent energy sources is a recipe for a future energy austerity.”

    The public does not understand energy density and/or they have been persuaded to ignore energy density.
    Royal Academy Of Engineering

    • There are plenty of examples where engineering principles have been ignored for the sake of money. Collaped buildings, bridges, roads are some examples.
      The public is confused as to why engineers are involved with wind turbines and again engineering principles are ignorded for the sake of money.

      The idea that renewable energy produced in Ontario can be sold to the U.S. is behind some of this. Sold to replace the electricity production lost from closed coal supply energy sources in the U.S.

      • Mr. Heaps’ testimony views the situation as being one of supplying the U.S. with electricity from hydro and renewables to cover the energy shortages that will probably come from the closure of coal fired power plants. This to go along with oil sales. At least this is the way I read his testimony.
        Renewable energy such as wind and solar will require storage so that the power can be supplied to the U.S. during peak demand times.
        Storage will involve large sums of money some of which will have to come from the government.
        But what considerations will be given to the rural areas where renewables infrastructures will be built? Not mentioned at all in this hearing.

  6. mple, Beacon’s 20MW flywheel storage facility at Stephenstown, N.Y. which cost $68M and now with double speak it’s a 40MW facility
    It’s these kinds of distortions that cause people to believe that wind power is no more expensive than coal or gas power.
    Public does not question this kind of information.
    There are 2 small flywheel projects to be installed in Ontario but the cost is unknown to the public?

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