Ontario’s Coal Burn Out

Tomorrow’s print edition of the National Post will carry my column “Ontario’s cost cancer started with coal“.

Here are some references that might assist readers.

Here is an example of advocacy on behalf of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance claiming that eliminating coal will be cheap and easy.

Here is a listing of financial supporters reported by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.


  1. At $1.86/day adds up to ~ $700/year on Hydro bills. Then add taxes on the~ $700. The poor and working poor feel the impact of this the most.

    • The financing pie chart for OCAA & OCAA Research for the fiscal year 2013 shows 40% funding/income was from Consulting Services and another third was from foundations.
      Just how much vested interest money is flowing through foundations and buying consulting services to influence Ontario energy policies?

    • The “coffee and a donut” PR line was intended to refer to the monthly power bill, but your formulation is much closer to the truth.

      • The bottom line is that you want to save money, right? Your best intmsveent might be in super-insulating your house thick insulation in the attic, double or triple-pane low-e windows, weatherstripping. It’s not as sexy as solar, but saving money is sexy to me.And of course, commonsense behaviors like turning off everything that you’re not using at the moment.With the goal of saving money, I’d suggest solar hot water long before solar electric, if your area is suitable for that.It is possible to install your own panels, either thermal or electric, but you may not necessarily save money doing do. Solar is becoming a commodity business, and there’s competition in this recession. After I installed my own panels, the very next year, my neighbor’s brother got some installed, and the net cost, including installation, was actually less than mine. I’m not unhappy because it was quite a learning experience.

  2. Tom,

    In your article, you make the following claim:

    “Solar power also became officially fashionable. Except during air conditioning season, Ontario’s solar output almost never occurs during the daily period of maximum demand”

    This seems counterintuitive and goes against my understanding of Ontario’s summer peak. My understanding is that Ontario’s summer peak demand usually occurs during weekdays in the afternoon to early evening. On sunny summer days, how is solar not contributing during these times?

    Below is a link to the IESO’s Top 10 Peak Days for the year. Can you please explain how solar output is not occurring during these times?


    I look forward to your response.

    • The key phrase you are missing is “except during air conditioning season”. Outside of aircon season, which is most of the year, the daily peak demand in Ontario occurs after dark in the evening. The effect of solar during a non-aircon day is to lower the load on the non-solar generation fleet during the middle of the day, thereby requiring a larger evening ramp up by those generators to meet the evening peak. By making the non-solar generators ramp harder, solar is imposing substantial costs on consumers beyond the already outrageous FIT rip-off consumers have to pay solar generators directly.

    • SolarPeakClaim,

      For Ontario’s system peak months of June – August, the IESO estimates the Solar Capacity Contribution at 34% and 40%, based on simulated median and average output values. See report pages 14/15 (PDF pages 17/18):


      In its recent LTEP submission, CanSIA presents a predictably slanted view; see report pages 12/13 (PDF pages 17/18) for a portrayal of the solar contribution (based on unspecified data and only one hour) as ~ 70%:

      I’m trusting the IESO less and less these days but will choose that lesser evil.

      I look forward to your reply.

      • Thes are FIT solar contracts that have to be payed for by all Hydo customers. If the residents of the GTA want to use solar for their AC then let them pay the whole cost.
        As long as some can pass their costs on to others this will go on.
        These solar panels are not being installed to furnish peoples’ own AC but to make money off these contracts.

      • If the owners of the large buildings and the occupants of all the huge condos in the GTA want to use solar for AC them let them pay for this.
        Having someone else pay for this buys a lot of votes.
        Phony issues and side issues are presented to IESO and others but the real issues are left out of the energy discussion.

  3. The OCAA is a curious organization. Now that their mandate has essentially ended, they are turning their sights on nuclear. Their latest plan involves making presentations to municipalities encouraging them to pressure the premier’s office to cut a deal with Hydro Quebec to export more power to Ontario – WE DON’T NEED MORE POWER. And the last thing we need is more power planning in the premier’s office.

  4. The only thing about this Government and their energy policy that is “cheap” are their respect for Ontario Electrical Consumers!
    This is the most insulting and destructive Government Ontario has ever endured!
    That says something considering we lived through Harris’s and Rae’s massive mess they made of this once great Province!

    • Big Green Lie, I hope you haven’t forgotten that memorable transition period between Harris and McGuinty? Lest we forget… history forgotten will be history repeated; around and around we go?

      • Hey Kathy
        Do you mean that memorable moment when McGuinty promised that he would not raise taxes the day before the election and the first thing out of his mouth after he was elected that he raised taxes?…………….basically broke 10 promises in his first week as Premier?
        Non stop lies afterwards for ten years and here we are………….BANKRUPT PROVINCE!!!
        and on and on and on we go………down the proverbial “flusher”………………..

    • My hunch is that we’d be worse off if Adele Hurley wasn’t on the OPA Board.

      The acid rain article you quote harkens back to a simpler time, when Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGO) were actually independent of government. Today, many of the prominent ENGOs active in Ontario are directly paid to promote the government’s agenda. Environmental Defense, WWF, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Pembina, and David Suzuki foundation are just a few examples of organizations funded in part by the Ontario government. None of these organizations are actually non-governmental. Rather, they are Environmental Government-controlled Organizations (EGOs)

      • These EGOs as you rightly call them, also get plenty of funding thru foundations and there is no way of knowing who the parties are that are donating to the foundations.

        Then there are the issues of networking and placement of people on Boards for example:
        Energy Council Of Canada 2013 Board, member of the World energy Council, includes:
        Colin Andersen, OPA
        Jim Burpee, Pres. & CEO of Canadian Electricity Association
        Steve Dorey, also at OEB

        Are all of these web of connections in Ontario energy affairs just co-incidental?

        • It’s useful to have connections to people in high places in government corporations and agencies where policies are made and approval decisions are made.

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