Chapter 4.11.4A: Wind Exported Evidence (July 26-29 2010)

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There will be those who will question the method of analysis here that comes to the conclusion that wind is getting exported.  There is no way wind can be shown to be exported when the pool of power is just that, they will claim.  Well, that is actually a very good analogy.

Think of a swimming pool as the volume of power consumed every hour by Ontario.   There are a number of taps around the edge of the pool that flow water into it.  There are categories to the taps: Hydro, coal, natural gas, nuclear and wind.  Each tap is one of the production stations in each of those categories.  At one end of the pool is an overflow drain.  That is what is exported.  So follow along with this analogy.

If all the producers of power, minus wind for the time being, fill the pool to capacity then they are in balance with the demand.  If they start to put in more water than the pool can hold, it overflows, exported.  At the present time, we are over filling the pool every day because the demand in Ontario has dropped (the volume of the pool shrunk).  So we are draining x gallons of water every hour. 

Soon as the wind spikes up, that extra volume is added to the drained water.  Has to be.  There is no where else for it to go.  Wind is exported.  Unless a spigot is turned off elsewhere to compensate.  But even so, x is still exported, just wind is part of that x now. 

Now an electron from wind is no different from an electron from coal, same as there is no way of tagging which molecule of water came from which spigot.  But because we can follow the rate of flow per hour from all the spigots we should be able to see what is contributing to the drainage when that changes.  Like flowing water, power cannot be compressed, and has to balance out.  Gallon in, gallon out.  MWh in, MWh out.

Thus, with carefull examination of what each generation station is doing, one should be able to deduce what is contributing to the excess.  These then become evidence for the premise that wind is getting exported.

In this example, we have a look at the summer of 2010.    The export profile for July to Aug 2010 with total wind production in MegaWatts:

Export in black, wind in blue. In this case of evidence of wind being exported, we look at a period of low export with a high wind spike.  The third large wind spike from left,  July 28th, fits the bill.  With export so low and wind spiking so high, what compensated?

July 26 to 29 zoomed in:

As the wind (blue) spiked up, there is a corresponding increase in the exported power.    However, it is along a straight average from the previous two days.  Did some other source back off when the wind blew?   All other sources were scanned on an individual basis to look for any signs of drop in production.  Two sources fit the bill, both coal.  It appears Atikonan-G1 generator was dropped completely in the middle of the 27th, just as wind started to rise.  Wind then took over the production that went for export.  Near the peak of the wind, Lambton-G3 was fired up and took over the output as the wind died down.

But notice the export really took off starting right when wind peaked.  A spike in wind, if you recall, is more likely caused by a frontal system moving through.  The province usually gets at least 2 or 3 days prior warning (thanks to the Weather Channel) of such front moving through.  So it can be planned as to what to do to compensate for the wind given at least 48 hours of notice of the impending frontal system.  The significant increase in export on the 29th must mean that a significant decrease in demand occurred.

And there it is.  Demand dropped on the 29th compared to the previous two days by the same amount as was exported.  What would cause such a drop in demand?  If it was a cold front, the temperature on the 29th should be low enough for people to not need A/C running during the day.  Easy enough to check.  Ottawa Int’l Airport Environment Canada Station 4333:

Day Max Temp
26 28.4
27 31
28 27.4
29 23.9


And there it is again.   So here is a pretty good guess as to what happened.  On the 26th the weather report notes an incoming cold front.  So an increase in wind for a day or so is expected on the 28th.  The decision is made as to the balancing  that will be followed to compensate for the wind.  During this pre-storm period, people have their A/C’s running in 28 to 31C temps.  Yet there is sufficient excess power to export more than 1000 MW every hour.  The wind kicks in, and Atikonan-G1 generator is shut down completely, no output.  It is anticipated that the peak would be no more than 12 hours into the storm, so Lambton-G3 was fired up in preparation for the wind’s inevitable die down.  By mid day of the 29th no one has their A/C’s running so the exported power is increased to more than 2000 MW every hour. 

So the wind came through causing a drop in temperature, so we didn’t need the A/C, we were exporting anyway in spite of the hot weather, so where did that wind spike go?  As noted, when the spigots are filling the pool to overflow before the wind spigot is turned on, then anything from wind is still sent as overflow even if one of the other spigot is turned off.

We exported that wind power, and we paid for it.

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5 Responses to Chapter 4.11.4A: Wind Exported Evidence (July 26-29 2010)

  1. […] 4.11.4 Then where is Wind all Going? ——————4.11.4A Wind Exported Evidence July 26-29, 2010 —– 4.12 Zero Capacity Factor 5.0 IWT Performace Around the World 6.0 Why are we Going […]

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  3. […] how PJM is begging for “as much wind as possible.”  Bonneville Power, much like our friends in Ontario, is finding it necessary to unload the ill-timed generation from the uncontrollable wind plants at […]

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  5. […] a chapter from the Ontario Wind Performance journal it is explained that energy produced in Ontario is stored on one grid whether it is […]

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