Chapter 9.1: Liberal Projections for Future Renewable Power

A news article reproduced at Wind Concerns Ontario, titled Ontario expects rates to drop for green power, had this extraordinary claim by Energy Minister Brad Duguid.  By 2018, just 8 years away, the province will get some 13% of its power from renewable, up from the current 3%.

“The 10,700 megawatts of renewable energy that we plan to have online by 2018 is a target; we could ultimately end up with more,” he said.

Since Ontario’s current capacity is some 35,800 MW, that’s a third of today’s capacity to get to 10,700.  Something does not add up here.

So, of course, the numbers have to be run to check if what Duguid said is physically possible.

  Capacity MW Renews MW  MW Built Number of 1.5Mw Turbines (Capacity Factors)
Year 11% 33% Each Year 35% 15% 10%
2010        35,781 1073.43        
2011        39,717      1,428              354           675          1,574          2,362
2012        44,086      1,899              471           897          2,094          3,141
2013        48,935      2,525              627         1,194          2,785          4,177
2014        54,318      3,359              833         1,587          3,704          5,556
2015        60,293      4,467           1,108         2,111          4,926          7,389
2016        66,925      5,941           1,474         2,808          6,552          9,828
2017        74,287      7,902           1,961         3,735          8,714        13,071
2018        82,459     10,510           2,608         4,967        11,590        17,384
              17,974        41,939        62,908

We have to work a bit backwards from his numbers to make this table.   But first, be aware that the 3% of the “renewables” today he is referring to is all wind.  For some reason this Government does not consider hydro power to be renewable (which currently makes up 22%).  So the 3% is just wind.  This does not mean that his next percent, the 13%, will be all wind, but it does beg the question, what else?  How much of that 13% would be from solar in just 8 years?

Only he knows what that 13% entails.  So let’s have a look at this chart and follow along.  His claim is that the 10,700 MW is renewals, which will make up 13% of the mix by 2018.  That means by 2018 the capacity of the province will need to target 82,400MW from the existing 35,800MW.  To get there they would have to increase the rate of capacity for all sources by 11% per year to more than double our current capacity by 2018. 

This alone seems a rather large stretch to accept as possible.  Even in a robust economy that would be most difficult to achieve.  The contradiction here is the IESO has already noted that demand is expected to be flat past 2018.  So why is the government thinking we need to double our capacity in just 8 years?

So assuming for the moment that this goal is achievable in principle, how much renewables MW capacity would have to be built each year?  It would have to increase some 33.4% per year to make the target of 10,700 by 2018.

Funny things growth curves are.  For the Province to achieve this goal of 10,700 (ten times today’s), the last year would need to have 2,600MW installed, or seven and a half TIMES next year’s projected installation of renewables.  Looks like the Province is on the road to bankruptcy with these projections.   It also makes a mockery of their claim that over the next 4 years rates will “only” go up by 46%.   Closer to THREE TIMES would be more closer to the truth by these projections.

Oh, but there is more.  How many wind turbines (of the 1.5MW each type) would be needed to make up that 10,700MW and how fast would they need to be constructed?  Assuming all the 10,700 would be from wind, using a Capacity Factor of 35%, we would need to have some 18,000 of them built. 

Of course we know from the analysis here that that Capacity Factor is entirely meaningless.  Median Capacity Factor is closer to the truth.  That’s the 15% column.  Thus we would need more than 41,000 turbines.  The last year alone we would have to build 11,000 of them.  But if the goal is to supply the peak period, the summer, with 10,700MW of wind we have to go with at best a 10% Capacity Value.  That brings us up to more than 64,000 wind turbines.  The last year requiring 18,000 to be built.  (50 per day). 

Total costs at $3Million each?  $200 billion.

The question comes back, how much of this 10,700MW will be from wind?  Does anyone honestly think that solar will make any kind of dent in that number?  Even in our wildest dreams that solar achieves 50% of that by 2018, that’s still more than 30,000 wind turbines that need to be built.  Of course, 50% solar by 2018 would be a rate payer’s nightmare at the rates solar owners are getting. Again, bankrupting the province.

Oh, and these numbers of renewables does not include the loss from coal he wants to eliminate by 2014.  Coal is currently 18% of the mix, or some 6500MW of capacity.  So assuming that part of that 10,700 is being used to compensate for that loss from coal, which is their goal, then the numbers are even worse.  To get to the 85,000MW with the loss of that coal would mean the over all growth of capacity jumps from 11% to 14%. 

Thus it is pretty clear that Duguid’s numbers are pure fantasy.  He is trying to paint this picture of a “green” power house of a province in order to save his party in power. 

With any luck this dream of his will never materialize, not because it is physically impossible to achieve, but because the Liberals won’t survive past the next election.

One Response to Chapter 9.1: Liberal Projections for Future Renewable Power

  1. […] Chapter 9.1: Liberal Projections for Future Renewable Power – Ontario Wind Performance […]

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