To understand the mess Ontario’s Liberal government has made of the hydro file, one only needs to look at how electricity was produced in our province on Wednesday, the hottest day of the year to date.
At 4 p.m., there were 21,863 MW (megawatts) of electricity being generated.
Of that, 10,761 MW, or 49%, was being supplied by nuclear power; 5,296 MW or 24% by hydro and 4,715 MW, or 22%, by natural gas.
As for the “renewable” energy sources on which Premier Kathleen Wynne, and before her Dalton McGuinty have wasted billions of public dollars, according to the Auditor General?
They were generating 4.7% of Ontario’s electricity supply: 925 MW, or 4% for wind; 72 MW, or 0.3% for solar; 94 MW, or 0.4%, for biofuels.
These numbers demonstrate that contrary to what they claim, the Liberals did not eliminate coal use in Ontario, which used to supply 25% of electricity generation, through renewables.
Obviously, you can’t replace 25% of the system with 4.7%.
Rather, the Liberals replaced coal with non-emitting nuclear power and low-emitting natural gas.
Further, there is no environmental benefit from having 4.7% of the system supplied by renewables, in which the only significant contributor is wind at 4%.
That’s because wind has to be constantly backed up by natural gas, since wind is intermittent and cannot deliver base load power to the electricity grid on demand.
Worse, in order to accommodate wind when it’s available, the rest of the system has to be operated less efficiently, including dumping far cheaper sources of power, like hydro, or selling it to Quebec or the U.S, at a loss.
Finally we have to pay wind producers first for their power (under 20-year contracts), even though we don’t need it because Ontario has an energy surplus.
That was caused by the decimation of Ontario’s manufacturing sector due in part to high hydro prices, caused in part by the billions of dollars the Liberals wasted on wind.
And yet Wynne is doubling down on this disaster, bringing more and more wind power online over the furious objections of rural municipalities, that we do not need and which is not doing the environment any good.
Simply put, this is insane public policy. Utterly insane.