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Tom Adams Energy: ‘Digging the Hole Deeper for Ontario Ratepayers’

Tom Adams — November 4, 2013

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.  Continue reading, here…..

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