Saturday, April 19, 2014

Anti-Wind Forces Vandalizing Property?

The OPP seems to think so.

And its worth noting this statement from Ontario Wind Resistance:

[Editors note: Before everyone jumps to the conclusion that it MUST have been an anti- wind protestor who did this, take a moment to remember other 'incidents' that may or may not have happened: fire in Haldimand, gun in Grey, threatening letters about stakes and farm machinery - all of these looked terrible in the media, pointed the finger squarely at us, and yet nobody was charged...? Really? It could very well be the PRO-wind who did this to make our resistance look bad in the media. Pardon my skepticism, but I'm tired of SLAPP suits and crap like this that are facades that the media falls for every time, to distract from the real destruction happening in our communities by the wind companies.]

So there you have it.  It would nice to get a straight up renunciation of violence from The Resistance, rather than a conspiracy theory. We shall see if they are willing to offer one.

PS.  I wrote about the incident in Gray here.

Update: Tom Adams, a generally speaking honorable man, comes through:

Target Excels... their profferance of electric scooters for disabled customers.  My wife, she of the broken ankle, who I call Gimpy, has been testing these scooters at various department/grocery stores.  The one from Target was promptly delivered, easy to control, and fast.  The one from Luongo's was slow to come and difficult to maneuver.  Luckily, they did not charge for the flowers my wife knocked over.  We have yet to sample the Walmart offering, but my wife suspects that, the aisles being so narrow there, it will be difficult to get her scooter up to full speed.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Keystone Delayed!!!

...until after the November U.S. mid-terms.  So probably into 2015!  Although I don't see this as much of a Cdn election issue.  It doesn't really matter what your position is on a decision that's up to the yanks to make.  Which is why I am willing to cut Justin Trudeau some slack on this issue.  What's far more important is where he ends up on the Trans Mountain line.

MPAC Report: Wind Turbines Have NO Negative Effect On Home Values

MPAC is the Municpal Property Assessment Corporation.  They determine what each piece of property in Ontario is worth so that the various local governments can hit you up for taxes.  Several years ago they were asked to do a study to determine what if any effect the placement of wind turbines had on the value of neighboring properties.  They released their report yesterday.  From its executive summary:

I'll give the thing a good read, and may write more on it later.  But this result should be unsurprising.  In almost every case where MPAC has been taken to the Assessment Review Board on this issue, the same determination has been made.  Wind turbines do not bring down the value of adjacent properties.  This one can serve as an example.  What the MPAC study shows is that, overall, their assessors know their job. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

ROFO Campaign Kick-Off Wee Bit Of A Clinker

Let the Globe's Ivor Tossell tell it:

There.  That's a lot easier than actually writing something.

Mark Your Calenders

Summertime and an election is in the air...engineered, perhaps, by an intransigent Andrea Horwath. Victory or Valhalla!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Ontario Poll

From Innovative Research.  Looks like the gas plant fiasco has run out of steam.  And its hard to suggest with numbers like these that Andrea Horwath's NDP has any kind of "momentum". Therefore: a budget deal in the works?  A Spring election averted?  That's how I'm starting to lean.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Because There's A Difference...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tom Adams, Jack Mintz, and Me On The Price Of Wind In Ontario

Tom Adams gets a lot of play as an expert on Ontario's energy system.  The fact that he is or was once associated with Lawrence Solomon's  group Energy Probe does not seem to put as many people off as I think it should.  For example, the well-known economist Dr. Jack Mintz has a number of ideas that he thinks would put Ontario back on track fiscally.  Cancelling the Feed In Tariffs (FIT) for wind and solar is one of them.  When I asked him why he favored this particular policy, he deferred to Tom Adams:
Now, I've been engaged in an extended argument with Tom about whether subsidies to wind/solar projects in Ontario have indeed "created high energy prices".  I've argued previously that his own statements cast doubt on this contention and, earlier in the week, perhaps in response to my persistent nagging, he restated his position:

 ....While it is true that direct wind and solar costs are today small relative to the amount of the total bill, the energy contribution of wind and solar together is much smaller still. In addition, wind and solar will rapidly grow in the near term, thereby directly driving rates.... 

 Based on data from the IESO on energy production in 2013 and from the OPA on costs contained here (at slide 48), in 2013 wind and solar generation provided 4.15% of Ontario’s total power generation but accounted for 10.65% of total generation cost (not including non-energy charges such as distribution and transmission) or about 6.7% of the total bill. The implications for consumers of this unfavourable ratio are exacerbated by the problem that almost none of the output from wind and solar is delivered during periods of peak usage. In the years 2014 and 2015, the OPA forecasts that wind and solar costs will increase by 130% to constitute 14% of the bill. No other bill component is rising so fast. 

OK.  So, without being too smirky about it, I was right.  The costs today are "small relative to the amount of the total bill".  Whatever you may want to say about the future (and I will get to that momentarily) subsidies to wind have not "created high energy prices" in Ontario.  So when Tom says otherwise, he is conflating the present costs of renewables with what he thinks future costs will be.  And, as for Jack Mintz, we can argue about the pros and cons of the FIT program for wind and solar all we want,  but we should be able to agree at this point that the amount of money saved by its elimination today would be tiny in the grand scheme.  So if Mr. Mintz is really concerned about policies which might get Ontario moving again, I would submit that he's fixated on the wrong target.

Now, lets talk about the future.  Its true that costs for wind and solar will more than double over the next couple of years (divide the generation cost for them on slide 48 of this into the total costs line on slide 47 and you get roughly a 130% increase by 2015, as Tom claims).

But how scandalous is this fact?  According to this chart, from slide 43 here, installed capacity for both energy sources will more than double during the same time period.

So that they should become a correspondingly larger proportion of the energy bill seems inevitable.
Once again, I'm not seeing a fiscal disaster of unmitigated proportions brought about by renewables's assuming a greater share of the province's energy mix.  If you buy twice as much as something, the bill should probably be about twice as much.

Indeed, catch Tom on the right day and he will admit this:
So where does that leave us?  Unless Tom wants to argue that the capacity to be made up by renewables over the next couple of years can go unfilled, abandoning them doesn't mean saving that portion of money going to pay for wind and solar, just whatever might be left over when you've filled the space left open by cancelling wind/solar projects with some other energy source with its own set of positive and negative qualities.  Plus whatever legal bills you incur.  Maybe a case can be made for doing that, and maybe not, but it certainly hasn't been made yet.  And, if I am reading slide 10 from here correctly...

...which is accompanied by this table: looks like over the next couple of years cost per unit of power generated for wind is going up a wee bit, cost for solar is going down a bit more quickly, after which time they both start going down at various speeds.

 Nothing here suggests that out-of-control hydro bill increases will be driven by either component.