Absolute power? - Macleans.ca
 

Absolute power?

Why Ontario’s rush to pour billions into green energy is fraught with risk and could leave consumers on the hook


 

NATHAN DENETTE / CP

In Ontario, the frenzied rush to “green” the province’s power grid has reached a new level. It’s now possible for farmers to erect a brand new barn without paying a dime. The barns are being offered by a company called Hay Solar and come equipped with a sloping rooftop covered with solar panels. By selling the power generated by the solar panels to the grid, Hay Solar figures each barn is capable of generating enough revenue to let the company pay off the pricey $750,000 buildings (solar panels are expensive) in 20 years, plus taking a cut for its services. After that, the barns and the solar arrays belong to the farmers.

James Mann, the president of Hay Solar and Mann Engineering, one of the country’s largest solar companies, says it’s an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by satisfying farmers’ immediate demand for more storage space while finding a new market for the company’s cumbersome solar arrays, which offer a potentially attractive revenue stream but require a daunting up-front investment. While he’s convinced his business model will fly (350 barns have already been promised, but none have yet been built), even he admits the pitch sounds a little out there. “When you give a free barn away, people think you’re from Mars.”

The truth is that companies like Hay Solar would never see the light of day if Ontario hadn’t decided it was prepared to pump billions into green energy. The province has so far approved thousands of green energy contracts, ranging in size from a few solar panels on the roof of a family home to industrial-scale projects, in which they agree to pay several times the going electricity rate for periods of up to 40 years. It has also signed a controversial $7-billion deal with a consortium led by South Korean giant Samsung that includes a massive investment in wind and solar electricity. The hope is that all the spending will seed a new green energy industry in Ontario (all projects must source a percentage of materials locally), creating some 50,000 new jobs in the process.

But so far, the rush to a so-called green economy seems fraught with risk. While the thought of powering homes and businesses with power harnessed from the sun and wind is appealing, it’s currently far more expensive and less reliable than conventional sources, which means consumers and taxpayers will be the ones left on the hook—for decades—if the experiment doesn’t work out. Even a former head of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), Jan Carr, has said the ongoing green rush has led to “a largely ad hoc approach to the selection and investment in power generation technologies that will unnecessarily increase the cost of electricity with far-reaching economic and social effects.”

To date, the OPA has granted conditional approval for more than 694 long-term renewable energy contracts under its Feed-In-Tariff, or FIT, program (another 3,360 conditional offers have been made to homeowners under the government’s MicroFIT program). The FIT contracts include 184 large-scale projects capable of producing 2,500 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power an estimated 600,000 homes. Most of the contracts are for solar, on-shore wind or waterpower projects and, in most cases, offer guaranteed rates—ranging from 13.5 cents a kilowatt hour for wind to 44.3 cents a kilowatt hour for large ground-based solar arrays—over a 20-year period. By contrast, the market price of a kilowatt hour rarely tops 4.5 cents.

It’s an incredible deal for green power companies, but not necessarily for consumers. By some calculations, the average residential power bill is already set to climb as much as 25 per cent, or $330, annually over the next few years and, once new green energy projects come online, prices could rise even further. Why is Ontario willing to pay such a steep price to go green? For starters, Premier Dalton McGuinty has pledged to eliminate dirty coal-fired power plants by 2014 and alternative energy sources are needed to fill the gap. Coal-fired plants now produce about 15 per cent of the province’s electricity. The rest comes from nuclear (40 per cent), natural gas (25 per cent) and hydro (18 per cent). At the same time, the government is hoping that its requirement for “made in Ontario” technologies will help make the province North America’s leader in green jobs and manufacturing.

But critics say it’s a mistake to link policy goals like emissions reduction and job creation directly to the province’s electricity system, which has historically—and sensibly—been charged with providing power to consumers as cheaply and reliably as possible. “Now, under the Green Energy Act, none of that matters,” says Tom Adams, a Toronto-based energy consultant, adding that renewable energy sources need to be able to compete economically if they are going to have a meaningful impact. “The customer just doesn’t exist on the green energy landscape.”

The province disagrees. “Green energy does cost more than coal does, but there’s an obvious benefit to it,” says Brad Duguid, Ontario’s minister of energy and infrastructure. He says the province’s decision to move away from coal was made for environmental and health reasons and that energy costs are going up regardless (thanks to the need to refurbish Ontario’s aging fleet of nuclear reactors). “We need a stable, sustainable and affordable supply of energy,” he says. But the question remains whether wind, solar and other new sources of green power are right for the job.

Michael Trebilcock’s introduction to Ontario’s green energy dreams came a couple of years ago. The professor of law and economics at the University of Toronto discovered that his 100-acre farm in a picturesque corner of Ontario was set to be bookended by a half-dozen wind turbines. “Obviously, from a selfish point of view, this intrusion was not one we welcomed,” he says, echoing the sentiments of a growing number of rural Ontarians who have found themselves in a similar predicament. “But I was inclined to think that there were substantial social benefits on the other side of the scale.” Except after doing some research, he discovered that wind power wasn’t a very reliable source of energy, nor particularly green.

Ontario experiences most of its windy days during the winter—not the summer, when demand for electricity typically peaks. “Seasonally, this thing is out of phase,” agrees Adams, adding that, in order to become a reliable part of the grid, there needs to be a backup, a job that has typically fallen to reliable, cost-effective coal-fired power plants. Even if Ontario makes good on its promise to shutter its coal-fired plants in four years (it had previously promised to close them by 2009), the job of backing up wind farms would fall to hydro and nuclear plants, which are already “green” when it comes to emissions.

Trebilcock also questions whether paying top dollar for green energy will yield the big job gains promised by the government. “We are paying three or four times as much for this power than we are for conventional power, and this is already translating into dramatic increases in electricity bills,” he says. “This is actually killing jobs because people have less money to spend while industrial producers are also facing higher costs.” A better approach, says Trebilcock, is to put a price on dirty forms of electricity that reflects environmental costs, and then let the market develop cleaner and cheaper alternatives, while the government invests in research. It’s not as flashy as windmills and solar farms, but it’s bound to result in solutions that are more workable and cost-effective, he says.

Perhaps. But green sells, and politicians know it. Adam White, the president of the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario, says his group made a tactical decision several years ago not to challenge the government’s green energy push because it would be like spitting into the wind. Besides, he says it’s not like Ontario’s current mix of power sources are a recipe for guaranteed success either. “We might get nuclear cheap, but if it craps out, then we pay more. And if it keeps crapping out then we keep paying more,” he says. “It’s a bit of a pig in a poke.”

Mann, too, is among the first to admit that Hay Solar’s renewable energy of choice isn’t perfect. Solar arrays are expensive to install, don’t perform well on cloudy days and require a large amount of land to be effective. But he’s still a believer that green technologies are the future. “Watch CNN and the oil spill going on in the Gulf of Mexico,” he says. “What future do we have on this planet if we don’t start doing things differently?” The catch is, like Hay Solar’s “free” barns, someone eventually has to pay for it.


 

Absolute power?

  1. Ontario should have examined the collapse of the solar bubble in Spain, and the pending collapse in the Czech Republic before embarking on its solar crusade. Nuclear power may be more expensive in the short term, but it is environmentally friendly, and shores up an industry in which Ontario is internationally competitive. Ontario is one of the coldest places in the world, and a rather poor place for a solar revolution. It would be far more effective to focus on Ontario's strengths, while (if needed) importing power from the US grid (the American south being a much better environment for solar power generation).

    • Exactly. It makes economic sense to place solar installations in warm places that get lots of sun, like the American southwest. Not so much in Ontario, where solar PV couldn't possibly exist without subsidies.

    • If nuclear energy production were in any way economical without massive hidden subsides Americans would have build them by a dozen on private money. Instead they have built none in the last 20 years. ZERO. In fact just building a nuclear station on time and on budget, which has not happened once in human history, costs about $4 per watt, which is about the cost of utility scale solar farm. About the same will cost decommissioning. This does not include costs of operation, fuel procurement, and used fuel storage. (North American nuclear fuel storage facility is 18 years behind the schedule and ticking.)

      • More ignorance.

        Real cost of solar
        Largest solar installation in the US just built at Arcadia Florida 42 Gwh/annual $150M,$32 a watt or 50 cents a kilowatt hour at Florida Power's discount rate.

        China will have built 120 nukes by 2020. They are building 4 American AP-1000 reactors now for $1.2 a watt and they will be in operation by 2013.

        The last Candu's 6 built in 2004 were one time on budget built in less than 5 years for under $2 a wattor 2 cents a kwh.both AECL and Westinghouse are predicting less than half that for their new Gen 3+ units when production levels get into the scores.
        http://www.cnnc.com.cn/tabid/168/Default.aspx

        Cost of nuclear operation is 2 cents a kwh which included decommissioning, o&m, fuel, and storage. Nuclear waste is nuclear fuel for new Gen IV reactors.

        • FYI, there is NO permanent storage for nukes in North America, so any storage with its cost does not meet current safety requirements. The only storage facility construction project is 17 years behind the schedule.

          As well, Mr I-Know-it-All, aka Seth, read before you write. I hope Wikipedia is simple enough for you:
          "The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center is a photovoltaic solar power facility in Arcadia, DeSoto County, Florida owned by Florida Power & Light (FPL). President Barack Obama attended the plant's commissioning on October 27, 2009.[1] With a nameplate capacity of 25 megawatts (MW) DC, it is the largest solar photovoltaic plant in the USA as of 2009[update].[2] It will produce an estimated 42,000 megawatt-hours (MW·h) of electricity per year (an average output of about 4.8 MW).[3]

          The plant cost $150 million to construct, which will represent a capital cost of 12 cents per kWh over the 30-year lifetime of the plant. Capital costs exclude financing, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning costs. The plant consists of over 90,000 SunPower solar panels with single-axis trackers on 180 acres (70 ha).[2]"

          • Sorrying you are having so much trouble with your arithmetic.

            "Capital costs exclude financing" – now that's the kind thinking we get from greenies.

            Try calculating a mortgage at 12% (FPL's discount rate) over 30 years on a 150M asset then divide it by 42000000 kwh gives you 44 cents a kwh without the 12 cents a kwh O&M and decommissioning costs.

          • And since when discount rate is what you pay for mortgage?!
            With a reasonable rate for a utility company of 5% the cost of kWh is $0.23. In 20 years it will be way below the grid, while the farm will be still operating at the same cost. That's why they have built it. :)

            The quote above came from Wikipedia, if you think it's wrong – go ahead and change it. Let's see how long your discount rate based credit interest will survive. :)

          • If you had any knowledge on the utility industry whatsover you'd understand that private utilities finance with a mix of equity and debt. The combination is called discount rate. Currently its around 12%.

            Public power where it exists in the the US finances on debt. – 5% or less.

            In twenty years, the unit will likely be junk in a toxic waste dump having exceeded its lifetime and likely been destroyed in a hailstorm.

      • There are no current nuclear subsidies.

      • Please share some info about these hidden subsidies, assuming that they are not hidden-hidden.

        • Here is one hidden-hidden subsidy: Nuclear industry is not insured by an outside party and governments accept it. This means that if shit happens state budget, aka You, will pay to clean things up.

          How does this feel?

        • Here is one: nuclear energy generation is not adequately insured.

          • The links that seth provided don't satisfy you?

          • Satisfies and a half. Read it yourself and decide if $10 bln per reactor is a good coverage if Twin Towers were insured for $3 bln each.

          • Who pays when the the million times more likely nuclear bomb size LNG tanker that you not so renewable types love so much blows up in New York harbor, or when one of the thousands of cracked hydro dams around the US and Canada lets loose in a earthquake.

            Answer

            the government

            At least the nukes have several billion in insurance.

          • And when was the last time I said anything about LNG tankers or hydro dams?

          • LNG tankers are required to spool up the generators required to load balance your not so renewables – A cheeky ploy by Big Oil to sell the rubes like Dolton of this world a lot of natural gas.

          • Wrong again.
            If North America were short of nat. gas its price would go up, while it has dramatically went down lately. Seen your gas bill lately?

            America has plenty of gas. There is no need even to think about LNGs for the foreseeable future.

    • Check your facts Solar PV requires sun light not warmth to produce Electricity. In fact a cold Panel produces more power then a hot panel.

    • Excellent article, thank you for sharing.

      The South Koreans are expanding their nuclear energy capacity and investing in waste-handling technology. Meanwhile, over here, the Ontario and Federal governments are preparing to sell off a neglected AECL to the lowest bidder. At the same time, we subsidize their companies with our public finances for projects that are going to cost consumers and tax-payers with higher energy bills. What a tragic farce.

    • Supporting renewable energy production makes at least as much sense as massive supporting of oil&gas&coal energy production. Renewable are entitled to at least the same support as oil has received through the decades of various tax breaks.

        • Sure, let's consult nuclear blog, why nuclear is good for you.
          What's next? Asking generals how to live in peace? Asking oil magnates about advantages of public transit?

          • Answer:

            An inexhaustable supply of really cheap clean and green power.

          • It's no way cheap and by no means green and the best place to have HQ is Hiroshima.

          • How is Hiroshima relevant?

  2. Nuclear power is less than 2 cents a kwh in new builds in China and is dropping rapidly as China moves to building 120 nukes by 2020.

    The recent quote for 60 years all costs included from AECL for the darlington upgrade was less than 2 cents a kwh. Korea just did a similar deal with the UAE for 1.5 cents a kwh.

    Dolton and Harpo have obviously been bought off by Big Oil and are well on their way paid off to destroy AECL. Dolton and his silly green nitwits will be getting the boot in the next election but they can do a lot of damage until then.

    • Where do you propose the expended nuclear waste go? Your back yard?

      • Put it your tar sands?

      • The nuclear waste should be stored on site. There's still a lot of available nuclear energy left in so-called spent fuel. At some point it will be more economical to reprocess the "spent" fuel than to obtain virgin nuclear fuel.

        OTOH, if, every year, you were to enclose my allotment of "spent" nuclear fuel in a concrete and lead canister the size of a milk jug, and then FedEx it to my front door, I'd be glad to bury that in my backyard.

        • Lol, you made my day!
          here is a couple of reasons why your idea is so funny:

          I would like to see FedEx transporting an uninsured a "milk jar" filled with nuclear wast and covered with a tons of concrete.

          I suppose nobody told you that concrete does not last 10,000 years needed to make spent fuel safe. Be my guest.

          Just do not tell Ben Laden where your back yard is and when do you expect the package, ok?

          Why don't you offer your idea to the US government, they seem to be short of bright ideas on how to complete the nuclear waste facility. They are 17 years behind the schedule, while they could have just couriered the whole thing to you. What a waste of public money.

          Do you want more? Probably not. You can't be serious.

          • Well, to be honest, my first suggestion is quite a bit more serious than the second suggestion.

            My main point of the second suggestion was to indicate that the amount of actual nuclear waste is tiny, and therefore not all that hard to deal with.

            Btw, can you tell me which component of nuclear waste requires 10,000 years to make it safe?

          • Last time I checked the radioactive nuclear waste required as long to become safe. Has nuclear physics changed since?

          • I thought that nuclear waste contains a wide range of components, some of which decay to safe levels fairly quickly (days to months) others which decay slower (years to decades) and then a few components that do indeed take thousands of years to decay to safe levels. Is that not the case?

          • If an isotope has a long half-life, doesn't that mean that it decays relatively slowly?

            Somewhere I read that after 400 to 100 years (dependent on reactor type) the nuclear waste has the same toxicity as when the virgin uranium was in the ground. That sounds relatively safe, no?

            I'm trying to track down the source…

          • And, what are your thoughts about processing today's nuclear waste to become the fuel source for tomorrow's nuclear reactors?

          • Actually its a hockey puck in size and if covered in an inch or so of lead its perfectly safe.

            Gen IV reactors like the LFR and thorium LFTR's would supply all the worlds energy needs for the next several centuries burning old nuclear waste. They cannot meltdown, are safe from terrorists and have almost a zero GHG footprint. Gen IV reactors have worked for many years in the past before Big Coal/Oil got you to shut them down in the west, but many are working now in China, India and Russia, and several more are under construction for service within two years. These reactors powered the Soviet Alfa class sub for decades. India's new nuke waste burning 500 Mw GenIV power plant is coming into service next year at a cost of $1.5B/Gw. Gen IV nukes are the only way of getting rid of our current inventory of waste.

          • seth, you can not possibly not know that you are wrong, why are you doing that?

            Hardly you can pack nuclear waste into a puck and it requires meters of concrete to cover:

            "High level waste (HLW) is produced by nuclear reactors. It contains fission products and transuranic elements generated in the reactor core. It is highly radioactive and often thermally hot. HLW accounts for over 95% of the total radioactivity produced in the process of nuclear electricity generation. The amount of HLW worldwide is currently increasing by about 12,000 metric tons every year, which is the equivalent to about 100 double-decker buses or a two-story structure with a footprint the size of a basketball court.[16] A 1000-MWe nuclear power plant produces about 27 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel (unreprocessed) every year.[17]"

            Here is more:
            ""Thirty thousand metric tons of spent fuel rods from power reactors and another 380,000 cubic meters of high level radioactive waste, have been produced in the United States since the beginning of the nuclear
            age. Presently, these fuel rods are stored at the nuclear reactors in water filled basins and accumulate at the rate of six tons per day."
            [6×365=2190 tons per year] http://www.goshen.edu/bio/Biol410/Biol410SrSemPap

            Interested readers may find more at http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=1

          • More greenwash nonsense straight out of the Nuclear/Climate denier office down at Big Oil HQ.

            You can pack nuclear power waste into any form you want including new Candu fuel rods. A hockey puck covered wth lead is zero problem.
            http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2

            You are mixing up nuclear bomb waste with nuclear power waste. All the US's nuclear power waste would fit on a football field buried one meter deep – the worlds 7 meters.
            http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/nuclear_stat

          • Interestingly enough, but you links say nothing about your beloved nuclear puck. I'd prefer a regular puck any day.

            If life were that simple with nukes, why does the government spend so many $$ and time building a nuclear storage in the US?

            Asking nuclear industry about nuclear safety is asking BP about deep sea drilling.

          • If life were that simple with nukes, why does the government spend so many $$ and time building a nuclear storage in the US?

            That is a very good question. I suspect that early on in development of nuclear power reactors for generation of electricity it was decided that the cheapest/easiest way of keeping the reactors loaded with fresh fuel was to simply remove some fuel when its performance had deteriorated and replace it with fresh fuel obtained from virgin uranium ore.

            I'll also suggest that they recognized that there was still enormous amounts of energy left in the "spent" fuel, but economics dictated that it was not worth it to reprocess the spent fuel to become new fresh fuel. As well, I'm sure that they recognized that some care would have to be taken with respect to storage and long term disposal of that spent fuel, but the mistakenly assumed that the general public would agree with their assessment of the risks and benefits of this approach.

            But alas, the public did not accept that assessment and so lots of money continues to be spent on proposing, developing and analyzing an ongoing series of disposal plans.

            A better approach would be to hold onto that spent fuel, and then in a few decades (give or take a decade) it will become just as economical to reprocess that "waste" into fresh fuel as it is to obtain fuel from virgin ore. A side benefit will be that the radioactive components will be converted to safer material.

            And, even though BP is having lots of trouble with a well in the Gulf of Mexico, they still know a lot about deep sea drilling.

          • A reference to the volume of waste can be found near the bottom of page 3 / top of page 4 in this
            document.

          • The puck (or milk jug, or whatever volume) refers to the portion of nuclear waste that a single household would be "responsible" for in a year; the point is that the volume is small in comparison to waste from coal, for example.

    • No cost calculation is complete without including insurance. Well, nuclear industry in North America is not insured at all. No private insurance company finds it financially acceptable to issue a policy to cover a possible Chernobyl. These costs are silently assigned to taxpayers. How sustainable is this?

      • Nukes are much better insured than Big Oil it appears
        http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fac

        Under existing policy, utilities that operate nuclear power plants pay a premium each year for $300 million in private insurance for offsite liability coverage for each reactor unit.

        One insurance pool, American Nuclear Insurers, is comprised of investor-owned stock insurance companies. About half the pool's total liability capacity comes from foreign sources like Lloyd's of London. The average annual premium for a single-unit reactor site is $400,000. The premium for a second or third reactor at the same site is discounted to reflect a sharing of limits.

        The Grand Coulee dam oddly has no insurance either. Course neither do any US Navy nuclear armed nuclear powered vessels. Without legislation American attorneys would be suing nuclear plants if an employee spilled his coffee -a low level nuclear spill. And with American juries they' d win.

      • People forget that Chernobyl happened to COMMUNISTS. It is definitly funny that most people who use it are to the left of the political spectrum. Wonder why ?

    • So Chinese track record on safety and pollution is now a good example for Canada?

    • For those seriously interested in actual costs of energy generation, without any PR, I may suggest reading http://www.energy.ca.gov/2007publications/CEC-200

      If a lengthy technical document is too difficult to digest, here is the summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_cost_of_ele…. Note that graph, build on actual data from the report, is different from the text carefully typed in by a PRman.
      If time is too short, here is the bottom line: nuclear is at least as expensive as solar. And this is before risks.

  3. Why Ontario's rush to pour billions into green energy is fraught with risk and could leave consumers on the hook.

    COULD? Hello? It's already happening.

    • You apparently miss some basic economic education. First, 50% all investment into solar projects stays in Ontario; it will be 60% as of 2011. This is jobs and capital flow and foreign investments, locally. Secondly, the amount energy generated by all announced (they will be mostly built in 1-3 years) solar projects is way below 1% of the total energy production, thus, the cost of solar energy can not possibly be related to the 25% increase of cost electricity. Just do the math, if you can.

      This looks more like phasing out some hidden subsidies.

      • Brilliant. So Ontario is bringing in protectionist stupidity while it's at it.

        Are you suggesting that consumers will NOT be on the hook for all this? Who else is going to pick up the tab for all this way more expensive electricity? The tooth fairy?

        • Don't you know? 3/4 of a million dollar barns with solar panels grow on trees! They cost nothing! Except perhaps 3/4 of a million. But that's nothing! Chump change!

      • Every dime spent on renewables is wasted and leads us closer to that civilization ending peak oil/global warming precipice.

        Big Oil are fans of wind, solar and small hydro because they know the more money spent on highly erratic undependable power sources the more money they get in NG sales to low efficiency gas plant required for load balancing. Better to skip the wind and built high efficiency CCGT gas plant instead.

        • Every dime spent on renewables is wasted…

          Although Hydro can be considered renewable (even "solar" since the sun did the heavy lifting), and in more than a few places in Canada, pretty cheap. Also a good way to meet peak demands.

          • Used to be cheap. Look up the Site C dam. $20B/Gw 10 times the cost of nuclear.

            New Hydro actually produces more GHG's than natural gas because of the effect of methane producing rotting underwater vegetation.

          • Nat gas rules compared to any other mainstream technology. No question about it.

  4. Unlike pouring billions into a nuclear plant before any electricity is produced, the Ontario government's plan pays for power when it is produced. Furthermore, having a wide array of smaller scale projects makes our system more resilient. When combined with a smart grid and conservation measures Ontario is moving towards a sustainable energy system. I like the idea of hundreds or even thousands of independent power producers using innovation to contribute solutions to our energy needs versus top-heavy, bureaucratic, mega-project solutions. I would be willing to live in an area with green energy projects nearby, can nuclear advocates say the same?

    • Of course. The attempt to call us hypocrites backfires: it turns out that Greenpeace researchers were, for a number of years, in the habit of getting around the Arctic in a Russian icebreaker. A Russian NUCLEAR icebreaker. They knew it was safe.

      But the real push behind solar power plants and windmills is the natural gas interests. They know that the wind often isn't blowing anywhere, and the contribution from solar power, less than 1.5 percent in Germany even after many tens of billions of dollars have been committed, is too small to help on those occasion. So Utrosa's willingness to live near what he recommends would be prettier if it were accurately linked to what he really recommends: he should be willing to live near a large natural gas pipeline.

      (Lots of tax on natural gas. The explosive methane goes one way, and your money, unless you're one of Dalton McGuinty's gas-fired advisors, goes the other. Don't assume government's wastage of billions on token renewables will cost it anything. Quite possibly it will end up ahead.)

    • I second this.

    • Canada needs 150 new mass produced nukes to convert us off fossil fuels. They would be build close load centres so no new transmission builds are needed.

      Pirate Power costs double public power investment because they finance at Wall St pirate rates. – 12- 15%.

      Read about BC's massive IPP scam and be glad Dolton has only just got started.

      • I hope you are wrong about 150 new sources of possible radiation. Especially close to load centers, which is a nick name for cities I suppose?

        As well, the only Pirate Power I know is called Oil. It can only be seconded by nuclear. Is this what you are talking about?

        How are BC's problems related to the discussion at all? Would you stay on topic, please?

        • You mean impossilbe radiation.

          Like Darlington. American nukes even have schoolyards in adjoining property.

          BC Hydro will within 5 years be paying out almost all its domestic expediture to IPP's. It buys pirate power at 12.6 cents a kwh in 40 year contracts is selling it for less than 2 cents yesterday, and will be bankrupt when 1 cent a kwh nukes come into the market in the 5 to 10 year timeframe.

          Just like Dolton is proposing.

          • Wake up and do your math about nukes: the actual cost of nuclear electricity is similar to that of solar; at least.

            And this is today, after decades of massive budget supported nuclear R&D. To be fair, let solar have the same funding for the same time and it will be too cheap to measure even. With no risks and long term storage facilities.

  5. If you drained Lake Erie you could fill it's 10000 sq miles forty feet higher every year with Canada and US coal ash.

    All the world's nuclear waste would fit on a football field buried 1 meter deep , 28 miles from shore in the middle of that Lake Erie sized toxic radioactive waste dripping pile of coal ash

    Worst case nuclear – one football field ruined forever. Dolton's current plan – thousands of sq miles ruined forever by wind solar, coal, oil and hydro.. Seems simple doesn't.

    Japan and France reprocess old fuel rods into nuke fuel for the current generation of reactors. We will likely be doing the same.

    Nuclear waste is valuable nuclear fuel for the Gen IV reactors in service and planned around the world except the USA.who invented the technology. India is firing up a big one next year and Japan just got one of theirs up and running.

    After powering the world on existing nuclear waste for hundreds of years the tiny amount of low level waste from these units would fit in a toolshed, stored for 30 40 years then burned up in a fusion reactor.

    Big Oil are fans of wind, solar and small hydro because they know the more money spent on highly erratic undependable power sources the more money they get in NG sales to low efficiency gas plant required for load balancing. Better to skip the wind and built high efficiency CCGT gas plant instead.
    http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2010/06/kent-haw

    Big Oil and Big Coal are both terrified that folks will find out that it is feasable to replace their sickening pollution spewing economy wrecking product with mass produced nuclear power. They've purchased Harpo, the Gordo and Dolton McWhiney to make sure that doesn't happen.

    • Chernobyl was slightly bigger than a football field …

      Anyway, I conclude that you would not mind this football field be in your backyard?

      • So lake Erie in your backyard then.

      • Any differences that you are aware of between Chernobyl reactor and Candus or US reactors or those in place in France or Japan?

      • Chernobyl isn't possible in N.America. Contemporary generators all operate with negative void coefficients, meaning a full blown meltdown of the type seen at Chernobyl is physically impossible. In addition to the thousands of other reasons why Chernobyl can't happen here, it's not consistent with nuclear physics.

        I get that nuclear power has a host of risks associated with it, some quite real, but it makes no sense to parade around the Chernobyl example when it isn't technically possible. If anything it just suggests you don't really understand how these reactors work and why they are different from Chernobyl.

        • Chernobyl is the only nuclear power plant that ever harmed a neighbour. It is, therefore, all that the fossil fuel interests have got. So they are going to ride it until their genes detect that they are harmful to similar genes in other bodies, and shut them down.

          I agree with much of what 'dave' says. We learned, Teller taught us, Chernobyl's lessons before 1955. When we started with CANDUs, we saw no chance of a Chernobyl — although we didn't then know that it would ever have a name — and we were right: there wasn't, isn't, and never shall be any such risk with nuclear power outside the former Soviet Union.

          But it's incorrect to refer to it as a "full blown meltdown". That just means the core melts and runs down, and inevitably it can't run very far down, being to the whole plant much as the glowing wires on a stovetop are to the stove.

          • Chernobyl can not happen in N. America… Chernobyl is the only nuclear that harmed a neighbor …

            Let's check the history with nuclear industry itself: "America's Forgotten Nuclear Disaster in the Santa Susana Hills" at http://www.atomicmirror.org/new/061107.html.

            What's the difference if American Chernobyl will (hopefully not) be called 9/21 or something else? Nuclear is gravely dangerous. Who is going to argue with that?

          • Remember, Chernobyl was run by COMMUNISTS.

          • Agree, but communists' regime is just an extreme of monopolized capitalism; please Orywell for details.

          • Nuclear weapons research. Very dangerous.

            American/Canadian nuclear power hasn't hurt a soul in 50 years of operation. Outstanding record. Safest form of power there is.

            Greenpeace coal plants have killed over 100 million since they shut down the first nuclear renaissance in the seventies.

          • Why do you keep claiming that Greenpeace supports coal?! This is a blatant lie, which you can not possibly not know about. It seems like you try to purposefully blame anything green. Are we in election campaign already?

            See for example – http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campai

          • What did greenpeacer's think was going to replace nuclear power when they shut it down in the seventies – golden fairy dust. Surely you folks aren't that thick are you?

    • Nice try. You may want to read your article a little better. Hawking is talking about power generation at the source plant, with gas generators as backup. He's talking about when a power plant is legislated to cut back on its coal fired sources to get more energy from renewable sources.

      What he is *not* talking about is power being generated at the end-user level. At that level, typically you don't have a gas generator back-up — what you have is a battery back-up with a connection to the grid, allowing you to use your own renewable or mass produced power to smooth out fluctuations. I suppose if enough people get micro-renewable energy sources at their homes, then we start running into his low-efficiency generator problem, but if that really becomes a concern, another option is simply shutting down a generator and letting neighbours supply neighbours with any excess energy they generate at their site and can feed back into the grid.

      • I don't believe even the microFIT recipient without having it separately metered to the grid (why would you want to as you get far more for producing it than you'd pay to use it) – I think the example references Ontario very well, except much of the idling in preparation for the wind dying down is done by one company (probably OPG mostly), while the wind producers are all separate, and always private, companies.

  6. McGuinty's plan does indeed pay for power when it is produced. Unfortunately for wind, that doesn't correlate very well to when it is consumed – the other capacity needs of the grid is the same regardless of wind (specifically because it can't be relied upon to have any production during peak usage), and wind generations' true economic value is simply the value of the gas or coal not burned, except …
    Paying for it whenever it is produced punishes more reliable non-GHG emitting sources economically. So the value of wind in Ontario's system is less than the value of the coal or gas not burned because it knocks out the viability of hydro and nuclear through preferential purchase – it is therefore heartily supported (and most current wind generation owned) by the fossil fuel industry.
    There is little support for the notion that wind is not now a mature industry – and increasing evidence it is a failed one at that. Therefore there is increasing evidence the Green Energy Act, and OPA FIT program, stifle meaningful clean energy efforts through showing preference for production from specific technologies of little value.

    • Denmark has over 20% of total electric energy consumption coming from wind and exports the excess when they do not need it.

      Seems like a mature technology that is definitely far from failure to me. Perhaps you definition of failure is different …

      • I conclude that you would like to have the annual 1000 cu miles of coal dust pilled on top of your backyard.

        Chernobyl killed 56 people and the area is now teeming with wildlife. Every year you renewable nuts can defer the conversion of coal to nuclear you kill 3 million people workwide not that y'all give a damn.

        Chernobyl is impossible in a modern reactor. However, the LNG tankers needed to load balance your silly renewables are actually a floating nuclear sized bomb just waiting for a terrist missile to set off.

        • Congratulations, seth. You have risen to the tops of intelligent debate. What's next? Fist fight or spitting?

          BTW, I have never promoted coal.

          • Every year you can defer the nuclear solution to fossil fuels another 3 million die. You are in effect a fan of coal

          • Nat gas only if we have to discuss this, no coal. Coal is dirty anyway they put it. Nat gas is a good step in the right direction.

            I shall go against coal any day even with you, disregarding all disagreements.

      • #1 Wind Energy country, Denmark has the highest power rates in Europe and produces the highest CO2 emissions of 881 gm CO2 per kwh of electricity, #2 Wind Power Germany produces 601 gm CO2 per kwh, while Nuclear France produces 83 gm CO2 per kwh.

        Denmark is going to have to start PAYING other countries to take it's Wind Energy:
        http://www.nordpoolspot.com/Market_Information/Ex

      • My understanding of Denmark is that it's grid is interconnected with several others, inclusive of Sweden's nuclear and hydro and Norway's significant reservoir hydro.
        Ontario is connected to a number of states, but the only cleaner jurisdictions we connect to are Manitoba and Quebec, neither of which are likely to pay 13.5 cents per KwH when we are producing more than we need to sell it back to us at the same, or a lower price, when the wind isn't blowing.
        Regardless of Denmark, Ontario production is at ieso.ca and anybody can see in Ontario wind production doesn't correspond well to demand – if they are more curious than ideologically committed.

  7. So, if the Green Energy Act goal is to produce 10,000MW of "renewables" by 2015 (in addition to the 1,300MW to-day) and commercial rooftop solar PV is to contribute, say 5% of that= 500MW (ie. in Germany renewable contribute 17% of total electricity, with solar pv about 6% of this, I believe), then;

    2,000 industrial rooftop's of 50,000sq.ft. each will produce about 500MW of Solar PV if each rooftop has a 250kWp solar plant installed. Cost of about $6500/kw installed = $3.25BILLION to build. Then at FIT rate of 71.3cts /kwh x 20 yrs x 300,000 kWhp x 2,000 (rooftops) = $8.5BILLION paid out to the owners of these solar PV plants over 20 yr OPA/FIT contract.

    This $8.5BIL is "collected" equally and fairly from "all" the electricity consumers(resi and commercial) in the form of higher monthly bills and paid the owners of these solar plants?. Am I getting this correct?

    I am wondering if a single mother of 2 in Scarberia, living next door to a Loblaw's, newly installed with $1.6MILLION of solar panels, will feel a kindred spirit with Galen Weston Jr. (as he pushes his Olympic quality "Presidents Choice" packaged food on her), knowing that "together" she and Galen have "gone green" – when she opens her next Hydro Bill.

    (still, in the long run solar pv is heading for grid parity in many places).

    regards, Stuart

    • Proper math with profoundly unfitting conclusion. All big projects are done with big investments, shall we blame people who start them?! There is nobody else to pick up the energy bill but the users anyway. Regardless is finances solar of nuclear. I prefer to fund solar – it has no Chernobyls in sight.

      Just so you know, single moms of two do not typically shop in Lablaw's and if they do they do not care much about energy bill.

      • Actually solar has a giant dump of toxic waste every twenty years when the cells have to be replaced.

        Because it can only provide a tiny amount of our power needs every dime invested in solar only defers the nuclear conversion from coal. Millions die annually as a result.

        By it is so unreliable it actually requires more natural gas power backup than it produces.

        I see lotsa of single moms of two shopping at Loblaws. The tripling of power rates required by useless not so renewables will leave her children hungry.

        • " A giant dump of toxic waste" left by solar consists of glass, silicon, copper and aluminum, all of each can be recycled; so much worse than plutonium :) And life expectancy of solar panels is way over 20 years of FIT contract.

          How can backing up something require more energy than that something produces really goes beyond my understanding. Maybe I need more nuclear exposure to get my brains to the speed.

          I have a suggestion for supporters of single moms shopping in Loblaw's and suffering from energy bills: if you find any money short shoppers in Loblaw's – inform them about other shops.

          • So China is weak on environment protection and pollution; what else is new? Still Dolton is a bad guy when he asks for local production? Or now you would prefer not to mention him?

            Why don't think the same when you promote Chinese nuclear ambitions? Piece of infertile land is very bad locally, but it is nothing compared to nuclear wast contaminating air and water spread globally.

      • Anatoli, thanks. I agree, someone has to start it all up.

        Its not perfect and it has poor PR optics, but when those 100 Loblaw's are producing solar electricity in winter- few will be able to argue that it doesn't work. (4 stores to start as trials). I still think McGuinty will get hammered election time on this 'rich mans solar hobby project" considering what happened with eHealth records program ($1BILLION in well padded IT contracts) AND the ongoing $30k subsidy they pay to a doctor who buys a computer/software records system from an IT rep that makes $90k/yr.
        (doctors and IT sales reps need $$???… hello McFly).

        Mr Weston has to make a buck and invest his bucks to the collectively benefit of shareholders and the community. Take the telephone- another "Ontario" invention (Brantford I think). Who made the first phone call? Who received the first call? It took collaboration between 2 motivated "parties" (small pun as the first connections were "party lines") and these early investors/USERS were doctors. In fact you can still see some of their names in the OTA records.

        As to the single mother shopping at Loblaw's- Superstores'-agreed again, TOO expensive. She's at Price Chopper or Food Basic's or NoFrills (they got solar too I think).

        (math?-I think its basic arithmetic, as no unknown variables……(except on the roof this winter…haha)

        still I am a fan of solar pv- costs are dropping 10%/yr, 10GW world market 2010, and when you see the BP PIPE gushing at 40,000 barrels/day and $5BILLION to clean up etc,etc. then you see we gotta develop some alternatives

        there should be ways for SMALL TINY LOCAL investors to share Galen's 20 yr x 10% return. ie. $25, $50, $100 "Loblaw solar bonds", that pay 10% either as a shopping credit or a cheque".

        regards, Stu

    • Without doing all the math, this agrees with the figures I ran to guess the value of the Korean syndicate deal. Probably the fairest way to put it is in terms of what it would cost the government to finance the $3.25 billion over the 20-year FIT contract – and at 4.5% its' in the 8.5 billion ballpark.
      The deal with the Koreans was equate to $7 billion at 4.5 (so almost $19 billion over the 20-year duration of the FIT), and with the other FITs awarded we are probably around $42 billion committed to average 1200 MW of electricity – but ranging from 6 to 6000 MW depending of wind strength, sunshine, and rainfall.
      The equivalent of about $16 billion today financed at 4.5%.

      seth — what were those nuclear bids from Areva and AECL?

      • $26B AECL 2.4 GW 60 years. Areva reactors 3.2 Gw all costs over 60 years for $24 B.

        2 cents a kwh AECL, 1.5 Areva.
        http://climateprogress.org/2009/07/15/nuclear-pow

        Korea UAE nuclear 60 years $40B 5.6 Gw 1.5 cents a kwh.

      • You may try your math again.
        To finance $7 bln at 4.5% will cost anybody $10.7 bln if you forget inflation.
        I can't comment on the rest of your calculations as they are coming straight from the blue.

        • You'd be at that within 10 years. Aside from agreeing with the math, its actually the Ontario government's math when they claimed the addition adder of 1 cent per KwH for the Korean consortium was worth about $440 million in a today's terms (the adder will be over $1 billion during the 20 year FIT duration.

          Note the $7 billion is the calculation based on 4.5%, and you are arguing the cost of the renewable, in today's terms, would be 70% higher than I am.
          Has Seth converted you?

  8. The "market price" of electricity is a politically fitting phantom, which has nothing to do with the cost of electricity. Instead, the "market price" supported by governments one way or another to meet their goals.

    To understand that it shall be enough to look at Ontario: two thirds of our electricity come from hydro and cost of hydro electricity is determined at 12.2 c/kWh, while the "market price" is 4.3 c/kWh. I suppose any high school graduate can figure out that to reach this "market" level without hidden funding, Ontario government should be able to source the remaining one third of electricity at a -11.2 c/kWh, in other words, to have somebody send us both electricity and checks for it. There are and were billions in hidden subsidies to energy generators, some of these funds are now being openly assigned to solar, thus actually bringing the "market price" to the market level. This is not new subsidies, I applaud the Ontario government for the bravery of actually pulling money from supporting oil to renewable.

    • Nuclear is 51% of Ontario electric load at 2.6 cent a kwh (OECD data) generation costs., legacy hydro at less than 1 cent is 21% and coal is 18% at 5 cents a kwh

      • Here is another trick "nuclear" people like to play: instead of using total costs, they like to refer to "generation costs". What about construction, decommissioning and storage? Generation cost of solar is zero :) Another favorite trick is bill ratepayers separately for electricity and for "financing recovery costs", which is nothing else but a cost of credit to build the system.

        BTW, Ontario energy mix is a whole lot different from what you would like to present, see here for example – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_electricity_…. I must admit, two thirds coming from hydro was incorrect, but so is 51% coming from nukes.

        • 51 % was correct in 2007 .
          Actual generation in Ontario has been more than 50% from nuclear for each year since 2004 (last year 82.5 TWh of 149.3 TWh produced – or over 55%).
          Hydro has ranged for 21.4 to 25.5. Last year, 38.1 TWh (25.5%)
          http://ieso.ca/imoweb/media/md_newsitem.asp?newsI

          • Good and reliable find. I admit that my source was incorrect.

        • Best is obviously Hydro.

          When you can't get it, Nuclear seems pretty good from the numbers I see.

          When solar gets better, it'll surely take over, but until then…

          (Wind power is just air…)

          • Hydro is s very expensive , twenty times the cost of nuclear. Great GHG producer as well – bad as gas.

            Actually big Hydro like Site C will produce more green house gas than burning coal because of all the methane it produces from rotting vegetation. Methane is 25 times as potent as GHG as CO2. Green it is not.
            http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7046

  9. Ontario voters are getting what they deserve. They have bought the "climate change/global warming" lie, now its time to pay for it. They will then find out it changes nothing but the size of their energy and tax bill. Suckers.

  10. Anatoli, the 4.5 cents is the generating cost. The distribution lines, sub-stations, billing and administration and government taxes get the total up to the 12 cents. These additional costs are the same for any electricity sent to the grid.
    Wind and solar power is horrendously expensive to generate, not reliable, not available 24/7 and won't reduce the requirement for even one large nuclear/hydro or coal plant in the next 20 years.
    Any high school graduate knows this. Why don't you?

    • But Robin! Half or more of the wasted money will stay in Ontario, so it must be all good, right? Right?

    • Not exactly the same costs: transmission and distribution from thousands of rooftops in the GTA is way cheaper than the same from Bruce.

      • Solar in Toronto – it rains half the summer. Nuttiest idea the Dolt has come up with yet.

        The hundreds of new nukes will be build near load centres. No transmission required.

  11. Like France OPG should be able to sell American power companies nuclear power in long term contracts at very favorable rates. Cape Wind is starting at 25 cents a kwh going to 35.

    Mass produced nukes are so very cheap that unloading off peak power at good rates should also be possible. Desalination, air conditioning ice/heat, synfuels, car charging etc. Conversion of dirty coal/ gas heating/power power could all be done on nuclear sales to the US market.

    • Hey seth, let me encourage you to get an IntenseDebate account. It makes it easier for folks like myself to access your posts for future reference, if that would be OK.

      Thanks for the nuclear info!

  12. Anatoli, OPG receives 3.5% for its regulated hydro output. 12.2 cents/Kwh is a nonsensical number only the wind/gas thugs at the OCAA would come up with – and they came up with it only to attack nuclear.
    The number has no basis in reality.
    By the way, those OCAA folks championed hammering you with the HST (they called not taxing electricity a subsidy), and have constantly referred to Ontario not charging Ontario's generation company adequately for use of Ontario's waterways as a subsidy. That is a completely socially bankrupt worldview designed exclusively to privatize supply, and listening to such Charlatans is an invitation to be abused.

    • How does distributed generation amount to privatization of supply exactly?

      If you like to call names, how would you call groups of people who repeatedly abuse budget by overspending on nuclear construction projects? Wizards, perhaps? I think it's a great strategy: start building and then come back for more public money. That's how all (!) nuclear stations are build in Canada so far.

      • Distributed energy isn't relevant to the figure you give for hydro – that figure is based on no public use of public assets, aside from selling them.

        Sure nuclear had enormous cost overruns as projects were started and stopped multiple times in a high double-digit interest rate environment.
        Even so, if nuclear output (5.5 cents/KwH) received the same rate wind is being given (13.5), the entire unfunded liability of the old Ontario Hydro would disappear in 2 years – if both public hydro (3.5) and nuclear received the wind rate, and probably around the rate the OPA has given new private nat gas producers in their hidden contracts, it would take less than 18 months.
        As for name calling – I see you didn't have any other source for the 12.2 cent figure for the power we pay 3.5 cents for.

  13. Lol, free barns,

    Nothing is free my friends. The "free" barn is being paid for by 12 million Ontarians, paying much more for electricity.

    For this amount of money, they could have got 10 new Nuclear plants and been set for the next 50 years.

  14. Let politicians, who care about nothing but re-election or the interests of their financial supporters,make decisions requiring thought you end up with results as we see right now in Ontario: constantly increasing cost for electricity with no end in sight! Even if McGuinty is chucked out of office, the damage is done.The contracts with solar power suppliers are binding and cannot be revoked by a new government. We had better get used to pay twice as much for electricity within the next 5 years.
    But is it not strange that Ontario wants to get out of coal based electricity while the USA is planning to build 50+ coal fired plants in the near future,while Germany is shutting down its nuclear reactors but heavily subsidizes coal and lignite production, all of which is used to produce electricity.
    If you can make sense of this, good for you! I can't.

    • Fighting against solar energy you may like to choose your angle: it's either my bill will double because of solar or solar is nothing in scale. It's mathematically difficult to accuse solar in both sins :)

  15. Wow, barns that cost $750,000. Greenies are geniuses. Why buy a mansion when you can have a spiffy barn?

    • Wha? They said the barn was FREE! You mean there is no tooth fairy…?

      • Yes, it's very confusing. Is it a bigger scandal that they hand these things out for free? Or is the fact that a friggin' barn costs almost a million dollars? I feel torn between scandals. Well, I feel there must be a tooth fairy, therefore I will conclude that the barns are indeed worth almost a million on the market, yet they are delivered by the tooth fairy and thus cost nobody a cent to create.

        • what all the noise is about?
          To put any industrial equipment one needs space. In case of solar this space is roof. This space costs money to lease. Farmer receives lease in kind, in the form of a barn. As an industrial tenant does not care about the roof space, so is solar developer not concerned about the barn use. With the going rate of roof lease for solar the quoted value of barn is within ball park of lease payment for 20 years for 250kW system. No fairy is needed, just a calculator.

          • And a consumer and-or taxpayer willing to be gouged. (That, Anatoli, would be the tooth-fairy-no-free-lunch reference you left out when you started so promisingly with "going rate of roof lease for solar.")

  16. What I don't get is why the concern here is focussed the increased cost of green energy rather than the cost of climate change. Of course citizens are going to PAY for climate change; one way or the other, the price will be paid. A hike in electricity seems not only inevitable but RESPONSIBLE, since our society overuses electricity. At least an increase in electricity is on a pay by use basis.

    We're rich, generally speaking, and we're wasteful. And not only have we helped create this mess, but we're continuing to create this mess, and the solutions must be infastructure, and I think any efforts should be encouraged. Many of these comments seem like a lot of whining about politicians, presumably from people who don't drive cars, don't have air conditioning, live in small homes, mow their lawns with pushmowers, and grow their own food. Right?

    No-one has mentioned that these barns are also providing some farmers with additional means to make more income while providing us with (underpriced) food.

    • The basic concern is that there are cheaper (probably even much cheaper) ways of providing non fossil fuel derived electricity than solar barns.

      • Thanks Phil for your response.
        There's a lot about nuclear here. There is currently no plan in place to deal with the toxic waste generated by nuclear power stations. It might be clean now, but it is just delaying the cost. Is it not?

        The thing about the solar barn is that it also has this additional benefit to the community – the income it potentially provides to those landowners – and rural Ontarions are definitely in the less wealthy segment of society. As well as key to the food sustainability issue. This, too, needs to be factored into the cost. I think.

    • Of course citizens are going to PAY for climate change

      Climate has always changed throughout history. Nobody has ever paid for it. That will not change.

      We're rich, generally speaking, and we're wasteful.

      Speak for yourself. Most of use are not rich nor wasteful.

      • Compared to most of the world (that makes less than a dollar a day and doesn't sleep in a warm bed) we're very rich

        So you're a climate change naysayer then? That explains a few things.

        • Most of the world makes much more than a dollar a day. Not that the facts should get in the way of your spin.

          Only 10% of the countries of the world have a per-capita income below $1000 purchasing power parity (3 dollars per day). There is no country in the world with a per-capita income of $1 per day. None.

          But don't let the facts get in the way of your spin.

          As for us being rich, it's all relative. 99% of the world today would be considered mega-rich by the standard of 100 years ago. Of course, you'd prefer that progress be halted completely from now on.

          Everybody knows that climate changes all the time… it always has and always will. There was a time when the Vikings farmed areas that are now covered by glaciers. What is so difficult for you to understand about that?

          • Now if only every country had the same number of people, you might have a point.

  17. Thank you McLean's magazine for shedding some light on this crooked boondoggle and the complete selloff of rural Ontario. McGuinty has done everything in his power to ridicule and silence his critics. He has been sold a bill of goods by CanWEA and we now have to pay the price.

  18. I'm a big believer in pushing for clean energy, but it does sound like McGuinty went overboard and didn't bother looking at the big picture.

    The short term always win over the long term.

    • Since when investing in cleantech is short term?

  19. Why is it the Ontario Government does not even respond to this?

    RE : The solution to climate change.( human excrement + nuclear waste = hydrogen )

  20. when the pentagon shows interest

    Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) solicitation SN-10-37

  21. Only the most naive and gullible buy into the green energy fantasy. I wish we could put all of you "Greenies"Including McGuinty (Mr No Due Diligence)and his pathetic bunch of yes men into one part of Ontario that is supplied by wind and solar power etc You'd all freeze to death by the first Xmas.
    I wonder how many more Ontarian's will soon have to choose between paying their rent, their food bill or their hydro bill.
    I urge all of you to let your MP and MPP what you really think about how your province is being bankrupted by this most inept
    excuse for a government

  22. While it may be true that a new government may be stuck with the contracts signed by the present excuse for a government it would seem tome that they could do like governments in Europe are doing and slashing the FIT prices paid to these "carpet
    baggers" by up to 50% – which of course is still too much

  23. Obviously the focus of much of this blog has been about the role that nuclear power could play "today" and in the future, and I believe that it is a valid discussion to be having.

    The nuclear waste that you mentioned is actually quite small in volume, and it still has a lot of potential nuclear energy left in it. Even thought there is still a lot of energy left, these days it is still more economical to obtain virgin fuel rather than to reprocess today's spent fuel. But the economics do not need to change too much to make reprocessing the better choice. When that starts to happen today's waste will become tomorrow's fuel supply; so no, that waste isn't really a significant delayed cost. And stockpiling the waste until that time isn't too onerous.

    In terms of the barns, I believe that the deal is that initially the landowner only gets a free barn; the income from the electricity produced doesn't flow to the landowner until after 30(?) years. For the first while that income goes to the company that builds the barn.

    I'm all for food sustainability, but this is almost certainly the wrong way to do it, at least with the current costs, tarriffs and so on. Over time the economics will probably change, and then this scheme could be revisited, but today it is almost certainly cheaper to just have taxpayers build barns for needy rural folks.

  24. Actually the very best lawyers work for green organizations paid for by their Big Coal/Oil financiers. They will sue a nuclear plant if an employee farts on site – a low level nuclear accident. With American juries they'd win.

    Since nobody has ever been hurt in an American reactor in over 50 years of operation, it would seem to be a very safe insurance bet with $10B great cove since a Chernoby is impossible in a modern reactor.

    • Please stay to the point of this discussion and keep farting aside.

      So how many skyscrapers have been attacked by terrorists until 9/11?

      Let me continue your argument about safe nuclear. .. Since only two atomic bombs has ever hurt people while hundreds of thousands have not, let's call nuclear weapons harmless.

      • You are just spewing more nonsense straight out of the Nuclear/Climate denier office down at Big Oil HQ.

        Nuclear weapons have nothing to do with nuclear power.

        9/11? towers? did you hit your head on something.

        • playing stupid, eh?
          you are not stupid, all right. And, I suppose, you are being paid well for the work you do here.

  25. Not sure how the insured value of the Twin Towers is relevant.

    • I brought up Twin Tower as a matter of scale.

      If insurance industry believes that damage associated with a terrorist attack on a single building is worth $3 bln, than I find it hard to believe that damage incurred by a nuclear plant collapse by whatever reason may be as little as $10 bln. These numbers are just out of proportion, given the long term effects of nuclear contamination.

      • Let me come at this from a different angle, if you will.

        What are your thoughts about Three Mile Island? Relative to the worst case at that facility, how bad was the actual incident? What payouts were required as a result of that incident? Other?

  26. Attention of moderator and other readers of this discussion. This is purely off topic, but has to be said here nonetheless, I believe.

    Let me bring to your attention that debater 'seth' has in my opinion repeatedly crossed the line of civilized debate by calling me personally and position I support various unpleasant names. Here are some quotations from seth's posts:
    Dolton and his silly green nitwits
    More greenwash nonsense
    You are just spewing more nonsense
    you renewable nuts
    your silly renewables

    I believe such behavior is unacceptable, unsuitable for Maclean's and should be dealt with accordingly. I respect all opinions, do not believe anybody is entitled to such vulgarities.

  27. We are all being fooled, because humans are causing climate change, increased numbers arriving in this cold energy hungry country will continue to make it worse. We may need to keep or resurrect the coal plants after all. Gas, oil and high grade nuclear fuel supplies will diminish soon, and so will the food supply since we build homes and windmills on the diminishing supply of farm land. Population growth in other lands will consume our imported food before we can get it. Good luck to the future!

  28. The answer to the energy crisis is so simple it hurts:

    Instead of scrambling to get more, use less.

    • Amen to that …went to the metal recyclers the other day…lots of good usable stuff being crushed to make new good usable stuff…mind blowing.

  29. When the government (we the taxpayers) subsidize wind and solar corporations, we simply make the executives of the wind and solar companies rich and subsidize their bonuses.

    I would rather the government stopped all subsidies to wind and solar companies (big business) and provided subsidies to home owners so that home owners could add a few solar panels and a small wind turbine on their roofs.

    The wind and solar companies still sell panels, farmland is preserved, and individuals accept responsbility for conserving energy and using alternative sources of energy.

    In essence, the government is simply giving us our own money back with the provision that we use it to conserve energy. This is preferable to giving it to corporations who will turn around and charge us more for electricity.

  30. Isn't Maclean's anti-green power stance a bit wayward considering the looming problems in Canada's electric supply? Where is the new electricity a growing Ontario needs going to come from? How does Ontario transition to more carbon free electricity?

    Consider the advantages of solar: It's on roofs, close to where it's being used. No transmission issues and no vulnerable large scale generators. Its is a reliable source – not hourly, but annually. Of course its GHG free, silent and rarely do people complain about how it looks. Solar should not be dismissed because its not 100% of the cure. But it could be 10%.

  31. Ontario's solar program is a good thing. Its the start of a new way to deliver electricty that is clean and local, and lets consumers choose the source of their power.

    Is solar electricity more expensive? Today, yes, but PV system costs are dropping at 5% per year. In Ontario's climate solar generated kilowatt hours will be cheaper than the retail rates in about a decade. Solar programs like the one in Ontario will accelerate the price decreases and shorten the time to grid parity – where solar kilowatt-hours are cheaper than coal and natural gas.

    Kudos to the province of Ontario for taking positive steps to address electricity supply and climate change. Waiting for "research" to solve our problems is the Ostrich approach. I want my kids to live in a better Canada, with secure, clean energy, and Ontario's program shows some progress towards that.

  32. I'm in the Green Biz…
    I still think that its easier to save a Kilo-watt {KW} of Energy, Than it is to Generate a KW of Energy…
    Say what you like, but I think that Solar is GREAT if you live in the Middle of no-where….But a GRID-TIE is for Idiots only…
    There are so many little details that the average person doesn't understand about Solar Power…example, Solar Panels are rated in DC Peak Power, {At High noon, on a perfect sunny day…Also remember that the DC Power has to be INVERTED to AC Power…There are many other LOSES that have to be calculated into a Solar System…

    • Expand on your position. Solar arrays in Northrn Ontario, who are we kidding. Snow and more snow, where is the sun at peak hours? Who will clean off huge arrays placed on valuable land that can be farmed. How much will be produced during these severe weather periods. Will solar be reliable then? Our government knows how to treat their votors. Scam them into thinking this is a great thing they are doing for us. I agree with you that changing our attitudes and recognizing we have to conserve what precious resources we have is a good start. Lets focus on this first then maybe we can make decisions that are effective for our future generations.

      • I've only been in the Solar Biz for roughly 1/4 of a Century…I think that I have a pretty good understanding of the Potential of a Solar System…
        People who try and encourage others to join the Grid-tie systems are either misinformed or they have their own motives…
        The NREL- US Government Energy Dept says that a 1 KW system is really a 770 watt system… I think that the same system is more like a 600 watt system in Northern Ontario….
        Were was everyone last winter…SNOW, CLOUDS, and more CLOUDS…
        In all the years that I have been selling Solar Systems I don't have one customer that can run his Refrigerator for 12 months a year, without starting their Generator…
        To date I have Hundreds of Customers….{Cottages Off Grid- In The Bush} Not one of them has come to me and requested a GRID-TIE System… ;-}

  33. I'm in the Green Biz…

  34. I have 7 grandchildren and as a rational, informed person I know our planet is in trouble, there is just too many of us on the earth to use it as we have been. In an extremely short time greed is taking the future from my grandchildren, there children, there children's children—–. Articles like this give ammunition to people whose aim is to keep things as they are so they can be comfortable. Our grandchildren will be dealing with the extreme storms and droughts, smog days, clean water shortages, climate refugees, no healthy places to fish or grow food. If you think paying more for clean energy, and taking the subsidies away from oil and other fossil fuels is too uncomfortable PLEASE TRY looking at life through your grandchildren's eyes when they are your age.

    Stewart Walkden

  35. Hey Energen 111….. if you're in the GREEN BIZ then how come you have such a differing opinion between OFF GRID and GRID TIE systems. Sure, being off grid can provide a great feeling of pride and of total energy independence. I'm in the Renewable Energy business and have been since 1996. I applaud those who are off grid or have a desire to be but to say grid tie is for idiots doesn't make sense. I have microFIT clients currently exporting an average of 50 kWh per day. That works out to about $40 /day with an annual average of around $900 per month. Are you telling me these people are idiots because they're making money ? These grid tie systems aren't designed without first factoring for system losses. Neither are OFF GRID systems for that matter ! By the way….solar panels are rated based on a solar insolation value of 1000W/m2 @ 25 degrees C. Also know as Standard Test Condition (STC). Not when the clock strikes noon at the OK corral.

    • I've been in the Renewable Energy Biz for the last 24years…
      It's still easier to save a Kilo-Watt, than it is to generate a Solar Kilo-Watt…
      You can save more energy with a $10.00 timer than you can Generate with a $10.000.00 Solar System…Wolfsan

      Hmmmm. I wonder why of all the hundreds of customers that I have provided Solar System to, {so that they could have Electricity at their OFF GRID Cottages} never consider putting Solar Systems on their Grid-Tied Homes… :-}
      The truth is… You would be lucky to break even in twenty years…Oh ya,That is if your system works as efficiently as some "Dreamers or Schemers" tell you it will…

      My interpretation of “FARADAY'S LAW”, “Simplified” YOU CAN'T MAKE CHICKEN SOUP OUT OF CHICKEN $#1T … :-}

  36. This is Ridiculous! There was absolulely nothing rushed about this solar program….they've been working on developeing this plan for almost 5years!!!!!!! The Renewable energies are clean & SAFE….can't say that about nuclear (remember Chernobyl) or the cost of the oil spills, not to mention we're pumping huge volumes of mass (gas & oil) out of the earth and putting nothing back,.doesn't it make sense that some of the "global warming" disasters are actually caused by the earth's changing centre. The price of solar panels has dropped 50% in the past 5 years, making it more cost effective, and the more development the lower the prices will fall…. Right now and for the past 5 years that I know of, we've paying US energy companies more than $1.50 per kW at peak periods……solar is during PEAK periods…..so the amount of the payment for solar is NOT going to cause skyrocket power prices….the skyrocketing prices come from CEO's that make way toooo much money and have ridiculous severence package for doing a crap job! With many small power plants the utlilities are also saving on line loss.

  37. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get an analysis of the true cost of coal and nukes? then we would be seeing the whole picture, complete with Ontario Hydro execs and employees generous salaries, the costs of building and setting up nuclear plants, dealing with the waste and then, in the end, mothballing the facilities; add in the costs to our healthcare system to deal with the aftereffects of coal… you get the picture…. this article leads the reader to believe that current electricity costs merely 4.5 cents per kh. I want to see how much it would cost if all the taxpayer subsidies were removed. I suspect the numbers would be very different, then and I don't know about anyone else but if my taxes are going to subsidize anything, I'd rather know that my grandchildren won't have to deal with the mess down the road!

  38. (Part one)
    If everyone in the world could just take a few seconds to do the right thing. Example-Shut down all none use items for the day by unplugging or hit that off on your power bars. We all in this life have a part to play in conserving our planted for the future generations. Never mind about what is the next person doing? It is all of us on this earth that are responsible and make this earth a better place for future generations. With out that folks there will be no future as we we all had in the good old days which maybe that is where the problems all began. To be con't Part 2

  39. (part 2)
    Our children's children right now are feeling the sting of the power pinch on their dinner tables and in their homes when the heating is at a minimum during our cold Canadian winter months. due to our high energy cost. I have heard that there are two people from Australia who have created free power generator that works on magnets. I researched it and wow I would love that for my place. They want to make this accessible to all. Now this would be great for our country as well. They have patent for it. Why can't each of us have for our own homes and disconnect from hydro all together and really save a bundle of bucks and also improve our environment.
    To be con't Part 3

  40. (part 3 con't)
    Well folks we don't hear about things like this as there's no money in it for our government. Sorry guys but something's that could benefit us out there are not even being looked at ..well as I see it. These guys are willing to sell each unit for min. dollars so everyone can benefit plus the world would be better place for our children and so forth. Wake up call for government to not be greedy and start thinking about the big picture., "Our Little Blue Planet" as with out this we are nothing. We need to conserve and preserve for now and future generations, or really why are we all here?(part four to be con't)

  41. (Part four con't)
    We are the Caretakers of our own planet. So lets take care of it. Must be a doooooer. Get it done. Don't wait for next person ..take your stand today and JUST DO WHAT U CAN EACH DAY> Before we all know it , will start to pay off in long run. Big changes begin to happen with each small step when many show just how much we love our Mother Earth. I know this is long blog but after seeing my hydro bill go from a 22 KWH used to 74 from one year to the next this is just ludicrous as I have in one year turned off all lights gotten new bulbs bought all new energy efficient machines and don't do any laundry at home anymore ..(Part 5 con't )

  42. (Part 5 )
    I have unplugged both TVs sets permanently only do vacuum after 7 in evening twice a week & on weekends. have all essential appliances unplugged also until I need to use. So you tell me why my hydro bill jumped by 52 kwh more as I am not home half the time and nothing is in use. (part 6 2 be con't)

  43. (Part 6)
    Smart meters are here to make us pay stupid. I just can't see why bills are so high. I was told one of my bills was misread by over 100 dollars well folks that was wrong as that bill was over $200 from the previous year plus I have been conserving all my energies so why the big bill. ??? Well guess it will be Kraft dinner cooked on the bbq for this month. Stove unplugged for the week. So why am I ,who saves, saves, saves, on my hydro being billed triple from the year before. (part 7 con't)

  44. (part 7)
    Kind of ridiculous if you ask me. Am I paying for someone else's bill as well? Can't be as lives in country with no neighbors. My friend lives in city with a three story house uses all her appliances air conditioner and uses her washer and dryer on a regular basis. Her bill was half of mine. Does that make sense I ask you? It seems the less power I use the more they charge me for the Delivery and Regulatory charges. So see folks it is a vicious circle.(part 8 to be con't)

  45. (Part 8)
    If I have been conserving my energy each month should I not be given a bonus of some type. Like savings somewhere? I can't see it in my pocket book. No wonder why people just give up with it all at this conserving energy. I won't let that stop me though. I will keeping on doing my part as one day I know we will all get rewarded for my efforts. And I am not talking about the energy companies rewarding us. It will be Mother Earth and the bounty we will get from herWell guess it will be Kraft dinner cooked on the bbq for this month . If I have been conserving my energy each month should I not be given a bonus of some type, like a savings somewhere? I can't see it in my pocket book. (part 9 to be con't)

  46. Part 9 Final blog
    No wonder why people just give up with it all at this conserving energy. I won't let that stop me though. I will keeping on doing my part as one day I know we will all get rewarded for my efforts. And I am not talking about the energy companies rewarding us. It will be Mother Earth and the bounty we will get from her. Thanks for reading all comments are welcome.

  47. My interpretation of “FARADAY'S LAW”, “Simplified” YOU CAN'T MAKE CHICKEN SOUP OUT OF CHICKEN $#1T … :-}

  48. Thank you to all the Ontario Farmers who have submitted leases for a free HaySolar barn – over 200 so far. We are now opening up Phase 2 for another 200 – 250 barns for 2011/2012.

  49. It looks like some of these people that are posting here are selling "Grid-Tie Solar Systems"
    I sell "Off Grid Solar Systems" only…
    25 years experience tells me what works and what doesn't work…
    Three other Solar dealers in Sudbury, {that I respect} don't promote Grid-Tie Systems…They also don't have any Solar Panels on their Homes…
    The last three months has been very Sunlight negative… and you can expect much less as we proceed through the winter…Even if we have the odd sunny day…the system will not be generating power unless you get up on the roof and clean off your panels…
    Again, You can save more Kilowatts with a Ten dollar timer than you can generate with a ten thousand dollar Solar System…Wolfclan

  50. On Saturday, Nov 28/10, I drove by 5 large { Commercial} Rooftop Solar Systems…at that time the sun was shining a bit…But guess what…All of the systems were not generating power because they were covered with Ice and Snow…Those systems are going to have a VERY POOR WINTER performance…
    Enough for today.. Your Solar Buddy, Wolfclan

  51. Its to bad that one of the people in this article is completly arrogant and not trustworthy by any means, When you say you will do things and they don't get done or deliver things that never make it or are way to late, then how can you be a reliable business owner and expect people to buy your catchy scheme, and possibly lose their shirt in the process