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This is a clear demonstration of the value of Quebec's reservoir hydro, which isn't determined by the LUEC (levelized unit electricity cost) , it is determined by Quebec's participation in markets, with a product that has the ability to meet demand when willing buyers will pay more.
Ontario paid to give power away to Quebec, U.S.
Ontario Hydro customers paid the U.S and Quebec $1.5 million to take electricity out of the Ontario system on January 1, thanks to a strange twist of market factors.
It was a warm winter's day so demand for electricity in Ontario was very low, leading to an excess of power because wind and nuclear energy generation cannot be turned off.
"When you've got that surplus, it actually becomes a hazard to the system. You have to dispose of that energy so we were going around to our neighbours, begging them to take our disposal problem," energy expert Tom Adams told CTV Toronto.
"We've got this excess and that proves to be expensive."
Wind farm operators are paid for windy days whether their energy is used or not, which is why Ontario Hydro customers still pick up the bill.
Government of Ontario: Ontarios Long-Term Energy Plan
The McGuinty government has made electricity cleaner: we are on track to eliminate coal by 2014, the single largest climate change initiative in North America in that timeframe.
As Ontarios energy infrastructure ages, we will need to rebuild or create another 15,000 MW of generating capacity over the next 20 years. We will also need to continue to upgrade and update transmission and distribution lines.
Currently, Ontarios electricity system has a capacity of approximately 35,000 MW of power. The OPA forecasts that more than 15,000 MW will need to be renewed, replaced or added by 2030. Because of capacity brought online in recent years, Ontario has some flexibility moving forward. The challenge is in choosing the right mix of generation sources and the necessary level of investment to modernize Ontarios energy infrastructure to meet future needs.
As part of a reliable network, the system needs both small and large generators. Nuclear power will continue to reliably supply about 50 per cent of the provinces electricity needs. It does not emit air pollutants or emissions during production. Hydroelectric power is expanding to include increased capacity from the Niagara Tunnel project and the Lower Mattagami project producing clean energy by tapping into a renewable and free fuel source. Natural gas-fired plants have the flexibility to respond when demand is high acting as peak source or cushion for the electricity system. Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels, emitting less than half of the carbon dioxide emitted by coal.
Demand will grow moderately (about 15 per cent) between 2010 and 2030.
Ontario will be coal-free by 2014. Eliminating coal-fired generation from Ontarios supply mix will account for the majority of the governments greenhouse gas reduction target by 2014. Two units at the Thunder Bay coal plant will be converted to gas and Atikokan will be converted to biomass. Two additional units at Nanticoke will be shut down in 2011.
The government is committed to clean, reliable nuclear power remaining at approximately 50 per cent of the provinces electricity supply. To do so, units at the Darlington and Bruce sites will need to be modernized and the province will need two new nuclear units at Darlington. Investing in refurbishment and extending the life of the Pickering B station until 2020 will provide good value for Ontarians.
Ontario will continue to grow its hydroelectric capacity with a target of 9,000 MW. This will be achieved through new facilities and through significant investments to maximize the use of Ontarios existing facilities.
Demand is recovering slowly in 2010 after the global economic recession. Future demand will depend on a number of factors including: the speed of Ontarios economic recovery, population and household growth, greater use of electronics in appliances and home entertainment systems, the pace of the recovery of large, energy-intensive industry and the composition of the economy (e.g. a shift to more high-tech and service jobs). Demand will also be impacted by the success of conservation efforts, as well as the potential electrification of public transit and the number of electric vehicles on the road. Weather can also have a pronounced effect.
Based on the medium growth scenario, Ontarios demand will grow moderately (15 per cent) between 2010 and 2030, based on the projected increase in population and conservation as well as shifts in industrial and commercial needs. As a result, for planning purposes, the system should be prepared to provide 146 TWh of generation in 2015 rising to 165 TWh in 2030.
Of the 33,000 MW of electrical power generated, over 93% of that comes from hydroelectric dams and 85% of that generation capacity comes from three hydroelectric generation centers: James Bay, Manic-Outardes, and Churchill Falls.
The La Grande project was built in two phases; the first phase lasted twelve years from 1973 to 1985 and the second phase lasted from 1985 to present time.In all, the nine hydroelectric dams there produce over 16,500 MW of electric power, with the Robert-Bourassa or La Grande-2 station generating over 5,600 MW alone.
The physical size of the Hydro-Québec's 735 kV transmission lines is unmatched in North America.
The international transmission grid contains 18 interconnections between power grids located in the adjacent provinces or states of Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Vermont and New York.Several of those connections involve one or more 735 kV power lines, but most involve lines with a voltage lower than 735 kV. Another connection consists of a ±450 kV high-voltage direct current(HVDC) transmission line crossing the international border into Vermont. These interconnections allow Hydro-Québec to import as much as 7,100 MW of electric power or export as much as 9,575 MW to neighboring regions.A 19th interconnection is planned between Ontario and Quebec, with an expected completion year of 2009. This new interconnection has generated some debate over the need to transmit an additional 1,250 MW of power to Ontario.
In spite of the transmission system's reputation and the fact Quebec escaped unscathed from the Northeast Blackout of 2003, the system has experienced damage and service interruptions from severe storms in the past. Examples include the 1982 and 1988 Quebec blackouts prior to the large 1989 and 1998 power interruptions.
National Energy Board
Examples of major Canadian electricity trade include interchanges between Ontario... and Quebec.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
A new power line being built that connects Quebec and Ontario has sparked debate over whether it will lead to lower hydro prices for Ontario consumers or merely satisfy Quebec's desire to export more electricity to its energy-thirsty neighbour.
Once the 1,250-megawatt line is completed in 2009, it will allow Hydro-Quebec to export more electricity to Ontario when demand is high and import when prices in Ontario are low.
Ontario consumers tired of large electricity bills stand to benefit from such an arrangement, said Jean-Thomas Bernard, an economics professor at Laval University and an energy policy specialist.
"Mostly, an additional supplier, when the price is high, is a good thing because this puts some pressure down on the price," Bernard told CBC News.
But some energy watchers in Ontario said prices won't go down, even if there were more energy available.
Paul Kahnert, spokesman for the Ontario Electricity Coalition, said it's wrong to suggest that increased supply will translate into lower prices for Ontario consumers.
"While they say they're going to have more supply and it means lower prices, electricity is not like oil and gas; it can't be stockpiled," Kahnert told CBC News.
"It is very, very easy to manipulate the price of electricity."
He added that increased imports from Quebec will mean Ontario won't have to do much to conserve power.
Hydro-Quebec would ultimately generate important profits from the new line, while in return, Ontario would get access to more electricity without having to do anything in terms of conservation, he said.
TORONTO Premier Dalton McGuinty was put on the defensive Wednesday, trying to explain why Ontario homeowners face rising electricity bills while the province pays neighbours to take its excess power.
Ontario makes a profit from selling power to other provinces and American states, even if it sometimes has to pay neighbours to take its surplus power, said McGuinty.
In 2010 we exported $300 million worth of electricity (and) we had to give away $6 million (worth), he said. Were up $294 million, just so we put this in context and perspective.
The Liberals say Ontarios previous Conservative government exported $300 million worth of power in 2003, but had to import $700 million worth of electricity the last year they were in office because there wasnt enough power to meet demand.
Given a choice between too much electricity and too little to meet demand, having a little more than required is better, said McGuinty.
Nuclear power provides about half of the provinces electricity, but its too difficult and costly to turn off when power isnt needed.
The wind turbines could be turned off and on much more easily, but the province is required to buy all of the power the wind farms produce, even when it isnt needed.
Most industry experts agree that the cost of electricity in Ontario will rise over the coming years.
Ontario currently has a generation capacity of approximately
25,000 megawatts of electricity. On an average day, Ontario demand peaks around 21,000
megawatts. However, on many days (mainly due to hot weather), the demand sometimes exceeds
26,000 megawatts, requiring the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to import
electricity from neighbouring jurisdictions - usually the USA.
As our population increases and relies more and more on technology, overall Ontario electricity demand is expected to continue rising. Additionally, the electricity supply does not typically run at 100% of capacity, as nuclear plants are often taken out of service for maintenance, and hydroelectric plants are affected by reduced water levels in the Great Lakes.
Coal Plants Closing
There are currently four coal plants operating in Ontario following the 2005 closure of the Lakeview plant in Toronto. The McGuinty government has committed to close the Lambton, Thunder Bay, and Atikokan plants by the end of 2007, and the Nanticoke plant by the end of 2009, or as soon as possible thereafter.
There is scientific consensus that due to global warming, our
summers will be longer and hotter, driving up the demand for electricity primarily due to
the increased usage of air conditioners.
Climate change could also affect water levels in the Great Lakes, reducing the amount of hydroelectric generation capacity (as was the case in 2005).
Canada Energy offers the guaranteed lowest price for fixed-rate Ontario hydro.
Ontarios demand for power is not growing.
At every step of nuclear power generation, large quantities of greenhouse gases are emitted. Approximately 240,000 to 366,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide are produced every year in Canada from nuclear plant construction, uranium mining, milling uranium ore, road transportation, fuel fabrication, conversion and refining activities (7).
Beyond these direct emissions, low-grade uranium mined from Saskatchewan is upgraded largely in the United States using coal fired powerthe most carbon intensive energy producer.
Nuclear advocates often describe nuclear power as "green" because the fission reaction that takes place in a nuclear reactor releases no direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) claims that nuclear energy "emits no pollutants into the air."
But life-cycle analysis, which includes emissions from relevant uranium activities and reactor construction, show that Canada's nuclear system releases between 468,000 and 594,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. In fact, so much energy is used during supporting processes that a recent study for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes a reactor built today is likely to consume more energy, mostly carbon-based, during its lifetime than it produces. That makes nuclear energy an inefficient investment to fight climate change.