IESO – The only diverse generation Ontario needs is CANDU and hydro

September 25, 2014

By: Donald Jones, P.Eng., retired nuclear industry engineer, 2014 September 24

This comment by Kim Warren, VP of Operations and Chief Operating Officer at The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), under the title “Powering Ontario Through Energy Literacy”, appeared in a sponsored feature by Mediaplanet in a “Green Living” supplement to the Toronto Star of 2014 September 24, “There are distinct advantages to having diverse fuels. No system operator likes to see all of their eggs in one basket because every fuel has its advantages and disadvantages, and behaves differently in certain seasonal or weather conditions.” Right, except for nuclear!

Wind obviously depends on the weather. So does solar and both are expensive on a $/kWh basis. Only a small fraction of the installed wind capacity is credited by the IESO to be there when needed at peak times and even then there are no guarantees. Wind can be plentiful when not needed and in short supply when it is needed. Embedded solar tends to fade when needed during the late afternoon peak demand and needs more ramping capacity from generators on the grid. Wind can do the same during the morning peak. People living near the huge wind turbine installations will continue to object to their presence. Despite what the IESO says wind puts a lot more stress on the system operators who have to juggle output from other generators on the grid to compensate for wind’s irregularities. If these are gas-fired units it increases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions above what might have been expected from the reduction in gas-fired MWh due to the wind generation. Read the rest of this entry »