Ontario energy minister says payments to wind producers
are standby fees
By Liz Dadson
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Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson has said that as of Sept. 10, the Ontario Power Authority, directed by the provincial government, is paying wind turbine companies not to produce energy.
The Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) now has the power to turn wind generation on and off (called dispatching) but producers will still be paid even if the turbine isn't turning, said Thompson.
Ontario energy minister Bob Chiarelli says that either Thompson doesn't understand how the system works or she is intentionally ignoring it.
Chiarelli was visiting Bruce Power in the Municipality of Kincardine, which is part of Thompson's riding, earlier this month, and notes that every form of energy generation in the province has a maximum megawatt capacity.
Most facilities, including oil, gas, and nuclear, operate at about 40- to 70-per-cent capacity, he says, but during peak periods, they could be operating at maximum capacity.
"All energy producers, including Bruce Nuclear, are paid a standby fee," says Chiarelli. "When they are called on to provide electricity during peak demands, the energy is there. When they're not, they are paid a standby fee."
Last month, that standby fee was granted to the wind industry, he says.
"The IESO negotiated with the wind producers that the government would not pay the full cost of all power produced, but they would receive a standby fee," says Chiarelli, "saving the government $200,000 per year."
He says since energy can't be stored, it's a delicate balance to keep in place, ensuring there is enough energy for peak periods, and maintaining systems at lower generating capacity when the energy is not needed.
Thompson continues to call for a moratorium on industrial wind generating facilities.
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Sunday, October 20, 2013