In December, 2011, Ontario’s Auditor-General reported 36 major concerns relating to Ontario’s renewable energy initiatives. Researcher Keith Stelling has just released a compilation of these concerns (listed below), with additional commentary.
If the A-G’s report was an auditor’s report on a private corporation, there would be an immediate and total shakeup, and all senior management would be fired.
Detailed findings of the Auditor General’s investigations
1. Wind and solar will add significant additional costs to electricity bills.
2. The government claim of 1% rise in electricity costs for renewable energy was inaccurate.
3. $169 million in 2010 and $296 million in 2011 would need to be recovered from electricity ratepayers for the cost of connecting renewable energy.
4. Ontario consumers were not informed of true costs of green energy.
5. The government was warned in 2007 that new wind power would create higher Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
6. Minister added $4.4 billion to FIT contract payments against O.P.A. advice.
7. Was the Samsung agreement made without economic or business case analysis and neither OEB nor OPA was consulted?
8. Normal due diligence process not followed; no formal Cabinet approval.
9. Electricity ratepayers may have to pay $150 to $225 million a year to renewable energy generators not to produce electricity.
10. Backup: Consumers have to pay twice for intermittent renewable energy.
11. Cost and environmental impact of backup not analyzed.
12. The extent of the backup requirement has been underestimated 19 13. Closing coal plants will require an increase of 5,000 MW of gas-fired generation.
14. Minister suspended independent assessment that would ensure decisions were economically prudent and cost-effective.
15. Billions committed to renewable energy without evaluating impact.
16. Despite anticipated surpluses, renewable energy generators will get paid even though Ontario does not need their electricity.
Loss of oversight and transparency in decision making
17. Ministerial directives bypassing OPA and OEB lead to loss of transparency, economic prudence and cost effectiveness .
18. Many directions related to the procurement and pricing of renewable energy have been issued since 2008 in the absence of an approved IPSP, and the OEB has had no oversight role.
19. There has been a lack of independent oversight on the reasonableness of FIT prices.
20. If the IESO instructs wind generators to shut down under a surplus-power situation, the generators still get paid.
21. There has been inadequate assessment of the potential costs of curtailing renewable energy.
22. Adding more renewable energy would result in curtailment cost of paying renewable generators for not producing electricity from $150 million to $225 million a year.
23. The lack of correlation between electricity demand and intermittent renewable energy has created operational challenges, including power surpluses and the need for backup power.
24. Surplus base load generation caused by renewable energy will add more costs for electricity ratepayers.
25. In 2010, 86% of wind power was produced on days when Ontario was already in a net export position.
26. Export customers paid only about 3¢/kWh to 4¢/kWh for Ontario power; electricity ratepayers of Ontario paid more than 8¢/kWh for this power to be generated.
27. From 2005 to the end of our audit in 2011, Ontario received $1.8 billion less for its electricity exports than what it actually cost electricity ratepayers of Ontario.
28. The IESO requested that nuclear generators shut down or reduce electricity supply 205 times in 2009 and 13 times in 2010.
29. Recommendation 5: Assess the operational challenges and the feasibility of adding more intermittent renewable energy into the system.
30. Promised “green” jobs have not been produced and existing jobs may be lost because of higher electricity prices.
31. A majority of the jobs will be temporary.
32. Analysis should consider both job-creation and job-loss impacts, and experiences of other jurisdictions with similar renewable energy initiatives.
33. Estimated reduction in greenhouse gases did not take into account the continuing need to run fossil-fuel backup.
34. CMOH report questioned.
35. Academic research chair has produced no report.
36. Ministry of Energy should measure impact of backup facilities and provide objective research on potential health effects of wind power.
Filed Under: Letters and Opinion
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