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Surplus wind power could cost Ontario ratepayers millions and compromise power system, says electricity system operator. It says renewable energy market rules must change
Coping with surplus wind power will cost Ontario electricity ratepayers up to $200 million a year if market rules don’t change, says the power system operator.
Moreover, it says, if it can’t control the flow of wind and solar power onto the Ontario grid, then “reliable and economic operation of the power system is, at best, highly compromised and likely not feasible.”
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) makes the statements in a filing with the Ontario Energy Board.
It is responding to complaints from big wind power companies that the IESO’s proposals to impose new market rules on wind and solar power will cost them millions in lost revenue.
The dispute comes as more and more renewable power is about to flow onto the province’s power grid. About 2,700 megawatts of wind and solar power are currently feeding electricity into Ontario’s system, three-quarters of it wind. That amount is set to more than triple by January, 2016.
Solar power generally flows into the system when it’s most needed, when demand for power is high.
But wind often blows at the wrong time — overnight when demand, or “load” on the system is low — and dies when demand is high.
“It is not unusual for the wind to fall off in the morning at the same time as the morning load picks up,” says the IESO.
At present, the IESO can’t control the flow of wind and solar onto the system in the same way it can control the output of other generators. It all flows onto the grid, and is paid a fixed price.
When there’s more power than the system can handle, the IESO sells it to neighbouring provinces and states — sometimes at a loss, and sometimes actually paying them to take it.
Those losses are absorbed by ratepayers, and added to the electricity bill as the “global adjustment,” which now often exceeds the price of energy by a wide margin.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Toronto Star website: http://www.thestar.com/business/2013/02/26/surplus_wind_power_could_cost_ontario_ratepayers_up_to_200_million_ieso.html