Discussion Topic: Hydro Power
Posted by auroracitizen on November 20, 2010
There has been considerable discussion in one of the posts about wind turbines and hydro needs. We have moved the comments across below, so we can continue the discussion focused around hydro issues
For sure, there will be plenty of debate, whether it will be reasoned, remains to be seen. As much as I try not to be cynical, I just can’t help myself. It has been so long since I have seen anything even resembling reason, that I have a difficult time believing that folks know what it is anymore. I have high hopes for our new council, not because I think they can do better, but because I don’t believe they could possibly do any worse than MorMac. For now, at least, I am cautiously optimistic.
Saving the Moraine is a worthwhile initiative. Do we really know what we are saving it from? Dear Dalton has given lots of lip service to saving it, but again, the cynic in me can’t help assuming that it is only because the demographic of the surrounding area is middle to upper income. Lip service can buy alot of Liberal votes. A little to the east of us, people are in a huff about their Bluff. To the west, there is alot of chest thumping and digging in of heels to stop anymore development around the Escarpment. Dear Dalton pays lip service to that too. But, does anyone ever wonder where Dear Dalton is planning on erecting the $60 billion worth of wind turbines he’s purchased for us? That’s not dirty development. That’s green energy. We have only to erect them. The wind will come, Dalton says so. At the risk of pissing of David Suzuki and the eco-nuts that will come and bury the eggs of a million stink bugs in my yard, I’d rather have a 100 golf courses than gleaming hulks of twisted metal sparkling in the sunshine. If we can’t leave it alone and untouched, I’d rather see homes and people on it than a steel junkyard. But, again, that’s just me being cynical.
You would really prefer to see farm land and forests paved over with houses and golf courses rather than a portion of the same space being occupied by wind turbines??? Huh??
That is just such a totally bizarre perspective, I can’t even begin to get my head around it.
Saving the Moraine is indeed a worthwhile initiative, but given your perspective, I can’t see how you would ever come to agree with this statement, let alone utter it yourself.
“You would really prefer to see farm land and forests paved over with houses and golf courses rather than a portion of the same space being occupied by wind turbines??? Huh??”
The answer is no more people, no more houses, no more golf courses, and no wind turbines. If I have to choose one over the other, then yes, I would prefer homes and people.
Question: How many wind turbines would it take to supply the energy needs of 5000 homes?
If you answered 0, because it is not possible, then you would be correct. Ergo, steel junkyard.
Please don’t think that I am a NIMBY. Because if Dalton called me up tomorrow and said “Luckywife, I want you to have a wind turbine! I’m going to give you a grant to help you pay for it, a tax break, and $.80 for every kwh it generates!” You know what my response would be? I’d want to know if I took down my deck, my shed, my pool and my spruce tree, could I fit two?
“Question: How many wind turbines would it take to supply the energy needs of 5000 homes?
If you answered 0, because it is not possible, then you would be correct. Ergo, steel junkyard.”
I’m afraid I do not understand this statement. Not possible?? Are you serious? Wind turbines can produce many megawatts of electricity. Currently in Ontario we have over 1000 MW of capacity which (assuming 30% efficiency at any instant in time) will easily run over 10000 homes. There is over another 2000MW currently under construction. To get the same power from coal would require burning about 3 million tonnes.
You’re right it’s not NIMBYism. You just don’t understand anything about energy production or use.
Matt Maddocks said
November 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm eAnonymoose – I don’t concur with your math, and I do understand a few things about energy;
As of the end of 2009, total output of all Ontario active windfarm energy production was rated at approx 2.3 MW.
According to the CEC, the average Canadian home consumes approx 2 kW annually.
This output of wind-sourced energy would therefore heat and light approx 1150 homes.
According to census, the total number of households in Ontario in 2009 was approx 3.9 million.
1150 homes in 3.9 million represents approx. 0.3%.
My point is that wind power, while cool, green, clean, and hip, in reality produces a mouses-fart worth of demanded energy in Ontario. And and I’ve always held the opinion to address the bigger issue of human consumption and demand, rather than the delivery system, I don’t currently place much stock in turbines, at least at this point in their development.
Luckywife, keep the deck, shed, pool, and spuce. Way more fun in the summer than a couple of gawkly ol’ windmills anyway.
How did we get on this anyway? Weren’t we talking about the recount?
Actually, our current wind capacity is 1152MW, with another 491MW scheduled to come online in the next year. Where are the wind farms of the other 1500MW of the 2000MW you mentioned as being “currently under construction” being built? When will they come online?
To assume “30% efficiency at any instant in time” is very generous and misleading. For instance, in April of 2009 we averaged a wind output of 41%, when we did not need it. In June of the same year, we averaged 14%, when we did need it. Wind power cannot be generated on demand. It cannot be stored for later use. Mother Nature is 100% in control of whether we have output – or not. Having 2000 turbines on a farm as opposed to 200 will certainly increase the MW output, but it won’t change the rate of efficiency. At best, it will only ever provide us with supplemental power. All that we can do is to try and forecast the wind, like we do weather conditions. That is no more of a guarentee than the weather forecast is.
I think that I am quite justified to have reservations about our government preaching wind power as the holy grail of green energy. It is not selfish and shortsighted to worry over sky-rocketing hydro bills. Billions already spent, billions more in the future, all of it on credit. That’s an awful lot of eggs in one basket. I am not arguing that green energy is kind to our enviroment. It is. I am not convinced that in our climate, that wind or even solar is the best solution for us, given its costs and limitations.
November 20, 2010 at 2:21 am eSorry Matt, I’m the one that brought it up and took us off topic. Too much time on my hands this week, Luckyhusband is away on a business trip. I’m bored and lonesome and of course, kids, being teenagers, want nothing to do with me unless I am cooking them a meal or chauffering them around town.
Note to self: Shut the hell up and go to bed!
November 20, 2010 at 7:58 am eLuckywife, don’t be sorry. This is a perfectly valid discussion for Aurorans to be having. Matt your numbers are the ones that are off kW are a measure of instantanious power. Your A/C uses close to 2KW at any moment in time. Over the course of a month an average household will use anything between 30-60 kWH. That is killowatt-hours.
Luckywife, you’re right. I misread some other OPA documents. When doing some googling just now, I can across this which is a nice summary.
I never claimed that wind power is the holy grail, nor I think did OPA. As you say it is unpredictable and can never be counted on to supply more than about 10% . Especially without some quick responding peaker plants or better storage technology, to mitigate the variance of wind energy. That does not mean that wind energy should not be an integral part of a green solution, just as hydro already is, and solar should be. There is no reason for example that we should not have a grand windfarm 15KM off the shore of lake Ontario.
Why is 30% misleading? 41% one month, 14% another. 30% over a year could be quite reasonable. Especially if you have multiple farms spread across the province.
Paul Sesto said
November 20, 2010 at 8:09 am eTo add to the info from Luckywife, Matt Maddocks and Anonymoose, one of the problems with wind turbines is that they are either fully on (and variable with the power output) or off depending on the wind speed. If the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine there is no wind or solar (adding that into the discussion) energy. Yes, it adds to the grid but it is not consistent and reliable. So as more wind and solar are added so as to reduce coal burning plants, more peaker plants may also have to be added to provide the power on cloudy or windless days (the wind turbines also apparently freewheel if the wind is too strong). Hydro electric in Ontario may be the most reliable green energy but we have probably tapped “that stream” to the max. The answer to Ontario’s power needs is a whole new debate.