Thursday, February 22, 2024

Industrial Wind Turbines demonstrate their Unreliable and Intermittent Nature Generating 1.8% of their Capacity than jumping to 80.4% only a few days later

Yesterday, February 9th, 2024, those IWT spread throughout Ontario were impressive generating 94,605 MWh or about what 3.1 million average households would consume in a day suggesting they are the panacea to stop climate change! Mere days before on February 3rd and the first seven hours on February 4th they generated only 2,673 MWh which was 1.8% of their capacity in those 31 hours.

As the expression goes; they continually demonstrate their “traditional yo yo” tendencies as the following screenshot from IESO February 5th to the 10th demonstrates. They are the “green” in the chart which basically shows their intermittent and unreliable nature whereas the dark blue is natural gas which has the ability to ramp up and down as demand changes and to keep our grid from failing and causing blackouts.

So, the question one should ask, was the power delivered by those IWT on the 9th of February needed here in the province?

As it turns out 65.8% of the IWT generation or 62,259 MW were not really needed as IESO’s intertie data (net-exports) shows it went to our neighbours in Quebec, New York and Michigan and the average sale price over the 24 hours was $19.42/MWh and well below what we Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers paid for it. If we assume it was all surplus IWT generation those net-exports, we paid those contracted parties $135/MWh for; suggests the total cost of what was sold to our neighbours came to $8,404,965 but the price we were paid by our neighbours was an average of only that $19.42/MWh. Using the latter average price received over the 24 hours means we earned only $1,227,774!

The net result is we Ontario ratepayers/taxpayers have to eat the loss of $7,177,218 for just that one day’s IWT generation. The foregoing is not the exception particularly when Ontario’s peak demand is relatively low as it was yesterday reaching only 17,057 MW at hour 19.

For the foregoing reasons, we should wonder why the Ontario Minister of Energy is instructing IESO to extend the IWT contracts when their 20-year terms are up as they do nothing but increase our electricity costs. Those costs will be exacerbated by the addition of BESS (battery energy storage systems) as the latter will simply add another costly layer in an attempt to keep our grid reliable!


Supreme Court will hear challenge to EPA's 'good neighbor' rule that limits pollution

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in an important environmental case that centers on the obligation to be a "good neighbor."

Lawyers representing three states, companies and industry groups will ask the justices to block a federal rule that's intended to limit ozone air pollution. Experts said it's only the third time in more than 50 years that the court has scheduled arguments on an emergency application like this one.

At the heart of the dispute is the part of the Clean Air Act known as the "good neighbor" provision. It's designed to help protect people from severe health problems they face because of pollution that floats downwind from neighboring states.

"Air pollution doesn't respect state borders," said Harvard Law School professor Richard Lazarus.

The facts of the case

States like Wisconsin, New York and Connecticut can struggle to meet federal standards and reduce harmful levels of ozone because of emissions from coal plant smokestacks, cement kilns and natural gas pipelines that drift across their borders.

"One of the primary reasons that Congress passed this law in 1970 was the one place you could not trust the states to do it on their own was when there was interstate air pollution," Lazarus said.

Vickie Patton, general counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund, said these bedrock protections can save lives.

"There are children, there are older adults, people who work outside in the summer and people who are afflicted by asthma who are at very, very serious risk, and this case is just about asking those upwind polluters to do their fair share," Patton said.

Three of those upwind states — Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia — alongside companies including Kinder Morgan Inc. and U.S. Steel Corp. want the Supreme Court to freeze the good neighbor rule while they pursue an appeal with a lower court in the D.C. Circuit.

The Supreme Court steps in early

Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas and author of a book putting these kinds of emergency actions by the Supreme Court into context, said the other two cases where the justices entertained arguments at this stage involved vaccine mandates during the coronavirus pandemic.

The good neighbor case, on the other hand, doesn't present those same kinds of issues, he said.

"If this is an emergency, what isn't?" Vladeck asked. "There are lots of federal polices that are going to have massive stakes and they're going to have massive stakeholders on both sides. It's not at all obvious why this case merits this kind of special treatment."

Traditionally, the Supreme Court goes last — after a case has made its way through the lower courts and a variety of facts and arguments have been aired.

"This case hasn't really gone very far at all," Vladeck said. "I mean, the only thing that's happened in the entire litigation to date is that the D.C. Circuit, the federal appeals court, refused to give the same thing that they're now asking the Supreme Court for, refused to basically pause the rule at the beginning of the litigation."

The rule in question

Lawyers for the states and companies challenging the good neighbor rule declined to talk before the arguments. In court papers, they call the EPA rule a "disaster" and "a shell of itself."

That's because the plan originally applied to 23 states. But lower courts have hit pause in about half of them for a bunch of different reasons, in separate litigation.

These lawyers said states shouldn't have to shoulder the costs for what they say is an unlawful federal mandate, criticizing the EPA for taking a "top-down" approach to the rule.

But environmental advocates say many of the obligations in the new rule won't kick in until 2026, giving big polluters a couple of years to prepare. The rule is already in force and protecting people in a number of states, they add.

Lazarus, at Harvard Law School, said to win a pause at the Supreme Court, the states challenging the rule will have to meet what's typically a high bar by showing they're likely to win on the merits and they're suffering irreparable harm.

A skeptical Supreme Court

Even so, Lazarus said, regulators and environmental advocacy groups have had a hard time at the Supreme Court over the past few years. First, the justices struck down the Clean Power Plan. Then, they slashed the EPA's jurisdiction over the Clean Water Act. And just last month, they seemed skeptical about another case involving regulations for the fishing industry.

"It certainly seems like a court is sort of on a juggernaut to cut back in an aggressive way on sort of federal environmental law," he added.

Patton, whose environmental group submitted a friend of the court brief in the case, said she'll be watching closely.

"Industry has a responsibility to be a good neighbor under our nation's clean air laws, and I hope the Supreme Court does not upend those protections," Patton said.

There's no clear timetable for a decision from the justices


'Sue and Settle' Looks to Some Like Crony Democracy. And Under Biden's Lawfaring Eco-Politics, It's Back

When the Biden administration announced in 2022 that it would remove some 4 million acres of federal land in Western states from oil and gas exploration, environmental groups hailed the decision as a milestone in their fight against global warming.

“With the oil and gas industry bent on despoiling American’s public lands and fueling the climate crisis, this is a critical opportunity for the Biden administration to chart a new path toward clean energy and independence from fossil fuels,” said Jeremy Nichols, a director with WildEarth Guardians.

But Nichols could just as easily have slapped himself on the back: The administration’s move was part of a private settlement of a lawsuit filed by WildEarth and others over the objections of energy consortiums, whose efforts to intervene in the matter were dismissed.

A similar thing happened last August, when the Biden administration announced it had agreed to exclude 6 million acres of the energy-rich Gulf of Mexico seabed from exploration to settle a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, including the Sierra Club - an announcement that triggered operational delays for the industry and expensive litigation to overturn.

Administration critics say these moves reflect the resurgence of a practice embraced by the Obama administration and rejected during Donald Trump’s presidency: “sue and settle.” The tactic is simple: An advocacy group sues a federal agency for failing to enforce laws or regulations. Agency officials and the plaintiffs then come to a private agreement and that deal is ratified by the courts via a binding consent decree.

The practice is common at every level of government. New York City, for example, is obligated to house and feed tens of thousands of migrants because of a consent decree it entered into to settle a 1979 lawsuit brought by advocates for the homeless. But it is most prevalent in the environmental field, where well-funded groups commonly sue the Environmental Protection Agency or the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior alleging failure to enforce provisions of the Clean Air Act or regulations regarding federal leases for energy production.

Although such consent decrees do not have the force of laws passed by Congress or regulations issued by the government that have gone through formal review and allow for public comment, they set the rules of the road. Critics say it has allowed government to advance policy goals that cannot be achieved through normal democratic channels.

American Energy Alliance

Thomas Pyle: "It’s a nefarious practice in which the agency and the environmental groups get what they want.”
American Energy Alliance
“It’s not really an adversarial lawsuit, and with a settlement agreement and consent decree the case is never really over,” said Dave Tryon, director of litigation at the free-market Buckeye Institute. “The EPA is anxious to increase its power and control; it’s always happy to expand that.”

The legal maneuver represents, according to this view, a return to the proverbial smoked-filled backrooms of politics. Huddled privately, without input from citizens or businesses that may be adversely affected by the decisions – let alone the public at large – lawsuits that often involve parties more simpatico than adversarial are settled. The plaintiffs and defendants are familiar to one another from years in the environmental lobbying and litigation world – and because of the “revolving door” between environmental groups and Democratic administrations. These like-minded players approach the issue seeking similar goals, a process that has only intensified with the Biden administration and leftist environmental groups sharing the belief that global warming is an existential threat.

“Overall, it’s harkening back to the bad old days – they do this in order to avoid scrutiny and bypass the regulatory process,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, an advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy Research. “It’s a way to advance an agenda that may be rejected by voters. It’s a nefarious practice in which the agency and the environmental groups get what they want.”

Sue-and-settle is part of an even broader effort known as “lawfare,” in which political parties and advocacy groups seek to achieve their goals not through elections or legislation but in the courts. This encompasses everything from President Trump’s “stop the steal” efforts to overturn the 2020 election through the courts to myriad efforts by Democrats, whose lawfare campaigns have ranged from getting courts to confiscate Trump’s businesses and charge him criminally to removing him from the 2024 ballot.


Australia to pay coal generators nearly $1bn

Crazy. They take with one hand and give with the other. Greenies will be livid

Anthony Albanese will pay coal generators nearly $1bn in rebates under his market intervention which capped the price of coal used for electricity at $125 a tonne, according to the latest estimates from the Department of Climate Change and Energy.

Labor’s energy market intervention was triggered in December 2022 by the need to shield Australians from rising electricity prices, which were forecast in the October budget that year to increase by about 20 per cent over 2022-23 followed by a further 36 per cent rise in 2023-24.

Retail gas prices were also forecast to increase by up to 20 per cent in both 2022-23 and 2023-24. The government responded by working with NSW and Queensland to set a price cap on coal used for electricity generation at $125 a tonne, while imposing a price ceiling on new domestic wholesale gas contracts for east coast producers at $12 per gigajoule.

Under the intervention, additional financial support is supplied in cases where the costs of production exceed the cost of supply under the cap. Mr Albanese initially dismissed suggestions that compensation for generators under the arrangements could rise into the hundreds of millions.

But initial estimates provided to parliament’s cost of living committee in early 2023 by the Department of Climate Change and Energy suggested that the combined fiscal cost of the coal generator rebates to the Commonwealth, NSW and Queensland governments would be in the order of $1.5bn to $2bn, with the Commonwealth paying a 50 per cent share.

In a letter sent on Tuesday, Department Secretary David Fredericks provided an updated estimate based on the decline in the market price of thermal coal over the past year. The new estimate was in line with the department’s initial analysis, but slightly lower than the upper figure of $2bn.

“DCCEEW’s revised estimate of the maximum total fiscal cost of the rebates associated with the coal price caps is $1.85bn, with the Commonwealth government committed to paying half under the arrangement reached with the New South Wales and Queensland governments,” he said.

Responding to a request for the updated figure from Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, Mr Fredericks said the new estimate was “less than the previous estimate provided to the Senate Cost of Living Inquiry in February 2023.”

The update from Mr Fredericks suggests the Commonwealth will still need to fork out $925m for coal generators – half the estimated $1.85bn total fiscal cost of the rebates under the price cap.

The latest update from the Australian Energy Regulator revealed the cost of producing electricity in 2023 had fallen by as much as 64 per cent in a year and that wholesale electricity prices were running closer to longer-term averages.

The AER said milder weather, fewer coal supply issues and an increase in cheap wind and solar energy had helped drive the reduction. But it also noted another factor – lower fuel costs partly driven by the government’s intervention.

However, Senator Canavan argued that “massive government subsidies don’t lower electricity prices to our economy. Subsidies just transfer the cost of our inept energy policies from consumers to taxpayers.”

“To lift real wages we have to focus on lowering the costs of production. The government’s clumsy interventions have clearly chilled investment in new energy supplies in Australia. The US is doubling its LNG capacity while we remain at a standstill,” he said. “Our lack of investment in reliable energy supplies will continue to increase electricity prices for all over time.”

Leading energy economists have recently suggested there is no longer a strong rationale to extend Labor’s coal price cap beyond the middle of 2024, given the moderation in short-term coal prices.




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