Weather system keeps wind turbines from turning
Published Tuesday, July 19, 2011 5:53PM EDT
While Ontario swelters under mid-summer heat, no wind means mainly nuclear and fossil-fuel-fired electricity plants are keeping the province's air conditioners humming.
Wind-generated electricity only provided 10 watts of power for Ontario as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) website indicated.
The province has the ability to generate more than 1,200 megawatts of electricity through its wind farms, the IESO has said.
CTV Toronto weather anchor Anwar Knight said a stable, high-pressure dome of hot air covers North America from Las Vegas to Quebec. Wind is created when high and low-pressure systems collide, he said.
As a result, there isn't much wind in Ontario today, Knight said.
Here is the output by fuel type:
- nuclear - 10,129 MW
- hydro - 5,365 MW
- gas - 5,085 MW
- coal - 3,252 MW
The 'other' category includes solar power and other types of renewable energy. But it only added another 136 MW to the grid.
The output from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. was 23,977 MW. Ontario's demand was projected to peak at 23,153 MW when Ontarians sit down for supper at 6 p.m.
With an election looming on Oct. 6, provincial Energy Minister Brad Duguid told CTV News Channel that in 2003 -- the last year the Progressive Conservatives ruled Ontario -- there were electricity brownouts.
"We found out the hard way what happens when governments don't invest in generation," he said.
After reinvesting, "on a hot day in the middle of a heat wave, we do have enough power to meet the demand," he said, but urged families to conserve where possible.
Electricity is likely to be a hot issue in the election.
The Liberals have said hydro rates have to continue to rise over the next five years to fund needed reinvestments in generation and transmission.
The opposition Progressive Conservatives, considered to be leading in the polls, have vowed to end "expensive energy experiments" in renewable sources of electricity.
The NDP are also building their campaign around pocketbook issues. If the party forms the government, it has promised to merge Hydro One, the Ontario Power Authority, Ontario Power Generation and the IESO.
That would help eliminate spikes in prices, the party said.
The NDP would also halt the construction of new nuclear electricity capacity.
Duguid said his government is on the way to phasing out coal-fired power by 2014, but believes nuclear power will remain a key component of meeting Ontario's electricity needs.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss