Earth Hour: An Exercise in Futility?

According to the IESO website, 560 MWh of electricity use was avoided as a result of Earth Hour and I'm going to tentatively accept that figure for the sake of argument. The real question I want answered is how much carbon dioxide was really avoided with this exercise.The way not to answer this question is by taking a chart of total capacities and dividing the 'savings' out among all the

Weekly Wind Report

So the last week was an interesting one as far as wind power was concerned. Like a roller coaster, the amount of electricity produced by the wind farms increased and decreased before increasing again and decreasing again.It didn't get as low as we've seen it before, but it didn't get as high either.Capacity factor: 27.80%Maximum Output: 808 MWMinimum Output: 27 MWBiggest change hour-to-hour:

Earth Hour: Why I Won't Be Participating

Earth Hour is coming, tonight in fact. An hour where millions of Canadians will shut off their lights and celebrate how environmentally conscious they are. I won't be one of them.Earth Hour in Ontario isn't about conservation. Shutting off the lights in your home one hour a day is not going to have any long term effect on the environment, as your 40Weq fluorescent light bulb is not the

Weekly Wind Report

First the good news for wind advocates, this week, wind power broke 40% capacity factor for the first time since I began tracking it.Bad news, wind power fluctuated wildly across the week, rising as high as 922 MW and sinking as low as 5 MW. If we were only using electricity when the wind blows this wouldn't be a problem, or if we had another way of 'smoothing' out wind power across a week. But

McGuinty Raises Your Bills (again)

McGuinty certainly has found a way to raise more money for his spending sprees. Rather than raising the PST.. err.. HST or raises income taxes, he's going to raise your electricity bills. And because that money is not going directly to the provincial government, he hopes to confuse Ontarians into believing that its those nasty electricity companies, and not his government which is taking more and

Illinois Opens Up

In a nearly unanimous vote, the Illinois Senate has opened the path for the construction of nuclear power plants in that state.That doesn't mean they'll start building nuclear plants, but removing an arbitrary ban on nuclear power based on groundless fearmongering in the wake of Chernobyl is a good first step.

More Windmills Won't Solve This Problem

I've been thinking increasingly about the problem of intermittent power from wind mills. Partly because I've been visiting the Spanish electricity website where they indicate a relatively more stable supply of electricity from wind power. Which made me wonder if having more wind power somehow causes the output on average to be more stable. It probably would if you had multiple independent

Electricity Too Expensive? Blame McGuinty

Seems like someone has found out that their rates have increased recently and that all that effort they put into trying to 'game' the system has not brought the savings they wanted.Now, I understand why she is upset. She was told that if she did as the government wanted that she would save money, now she is realizing that despite doing exactly what the government wanted, her rates have increased

Weekly Wind Report

So, I have one question for wind advocates. In Ontario, with a total installed 'theoretical' capacity of 1085 MW, for a one hour period, you couldn't scrap together more than 2 MW of output. That's pathetic.A nuclear reactor or a coal fired power plant may shut off for repairs but its generally predictable when it will occur and for how long. When they are operating, they can operate

Some Budget Critics Can't Get Their Stories Straight

Thump.You hear that sound? That's the sound of someone's writing style hitting rock bottom.Perhaps I'm being harsh though, I disagree completely with his point of view. But that's not unusual, you have to deal with people everyday who you don't agree with. What I can't stand, however, is when someone's logic is internally inconsistent.For example, he attacks the budget for giving money to AECL to

Science Policy and the Conservative Budget: Part I

One thing that should never be rushed, is political analysis of science policy. Better to delay judgment and make a good policy than to rush into a bad decision without thinking.Some highlights from the budget that I like include:Funding CouncilsConsidering that around the world, government agencies are strongly pushing to reduce science budgets [1,2], I think the fact that Harper isn't going to

Weekly Wind Power Report

So this week is probably exactly the nightmare that I keep referring to for wind power. The overall capacity factor was up slightly from last week but only because of a large peak that occurred between the second and third days.The power output went from almost nothing to over 900 MW in the period of a day and then dropped rapidly back down under 200 MW. Then it bounced back up and down for a

Coal, China and the Crazies

And by crazies, I mean, anyone who would dare to praise the Chinese government for being 'ahead' in the 'clean energy race'.Look at the facts for goodness sake, China produces 90% of their electricity from coal and oil. A meagre 0.06% comes from 'other' sources like windpower.