In a recent posting I discussed the actual Ontario results of their 1200MW wind energy capacity upon their coal production. I used the most recent month, November 2010, and while there was a slight decline in coal production vis-a-vis an increase in wind production, it was so far buried in the day-to-day variations that whatever savings existed disappeared. I also will be quick to point out that even if there were production savings it does not necessarily follow (regardless of what the AWEA says) that there are consumption or emissions savings. But without production savings it is difficult to see how there could be any other types of savings.
Anyway, I thought maybe using hourly figures instead of the daily figures I used in that posting would show a trend more clearly. So I ran November again with the hourly numbers and the results were pretty much the same, with the r-squared going from an insignificant 0.02 to an almost equally insignificant 0.04. The spreadsheet is available – just ask – but there’s so many points on the resulting chart that it didn’t seem useful to publish it. From now on I’ll stick to using daily numbers, as they seem to fairly represent the reality – and doing the hourly numbers is quite a bit of work for little additional information.
And then I wondered if November was a particularly good or bad month to show any relationship. So I went back to October 2010 and ran the numbers again. Here’s the results.
As insignificant as any savings in November were, the savings in October are even more insignificant. Notice that the linear shows a very slight positive slope. So now we have two months’ data and both are in pretty close agreement that at least in Ontario wind production does not lead to any reduction in coal production. And since nobody even pretends that wind production leads to a reduction in gas production – if you don’t have coal savings you have no savings.
I also have to mention that a couple of days in October made the news due to their exceptionally good production numbers, and of course I commented on how even that good production didn’t lead to any reduction in fossil fuel use. That 3-day ineffectiveness also applies for the entire month.
Update, January 1, 2011. Happy New Year! I celebrated by going through December’s numbers to see if the IESO did any better at using the wind production to cut down on coal production. Almost needless to say, the results for December echoed October and November – which is to say wind production seems to have no effect on coal production. As I’ve written earlier, you might as well be digging holes as putting up wind turbines.