Wind = Coal Reductions NOT

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.

4 thoughts on “Wind = Coal Reductions NOT”

  1. The absolute uselessness of wind as a viable energy source is very well known by the good people at the IESO. This is why they dump 100% of Ontario’s wind generation onto the export market almost always at a huge loss 99.7% of the time.

    Jan 1, 2011 made two un-reported records in Ontario: The record for the most wind power ever produced AND the record for the lowest spot market rate for electricity ever in Ontario!

    Of course, the windy greenies were still getting paid their obscene rates for all that unwanted and unusable power they were producing!!!!

    10 more months before we can hope to end this rape of our economy, environment and wallets!

    10 more months!

    Sean Holt.

  2. I love your simple methodology for looking at the wind vs. coal relationship. One additional consideration to throw into that train of thought is that 2010 was a period of relatively low hydro-electric production in Ontario, which seems like it should increase any underlying negative correlation between wind and coal. The fact that your surveys found such little relationship seems solid.

    Several of Ontario’s neighbouring states are developing large wind fleets too. It might be interesting to look at the value of our interties for managing wind variability. It seems like the system operators are all looking at their own jurisdictions and expecting the interties to clean up any messy bits. However, we know that distance has very little smoothing effect on overall wind output. When upstate New York is pumping out lots of wind, Ontario will be doing the same. At those times, New York may find itself with power flows southbound getting maxed out and out intertie with New York will be useless for dumping our excess.

    Tom Adams

  3. Wind power defiantly has its advantages, but if you are in a location where the wind is not constant it will not do you much good. Do your homework before purchasing any equipment. It can be expensive!

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