Author Archives: Leader Staff

Wind Power Helps Ontario Grid Maintain Reliability

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by NAW Staff Tuesday March 04 2014

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) recently reported in its 18-month outlook that the connection of new wind and other renewable energy is being achieved without any impact on the reliability of the province’s electricity system.

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), the IESO stated that the retirement of coal-fired generation, combined with transmission-ready renewable wind and solar power, has put downward pressure on peak demands on the electricity system without causing reliability issues. Ontario is Canada’s leader in wind energy and has more than 2.4 GW of installed capacity, supplying over 3% of the province’s electricity demand, CanWEA notes.

“Procuring a stable and steady stream of wind energy complements Ontario’s new energy-conservation measures, and provides the province with unprecedented flexibility to align electricity-supply needs with changing economic and environmental circumstances,” comments Robert Hornung, CanWEA’s president.

“Progressive governments around the world know that continuing to integrate new wind energy not only results in a major contribution to reducing carbon emissions, it improves the reliability of electricity grids, while ensuring more predictable and stable electricity prices.”

In December 2013, Ontario released its latest Long-Term Energy Plan, which strongly emphasizes energy conservation over new generation procurement. However, the plan does still include a target of 600 MW of wind power by 2015 – a goal lower than the 900 MW by 2015 CanWEA had called for earlier.

Renewable energy saved Ireland over €1bn in fossil fuel imports in past five years

Wind energy is Ireland’s greatest indigenous energy resource, and we should ensure we exploit it to the benefit of the Irish people, according to Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

“This is all about making Ireland more energy independent – harvesting our own resources instead of importing the expensive resources of others,” he said.

In a defence of continuing wind energy development, Dr Motherway explained that on a range of objective measurements wind energy is delivering for Ireland, and that in the past five years renewable energy has saved over €1bin in fossil fuel imports, has reduced CO2 emissions by 12 million tonnes and has not added to consumers’ bills.

“As the issues of further wind and grid development are discussed across the country, it is important that this debate be based on factual evidence and not myths.”

Dr Motherway said that some vocal opponents of specific developments have sought to question the national case for more wind energy development in Ireland.

“Many people are concerned about renewable energy proposals in their communities. People are entitled to raise all the concerns they may have and a full and open debate is essential. However, false information only serves to worry people further.

“Frankly, many arguments have been put forward questioning the case for more wind development in Ireland which are not fact based. The evidence is very clear that wind energy is good for Ireland, bringing economic, environmental and social benefits. We must ensure we don’t throw away the opportunity to capture these benefits.”

Discussing these benefits, Dr Motherway pointed out that Ireland is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, spending €6.5bn per year on such imports.

“This creates risk, and bleeds large amounts of money from the domestic economy. Wind and other renewables will allow us to gain greater energy independence, and massively reduce our carbon emissions as well.”

Growing our use of renewable energy is also vital for our national competiveness, giving us greater control over our energy prices, he noted.

“Less reliance on fossil fuels gives us greater certainty on our energy prices, rather than leaving us at the mercy of international commodity price rises. It also helps attract foreign investment, as more global companies seek access to clean energy as part of their location decisions.”

Dr Motherway was speaking at the publication by SEAI of Renewable Energy in Ireland, which shows good progress towards our renewable targets with over 7pc of Ireland’s energy demand coming from renewables in 2012 resulting in €250m less expenditure on imported fossil fuels.

European Commission Announces Climate Change Package

Last week the European Commission announced its proposal for a climate change package that includes new targets for renewable energy, GHG emissions, and energy efficiency. Along with policy focusing on efficiency in both building and transport, targets aim for a 40% reduction of GHG emissions from their 1990 levels, and a 27% share of renewable energy for the EU as a whole.

The package, to be proposed to the European Council in March, removes renewable energy mandates for individual countries after current targets are met, which call for a 20% emission reduction and 20% renewable energy share by 2020. In 2011 the European Union reached a 12.7% share of renewable capacity, and in 2012, had reduced emissions levels by 18% compared to 1990 levels.

Despite the Commission’s claims that the targets are both economically realistic and environmentally ambitious, many argue the targets fall short for a union historically known as a world leader in climate change policy. Governments within the Union say the exclusion of country-specific targets may remove the incentive and rationale used by governments to support project development, and the ambiguity of collective targets could leave governments arguing over individual state responsibility.

Ultimately the gap between the proposal and the recommendations of its critics is economic, as the recent financial crisis pervading Europe has shaped its practical response to climate change. With gas prices comparatively higher in Europe than in the U.S., the Commission has chosen to focus on short-term solutions in the form of continued subsidization of fossil fuels. This argument regarding short-term and long-term priorities is central to the renewable energy debate, and many have pointed out the need for a larger conversation regarding the allocation of energy resources in the EU.

Rather than an invitation for other countries around the world to step back from aggressive targets, this decision presents an opportunity for other nations to lead in adopting a comprehensive approach that includes binding renewable energy targets on both the national and regional level. Just as state-specific RPS policies have encouraged development of renewable technologies in the U.S., a localized approach and focused targets are valuable in spurring renewable energy innovation in the EU.

by Ian Law, Client Relations and Marketing Associate for Renewable Choice

Ontario Electricity System Operator Issues RFP For Energy Storage

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by Renew Grid on March 17, 2014

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to procure up to 35 MW of energy storage to explore how new technologies can provide needed flexibility in grid operations. The IESO is responsible for managing Ontario’s bulk electricity system and operating the wholesale electricity market.

The system operator reports that this competitive process is designed to select and test a diverse portfolio of storage technologies. Once the projects are in place, the IESO says it will assess their capabilities in helping to balance supply and demand.

The RFP, the IESO notes, supports the government’s Long-Term Energy Plan that calls for 50 MW of energy storage in Ontario. Following the IESO’s procurement, the Ontario Power Authority will issue a request for proposals for the remaining megawatts.

It is expected that contracts will be executed by the end of June, the IESO adds.

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