Coal kicks in to counter heat wave


SIMCOE – Wind energy is proving it’s just not there when Ontario needs it.

Traditionally, one of the biggest draws on the Ontario electricity grid has been on hot, muggy days when air conditioners are running full blast. With the mercury topping 30 degrees Monday, the total electricity demand for the province was 21,531 MegaWatts (MW) between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wind supplied 0.01 per cent of that energy and coal 9 per cent.

To be more exact, fuel types for July 15 between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. were nuclear, 11,720 MW; hydro 4,031 MW; gas 4,579 MW; coal 1,979 MW and wind 3MW. That was topped up by imported power, of which an unknown portion was most certainly from US coal plants.

Environment Canada data for the Delhi weather station shows the wind speed didn’t top 11 km/h on Monday and was 4 km/h or less all morning. That isn’t surprising as hot, muggy weather is often accompanied by still air.

“The McGuinty-Wynne government failed to take situations like this into account when shutting down coal plants and increasing our dependence on wind,” said Haldimand- Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “Over a year, a wind turbine only produces a fraction of the power it’s rated for in most cases.”

The one-hour time frame on Monday wasn’t a blip. Similar fuel mixes have been powering Ontario the past few days and the situation raises important questions.

“What does the future hold for Ontario residents when the coal plants are shut down later this year,” Barrett questioned. “Will we be faced with rolling blackouts next summer when air conditioners are running all out?”

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For more information contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629