The government of Saskatchewan denied a permit for a 177-MW wind power facility proposed by Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. The project was proposed for the Chaplin area, about 200 km west of Regina in the southwest corner of the province. The key rationale for denying the permit was the danger posed to migratory birds. The Chaplin area is home to a shorebird sanctuary and is a major migratory route. Algonquin was initially awarded a contract in 2012 for the facility under an RFP held by SaskPower, and has stated that it will now be seeking to find an alternative site for the development.
The Chaplin Wind Project was rejected after being the first to undergo a provincial environmental assessment. The provincial government has also released new guidelines for the location of wind power projects. Wind farms will have to be located more than five kilometers from environmentally sensitive areas like parks, ecological reserves and some of the province’s biggest rivers. In effect, the province has developed an exclusion zone that highlights areas wind cannot be developed, but locating outside the exclusion zone does not negate the requirement to undergo site assessments but is intended to streamline the approval process.
The development of clear siting guidelines for Saskatchewan wind projects is of particular importance given the ambitious goals the province has announced. The province is expected to put out an RFP for about 200 MW of wind capacity in early 2017, and by 2030 expects to add about 1,600 MW to 1,800 MW of wind capacity by 2030. These totals are incremental to the Algonquin facility.
Power Advisory would welcome the opportunity to assist clients evaluate opportunities offered by participating in SaskPower’s forthcoming Wind RFP. We offer a broad understanding of Saskatchewan’s electricity sector and critical success factors in power supply RFPs.
Today the Alberta Government announced a firm target of 30% renewable energy by 2030. As part of this firm target, the government will support an additional 5,000 MW of renewable generation by 2030 (see here). The 30% target had not previously been identified as a firm target, and prior indications had been that the support for renewables would be 4,200 MW by 2030. As such, this announcement marks a strengthening of renewable targets for Alberta.
The 30% energy target will be achieved mainly through the Renewable Electricity Program (REP) that targets large-scale grid renewables. The Government’s news release states that “the province will solicit enough investment in Alberta’s electricity system to meet the target, while ensuring projects come online in a way that does not impact grid reliability and is cost-effective”. The government expects that $10.5B of investment in Alberta renewables will be supported through this initiative.
A few high-level details were released, re: the REP:
- Projects to be based in Alberta;
- Only new or expanded projects;
- Projects must be 5 MW or greater;
- Projects must meet the Natural Resources Canada definition of renewable sources.
Further details on how the REP will operate will be released later this year and will be based on recommendations provided by the AESO. The Government is now working with AESO on detailed program design and remains on target to release details of the program in the coming months.
Work is also underway to improve Alberta’s rules around smaller-scale electricity generation, including micro-generation. Government is engaging expert stakeholders on ways to make it easier for individual Albertans and communities to create their own renewable energy. These small-scale generation initiatives along with energy efficiency programs are being developed under the auspices of the newly created Energy Efficiency Alberta organization.
On September 1st, 2016, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released the Ontario Planning Outlook (OPO) 2016. The OPO serves as the IESO’s technical report on the Ontario Power System, with a planning period of 2016 through to 2035.
Power Advisory’s summary and commentary can be found on our reports page (click here)
Travis Lusney, Director at Power Advisory LLC (Power Advisory), was retained to be the technical lead for a consortium of over 20 potential Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) II participants representing different technology types (e.g., solar generation, on-shore wind generation, hydroelectric generation, and bioenergy).
As the technical lead, Power Advisory developed a new connection assessment process for the LRP II process and presented the proposed process with participating entities, including industry associations (i.e., Canadian Wind Association (CanWEA), Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA), etc.). Power Advisory built consensus within the consortium by preparing technical briefings, leading group discussions and clearly understanding and incorporating individual entity’s needs. The draft consortium positions were presented to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), who is overseeing the LRP II procurement and is the integrated system planner for Ontario.
Power Advisory was well positioned to be the technical lead for potential LRP II participants. Travis Lusney is a former transmission power system planner and was a lead on the initial development of the Transmission Availability Test (TAT) and Distribution Availability Test (DAT), the connection assessment processes first used in the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program, and subsequently used in the LRP I process. Since joining Power Advisory, Travis has been an essential resource for a wide variety of clients seeking an understanding of the Ontario power system and developing a strategy for project development. Travis’ deep knowledge of the Ontario power system and extensive understanding of the opportunities and shortcomings of connection capability are valuable resources for leading changes to the LRP II connection assessment process.
Power Advisory has a history of successfully leading and advising consortium of developers on a wide range of electricity sector matters. Power Advisory successfully negotiated changes to the IESO market rules and IESO contracts related to integration of variable transmission connected renewable generation into the IESO electricity market.
For further information, please contact Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org
On June 30, 2016, the Massachusetts Senate passed energy bill S.2372. The energy bill is part of an effort to diversify the state’s energy mix and comply with greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements. The energy bill is expected to have a significant impact on the long-term energy policy and opportunities for renewable energy development.
Power Advisory Review of Clean Energy Generation Senate Bill
North American heads of state met yesterday in Ottawa to commit to generating half of the continent’s electricity from “clean energy” sources by 2025. These clean energy sources include renewable energy, nuclear generation, fossil fuel plants that use carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency. Currently, 37% of North American electricity is provided by clean energy sources. In the U.S. which represents about 75% of total North American generation, only about 33% electricity generation is from renewable and nuclear facilities as shown in the figure below. In stark contrast, about 80% of Canada’s electricity is provided by clean energy sources, with hydro representing about ¾ of this.
Particularly troubling for the U.S. are the pending retirements of the following nuclear units: Clinton, Diablo Canyon, Fort Calhoun, Fitzpatrick, Oyster Creek, Pilgrim and Quad Cities. The table below indicates the location, rated capacity and 2015 annual electricity output of these units. In 2015 they generated almost 64 TWh, representing 1.6 percent of total U.S. utility generation. Clearly their loss will have a significant impact on the investment required for the U.S to achieve this 50% clean energy goal. Equally important are the implications of the loss of this non-carbon emitting generation on the cost of achieving the emission reductions required by the Clean Power Plan. With the stay of the Clean Power Plan, a “policy bridge” to support this generation would appear to be appropriate.
U.S. Nuclear Generating Units Scheduled for Retirement
According to the recently released 2016 Annual Energy Outlook about 43% of U.S. electric generation will be produced by such clean energy sources by 2025, with a major contributor to this growth the additional renewable energy spawned by the extension of the production tax credits. This gap suggests that additional policy support will be required to achieve the 50% goal. Additional clean energy from Canada, such as several New England states are considering, could assist the US in achieving its target.
On May 11, 2016, the IESO Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) met and an update on the Ontario Planning Outlook 2016 (OPO 2016) was presented. Please find attached a client note summarizing the OPO 2016 update along with Power Advisory’s commentary.
Power Advisory is pleased that the IESO has recognized the risks and uncertainty facing the Ontario electricity sector over the planning horizon that we had previously identified. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Power Advisory Client Note – OPO 2016 Update – SAC Meeting 2016-05-11
STUDY PREDICTS SHIFT TOWARD WIND, HYDRO POWER WILL SAVE CONSUMERS COSTS
By Matt Murphy STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, APRIL 21, 2016
A new study on the impact large-scale hydro and wind power imports could have on the Massachusetts energy market predicts significant savings for consumers, challenging the narrative put forward by critics of Gov. Charlie Baker’s energy bill that hydropower would be a costly alternative to natural gas. The economic analysis, conducted for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Partnership by Power Advisory, concludes that energy customers in the state would see a net benefit of $171 million a year from long-term contracts for hydropower or a combination of hydro and land-based wind from northern New England or Canada. The Clean Electricity Partnership is a coalition of regional wind, hydro and transmission companies working with business and environmental groups to promote clean energy. The report, written by Power Advisory President John Dalton, suggests the savings generated by driving down demand for natural gas would not only cover the costs of building the transmission and facility infrastructure to import the power, but also deliver 10 percent of the carbon emission reductions required by 2050 under state law. “Our analysis shows that displacing natural gas-fired electricity generation with hydropower or a combination of hydro and wind results in substantial annual savings to Massachusetts energy consumers as well as dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” Dalton wrote. The study presents a starkly different view of hydropower’s impact on price than that reported by a separate review produced for the New England Power Generators Association that predicted $777 million a year in costs for ratepayers, including the cost of building transmission lines from Canada through New England. The NEPGA believes that the state’s energy needs would be best met by letting the market respond to the forthcoming retirements of an estimated 10,000 megawatts of power from Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and other retiring power plants. The new study comes a day after Kinder Morgan announced that it would suspend all work and spending on its Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline project from New York to Dracut, Mass. That would have added natural gas capacity in the region. “Frankly, I don’t think there was lots of analysis that underlied that report,” Dalton said of the NEPGA report. The computer modeling used by Power Advisory assumed an expansion of natural gas pipelines in Massachusetts, as well as the addition of already proposed new natural gas power plants, but Dalton said the Kinder Morgan announcement does not significantly alter his predictions. “We didn’t specifically assume it was Kinder Morgan,” Dalton told the News Service. “It could have been the Spectra project as well. But if neither get built the benefits would be all that much more compelling because as you’ll see in this analysis these clean energy imports act as another pipeline, a clean energy pipeline.” Baker has proposed authorizing utilities to solicit bids for long-term power contracts to import between 1,200 and 2,400 megawatts of hydropower to Massachusetts. While Baker believes the clean energy resource will be able to offer a reliable source of energy at a competitive price, he has stressed that if the bids come back to high for consumers they would be rejected. The new analysis concludes that hydro and wind power imports would drive down wholesale energy prices and reduce the use of less-efficient power plants, saving $440 million a year before incorporating the infrastructure costs needed to import the clean power. Lower demand for natural gas would also create $160 million in savings for natural gas customers who use the resource for heat and cooking, the study concluded. The House is expected to release major energy policy legislation as soon as next month that is likely to address the idea of competitive procurement of both hydro and off-shore wind as a clean energy solution to meeting the region’s energy needs as sources such as Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station prepare to come offline. Over a 25-year period, Dalton’s report estimates $603 million in savings a year in Massachusetts from the importation of Canadian hydropower before the cost of transmission lines and facilities are factored. The volume of energy from the new renewable resources would drive down demand for natural gas and reduce the price of gas used to produce electricity on peak demand days. The result would be savings of approximately $219 million a year for Massachusetts customers, he wrote
The Alberta Government has declared policy direction to: 1) establish a price on carbon; 2) phase out coal-fired generation by 2030; and 3) accelerate renewable generation developments. These are the key policies that will impact Alberta’s wholesale energy market within the Alberta Government’s broader Climate Leadership Plan.
Power Advisory Summary and Preliminary Commentary can be found in our Reports Section (click here)
On February 8, 2016, ISO-NE will hold is tenth Forward Capacity Auction (FCA). Power Advisory has just finalized its forecast of FCA #10 prices and released its public review of the Forward Capacity Market (FCM) fundamentals that will drive FCA prices. With significantly higher prices in FCA #8 and 9, the market is responding with proposals for numerous new gas plants, ranging from 100-MW combustion turbines to 900-MW combined cycle plants. Existing generators are working to squeeze a few more MWs out of their equipment, and owners of older plants are choosing to keep them in service rather than retire them. On the other hand, the Pay for Performance program is influencing some suppliers to reduce their participation in the auction, particularly where participation in the FCM has an opportunity cost.
Our public review of FCA #10 is available upon request by contacting John Dalton at email@example.com