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Canadian greenhouse gas emissions from electricity cut by 22% in 5 years

Discussion in 'Canada' started by mknox, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Thought this article might be of interest in the context of Elon Musk's assertions of EV getting "cleaner" over time.
     
  2. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    This is no doubt helped by the weak economic growth over the last five years as well. I bet the emissions from the Oil and Gas industry will be dropping as well as long as oil prices stay low.

    By the way, it is great that Ontario has shut down all of the coal plants, but on a clear day at my house I can see across the lake to the smokestack of the Kintigh coal-fired generating station in Somerset, NY, I don't know that SOX, NOX and CO2 emissions stop at the border half-way across Lake Ontario.
     
  3. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    One of the highest emitting plants was the Nanticoke coal plant. Now shut down, but in its heyday it was the largest coal-fired plant in North America. It also had the distinction of being one of Canada's largest greenhouse gas emitters and at one point was Canada's single largest source. I also seem to recall it was the subject of a New York State lawsuit since prevailing winds blew much of it's output that way. Probably a good thing it's now decommissioned.
     
  4. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    Any idea how much GHG emissions there are for every kWh used in Ontario? It likely isn't too high since it seems about 80% of the generation capacity is from nuclear+hydro and 20% from NatGas. So I guess the answer is how much CO2 is emitted when generating 1kWh from a NatGas plant and multiply that by 20%.
     
  5. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I find this is a useful tool. They have a mobile app as well.
     
  6. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    That currently shows CO2 intensity at 93g/kWh, which, presumably, is all coming from the 4.6MW of power being generated from Natural Gas. Solar doesn't appear to show up on this page, perhaps due to the distributed nature of the generation?
     
  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Yes, solar, particularly microFIT-type solar, is more of a "load displacement" thing, much like conservation and demand management initiatives. There is a tiny bit of oil-fired generation and some CO2 might be coming from biomass generators. But for sure, the lion's share is from the gas fired plants. Ironically, the proliferation of wind has driven the need for more gas plants in order to spool up when the wind dies down. You'll often see gas plants running in the north, and down towards Sarnia a lot of the time, but not so much in the GTA area where it is more of a peaking thing.
     
  8. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    That is one element of it for sure, the wind power capacity is currently ~ 3 GW peak, looking to get to about 7 GW peak over the next two years when the final roll out of the FIT plan is done.

    However, the upcoming (and required after 40 years) refit of the nuclear power plants across Ontario had a major part in the size/scope of the gas plant roll out.
    The nuclear refit will take 5 GW of "base load" power production for long stretches (years), where gas will "fill in" the hole left.
    We need enough gas to cover for nuclear outages, not just variable power like wind.

    A recent example : Two months ago there was an outage in one of existing nuclear plants that took 700MW offline for two weeks, gas filled the gap.

    All that new gas power requires us to pay for idle time as part of the contract, I believe this is included in the "global adjustment" part of our bill...

    - - - Updated - - -

    There is also the newer gas plants that have higher efficiency and run 24/7 due to "combined heat and power".

    North of Toronto, Markham has deployed a few of these types of plants, and one provides electrical power and hot water for the hospital, reducing the cost of backup generation that would normally be required at a hospital of this size.

    Even at the lowest demand in Ontario, 900MW of gas power is in constant use, mostly due to the fact it cannot be idled, whereas there is 8500 MW which can be idled (with varying restart times).
     
  9. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    According to that web page it looks like Bruce A4 is down as well as Pickering A2 and A3. Are these permanently offline? That's about 1700 MW of capacity.
     
  10. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the specific contract language, but it can be true. There are also some "legacy" assets of OPG that are paid a fixed rate and the difference between that and the spot market price also gets dumped into the Global Adjustment.

    "Behind the meter" co-gen and tri-gen installations are becoming more popular these days. They are load displacement installations and won't show up on the IESO's list of generation assets as far as I know. There are also a large number of older standby generators out there, but environmental regulations won't allow them to be run for load displacement or peak shaving... just emergency backup.
     
  11. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    Unfortunately, I think they have Nexus...:mad:
     
  12. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I think it depends on the primary wind directions. Nanticoke did more "harm" to New York than Ontario, apparently. Years ago when I was in high school, I did some data collection work for (if I recall correctly) Pollution Probe in Muskoka, and one of the findings was that the vast majority of whatever bad stuff it was we were looking for was coming from Sudbury at the time.

    At the end of the day, it's all going into the atmosphere and circulates everywhere.
     
  13. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    Does anyone have a source for average CO2 emissions in Ontario based on time of usage? My electricity usage over the last year has been 66% in off-peak, 16% in shoulder and 18% in peak. I am assuming that the carbon intensity is lowest in off-peak since less NatGas generation is being used. My off-peak usage is likely higher now due to my Model S - but I have only owned it for 8 months so the power used by my car isn't fully reflected in my last 12 months usage as of yet.

    It looks like carbon intensity in Ontario varies from below 50g/kWh to around 100g/kWh. I have been watching that website that mknox provided a link for and I haven't seen the intensity hit 100 yet, despite the fact that the last week have been some of the hottest days of the summer with high demand of over 23,000MW.
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    There probably isn't a published number because of so much variability. The IESO have some pretty good information, but you could probably get a pretty good approximation from noting a few days of data from Gridwatch and then extrapolate to your own consumption numbers.
     
  15. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    Makes sense...winds are usually from the West in these parts...
     

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