Turning our Money into Green Jobs

Originally publishe don the Windconcern Ontario Blog July 6th 2011

July 4th was another “green “ jobs creation day in the Ministry of Energy office with a media release announcing another 1017 MW of industrial wind contracts and 27.5 MW of solar contract signings and went on to announce; “These projects will be brought online through the Bruce to Milton reinforcement project, Ontario’s largest transmission project in 20 years.“ The press release stated that this “will provide enough electricity to power more than 280,000 homes.”

At the same time the Ontario Liberal Party were issuing a press release announcing that former Premier Mike Harris had reportedly crossed over to the green side. This appeared to be an effort to somehow prove that the Liberals had converted him to their policies on energy and only the current leader of the Ontario Conservative Party was against them.

The MEI announcement also claimed that those wind and solar generators that were contracted under the Ontario Power Authority feed-in-tariff (FIT) program would create 5000 of those “green” jobs. The press release gives no breakdown on the makeup or duration of those jobs but most will be temporary construction jobs with only a few dozen permanent jobs. If you do the math on the new generation those 280,000 homes will need 307 MW of capacity running at 100%. Using wind turbines in the equation we need 1139 MW of installed capacity to operate at an average of 27% of capacity to produce the 2.7-million MWH those 280,000 homes will consume (based on 9.6 MWH per household per annum or 800 kWh per month). At a price of $135 per megawatt hour (MWH) or 13.5 cents per kWh the wind developers will be paid about $324-million. Presently the wholesale price of electricity is only about $30 per MWH or 3 cents a kWh based on recent reports from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). So the difference of $105 per MWH ($135 – $30) will be $283-million per annum which is the subsidy ratepayers will be hit with. If the solar generation announced was included the subsidy would be higher as these five (5) generators will be paid $443 per MWH or 44.3 cents per kWh.

According to this guide from Colorado State University one (1) permanent job is created for every 10 MW of wind so with 1139 MW of installed capacity that would create 114 full time jobs. So let’s leave year one of the subsidies out because of those 4886 construction jobs and focus on what those 114 full time jobs will cost in year two to year 2031! Those 114 permanent jobs will cost the ratepayers of Ontario about $2.5-million each for 19 of the next 20 years of the contracts that the OPA has signed. That estimate doesn’t include any part of the $700-million spent on the Bruce Milton transmission line to hook up these renewable projects nor does it include the costs of gas generation backup ($100,000 per MW per month for spinning or $36,840,000 per annum) in case the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.