Monday, February 18, 2013

Ontario Hydro / Electricity Global Adjustment for January

The final global adjustment for Ontario's electricity market is now out for January (data from this site). The first estimate was 3.77, however the final value was estimated up to 5.00. That's in cents per kilowatt hour and is added to the regular cost of electricity.

In simplified terms, the global adjustment covers the much higher costs Ontario is contractually obliged to pay to wind and solar providers with fixed contracts. Generally more wind and solar production combined with less overall electricity consumption leads to higher global adjustment values.

Interesting that the final value went up from the initial estimate. My guess is temperatures. I remember reading that Hamilton's mean January temp this year was -3C versus the historical -6C. I'm guessing that this was similar for the heavily populated Southern Ontario region. Warmer winter temperatures means less electricity consumption for heat and less electricity consumption overall. So a given payout for solar and wind producers divided by less than expected kilowatt hours means a higher global adjustment.

Another factor is how much wind and solar was produced. January is never a great month for solar, however higher than average sunny days versus cloudy can help solar production. January is probably a good month for wind, at least compared to the dead hot days of summer.

Last year's January number was 4.25. The highest value from last year was March at 6.23. A windy, sunny and warm March could see us break that record. More wind and solar probably has come on-line since March of last year, so that can make a difference too if overall consumption is flat.

February, whose estimated value is 5.73, has had some pretty cold days, so I could see the final value lower than 5.73. Which is pretty high.

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