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I’m being a nuisance here and asking display questions. I used to work on these kinds of contracts and even priced a contract to supply energy to an electric rapid transit system in a major metropolitan area that needed to meet a renewable portfolio standard. The entity requiring the energy pays a fixed fee for an amount of energy that meets their regulatory requirements and a trade desk goes out and finds the renewables they need in real time. It’s purely financial.

This isn’t a bad thing because it results in the financing of these projects.

I ask these questions because I get upset every time I see these headlines that are clickbait for environmentalists in my feed. The headline elicits an emotional response that gives a “mission accomplished” feeling. A feeling that with the right regulatory support we can have 100% renewables today.

This isn’t true. The rate payer or transit rider is heavily subsidizing this project. Especially because the load shape for a transit system is perhaps the least amenable to being shaped to renewable output. It’s a high profile, high cost political win that makes it seem like we are a lot closer to success than we actually are.

I have no idea whether or not these political victories are worth it in the long run but my feeling is no. The current mess in Ontario is probably the best example of this kind of policy failing.

I think these sorts of articles contribute to raising expectations beyond what is possible in reality which leads to disillusionment in the long run.