The Green Energy & Economy Act – Examining it’s Creators

 The Green Energy Act (Act) didn’t just happen—it was created by the Green Energy Act Alliance or GEAA. The 3rd Anniversay of the Act just passed so this article will take a look at; how the Act came about and the effect it has had on the Province.

A visit to the MaRS Discovery District to view some of the videos resident on that site by the list of people on the attached chart will quickly show many of the individuals involved in the GEEA claim responsibility for bringing the Act to fruition. As one example, Marion Fraser is almost beside herself with delight about her role in its creation. The GEAA inundated the Ontario Liberal Majority government with material and lobbying efforts from the time the McGuinty government were first elected until they successfully got Energy and Infrastructure Minister, George Smitherman, to buy into their concepts.

Before the Act received its third reading and Royal Assent, it was reviewed by the Standing Committee on General Government. On April 8, 2009 Deborah Doncaster, Chair of the GEAA, supported by David Poch, the GEAA’s legal adviser; presented her views to the Committee. She said;

“Finally, we believe that one of the most significant features of the act is that it will create jobs—tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of jobs. The proposed act and the relevant regulations have the potential to enable the greatest number of meaningful jobs, more than the OPA’s previous plan, and those jobs can start today. Renewables and conservation are shovels in the ground today—and we need the jobs today. We, too, have commissioned a study, with the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts. Preliminary results shows that aggressive implementation of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, the feed-in tariff program and related regulations will produce three times the number of jobs than what the IPSP had originally proposed. The government estimates of job creation of 50,000 are likely to significantly understate the potential. Just as importantly, jobs from conservation and green power occur across the province and a greater proportion of those jobs are ongoing. Distributed generation and conservation means distributed local jobs—and yes, I’m going to use the Germany analogy, much to the ministers chagrin, if he were here to stay for this.

The point of referencing Germany is not to compare supply mix possibilities or probabilities; the point of comparison with Germany is that it is a jurisdiction with a landmass one third the size of Ontario, and in Germany today they have 280,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector. They’re producing 32,000 megawatts of renewable energy today; that’s 100 terawatt hours per year, which compares to Ontario’s total electricity demand of 150 terawatt hours a year. By 2030, Germany’s renewable energy supply will grow from 15% to 50% of total requirements. The German government anticipates the jobs to be in the 800,000 to 900,000 range. In some ways, Ontario’s energy plan is superior to Germany’s because we are legally required to eliminate coal-fired generation by 2014 and the proposed act does not place caps or limits on the amount of renewables and conservation that can come into the system.”

As the reader will discern, Ms. Doncaster, a little over three years ago, was forecasting “hundreds of thousands of jobs.” would be created by the Act while citing the German example and boldly stated that Ontario’s “energy plan was superior to Germany’s”.

View as .pdf

This presentation and numerous studies, including the one mentioned in her presentation were regular occurrences, leading up to the presentation of the Act in the Ontario Legislature. It is worth reflecting on whether those studies were partially financed by the taxpayers of the Province bearing in mind the list of sponsors of the GEAA. Those sponsors include six (6) of the GEAA Founders (refer attached chart), many of whom were adept at obtaining grants from publicly owned institutions like the Trillium Foundation, Friends of the Greenbelt, Toronto Atmospheric Fund, etc., etc.

Interestingly enough one of the few corporate sponsors; Trillium Power, is now suing the Province for $2.25 billion claiming “Ontario assassinated the company and the offshore industry by stealth through a press release.”

The Founders of the GEAA were originally listed on a 7 page paper titled; “Creating a Green Energy Act before Copenhagen 2009”, that seems to have been created by Kris Stevens of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) on November 3, 2008. This paper forecast 215,000 jobs , 200,000 trained workers and cites the German and Spanish experience. The paper omitted listing the World Wildlife Fund as a founder but they were subsequently added.

Yet another study released in February 2009 by Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRAC where David Love is Executive Director) in conjunction with York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) noted the jobs Ontario had lost (230,000 manufacturing jobs) and suggested the way forward was renewable energy as the highest job creator! Spain and Germany were again noted as examples of how they created jobs from their adoption of renewable energy generation. This report went on to outline the biographies of the interviewees (16) of whom many were connected to the GEAA including Jose Etcheverry, Assistant Professor in the York FES as well as the Chair of the GEAA, Deborah Doncaster, Brent Kopperson of Windfall Ecology Centre and Kris Stevens of OSEA.

It should be noted that York’s FES are also adept at tapping into public funds as an October 2011 newsletter tells all about $3 million in grants received and mentions several familiar names involved in the environmental movement.

Assistant Professor Etcheverry honed his skills at the David Suzuki Foundation before joining York University and it appears he has launched the “Sustainable Energy Initiative” (SEI) under the banner of the FES enlisting Mark Windfield (formerly with Pembina [a GEAA founder] and the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law & Policy) as a Co-Chair along with Peter Love (formerly Ontario’s Chief Conservation Officer with the Ontario Power Authority) and Tyler Hamilton, “editor-in-chief of Corporate Knights and the Toronto Star’s clean energy and technology columnist. The focus of the SEI appears to be to get students to drink the renewable energy kool-aid. SEI’s partners include TRAC (see above), Windfall Ecology Centre where Brent Kopperson is listed as founder and Executive Director. Kopperson was one of the drivers of the GEAA (refer chart). Windfall is very effective at tapping into publicly owned entities as this link will show.

The list of the main individuals involved and listed on the chart fails to include a few luminaries involved in the GEAA. An expanded list would include Paul Gipe, a US based IWT supporter for decades, Bruce Lourie of Ivey Foundation, Tim Weis of Pembina, Gideon Forman of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. Those on the list are the ones most connected and recognized in the halls of Queens Park working to create the Act. They were included in the November 3, 2008 paper and included in the GEAA’s list of the Management Committee and the Phase 1 and Phase II Campaign Teams. We have also cross listed them with Tom Rand’s list of the “Top 20 Movers and Shakers of the Green Energy Act as picked by Tom Rand after consultation with seven (7) people and with the signatories on a March 29, 2009 paper that sought to amend the original Bill 150.

Needless to say the Act received third reading and Royal Assent on May 14, 2009 and the Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy & Infrastructure, George Smitherman had this to say;

“The Green Energy Act will truly set us on the path to a 21st century green economy for Ontario, one that is sustainable, easy on the environment, and focused on the jobs of the future. We’ll be working hard to ensure Ontario gets every benefit possible from renewable energy and from the efficiency and savings that come from developing a culture of conservation.”

The message above from George Smitherman, the then Deputy Premier, signaled his full belief in the messages that the GEAA pumped out in the form of their studies and papers. Three years later it is obvious that the messages delivered to the ruling Liberal party weren’t worth the paper they were printed on.

The Act has done absolutely nothing to curb the decreasing manufacturing employment in the Province and nothing to clean the air. The poster children of those who were active in the GEAA in the form of Spain, Denmark and Germany have also fallen on hard times and it now appears Germany may be on the verge of ridding itself of subsidies that support solar and wind generation. According to Spiegel Online “Bankruptcies Have German Solar on the Ropes” creating massive job losses as government subsidies are reduced. A recent study by the German Energy Agency (dena) estimates that Germany will require backup fossil fuel plants for renewable energy equivalent to 60% to ensure security of supply. They also forecast that electricity rates will continue their climb (presently German electricity rates are the 2nd highest in Europe after Denmark) much like Ontario where electricity rates are forecast to be the highest in North America.

But didn’t the GEAA members tell us that the Act would create “hundreds of thousands of jobs” and produce electricity at lower rates then new gas or nuclear generation units and didn’t they promise us clean air (so far Ontario has had the 3rd highest number of smog days in 2012 since record keeping began in 1995)? Did the McGuinty Liberal government simply take the words of these 14 plus individuals and not consult with anyone who might deign to disagree or even to examine the facts presented in the papers and presentations?

Most of these environmental not-for profits and charities that formed the GEAA are now using the same information to tell us that noise from industrial wind turbines (IWTs) is not harmful to humans and that more birds are killed flying into buildings then by IWTs and the Liberals seem to accept their musings, staying the Acts course.

When will sanity return to those we elect to manage the affairs of this province? The taxpayers and ratepayers of this province don’t want or deserve another Liberal majority government that panders to the beliefs of a few and fail to do proper cost/benefit analysis that reflects the lack of economic and health aspects of the Act!

In this writer’s humble opinion the cure for the ills caused by the McGuinty Liberals will take far more time then the 9 years they have been in power and the legacy left by the Liberals will be decades of austerity and high electricity prices.

Parker Gallant,
August 27, 2012

Public Discourse—Practiced by Environmental NGOs or Scare Mongering and Legal Threats

A guest article that appeared in the Hamilton Spectator August 7, 2012 written by the interim Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) contains some interesting claims and does so while trying to stifle debate and an upcoming Health Canada Study relating to the impacts of industrial wind turbines on human health. The article written by Farrah Kahn is headlined “Medical experts favour wind energy over dangerous, toxic fossil fuels” which is amusing as Farrah Kahn is not (to the best of the writer’s knowledge) a medical expert however CAPE is prone to making extensive medical claims including some that appear in the aforementioned article. On most occasions Kahn’s articles name studies or reports prepared by others to add weight to her claims as in this article where it states; “ “According to the Ontario Clean Air Alliance [OCAA] in 2009 Ontario’s coal plants were connected to 246 deaths, 342 hospital admissions, 406 costly energy room visits and almost 123,000 illnesses such as asthma attacks.”

The exact numbers laid out in the article are presumably to give the reader the feeling that this information; being so precise, must be right! If one laboriously goes through all of the reports that the OCAA have on their website it is impossible to find any reference to the precise numbers Kahn purports they have connected. One report titled “The Ontario Power Authority’s Coal Phase-Out Strategy: A Critical Review” does have some statistics but they were taken from an April 2005 report prepared by DSS Management Consultants for the Ministry of Energy when Dwight Duncan was the Minister. That report looked at the following four scenarios:

“Four scenarios were identified by the Ministry of Energy, namely:

  • Scenario 1 – Base Case (the status quo, continue operating the coal-fired generation facilities within the current regulatory regime1),
  • Scenario 2 – All Gas (produce all of the replacement electricity through gas generation facilities constructed for this purpose alone),
  • Scenario 3 – Nuclear/Gas (produce all of the replacement electricity through a combination of refurbished nuclear and new gas generation facilities constructed for this purpose alone), and
  • Scenario 4 – Stringent Controls (continue operating the coal-fired generation facilities but install new emission control technology so that the best available control technology is in place).”

The absolute best case in respect to health costs that the report highlighted was Scenario 3 (Nuclear/Gas) and as the reader of that dated report will quickly discern, makes no mention of wind or solar generation. Scenario 1 (the status quo) was the worst case and claimed (by modelling) 668 deaths, 928 hospital admissions, 1100 emergency room visits and 333,660 minor illnesses.

If one assumes that DSS used 2004 Consumption figues as supplied by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) as their base for modelling purposes, then coal generation supplied 26.8 TWh (terrawatts) or 17% of Ontario’s consumption in 2004. For 2011 coal generation supplied only 4.1 TWh or 2.7% of Ontario’s electricity consumption. The drop in electricity supplied by coal plants over that period of time was 85% yet Kahn appears to have dropped her numbers (compared to those in the DSS report) down by only 63%, assuming she used those projections (mathematically) as the basis for the claim.

The DSS report carried this cavet: “In actual fact, it is impossible to identify which specific deaths that occur over a given period of time are actually attributable to air pollution. Air pollution is a contributory factor in a multitude of deaths and is almost never the overriding or irrefutable single cause of death.”

This 2005 DSS report has been used extensively by environmental NGOs and Ontario’s Liberal politicians as the principal reason to place 400/500 foot industrial wind turbines throughout Ontario damaging peoples health, killing birds and bats and driving up the cost of electricity. For some reason the main stream media (MSM) has allowed them to use this worst case scenario without questioning either the logic or pointing out the apparent disclaimer in the DSS report.

That Kahn would use the OCAA as her source of affirmation is also worth examining. The former (currently on sabatical) Executive Director of OCAA (Jack Gibbons) sits on the Board of Ontario Clean Air Alliance Research Inc. a registered charity (gross revenue in 2011 was $17,505) with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and presumably is the OCAA’s research arm. Gibbons sits on this Board along with Gideon Forman and Angela Bischoff of CAPE and a Richard Smith (the writer assumes that this is the Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence).

CAPE`s Board of Directors includes David Miller, former Mayor of Toronto and Bruce Lourie whom I have written about and expressed my personal opinion on, in several prior articles.

When it comes to using Ontarian’s tax dollars CAPE and OCAA have different targets which, in my opinion, appear to be almost orchestrated. CAPE seems to favour the Trillium Foundation from whom they have obtained almost $600,000 in grants over the past few years whereas OCAA target the Toronto Atmospheric Fund or TAF, a City of Toronto owned not-for profit (perhaps its the Miller connection but as noted he is actually on the CAPE Board), from whom they have received grants of approximately $525,000.

CAPE is not registered with the Ontario Lobbyist Registrar however OCAA is, and they disclose that some of their past funding was provided by TAF. It is also interesting to note that OCAA disclose in their filing that private funding (over $750 per annum) comes from; Union Gas, European Power Systems (gas equipment), Northland Power (wind developer), Sky Generation (wind developer), Enbridge Gas and the Canadian Health & Environmental Research Foundation (CHEER). The latter is the registered charity of CAPE and according to its filing with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) lists its activities as “General environmental protection, recycling services”; whatever that means.

One wonders if the CRA bothers to actually review the activities of these registered charities who, in this case, are using tax exempt revenues to finance a non-profit organization actively lobbying the government. It is easy to understand the reasoning behind the big industrial wind and gas companies supporting the OCAA as they are utilizing the benefits of an ENGO to lobby on their behalf, however, in my opinion, this severely taints the OCAA’s recommendations to eliminate coal and nuclear generation while favouring wind, solar and gas generation. The question one must ask is why would anyone consider their reports as a source of unbiased information!

The foregoing demonstrates to a limited extent, the scare mongering that ENGOs practice in their religious zeal to follow the preaching of the green zealots. A recent letter the writer received further demonstrates that those who wish to rid the world of energy produced by coal or nuclear generation and replace it with industrial wind turbines and solar panels want to do this by stifling the voices of those who might question their objectives or publish facts that highlight the negative effects of both wind and solar.

As noted above I have voiced my opinion on the ability of one individual to greatly influence government policy through advocacy that utilizes taxpayer and ratepayer monies for the activities they believe in. That particular individual has deigned to threaten me with a libel lawsuit. My articles on this particular individual have been supported by facts that are available in the public domain and I have utilized those facts to reflect my opinion in clear expressions that are based on those facts and the logic that they present.

The threatening letter from a prominent Toronto based law firm indicated that they, as counsel, see the postings as my “obsession” whereas I view them as my “opinion”. Those opinions clearly are part of my rights under Part 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom which states that “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms” and under 2. (b), of those freedoms says; “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;” are protected. This particular letter however mentions the “Libel and Slander Act of Ontario” which in my humble ex-banker opinion, also allows for opinions supported by facts.

If certainly appears that ENGOs don’t believe that Ontarians are entitled to express their free opinion and will use the legal system to stifle free speech. They also seem to have an undying faith in “junk science” as noted in a fairly recent article which includes commentary on a book co-authored by Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence and their past President and a current Director; Bruce Lourie.

The common thesis of environmentalists seems to be; dazzle the MSM with junk science and co-incidentialy threaten objectors with legal action. That the McGuinty Liberal government has been “dazzled” is not a question that occurs to this writer, however, they haven’t (to the best of my knowledge) stifled free speech and “my opinion” on matters that affect my health and well being will continue to be expressed as “my opinion”!

I certainly hope readers will agree to my right to express my opinion.

Parker Gallant,
August 12, 2012