Chiarelli claims ‘other issues’ upsetting rural communities, not wind turbines

In this wide-ranging interview with the Ottawa Citizen, Ontario’s Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli claims that “other issues” are responsible for the severe divisions in rural communities, including “the abortion issue.” Yes, he really said that. Oh, and he’s running again in 2018.

Here is an excerpt of the interview.

Energy Minister Chiarelli: The Financial Post this week said he is an embarrassment, the energy file is a disaster, but he's not apologizing
Energy Minister Chiarelli: The Financial Post this week said he is an embarrassment, the energy file is a disaster, but he’s not apologizing

… Ontario loves to boast that it no longer burns coal for electricity. But the new mix of nuclear, hydro, wind and solar costs a lot, in part because Ontario under George Smitherman signed fat 20-year solar power deals.

“It was a stupid thing,” says Bill Eggertson, who heads the Canadian Association for Renewable Energy. Ontario buys electricity from solar panels on his Ottawa home for 80 cents/kWh, and resells it for, at most, 18 cents/kWh. “I shouldn’t be getting 80 cents. I would have started at 50 cents.”

Chiarelli changed gears. Last month Ontario awarded contracts for 16 wind and solar projects through competitive bids, paying nine to 18 cents/kWh, and will begin this summer to take bids to buy double that amount of renewable power. Chiarelli relishes this role, as purveyor of clean power.

“When you look at price comparisons for Ohio, or Michigan or Nova Scotia or Saskatchewan or Alberta, they are all still burning dirty, cheap coal. And our prices, which are still competitive, are clean and coal-free. Yes, that puts pressure on prices, and that’s a social policy and an environmental policy that we choose to make.”

Does Ontario need more generation? As wind turbines multiply, factories decamp. Ontario power consumption has dropped 15 per cent in a decade, which regulators attribute to lower demand, increased efficiency and house-mounted solar panels, which don’t count in consumption numbers. Today Ontario exports 10 times the power it did a decade ago, often at a loss. (Ontario will buy zoo poo power for 17 cents/kWh; power sells for six cents/kWh on the spot market.) Why erect more wind turbines?

Chiarelli insists, “We do need to produce more electricity, because we are going to be taking nuclear units out.” He concedes that he awarded wind and solar contracts to companies who paid $7,500 for that “informal evening” with him at the Four Seasons Hotel in March. It’s all above-board, he says.

“There is no, ‘You fundraise and you get a contract.’ People who have made contributions to us have asked for things, and we’ve said absolutely no. And there are people who may have been successful.”

Chiarelli takes abuse on both sides of the energy debate. Eggertson serves on a panel studying Hydro Ottawa’s request for a $75 million transmission line. He says if Ontario mandated each new home to face south and put a solar panel on its roof, they wouldn’t need the line. Chiarelli is unmoved.

“That’s Czar Nicholas,” he says: Like the czar, he must push the transmission line through. “Ottawa is expanding like crazy.” The solar option “can’t be done.”

Chiarelli walks more slowly these day. “It’s my arthritic hips from my hockey days. I’m on watch for a possible hip replacement.” He plans to run in the next election.

Still, Chiarelli pauses when I read him a quote from [Dennis] Fife, the mayor of North Stormont: “The people who don’t want turbines no longer speak or wave to the people that have them.”

Chiarelli sucks in his breath and blows it out slowly.

“That’s very unfortunate,” he says. “There are probably a lot of other issues that divide communities. The abortion issue, for example.

“I am not sure that you should not take tough decisions because it might create some divisions among competing interest groups. You do what you believe is right, and you live or die by it. I was minister of energy in last election, and the number of votes I got went up.”

Read the full story here.

Another interview with Mr Chiarelli here.

 

Rural councillors demand more say in wind power contract bids

No way for citizens to express concern in current process, Ottawa councilor says

3-MW wind turbine and house near Brinston, south of Ottawa. No way to express concern. [Photo: Ray Pilon, Ottawa]
3-MW wind turbine and house near Brinston, south of Ottawa. No way to express concern. [Photo: Ray Pilon, Ottawa]
CBC News, may 5, 2016

As the Ontario government prepares to open a second, more ambitious round of bidding on large-scale renewable energy projects across the province, some Ottawa city councillors want more local control over where wind farms go.

“There’s no way for a municipality to express concerns about location, or if and when these projects would happen in our municipalities,” said Scott Moffatt, who represents the rural ward of Rideau-Goulbourn.

In March Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator awarded contracts to 16 renewable energy projects, three quarters of which had support from the local municipality, the government said at the time.

Five of the contracts were awarded to wind projects, including the 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm in North Stormont Township, a municipality which had previously declared itself an “unwilling host” to wind farms.

A motion approved Thursday by councillors on Ottawa’s agriculture and rural affairs committee urges the province to strengthen legislation to require municipal buy-in before contracts are awarded.

Communities want a voice, councillor says

Moffatt said communities want a voice in the planning process.

“This isn’t just for Ottawa. We’ve had this issue in the past in Ottawa, specifically in North Gower, but you look at Nation, you look at South Dundas and Brinston,” said Moffatt, describing proposed wind farm locations.

“Are those municipalities able to respond adequately or is the IESO just going to run roughshod over them? That’s the concern.”

In an email, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Energy Ministry said the government is proud of the 75 per cent support rate from municipalities for its first round of contract offers, and noted 60 per cent of neighbouring landowners also supported them.

“By putting emphasis on price and community support, we believe the right balance has been struck in early community engagement and reduced prices for consumers through the procurement process for renewable energy projects,” wrote the spokesperson.

930 megawatts sought in 2nd round

The IESO is gathering feedback on its first competition, and could use that information to fine-tune the process the second time around.

The Ontario government intends to issue a request for qualifications by August for projects that can generate a total of 930 megawatts of renewable energy, two thirds of which will go to wind farms.

That’s more than twice the size of the initial contract offer.

The ministry’s ultimate goal is to have 10,700 megawatts of wind-, solar-, and bioenergy-powered projects feeding the grid by 2021.

Municipal support must be mandatory for wind power contract bids, says WCO

Communities have valid reasons for objecting to huge power projects but government is not listening [Photo: Prince Edward County]
Communities have valid reasons for objecting to wind power projects. Government is not listening [Photo: Prince Edward County]
May 4, 2016

Wind Concerns Ontario submitted a series of recommendations to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) as part of the “engagement” process on the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process on May 3rd.

In a letter to IESO CEO Bruce Campbell, WCO president Jane Wilson wrote:

WCO has been involved supporting individuals and community groups dealing with wind turbines imposed on communities since before the Green Energy Act was enacted. We saw the government’s commitment in 2012 that it would only place wind turbines in communities willing to host them as a positive first step toward addressing the concerns of rural Ontario.  The results from the RFP I process, however, made a complete mockery of this policy. The Minister of Energy stated as recently as March 7 that it would be “virtually impossible” for a contract to be awarded without municipal support.  Yet, three of the five successful bids for wind turbine contracts in LRP I were awarded to municipalities that did not support the project.

The wind power contracting process shows no respect for Ontario citizens and communities, Wilson said.

The key issue is: neither the government nor participants in the procurement process have listened to valid community concerns or displayed any learning from problems created by the existing projects. Most people in rural Ontario seem to know more about the impact of wind turbines (economic, environmental, societal) than the people proposing projects, who continue to use outdated and limited information to support their proposals.  Far from streamlining the process, the Green Energy and Economy Act has created a confrontational environment.  Based on local activities such as municipal resolutions, public demonstrations and media stories, it is clear this situation is not going to change until provincial government agencies deal seriously with the problems that have been created by wind turbine projects to date.

WCO recommendations: let communities choose

The recommendations to change the RFQ and RFP process as well as the generic contract are driven by four objectives.

  • Activities within the process need to be consistent with the high levels of openness and transparency that the provincial government expects of agencies and municipalities.
  • Full disclosure of project information is needed to allow the community to provide meaningful feedback.
  • Mechanisms need to be included within the process to measure the responsiveness of proponents to input from the community.
  • The process needs to place value on and respect for community views on proposed projects.

Among the recommendations was the need for municipal support to be mandatory. “More than 90 municipalities have declared themselves ‘unwilling hosts’ to wind power projects,” says president Jane Wilson. “They have good reasons for that. But this government has no respect for Ontario citizens and their elected governments, who want to plan what is appropriate and sustainable for their own community.”

 

Highlights of WCO Recommendations:

Qualification of bidders

Failure to deliver past projects on time should result in disqualification of bidders

Inappropriate behaviours or actions such as clearing land that is habitat for endangered species while a project is still under appeal, should result in disqualification as a bidder

The qualifications of proponent team members should be evaluated: “experts” in noise and health impacts for example, should have appropriate training/education and proper professional credentials

 

Community engagement

“Engagement” should not be confused with “support”

Public meetings should be more accessible and greater in number, and take place before a municipality is called upon to determine whether it supports a wind power project bid

Communities need much more detail about projects than they were given under FIT or LRP I

Proponents should disclose and have available the full range of documentation on impacts of the proposal including impacts due to environmental noise (potential for adverse health effects), and effect on property value as well as other economic considerations (e.g., airport operations, tourism)

Municipal support must be a mandatory requirement in contract bids

Proponent engagement with Aboriginal communities should be subject to the same disclosure requirements as for other communities

Site considerations

IESO needs to do an independent technical review of proponent submissions

Municipal support

Full documentation should be provided to municipalities prior to bid submission, so that local governments can review the information and comment as to completeness and accuracy

Again, a resolution of support from a municipality must be a mandatory requirement for a bid in the RFP process

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

OPP probing missing wind farm contract documents

The ongoing lawsuit by Trillium Power, whose contract was suddenly cancelled by the McGuinty government, has revealed a “hole” in Ontario government records.

Ontario Provincial Police

Photo: PostMedia

Ottawa Citizen, May 4, 2016

David Reevely EXCLUSIVE

The Ontario Provincial Police has launched another investigation into allegations that provincial government officials illegally destroyed documents concerning an aborted contract to supply electricity to the provincial grid.

This time, it’s a green-energy contract with a company that builds wind farms.

A previous investigation into the disappearance of files, in the last days of Dalton McGuinty’s premiership, about the decisions to cancel two gas-fired generating stations has already led to charges against McGuinty’s then-chief of staff, David Livingston, and his deputy, Laura Miller. They are charged with breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system. Both of them deny any wrongdoing and are awaiting trial. McGuinty himself was never the subject of any investigation.

This investigation is new.

“An investigation was launched after allegations were made by a third-party vendor, Trillium Power Energy Corp.,” OPP Det.-Supt. David Truax said in response to questions from this newspaper. The vendor made a formal complaint and the police examined it and found it worthy of a full exploration, which has been underway for a couple of weeks. Truax did not say whether the investigation had a specific target.

“The investigation is being led by a major-case manager from the criminal investigation branch of the OPP,” Truax said. “The investigative team will be comprised by members of the anti-rackets branch as well as the technological crime unit.”

Truax wouldn’t confirm any potential connection to the Livingston and Miller case. Trillium claims in its court filing that its project got caught up in the same electoral worry before the 2011 election that led the McGuinty government to cancel the two gas plants. Those two gas plants, in Oakville and in Mississauga, were locally unpopular and might have put Liberal-held seats at risk. Ultimately McGuinty won a third term with a minority.

The cost of the gas-plant cancellations ballooned from an early estimate of $40 million to about $1 billion, according to the provincial auditor general, once you factor in all the ripple effects.

Trillium’s allegation against the government arose in the middle of a gigantic civil lawsuit it filed over a moratorium the government put on wind-energy projects on the Great Lakes in early 2011. Trillium was working on five such projects, including one in Lake Ontario, more than 25 kilometres off Kingston, that would have been the biggest in Canada.

The company was on the brink of signing a financing deal when the province decided to halt all such projects for further scientific study. The company sued for $2.25 billion, alleging that the decision was political, not scientific, meant to appease voters living close to completely separate wind projects on Lake Huron and Lake Erie.

As it sought documents from the provincial government to build its case, Trillium’s lawyer Morris Cooper said in an interview, Trillium found a hole in the archives where documents related to Trillium’s contract with the province should have been.

“We discovered that in fact the documents that one would expect from the premier’s office or the cabinet office were not there,” Cooper said. “We noticed the pattern was they were only produced if other ministries were on the paper trail.”

Ultimately the courts threw out most of Trillium’s legal claims; the government has a lot of freedom to make and change policy decisions, even if people suffer as a result. But a claim for $500 million in damages from “misfeasance in public office” remains (over allegations the government deliberately timed its moratorium on Great Lakes wind projects to ruin Trillium so badly it couldn’t afford to sue) and now Trillium has added one for “spoliation,” destroying documents relevant to the case. Neither has been tried in court yet.

The government compensated the builders for the gas plants it cancelled. It didn’t compensate Trillium. The company filed its lawsuit in September 2011.

In defending itself against Trillium’s civil case, the government filed court papers saying that no files related to the deal were “intentionally” destroyed.

Cooper alleged that Trillium-related documents disappeared in February 2013 at the same time as the files relating to the decision to cancel the gas plants.

The investigation that led to the Livingston and Miller charges took the OPP’s anti-rackets branch 2 1/2 years. This one is just getting started.

“This type of investigation will involve the interviewing of witnesses, involved persons. It will involve an extensive review of documentation, both in electronic and hardcopy formats. I’m not able to speculate how long it might take to conduct this kind of investigation,” Truax said.

Read the full story here.

Wind farm fight in Eastern Ontario: “no democracy, no truth”

If province had a 1-km setback for wind power generators, almost none of the North Stormont project would be allowable, says community group. “They say wind power is ‘green’ ” says leader Margaret Benke, “but it’s not.”

 

<p>Margaret Benke surrounded by research into wind turbines on Monday April 25, 2016 in Berwick, Ont. Benke is hoping North Stormont Council will pass a resolution urging the IESO to rate an unwilling municipality as a mandatory requirement as opposed to rated criteria.</p><p>  Lois Ann Baker/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network

Margaret Benke: asking North Stormont Council to pass resolution May 10, making municipal support a mandatory requirement for wind power contracts [Photo: Cornwall Standard-Freeholder]

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, May 2, 2016

By Lois-Ann Baker

BERWICK – She is fighting the good fight and not about to quit just yet.

Margaret Benke is chair of the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont and she and her group are hoping to stop the wind turbines from coming to the township.

Benke said the first time she heard about the turbines coming was when she read about a public meeting in the Chesterville Record.

“I said I’ve got to do something,” said Benke.

Earlier this year, EDP Renewables was awarded a contract for its proposed Nation Rise Wind Farm under the Independent Electricity System Operator’s large renewable procurement process. The project is rated at a potential 100,000 megawatts. On its website, EDP says it has secured contracts with about 40 local landowners covering over 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres).

Benke related a story of her nephew who had purchased his first home in Shelburne and within a year or two wind turbines went up around his land.

“He couldn’t live in his house anymore,” she said. “He abandoned his house. He likened (the noise) to living inside a drum.”

Benke said she had been hearing the stories at family get-togethers about issues with wind turbines.

This spurred Benke into action. Together with a family friend who happens to be a cartographer, they put together a map of the area and, allowing for the mandatory 550-metre setback for wind turbines, were able to determine approximately where the turbines could be erected.

She also looked into the Health Canada study done on wind turbines and found out of the 2,004 people originally selected for the study, 430 had abandoned or demolished their houses due to the turbines.

“It significantly decreased the number of people in the study,” she said. She said they interviewed people who were 550 metres away from turbines, but the only people who were that close were the landowners who were under contract with the wind turbine companies.

Benke then asked to be a delegation at a council meeting so she could present council with the information she researched on the wind turbines before council made any decision on whether to support the turbines or not.

“Immediately anybody with money sense, their antenna goes up, there is money in this,” she said. As every municipality is aware, there have been cutbacks into how much money they are receiving from the province, and that money has to come from somewhere.

“We did a very balanced overview of what the map looked like and what it would look like if you had a one-kilometre setback which is what the experts recommend,” she said. “There were only two fields that would have qualified.”

The one-kilometre recommended setback refers to a paper put out by the Ministry of the Environment where it recommended a setback of one kilometre for a wind farm of 10 turbines with noise level of 105 decibels.

Benke also found out each turbine generated just over $4,000, which was about the same amount of tax revenues from a home valued at $300,000 to $350,000.

“If you go ahead with the wind turbines, it pretty much kills any new development,” she said. “I couldn’t let this happen without at least being a voice in the wilderness. We needed to have our voices heard.”

Benke said wind turbines give the illusion they are “green” but they are not.

“It’s the perception that it’s doing something for us that it’s not,” she said. “Lack of democracy, lack of transparency, lack of truthfulness.”

Tom Loturco of EDP Renewables explained the next step is for contracted projects to obtain all necessary licences and approvals, including conducting an environmental assessment. According to the IESO website, these processes must include community engagement.

On behalf of the Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, Benke sent a letter to Mayor Dennis Fife and the councillors asking them to pass a resolution to request the Independent Electricity System Operator make a willing municipality for renewable energy a mandatory requirement as opposed to a rated criteria. Council deferred the passing of the resolution to a later date. North Stormont had already voted to declare itself an unwilling host for the large renewable procurement program.

Benke is asking council not to give up and if something as simple as passing the resolution will help, do it.

In any case, we strive to have good working relationships with landowners, municipalities and the public,” Loturco said. …

Read the full article here.

NoMeansNo_FB (2)

Energy policy in Ontario: botched planning and bad forecasting

Ontario, you just can’t win, says Parker Gallant

Energy Minister Chiarelli (centre) and IESO's Campbell (R) at wind power lobbyist event: announcing  more money for Big Wind. For you? More pain.
Energy Minister Chiarelli (centre) and IESO’s Campbell (R) at wind power lobbyist event: announcing more money for Big Wind. For you? More pain.

One would think that recent revelations such as from Germany where it was stated “Wind Farms Paid €500 million-a-year-to-stand-idle” and China where they have put “a Chill on New Wind Energy Projects” would give Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli pause.

Instead in his luncheon speech at the CanWEA Spring Conference he announced Ontario would seek another 600 MW of wind capacity.  Maybe it was a way to obtain donations to the Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) from CanWEA and its members before rules on political donations are amended to the detriment of his party.

But if Minister Chiarelli had waited or inquired of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) he might have discovered that wind played a big role in the unwelcome announcement from the OEB about the electricity rate increase that came into effect May 1, 2016.

The 2016 first quarter results, compared to 2015, might have opened his eyes. Alas, there was no pause, his eyes are not open, and Ontario ratepayers will feel the effects of his wind power announcement in the future.

Looking at 2016’s first quarter compared to 2015 shows wind generation from grid-connected and distributor-connected sources, coupled with curtailed generation (see above on the cost to Germany’s curtailment), in Ontario increased by 26.3% (772,500 megawatt hours [MWh] to 3.7 million MWh). This jump occurred as Ontario ratepayers were curtailing their demand, reducing consumption by 6.2% (2,308,000 MWh) or enough to supply one million average ratepayer households.

You might think Minister Chiarelli would tout his “2013 Conservation First” document as the reason for the drop in demand, but instead, he blamed the milder winter as compared to the prior two as the reason for the latest increase in electricity rates.  Because Ontario ratepayers didn’t use as much electricity, there was a shortfall in the forecast of revenue.

It is worth a look at the revenue generated in the 2016 first quarter versus the 2015 comparable quarter:

In the first quarter of 2016, Ontario Demand, as recorded by IESO, was 35,159,000 MWh and the cost of that power based on IESO’s record of both the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) plus the Global Adjustment (GA) paid out $3.847 billion for that demand.

The first quarter of 2015 saw Ontario Demand of 37,467,000 MWh and the cost of that power, HOEP plus the GA, paid out by Ontario’s ratepayers was $3.276 billion.

Those who can’t get the point of “paying more for less” will quickly note, in spite of consuming 6.2% less power in 2016, it cost $571.1 million more.  Quick math shows revenue jumped 17.4% despite the consumption drop, but it apparently wasn’t enough, hence the increase come May 1, 2016.  Had Ontario demand matched 2015, the cost to ratepayers would have been $875 million higher for the three months.

The other missing ingredients include: the 13% HST collected on the additional revenue which put $50 million into Minister of Finance Charles Sousa’s coffers, and the second benefit was he no longer had to budget for the 10% Ontario Clean Energy Benefit — that reduced the cost of the electricity line in 2015 by $328 million reducing our electricity bills by a like amount while increasing the provincial debt.

Wind power generation played a significant part in the cost to ratepayers producing power surplus to Ontario demand. The cost of wind’s generation in 2016 was about $494 million versus $391 million in 2015, an increase of $103 million. Its generation in 2015 of 2,941,000 MWh grew by 26.3% in 2016 to 3,713,000 MWh and represented 60.1% of Ontario’s gross power exports, up from 46.2% in 2015.  Ontario’s exports in 2015 generated revenue of $270.1 million in 2015, but only $67.3 million in 2016.  The cost to ratepayers to produce those exports in 2015 netted out to $280 million and grew to $609 million in 2016, an increase of $328 million or 117.2%.

What the first quarter clearly demonstrates: there is no need for more intermittent and unreliable industrial wind turbines producing out-of-sync with demand electricity, adding to ratepayer costs.

It also demonstrates the Wynne government’s conflicted messaging.  Wynne and Chiarelli both insist their policy is “conservation first” but when we comply, Chiarelli he blames rising prices on lower consumption. Ontario, you can’t win.

It is time Mr. Chiarelli examined the obvious: botched planning and bad forecasting by the agencies his Ministry directly manages or controls. The public is not being served.

© Parker Gallant

May 2, 2016

The opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

Ontario’s green energy policy disaster: you should be worried

Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources has “more enthusiasm than knowledge” says the Globe and Mail.

Murray in charge of environment file: Ontarians should be worried
Murray in charge of environment file: Ontarians should be worried

WEEKEND READING

Globe and Mail EDITORIAL: Coming soon-Ontario’s green energy fiasco, the sequel

Late last year, Ontario’s Auditor-General put out a report detailing the extent of the provincial government’s mismanagement of the electricity system. According to Bonnie Lysyk, thanks to a misguided government policy of artificially pumping up the cost of producing power in the province, Ontarians had overpaid for electricity to the tune of $37-billion between 2006 and 2014, and will continue to be overcharged by another $133-billion by 2032.

The scale of the waste is so large as to be almost incomprehensible, which may explain why Ms. Lysyk’s report was a one-day news wonder when it landed last December. Once the count gets into the hundreds of billions, the mind goes numb. If the province announced construction of the Burning Money Biomass Plant, fuelled by bales of five and 10-dollar bills, it probably wouldn’t be capable of destroying $170-billion.

The size of the disaster in the province’s electricity system is hard to get your head around. But voters, consumers, businesses and especially the Liberal government should be rereading Ms. Lysyk’s report. Because a document leaked to The Globe and Mail this week suggests that the Liberals, who a decade ago broke the electricity system through a fatal combination of good intentions and a willful disregard of both expertise and experience, may be preparing to repeat the exercise with their next greenhouse gas reduction plan.

The thing is, Ontario needs a greenhouse gas reduction strategy. So does every province, and so does the federal government. To meet our international commitments, and to bend the curve on global warming, those carbon-reduction goals have to be ambitious. Ontario’s proposed Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act aims to reduce the province’s 1990 emissions by 15 per cent by 2020, 37 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050. The province is committing itself to substantial carbon reduction in the next decade, and a near-zero carbon economy in a generation.

Those are not impossible ideals. They’re doable – using the right tools. Dramatically reducing carbon emissions is not a crazy idea, but the way Ontario is proposing to get to a low-carbon economy almost certainly is.

A decade ago, the government of Ontario started driving up electricity costs with a simple objective in mind: It wanted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production of electricity. This was the right objective. But the way it went about it was all wrong. Instead of encouraging the electricity sector to be as efficient as possible, the government essentially ordered it to become costly, inefficient and irrational. Some of this was motivated by fantasies of industrial policy – look, Ma, we’re subsidizing the Green Jobs Of the Future! – and some of it was driven by an insistence on ignoring basic economic advice, much of it coming from the government’s own experts.

The result is that the cost of generating electricity in Ontario has exploded, even as power costs plummeted elsewhere. Between 2004 and 2014, power generation costs in Ontario increased by 74 per cent, according to the auditor. This benefits no one. The higher prices don’t come from carbon taxes; they come from higher electricity production costs. And that imposes a heavy cost on the economy.

However, because prices were rising, Ontarians started using less energy. Power use dropped by 7 per cent between 2006 and 2014. But at the same time, thanks to subsidies to encourage greater power production from green sources, the province’s generation capacity grew by 19 per cent. As a result, the province is now a major exporter of electricity – sold at prices far below the cost of production. The more power the province exports, the more taxpayers and ratepayers lose.

Ontario could have chosen a different route. Instead of politicians completely remaking the electricity sector on a whim, introducing inefficiencies by deciding what power technologies to back and how much to subsidize them, Ontario could have done the opposite. It could have set a carbon-reduction goal, imposed carbon taxes on carbon-generating fuels – and left it to producers and consumers to figure out how to most efficiently respond by reducing their own costs and emissions. It should have taxed dirty power and let the market figure out the cheapest way to get to lower emissions levels.

Nearly a decade later, this week’s leaked document on its upcoming greenhouse-gas strategy suggests Kathleen Wynne’s government has not learned from her predecessor Dalton McGuinty’s mistakes. Glen Murray, a minister with more enthusiasm than knowledge, is in charge of the environmental file; last time around, George Smitherman was the designated enthusiast.

Ontarians should be worried. …

Read the full article here.

 

Toronto Sun: Alberta determined to follow Ontario into green energy hell

Lorne Gunter, Edmonton Sun

April 30, 2016

It’s little secret Alberta’s NDP government intends to emulate the Ontario Liberals’ green-energy policies – namely shutter all of the province’s coal-fired power plants and invest heavily in (read: subsidize like crazy) alternative, eco-friendly energy such as wind and solar.

The problem with Ontario’s plan is that it has been an utter economic disaster. Meanwhile, it has produced little if any environmental benefit.

There is no reason to believe the outcome will be better in Alberta.

During the 13 years that the provincial Liberals have run Ontario, the heartland province has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs. Where once 16% of Ontario’s workers had well-paying, stable jobs making cars, locomotives, industrial parts, even breakfast cereal, now just over 10% do.

As the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto has pointed out, some of this loss has been due to automation of factories (more robots, fewer workers), trade deals that have lowered or eliminated tariff barriers, a higher Canadian dollar until recently and the failure of Canadian manufacturers and unions to invest in better productivity.

But as a report in the U.S. business magazine Forbes stated last week, perhaps the biggest factor has been Ontario’s sky-high electricity rates brought on by the provincial Liberals’ “green” obsession.

According to University of Montreal energy economist Pierre-Olivier Pineau, quoted by Forbes, “Ontario is probably the worst electricity market in the world” and all because of government attempts to force into existence an alternative energy future.

That effort is responsible for at least two-thirds of the manufacturing job losses. And as Ontario’s auditor general pointed out before Christmas, the attempt has cost taxpayers and consumers nearly $40 billion with “negligible environmental benefits.” Ontario has no more smog-free days, for instance, than before all the billions were spent.

Ontario is not alone. Green energy efforts by governments around the industrialized world are failing. …

Read the full article here.