How Ontario could have saved billions: doing nothing on electricity file
Wind turbines pockmark Ontario’s landscape, says Kelly McParland, producing excess power at marked-up prices, using heavy subsidies
“They fell for all that “green energy” stuff, can you believe it?”
Photo: Canadian Press
National Post, February 25, 2016
Ontario premiers have a weak spot for pithy little slogans they can use to brush away troublesome matters.
“There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing,” Dalton McGuinty loved to say whenever stuck for an explanation for some horrific mistake. Why did his government spend $1.2 billion to not build two power plants after repeatedly insisting the projects would go ahead come hell or high water? Well, “there’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.” Smile. Next question.
His successor, Kathleen Wynne, has adopted a catchphrase of her own. “The cost of doing nothing is much, much higher than the cost of going forward ,” she’ll say when confronted with questions about some expenditure that has heads exploding across the province.
She deployed it Wednesday while seeking to justify the new tax on Ontarians that will accompany her cap and trade plan. Gasoline prices are expected to rise 4.3 cents a litre, while natural gas bills will increase about $5 a month.
Just in case the increases annoy Ontarians, Wynne came prepared: “The cost of doing nothing is much, much higher than the cost of going forward and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions,” she declared.
That’s debatable, and it raised an obvious question: Wynne’s Liberals have been in power since 2003. If the province has been “doing nothing,” who, precisely is to blame? And why are motorists and homeowners expected to pay the price now?
The reality is that the Liberals have been doing a great deal — much of it expensive, wasteful, ill-considered and counterproductive. Windmills now pockmark vast stretches of the countryside, producing excess power at marked-up prices supported by heavy subsidies. An Ontario Chamber of Commerce report indicated demand for power has fallen 8% since the Liberals came to power, due to a stagnating economy, but generation has increased 13%, producing a surplus of unneeded electricity. Twenty percent of businesses say the soaring costs could force them to shut down within five years. Rates rose in October, and again in January.
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