Ontario’s green energy subsidies: inflicting financial pain on captive customers

"Profits" from government subsidies for some; losses for a whole lot of other people.
“Profits” from government subsidies for some; losses for a whole lot of other people. [Pictured: Toronto’s only wind turbine]
My interest in the energy sector was originally sparked by a bill from Hydro One.  The information I subsequently discovered has been eye-popping: this sector preys on its captive customers.   The monopolies running the sector however, are not nearly as preying as our provincial government.   The damage done by the elected representatives is not as obvious as it should be; I will attempt to shed some light on how our lives, our per-capita debt and our ability to survive in a democratic society has been affected.   It may be disturbing reading.

Those following my writing know that my concerns cover a lot of ground.  That ground is related to what I personally view as waste and a wealth transfer founded on the as yet unproven concept of  Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).   The ability of the lobbyists to persuade governments to follow a certain course has burdened Ontario’s electricity customers and taxpayers with the costs of the measures promoted toward “saving the world.”

Here are some of the steps taken, with your money.

Green Energy Subsidies—some of what we know

We know industrial wind energy developers were given lucrative 20-year contracts and paid to produce electricity guaranteeing 13.5/kWh no matter the time of day power was generated.

We know that industrial wind energy developers were given 20-year contracts that included a cost of living benefit up to 20%.

We know industrial solar under the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program paid contracted parties, e.g., IKEA, the Township of Markham, etc., over 70 cents/kWh for generation, while those same companies/municipalities purchased power for their use at the same rate as the rest of us. We ordinary customers pick up the tab for the difference.

We know that the Office of the Auditor General (AG) on two different occasions clearly noted the Ontario government failed to conduct a cost/benefit analysis for just about everything associated with the Ministry of Energy’s portfolio.

We  know “smart meters” cost us about $2 billion but failed to produce any meaningful benefit other than allowing local distribution companies to bill us on a time-of-use basis.

We know energy costs have doubled since 2003.

We know we are exporting well over 10% of all power generated in the province and annual revenue from the sale of this surplus is $1 billion less than the cost of production; Ontario’s electricity customers pay for that loss.

We know that we pay for “curtailed” or constrained power for wind, solar etc., and for idling gas plants surplus to our needs but which are needed to back up unreliable wind generation.

We know we pay for development of a “smart grid” which the AG recently noted fails to include data-retrieval for 800,000 smart meters.

We know we pay for steamed off nuclear power and now pay full costs for all hydro generated power as well as spillage of hydro power.

Sounds bad, and it is, but the financial pain inflicted on Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers actually goes much deeper.  Next: we explore the depths of the negative financial effects.

©Parker Gallant,

February 11, 2015

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

Comments

John Vincent
Reply

Right on!! Now for the big billboard advertisments of those facts to get the general public on side. The vast majority of the public know the rates are going up but not why and how.

Barbara
Reply

John, those who rent their house roofs for solar panels don’t even know how they are being used to make money.

Barbara
Reply

If you read some of the financial websites that tout and/or deal with securities associated with “green” energy projects it obvious that there are people who can’t wait to get in on the money that can be made from these kinds of projects.

These kinds of financial activities are a major force behind this whole fiasco.

Barbara
Reply

The Globe And Mail, Feb.3, 2015

‘Canadian Solar eyes power plant business with Recurrent acquisition’

Canadian Solar will pay U.S.$265 M for Recurrent which is owned by Sharp Corp., Japan

A spin-off yieldco would be publicly traded and pay significant dividends to shareholders while generating funds for new developments.

http://www.globeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/canadian-solar-eyes-power-plant-business-with-california-acquisition/article22756652

————————————————————-
Globe And mail, Oct.2, 2014

NRG, New Jersey, is acquiring Pure Energies

The company has developed a cost-efficient means of signing up new customers for rooftop solar systems.

Ontario is where the money is.

PAUL
Reply

THE COST OF THIS CRAP REALY TURNS MY STOMACH. they have spent 20 b on power we don’t need. our hydro dams produce more power than we use and guess what ITS GREEN and we already have them. wind mills and solar just make wynn look cool. Low income people who are forced to heat with electricity can’t afford to eat and stay warm but of course that doesn’t apply to you does it.

Sommer
Reply

I’m so glad you’re willing to talk about the connection between energy issues in this province and the “yet unproven concept of anthropogenic global warming (AGW)”, or man made climate change, Parker. I’m following the most up to date conversations on this matter on a blog called wattsupwiththat. More and more comments are coming in regarding renewables.Your logic and wisdom is confirmed by engineers and scientists alike. I also follow climatologist, Judith Curry’s blog.
I would suggest that people read Professor Tim Ball’s article on watts upwiththat, last Nov., where he questions the motives behind the alarmism of the IPCC.The first several hundred comments are worth reading.
If one takes time to understand the revelations coming forth steadily about the IPCC projections and errors, it becomes easier to understand how we got into this mess in Ontario.
This larger perspective understanding is crucial to all residents of Ontario right now.
I’m looking forward to the day, when justice will be served to all who are/ have been complicit.

Barbara
Reply

True, but there are plenty of engineers who like to make money off from renewable energy.

And we don’t have the scientific credentials to engage proponents of AGW. We aren’t climate scientists.

But we can win on other issues.

Barbara
Reply

Don’t think there are very many people who can understand/follow what is being discussed at Watts Up including Wynne.

Bob Lyman
Reply

Parker, I congratulate you for starting your article with the nub of the problem. In the name of (allegedly) addressing climate change, the Ontario government and the companies that stand to benefit have transformed the electrical energy policy of the province from one that sought the lowest costs possible for consumers consistent with maintaining reliability to reducing (or appearing to reduce) greenhouse gases. Climate change provides a rallying point for those who are prepared to incur any cost because they believe the theory of human-induced catastrophic climate change. As I suspect you will show in your series of articles, the costs that Ontario has imposed on consumers has had a marginal, if any, effect on greenhouse gas emissions. How could it be otherwise? Canada represents 1.8% of global GHG emissions, Ontario electricity generation represents about 3% of Canadian emissions, and therefore all of the emissions associated with energy generation account for a 0.0005 share of global emissions. The costs of trying to eliminate this, however, are enormous.

Sommer
Reply

I agree, Bob…and the strain economically of the electrical energy policy in Ontario on businesses/industry and people living in poverty/ on fixed incomes is a looming crisis. More and more people are realizing that this level of disruption and stress is being caused by decisions based on ideology; using alarmism/ fear to convince people that industrial wind is a morally righteous solution that must be used irregardless of the cost…. in a ‘have-not’ province!

R Budd
Reply

If WCO decides to officially carry the flag for climate change denial and fossil fuel use, its going nowhere. Even if you convince yourself out of AGW, then just the ethical aspect of blasting thru the planets fossil fuels in a couple millenium, at the expense of future generations, will have us requiring other energy sources.
There has been an opportunity missed by WCO in not putting forward a better energy policy alternative than the GEA. One of the big crimes of the GEA has been it actually leads Ontario toward more fossil reliance and higher emissions, not less.
It’s replacing zero emissions public owned nuclear with corporate wind and imported nat. gas. The whole point of our domestic nuclear generation was to replace imported coal at a comparable cost.
In On. anti-wind folks better soon embrace nuclear generation, both at Bruce and Darlington. The cancelled new reactor builds would have replaced all the wind capacity and been far better for the environment.
If we did that we could then join alliances with Bruce Nuclear, OSPE, the On. based nuclear supply chain and environmental groups like Ontario River Alliance and perhaps Ontario Nature, that are also fighting the GEA impacts.
Climate denial/fossil use fans will fit under a pretty small tent as time progresses. WCO needs a much bigger tent to have much future success.
Hopefully WCO is out in front with the carbon trading issue as well. If Wynne is allowed come up with a cap and trade that rewards the wind output and doesn’t link them to increased N.G. consumption, we’re in big trouble.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

WCO is not made up of energy specialists and we would be in a very poor position to make suggestions about “alternatives” to the GEA. Our mission is to inform people on the potential negative impacts of large-scale or utility-scale wind power generation on Ontario’s economy, on the natural environment, and on people’s health.

R Budd
Reply

WCO has had some very good energy sector analysts available to them like Tom Adams and Scott Luft. WCO itself pointed that out to me not long ago.
If we can’t provide a better vision for the public they soon tire of the “anti” position. We’ve done a great job of criticism but that has limited life and makes for a shortage of allies.

Barbara
Reply

The present government doesn’t listen to guys like Adams and Luft either.

Ontario has become a “gold-mine” for the renewable energy industry.

Wind Concerns Ontario

Tom Adams and Parker Gallant were once branded the Two “most dangerous” men in Ontario, in internal OPA correspondence!

R Budd

I don’t expect the gov’t to listen to them. They certainly aren’t listening to WCO either but that doesn’t mean you don’t provide a coherent message to the public.
Those opposing wind development in On. invariably face a debate about what you want instead. So yes we absolutely need a better, more rational vision for people to support.

ScepticalGord
Reply

R. Budd,

I believe most anti-wind folks do in fact embrace nuclear generation … it’s most NDP / many Liberal supporters and the pro wind groups that are strongly against it.

Ontario Nature was and continues to be a huge proponent of the Green Energy Act. The only time they disapproved was regarding the proposed Ostrander Point project, but that was strictly for the birds … they don’t give a rat’s patootie about the humans. I know, I used to be a member.

R Budd
Reply

If you were an O.N. member you know they are focused on more than birds.
And I would be happy to have a large well placed allies like O.N. even if only interested in wildlife/habitat.
Ted Cheskey from Nature Canada has written some very good pieces critical of bird/bat kills from turbines.
But if WCO becomes a anti AWG group then forget about these useful association.

Bob Lyman
Reply

The use of the term “denier” to insult those whose who dissent from the view that humans are inducing catastrophic climate change is both inaccurate and offensive. One might be accused of “denial” if one refused to accept a historically verifiable fact but it is nonsense to accuse one of denying a theory about what may happen in 2100 when the trends to date do not align with what the theory postulates.

The case against massive consumer subsidies for uneconomic wind and solar generation can be made on many different bases. Perhaps the most fundamental is economic – they simply cost too much and are driving electricity prices in Ontario to levels that are causing energy poverty as well as driving jobs away. The case can be made on the grounds of reliability; the share of intermittent supply sources in the province’s generation is becoming far too high and the cost of funding them is drawing funds away from investments in generation and transmission that would reduce brownout risks in future. The effect on reducing GHG emissions is tiny and barely registers in a world in which China and India are massively increasing emissions. It is just icing on the cake that global temperatures have stayed flat since 1998, thus calling completely into question the assumptions used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about the amount of global warming that may occur over the next century.

The true believers in AGW will not care of course because for them reducing any emissions at any cost is part of the faith, but those who care about human wellbeing and especially the health of the Ontario economy must challenge their views.

R Budd
Reply

So Bob, what I’m suggesting is offering a plan for Ontario that reduces fossil fuel reliance (for economic and or environmental reasons ) but doesn’t rely on the broadscale IWT buildout we have now. Go for it please..
But if anti-turbine folks falls into this tiresome and widely dismissed atitude of denying AGW then the turbine buildout will certainly continue.
This was apparent not long ago at a gathering put on by the local CA and other groups regarding climate change. Questions afterward pointed out the local problems and ineffectivesnees with wind and the audience was receptive.
The last questioner though ended by stating that AWG theory was opposed by many scientists. The audience made up of many local political leaders let out a huge sigh. Back to where we started in their mind.

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