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

CBC’s The Bridge talks to a Professor Studying IWT’s impact on human beings

 An interesting interview on CBC’s The Bridge discusses studying the impacts of infrasound, and low frequency noise, on people.  Interview lasts 8 minutes

A University of Windsor professor studying the impact of IWT sounds on People – The Bridge – CBC Player:

we continue our series on home grown research. I’ll talk to a university of Windsor professor to find out what he’s studying.

This summer on the Bridge, we’re talking about some of the interesting research being done at the University of Windsor. This afternoon, Colin Novak joins me. Colin teaches Automotive and Material Engineering at the University of Windsor. And He’s in the process of figuring out how Wind Turbines actually affect human beings.

Ontario’s Toothless Legislation: Conflicts of Interest & Lobbying go Unpunished

A few weeks ago an article I penned noted a former employee of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) was quoted in a Toronto Star article that, in my opinion, appeared to indicate that the former employee, Jason Chee-Aloy, was lobbying on behalf of his company’s clients who included; Samsung, NextEra, Pattern and IPR-GDF North America. It also appeared on the surface, at least, to put him in a conflict of interest position. Following up on that worrisome thought took me to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner website and that was followed by an enquiry suggesting they investigate the matter under the Public Service of Ontario Act 2006, Regulation 381/07. What I got back in response was the following: “The Commissioner’s jurisdiction is limited to public servants in Ontario government ministries and agencies, known as public bodies. The list of public bodies that are governed by the PSOA and its regulations are set out in Ontario Regulation 146/10”.

A search of that list (194 names) confirmed that the OPA was not on it, and neither was Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, IESO, MaRS Discovery District or Friends of the Greenbelt. I did note that the Premier’s Climate Change Advisory Panel was on the list along with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC). Others that I didn’t know existed like the “Ontario Geographic Names Board”, the “Owen Sound Transportation Committee” and even a “Rabies Advisory Board” were on the list. As it turns out the “Crown Corporations” under the “Electricity Act 1998” are charged with developing their own Governance and Structure By-Laws via their Board of Directors. Searching the records was an exercise in futility as the search only turned up the “conflict of interest” guidelines for directors and in the search of the OPA site the Board Resolution only focused on the “directors” as being caught up in the By-Law whereas the IESO Board Resolution also referred to “employees”. The next port of call was the Office of the Integrity Commissioner and a check in at the Lobbyist Registry. Needless to say Mr. Chee-Aloy was not registered nor was his employer, Power Advisory LLC so I duly sent my opinion to the Lobbyist Registry by e-mail. The response back was atypical in that it stated “the Act does not contain a complaint and investigation procedure.” The best they could do was to advise me they would contact Mr. Chee-Aloy so they could “raise awareness and encourage compliance,” Despite the tepid response from the Integrity Commissioner they claim “ULTIMATELY the Commissioner can lead a new investigation if not satisfied with the response to a referral .” In the past I had occasion to refer the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) and their Executive Director, Kristopher Stevens to the Commissioner which simply resulted in both Stevens and OSEA suddenly appearing on the Lobbyist Registry.

So one must ask what exactly do these two entities really do to protect the public from abuses that reflect themselves in either potential conflicts of interest or ignorance of the “Acts” meant to protect the taxpayers from abuse by favoured parties? The answer is apparently not much!

Interestingly enough travels though the internet disclosed a “Conflict of Interest and Post-Service Directive” dated September 9, 2000 which on Page 9 under “H 21.” had the following to say;

“The government of Ontario maintains a legal interest in the post-service activities of former public servants. As such, public servants shall not, after leaving employment with the Crown, take improper advantage of their past office. For example, a public servant shall not do the following, including:
(a) allow prospects of outside employment to create a real or potential conflict of interest while in public service with the Crown
(b) seek preferential treatment or privileged access to government after leaving public service with the Crown
(c) take personal advantage of information obtained through official duties and responsibilities that is not available to the public”.

Its not clear if this directive remains in force but in the opinion of the writer it appears that Mr. Chee-Aloy is in a clear conflict with the text outlined therein. If this directive has been abandoned by the McGuinty Liberals to ensure their push for industrial wind turbines permeate the Ontario landscape it is the ruling party that should be found in conflict—but who exactly will exert their authority and punish the guilty party? This is something that escapes the writer as it is obviously neither of the two Commissioners mentioned above.

If someone does undertake the task they should also look at some other related past actions that smack of conflict such as the appearance of Ben Chin as the VP, Communications at the OPA. His sudden appearance at the OPA came following his defeat by Peter Tabuns in the Toronto-Danforth riding by-election in 2006 after a stint as a “senior adviser” to Premier McGuinty. The Sunshine List reported that Chin earned $186,000 in 2009 and $246,000 in 2010 while acting in the capacity as head of the communications team at the OPA which was much better pay then he would have received as an MPP. Chin has since left the OPA and moved to BC.

Another individual that seems (in the writer’s opinion) to be up to his UWO neck in either blatant nepotism or outright conflict is Mike Crawley, the newly elected President of the Liberal Party of Canada. Crawley’s daytime job is as the CEO and President of International Power Canada Inc. (IPC), a wholly owned subsidiary of International Power plc UK; a company with annual revenue in excess of 3 billion Euros. Crawley was one of the founders of the predecessor company, AIM PowerGen. International Power plc acquired that company from Renewable Energy Generation Limited who originally purchased AIM for $29.1 million, Mr. Crawley would appear to have benefited from the acquisition if he was a significant shareholder. As a former banker I would assume the company would have been valued not so much on it’s income statement, but on the above market contracts they obtained from the OPA for their many industrial wind developments around rural Ontario.

The recent creation of the “Clean Energy Task Force” by the Minister of Energy included two (2) IPC employees, a foreign company; perhaps because of the position of Mr Crawley as CEO of IPC and his prior position as Chair of the Management Committee of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) for seven (7) years. Was Crawley owed a favour by Minister Chris Bentley or was Bentley seeking one when Dalton McGuinty resigns? Bentley has signalled his interest in the past in leading the party and presumably Crawley could deliver some delegate votes but that is pure speculation on the writer’s part..

Crawley also sits on the IESO’s Market Development Committee and was the Chair of the RPS Implementation Working Group within the Renewable Energy Task Team (RETT). RETT was the catalyst in the push for renewable energy in the Province when “global warming” was still the buzz word before the IPCC was discredited. The link to their report of November 14, 2003 reflect many of the recommendations implemented by Dwight Duncan in 2004 via (Bill 100) changes to the Electricity Act 1998 and those were further exacerbated by the Green Energy and Economy Act in 2009. One section of the November 14, 2003 report had the following to say:

“The RETT believes that the private sector is willing to assume the financial risk and burden of new power supply development, in addition to permitting, construction and operation risk. The only risk that the private sector is currently unable to accept is the electricity market risk. The financial community’s profound unease about the Ontario electricity market due to the inconsistency of the previous Government’s electricity policy means that power purchase agreements from a credit-worthy entity (i.e. A body of the Government) is the only way to facilitate private sector financing of new power plants.”

We now know that the “Working Group” proposal resulted in the creation of the OPA through Bill 100 and in 2009 the Green Energy and Economy Act bumped up the rates paid to wind and solar developers via the FIT and MicroFIT programs on the backs of Ontario’s ratepayers.

That IPC (or its predecessor) and presumably Mike Crawley, personally, benefited from the actions of the Liberal Government is a conclusion that one must assume and it is no small coincidence that the underwriting of their concepts through legislative changes created wealth for the original AIM PowerGen founders.

The eventual outcome of the path that the Liberals have taken Ontario’s electricity sector down, will prove to be a cost to Ontario’s ratepayers, taxpayers, employers and workers that will make the e-Health scandal look like chump change with costs in the tens of billions and will stretch out for two decades or more.

Its time to amend the PSOA Legislation to protect Ontarians from this type of abuse and time for a task force to investigate and assign blame to this complicit wealth transfer from the pockets of the 4.5 million ordinary ratepayers.

Parker Gallant,
July 3, 2012

McGuinty’s MUSH[y] Tax

The University of Western Ontario’s (UWO) publication, Western News, recently published a news item about their annual electricity bill. The bill for UWO was reported as $25 million in 2011 and the writer incorrectly blamed 25% of that bill on what they called a Global Adjustment (GA) “tax”. The author tried to explain what the GA represented but many of the facts were wrong. One thing the writer was correct on was that UWO was a “Class A” customer, because they consume in excess of 5,000 kWh per month-the cutoff point for large users.

Class A and B customers were created after lobbying by the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario (42 members) but the benefits of this classification didn’t come into play until January 1, 2011. Class A customers are able to reduce their costs of electricity by picking 5 peak demand hours that occur over a 12 month period, This task can be predicted with relative accuracy by looking at Ontario’s electricity peak demand patterns which occur on hot days in the summer in the hours close to dinner. Once the hours are picked the Class A customer can fire up the diesel backup generator to reduce their demand on the grid and the shift is complete. As Aegent Energy reported the shift in 2011 reduced the GA Class A customers paid by $10.97 a MW or 28.7% less then they would have paid under the previous system. This shift reduced the Class A customer’s share of the GA while increasing the share paid by Class B ratepayers. For 2011 that shift cost Class B ratepayers $225 million. The amount of that shift will increase in the current year as the GA pot grows to over $7 billion from $5.1 billion in 2011. For 2012 the shift will be over $300 million and close to 40% less for the Class A consumers under the old system.
When created the Class A group was portrayed as a means for Ontario’s manufacturing sector to secure competitive electricity pricing but it didn’t distinguish between private and public sector entities. Those Class A public sector customers ironically include those who produce most of the electricity generation, transmission and distribution that Class B ratepayers are subsidizing through this shift. While there is no list of public sector Class A companies it is assumed they include Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, Toronto Hydro, OLG, LCBO, York University, Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto, etc., etc. many of whom are in the MUSH (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals) category.

It certainly appears the Western News article was correct by referring to the GA as a tax. That “tax” was exacerbated by the changes announced in Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan’s budget (endorsed by the NDP) wherein he reduced the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit for Class B customers utilizing more then 3,000 kWh per month immediately impacting small and medium sized businesses (job creators) and a large number of Ontario farmers.

In summary, the Ministry of Energy’s plan to reduce Ontario’s peak electricity demand is: use “dirty” diesel generators while simultaneously creating a hidden stealth tax on Ontario’s Class B ratepayers.

Some plan!

Parker Gallant,
June 22, 2012

McGuinty’s “Chicken or Egg” Clean Energy Strategy—The Lourie Influence

April 12, 2012 was an eventful day in the eyes of the McGuinty government with a press release at 8.45 AM announcing the appointment of fourteen (14) “members of the Ontario Clean Energy Task Force (CETF) and then minutes later at 9.21 AM another release proclaimed the “McGuinty Government Launches Clean Energy Economic Development Strategy” (CEEDS). The second release declared CEEDS would “create even more new jobs in the clean energy sector.” and CETF would “help broaden Ontario’s energy focus by facilitating collaboration within Ontario’s clean energy industry to identify export markets, marketing opportunities and approaches to identify export markets,” and said CETF will include energy experts and “lead cleantech trade missions to support domestic manufacturers by showcasing Ontario’s clean energy solution in key markets”.

All of the rhetoric was intriguing but the appointees to the CETF who will lead those offshore trade missions to “Asia, the Middle East and the United States” was something that is the key to creating exports so it is important to look at the appointees. That is examined in the following chart:

Ontario’s Clean Energy Task Force respresenting? Of the 14 Appointed how many are:
Bruce Lourie related 9
Investors/Developers or Beneficiaries of the Green Energy Act 8
Foreign Owned Companies 6
Related to GEEA or OSEA (see below) 5
CanWEA members 5
On the Ontario Climate Change Advisory Panel 4
Tides Canada Related 4
Not for Profits, Environmental NGOs and Charities 4
CanSIA members 3
Mike Crawley Related 2
Canadian Owned Private Companies 2
Ontario Taxpayer Owned Companies 1
Have a demonstrated expertise in the Export Market 0
NB: GEEA is the acronym for Green Energy Act Alliance and OSEA for Ontario Sustainable Energy Association

Obviously many of those on the list of 14 show up in several of the categories yet in the writer’s humble opinion none of them have demonstrated an ability to generate exports or domestic jobs that reputedly flow from the billions of ratepayer dollars the McGuinty Liberal Party have deigned to throw at the renewable energy marketplace. If one actually examines the entities represented by the government appointments it is impossible to locate even one company that has actually exported anything (beyond taxpayer or ratepayer cash) that would create jobs and tax revenue for the benefit of Ontario. The fact that 9 of the individuals can in some substantial fashion be found related to Bruce Lourie is a testament to his influence. Mr. Lourie’s influence on the energy ministry and the resultant creation of the Green Energy and Economy Act speaks volumes about his ability to successfully lobby for his concepts.

Lourie’s influence goes back a couple of decades when he was a major contributor to a report titled “Degrees of Change: Steps Towards an Ontario Global Warming Strategy” prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in 1991. The report was prepared by the Ontario Global Warming Coalition (before “climate change” became the new buzz word) and presented to the NDP Government of the day led by Premier Bob Rae. Shortly after that event Maurice Strong was appointed as Ontario Hydro’s CEO and busily went about executing some of the recommendations in the report along with his ideas of how Ontario Hydro should be restructured including buying 35,000 acres of forest in Costa Rica.

That many of the recommendations contained in this report were ultimately enacted in one form or another is a testament to the influence that Lourie has exerted on past and present governments.

As can further be seen on the chart, out of the 14 members appointed to the CETF, not one came from any Ontario based company that actually has a manufacturing base in the Province with the exception of Siemens Canada. How these appointees will magically do anything to leverage Ontario’s “clean energy experience” is a complete mystery as the province has not proven to be the panacea of clean energy manufacturing that George Smitherman, when Minster of Energy or the Premier, Dalton McGuinty has promised it would be.

With electricity prices more then 100% higher today then when the Liberals came to power, with 600,000 manufacturing jobs gone (some directly caused by high electricity prices), electricity prices to rise by a further minimum of 46% in the next three years, electricity exports subsidized by Ontarians and the status of a have-not province firmly under the Liberal belt why would any jurisdiction in Asia, the Middle East or the USA believe we actually know what we are doing. Europe is moving away from renewable energy subsidization leaving Ontario shining as a beacon of government handouts and standing out as someone who arrived too late for the party.

That the McGuinty government would first announce who they appointed to the Task Force and later let us know what they would be charged with doing is indicative of how the management of the Liberal Government does everything backwards. As the Auditor General’s report highlighted; the concept and completion of a cost/benefit analysis is a step all Liberal Energy Ministers seems reluctant to undertake. The effects of this lack of proper planning will be felt for decades.

Parker Gallant, June 25, 2012

Samsung: Not playing nice in the [Wind] Yard

A Samsung consultant, Jason Chee-Aloy spoke out recently to John Spears in the Toronto Star about the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and how they are giving his clients a rough time. He infers that his clients; Samsung, Pattern Energy Group, NextEra Energy Canada and IPR-GDF North America need to get IESO’s blessing sooner to ensure their planned investments are not impacted. Chee-Aloy said “Things have to move faster,”. What Chee-Aloy sees as a risk is the possibility that industrial wind generation may be curtailed. He is also annoyed with the slowness of the approval process. The not so subtle, innuendo, is that these foreign entities will take their money and go home meaning, promised jobs wouldn’t happen nor would targets for renewable energy, in the Long-Term Energy Plan (crafted as a “guide” by former Energy Minister, Brad Duguid) be achieved.

The missing part of Mr Chee-Aloy’s concern was that consulting fees for his employer “Power Advisory LLC” (of Carlisle, Massachusetts) may also be at risk. Mr, Chee-Aloy’s past life found him as the Director of Generation Procurement at the Ontario Power Authority where he was responsible for procuring over 13,000 MW of generation (the 2010 Sunshine list shows Mr. Chee-Aloy earned $132,176 and in 2009 he earned $176,931). Mr. Chee-Aloy also worked for IESO and should have been well aware of the issue he now says is causing all of the problems. It is labelled as SE-91 by IESO and is a committee that seeks to deal with the intermittent nature of wind generation (and our surplus power problems) perhaps even constraining IWTs without payment. So when Mr. Chee-Aloy was negotiating those OPA contracts would he have ensured that the Ontario ratepayers were protected by framing the contracts to do that; as his position would demand? One wonders if protecting Ontario ratepayers was on his mind or whether he was having visions of a bigger personal payday! One also wonders what the “conflict of interest” rules are that apply to Ontario’s public service sector. My research on this took me to the Ontario Lobbyist Registry but a search for both Power Advisory LLC and Mr. Jason Chee-Aloy produced no results. Are our watchdogs watching is something that certainly came to mind as a visit to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner on Ontario’s website states that former public servants are prohibited from a number of activities. In my opinion this appears to be a situation that needs to be looked at to determine if Mr. Chee-Aloy breached the “conflict of interest” rules.
The interesting part of the quote above is that when Mr. Chee-Aloy uttered the words on June 14, 2012 that “Things have to move faster,” did he realize that the following day the Environmental Registry would suddenly bless both the Haldimand (140 MW) and the South Kent (270 MW) applications. Both of these have Samsung written all over them. So Samsung is now ready to proceed with the capital expenditures to establish both the 410 MW of wind and 100 MW of solar.

The estimated capital costs of those three projects will be approximately $600 million based on the “levelized unit energy costs”or LUEC ($1 million per MW for wind and $2 million per MW for solar) issued by the Institute for Energy Research. That $600 million investment may also qualify Samsung for those cheap industrial rates announced June 12, 2012 by Chris Bentley, Minister of Energy. Those 20 year guaranteed rates are set at 5.5 cents per kWh under the proviso that an investment of $250 million dollars is made. The $600 million of capital costs would therefore seem to bestow that benefit to Samsung, meaning the 1300 jobs they are reputedly obliged to create under the Smitherman negotiated contract will ensure that Samsung’s Ontario factories are not harmed by increasing electricity rates. That sure begs the question—will Ontario’s ratepayers wind up subsidizing the Samsung electricity rates while they face all of the other, economic, health, nature, property value declines, etc. that wind turbines impose?

If one examines the capital costs of the three Samsung approved generation facilities to determine how quickly they will recover their investment you must look to the actual production that will be generated from the 410 MW of wind and the 100 MW of solar capacity.

The 2011 Ontario experience for wind generation is that it will produce 27.8% of its rated capacity and for solar the accepted norm is approximately 13% at Southern Ontario’s latitude but the latter statistics are not available in Ontario’s public domain.

Allowing for the foregoing the calculation to produce the anticipated revenue for those two Samsung generation sources can be calculated easily as per the following.

For wind:
410 MW X 27.8% X 8760 (hours in a year) X $135.00 per MWh (the contracted amount to be paid per MW delivered to the grid.

The foregoing calculation would indicate that the 410 MW of wind generation should, on average, produce revenue of approximately $134 million for each of the next 20 years or $2.68 billion over the life of the contract.

For solar:
100 MW X 13% x 8760 X $446.00 per MWh produces an annual value of approximately $51 million or $1.2 billion over the full 20 years of the contract.

So those three approved renewable generation sources will produce gross revenue of almost $3.9 billion dollars allowing Samsung/Pattern to recoup their capital costs in only 6 1/2 years, The other 12 plus years will be pure gravy.

In the writer’s opinion it would appear that Mr. Chee-Aloy will enjoy the benefits of some significant consulting fees for his new employer all at the expense of Ontario’s ratepayers. Was that on his mind while he went about contracting for those 13,000 MW while gainfully employed at the OPA?

The story behind the Samsung contracts is something that demands a public enquiry but it presumably is something that the Liberals don’t want and something that the NDP won’t endorse given their penchant to believe that renewable energy will eventually resolve climate change.

Parker Gallant,
June 19, 2012

Curing “Dutch Disease”: interesting connections behind the scenes

Editor’s note: this is off the topic of wind, but useful to understanding how so many groups are working together or are at least somehow connected, as they try to influence public opinion about issues, such as the environment. Much of the public’s understanding of industrial wind power generation comes from their nurtured impression that “wind is green, wind is good.”

Curing “Dutch Disease”: interesting connections behind the scenes 

Much has been written about Thomas Mulcair, and his recent discussion of “Dutch Disease.” That’s a concept that explains the apparent relationship between the increase in exploitation of natural resources and a decline in the manufacturing sector. Mr. Mulcair should recognize that he has Bruce Lourie doing his part to find a cure, which he’s been working on for several years before Mr. Mulcair’s pronouncement.

Lourie is the President and CEO of the Ivey Foundation focused on the same issues that Vivian Krause wrote about in a recent Financial Post article. The article looked at Tides Canada and its U.S. relationships who are doing what they can to stop growth in the oil sands. Funds from the U.S. via Tides, are used to influence the media and politicians to stop expansion of the oil sands by focusing on saving our forests.

Mr. Lourie is doing his part by sitting on Tides “Energy Initiative Advisory Board” along with Tom Rand, Lead Clean Tech Adviser of MaRS Discovery District. MaRS is a charity that has received over $150 million of (mainly Ontario) taxpayer funds since its founding. Lourie also sits on the Board of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). Both the OPA and the Ivey Foundation are members of a Lourie creation; the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network (CEGN) as are several of the US names Ms. Krause said grant money to Tides Canada or its Canadian sisters. Those include the Oak, Bullitt and Wilburforce Foundations. Lourie via the Ivey Foundation, has also directed grants ($1.7 million) to Tides Canada or its sisters, Sage Centre and Forest Ethics, for their advocacy to protect Canadian forests. Coincidentally, Lourie sits on the Board of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity (CGBD) of San Francisco which has many of the same members named in Ms. Krause’s article. The list includes Tides Canada and the Ivey Foundation. The Trillium Foundation (a member of CEGN) where Lourie sat as a director until recently also has granted considerable money to Tides and Sage Centre (refer Charts 1 and 2 below).

Coincidentally Tides, Sage, the Sustainability Network (Lourie founded and where he is an “adviser”) and CEGN (until recently) all leased space in the same building at 215 Spadina Avenue in Toronto. Sage Centre appears to have been created to generate Tides “charitable status” client rentals for Ontario based environmental not-for-profits as this statement was found on the Robertson Building’s website; “With their new office in Toronto, Sage is extending their mission of project incubation for groups working on environmental and social sustainability issues to a new province.” One of their successes at renting out their charitable organization number can be found at OSEA who offer charitable receipts via Tides Canada.

The following chart highlights grants from the Ivey and Trillium Foundations to key “forest “ advocacy groups including Tides, Sage and Forest Ethics which received $3.4 million:

Chart 1 (000’s)
Granting Name
Grantee Name Trillium Ivey Foundation Total
Tides Canada $1,328 $330 $1,658
Sage1 $309 $579 $888
ForestEthics2 $0 $822 $822
sub-total $1,637 $1,731 $3,368
CPAWS3 $270 $1,045
WWF4 $463 $1,621
Sierra Club5 $373 $586
Others6 $5,210
Total $10,193 *

1. Predecessor of Forest Ethics. 2. Cited in Krause article as sister of Tides Canada. 3. Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society. 4. World Wildlife Fund. 5.Includes Sierra Club Legal Defence Fund now called Ecojustice. 6. Includes other Ivey Grantees including; Ontario Nature, Nature Canada, David Suzuki Foundation, Sustainability Network (founded by B. Lourie), etc. NB: No search of Trillium Foundation grants were conducted on the “Others”

One of the grants Sage Centre received from Trillium defined the purpose clearly: “$165,700 over 18 months to create and demonstrate a new model of managing and mentoring emerging charitable activities.”

* NB: The $10,193,000 in grants by the Ivey Foundation were all directed to “forestry” issues. Chart 2. divides those grants into three segments: “A” indicates grants directed at Alberta forest advocacy, “B” for grants directed at Boreal forests Canada wide and “F” for forestry issues Canada wide.

Chart 2. Amount (000’s)
A. $1,644
B. $3,042
F. $5,507
Total $10,193

 

The Ivey Foundation’s grants demonstrate their apparent wish to cripple the forestry sector and in the process halt further development of the oil sands. They do this either in a planned or inadvertent process by enlisting public sector support from Trillium Foundation, Ontario Power Authority, MaRS, etc., thereby enlisting public sector employees. Appointments to Boards, senior advisory positions (Lourie sits on Premier McGuinty’s “Climate Change Advisory Panel”), etc., accorded to individuals by ruling parties, signals public sector employees that they should do the bidding of the appointees without considering implications on taxpayers.

Lourie’s environmental influence is Canada-wide with connections to dozens of like-minded ENGOs/charities who benefit from the largesse of institutions in the municipal, provincial and federal fields. Collectively, these ENGOs use taxpayers and foundation funds (some supplied by government foundations such as the Friends of the Greenbelt and Toronto Atmospheric Fund–CEGN members) to convince politicians that renewable energy will save the planet and that the development of Canada’s natural resources, including the oil sands, is bad.

If these foundations truly believe in “Dutch Disease” they should give their money directly to Thomas Mulcair and the NDP who seem intent on wiping it out, for political gain; and bureaucrats should stop handing them taxpayer funds to assist them in those beliefs.

Parker Gallant,
May 31, 2012

Ontario’s Ratepayers Dig Deep to Pay Up!

Just days ago the Ontario Energy Board issued their press release that raised the price of electricity for the “average” ratepayer in Ontario by 7% for the six months starting today, May 1, 2012. The press release inferred the increase was a mere 3.3% on the “total bill” however electricity only represents about 45% of the bill that ratepayers receive monthly and this same line will be reset again in October for the ensuing six months commencing November 1, 2012. This increase pushed the “electricity” line rates up 12% from May 1, 2011.

In 2011 Ontario consumed 141.5 terawatt hours (TWh) or about 141 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) and the OEB increase represents about a half a cent per kWh. That doesn’t sound like musch but it is an increase of $4.9 million per TWh. Assuming we consume 141.5 TWh again in 2012 the increase will extract close to $700 million in after tax dollars from Ontarian’s pockets. That $700 million will also mean increased HST payments of $90 million. The latter will be partially offset by that 10% OCEB (Ontario Clean Energy Benefit) which will be deducted from ratepayer bills but will add more debt for Ontario’s taxpayers. With 4.7 million ratepayers in Ontario the additional cost adds (on average) $168.00 each although the larger consumers; small and medium sized businesses and farmers will bear a higher portion. This will drive up their costs and cause them to raise their fees/charges for their services and for food the farmers produce.


The OEB also recently issued their “Guidelines for Electricity Distributor Conservation and Demand Management” or
CDM. This guideline is an endorsement of the conservation targets established by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) under a directive issued March 31, 2010 by the Minister of Energy, Brad Duguid instructing the OPA to achieve a reduction in consumption of 6000 gigawatt hours (6 billion kWh) over the four years 2011 to 2014. That directive sought a consumption reduction of 1,330 Megawatts of capacity that would generate about 11.6 million megawatt hours and provide power to 1.2 million homes. Under the directive issued by the Minister the local distribution companies (LDC), charged with executing it, are able to obtain rate increases to recover lost revenue due to the ratepayers reduction in demand. Along with that recovery the money spent to promote (about $300 million annually) conservation is also recoverable. The delivery costs represent about 35% of ratepayers bills so the effective lost revenue by the LDCs will be about 6.3 cents per kWh or $6.26 per MWh. The monies recoverable, should the LDCs achieve their conservation targets, will be about $750 million. Couple that with the monies spent promoting conservation of $300 million (by the OPA) and ratepayers will be saddled with increased costs of $1,020 million. The $300 million will be put in the Global Adjustment (GA) pot and the $750 million will appear on the “delivery” line.

The CDM program and the recent rate increase will add $1.8 billion annually to the costs of electricity in the province and push electricity rates up a further 1.34 cents per kWh adding an average of $380.00 annually to those 4.7 million ratepayer bills. At that time Ontario’s all-in electricity rates will be on the cusp of 20 cents a kWh putting Ontario in first place for the cost of electricity in Canada.



Parker Gallant,

May 1, 2012

Response To RNAO Position Statement

Parker Gallant has authored a response to a ‘blinkered’ position statement from RNAO

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) on March 3, 2012 released a paper titled “RNAO Position Statement on Healthy Energy Solution” which effectively was a rehash of ideas and other papers issued by the likes of Environmental Defence, Pembina and Greenpeace Canada. In summary the RNAO suggests, nay recommends; that Ontario immediately close all coal-fired plants (well, not quite: they suggest we put them on standby while we erect more wind turbines), abandon any thoughts of building or refurbishing new nuclear plants, and use gas generation plants as peaking power until we have enough renewables (wind, solar and biomass) to supply our needs.

The RNAO also suggests wind could supply 20% of our needs while recommending closing down nuclear which supplied 57% of Ontario’s consumption in 2011. Where the difference of 37% will come from is anyone’s guess but perhaps they see the difference coming from conservation which they also push. A “tongue in cheek” report prepared by Aegent Energy estimated that Ontario would require approximately 12,000 industrial wind turbines (IWTs) to replace our existing nuclear plants and those 12,000 IWTs would use up 14,000 square kilometres of Ontario’s land mass. Presumably much of that land mass would be valuable farm land which would effectively reduce our ability to produce cheap abundant food for consumption.

Their report points to the heavy costs of coal-fired generation citing the same worn-out DSS report prepared in 2005 that is used by the Liberal Energy Ministers and the same groups that the RNAO cite as their primary sources of “studies.” That DSS report was prepared for the Liberal Government and provided four scenarios with the one always used as the “worst case” which was when coal-fired generation was contributing 25% of our consumption without the benefit of “scrubbers” to remove most particulates related to asthma related medical conditions. The study by DSS was never peer reviewed and the modelling estimates of environmental related deaths was severely criticized by Professor Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph. His review concluded: “Overall the DSS05 Report does not provide credible support for the decision to close the Ontario coal-fired power plants. As has been found previously the pollution increments attributable to OPG facilities are extremely small across Southern Ontario except in the immediate vicinity of the power plants themselves.”

The closing of the nuclear generation plants in the province as the RNAO recommends would entail replacing that power with unreliable, intermittent power from wind and solar that would require fossil fuel generation (gas) to back it up. The net effect would be to push up the cost of electricity even further. This would exacerbate the current effect on many Ontario residents putting more and more people into energy poverty. Does the RNAO want Ontarians to choose between feeding themselves or trying to keep warm. The burden placed on people living on fixed incomes would require massive social benefits to sustain them in a province that is burdened with increasing deficits and debt and can ill afford even our current levels. The effect of higher electricity prices; drives out industrial plants from the Province, increases unemployment, and makes Ontario an unattractive destination for any investment that may create new jobs.

Does the RNAO not recognize that Ontario will be unable to support the investment in hospitals they work in, the cost of medical care and their salaries if the government follows through on their recommendations? Does the RNAO, as the Auditor General noted in his report, not consider the cost/benefits associated with charging ahead with unreliable and intermittent energy generation by the many sustainable energy groups who use our tax dollars to further their causes when the rest of the world is questioning the science behind climate change.

This is a blinkered report without substance and ignores both the costs of the proposition they are expounding and the increasing evidence pointing to the health effects of industrial wind turbines on the rural population of this province. The lack of understanding and compassion contained in this report on the part of the RNAO is not in keeping with the nursing profession.

Parker Gallant April 23, 2012