Parker Gallant: Ontario Power Conference Notes
Speaking Notes: Ontario Power Conference April 16, 2013
NB: Highlights of Minister Chiarelli’s Keynote Speech Follow below my presentation.
Examining the Politices of Energy: An Exploration of Competing Visions of Ontario Energy Policy
1. Parker Gallant: more background:
a) Self appointed guru – former Energy Minister
b) “Parker Gallant knows nothing” – tweet from one of the authors of the GEA
c) Threatened by a lawsuit from well known founder of several Environmental Not-for profits and charities supported by a myriad of Provincial entities.
d) Director of Wind Concerns Ontario fighting poorly sited industrial wind projects.
2. I am personally against industrial wind turbines. Generating electricity from wind is old technology invented by John Blyth of Scotland in the late 1800s. It didn’t work well then and it still doesn’t!
I, and Wind Concerns Ontario, are on the side of rural communities who are suffering the consequences of the GEA which has taken away democratic rights in respect to the ability of rural municipalities to plan for their community-about 90 municipalities have passed “not a willing host bylaws” and notified the Premier of that.
I believe wind turbines do affect people’s health, decrease property values, kill birds and bats and put certain species at risk.
I believe wind turbines will continue to drive up electricity prices causing job losses and
I believe they have done nothing to reduce emissions.
I find it strange that the people in the rural communities must use their own resources (money) to fight Renewable Energy Approvals issued by the Ministry of the Environment via an ERT while their tax dollars are used to fight them.
I don’t understand why politicians feel the need to interfere with the electricity sector. The entities that exist to generate, transmit and distribute electricity in the past have generally done a pretty good job at producing the power we need at prices that were very competitive and attracted industry of all stripes to the province. It doesn’t seem to matter what politicial party the politicians come from. When the party achieves power it seems to have this need to muddle where they don’t have an understanding or knowledge about the electricity system.
The Electricty sector seldom gets high profile in any runup to an election except from the Green Party (global warming) but it probably will in the next election because of the increase in pricing and the rural objections to IWTs.
If you go back in time, Bill Davis stopped and started the Darlington Nuclear build three times and we could probably point to $6 billion or more of the cost overruns that those delays caused through interest accumulation, staff training, etc.
Bob Rae appointed Maurice Strong as Chair of Ontario Hydro and Strong proceeded to decimate the institution, reducing staff, stopping development which eventually caused a shortage of power for the province.
Harris tried valiantly to privatize parts of the sector but then along came his successor Eves who froze prices; perhaps for similar reasons to the gas plant moves and put an end to the Harris plans. Yesterday we heard from the AG about one of those moves and it turns out we will eventually wind up with a gas plant that will be ready to back up intermittent wind and solar but at a ridiculous cost. Long term planning was an issue that the Liberals originally touted in the Legislature and supposedly brought to the table on this portfolio. So what happened?
When the Liberals were elected in 2003 the one smart thing they did was take the freeze off the electricity prices but then as they say; disaster struck. What started as a modest experiment to add small amounts of renewables to the grid (at reasonable prices) while instructing their new creation; the Ontario Power Authority; to do some long term planning they appointed George Smitherman as Energy Minister. He turned the sector on its head! Right after his appointment Smitherman tripped though Europe quickly with his hand held by some greenie who convinced him Ontario should go all out for renewables like Denmark, Germany, Spain and Portugal. Smitherman tossed the long term plan and today we find ourselves with the highest electricity prices in Canada and verging on the highest in North America despite having clean hydro and clean nuclear that on most days can satisfy our demand.
My personal opinion is that politicians that occupy the Energy Ministry portfolio should be acting as overseers, and stop thinking they are experts. We have thousands of well qualified people running our publicly owned electricity sector and it should be the Minister’s responsibility to ensure they remain competent or he should fire them. The 2003 blackout wasn’t Ontario’s fault but they keep insisting it was.
Ontario now has one of the most convoluted energy sectors in the world. What exactly is a “Global Adjustment” supposed to be; because it is not global-its a “made in Ontario noun”! It seems that it was simply created to somehow deflect the political interference we have seen over the past 9 years—blame it on the rest of the world-make it global!
We must stop the nepotisism in the system and we must stop the politicians from thinking they know best. Let the politicians focus on ensuring the system is functioning properly, give the OEB back their regulatory powers and stop issuing directives when you come up with a brainstorm! No directive should ever be issued by any future Energy Minister without a cost/benefit study as pointed out in the Auditor General’s report of 2011.
If you must appoint someone to run one of the publically owned electricity sector companies base the appointment on competence not on an ideology defined by Bob Dole or David Suzuki or Hermann Scheer.
Minister Chiarelli’s speech to the CI Power Conference April 16, 2013
Minister of Energy Chiarelli was the keynote speaker at the CI Power Conference today and during his speech he delivered the following main messages:
- 31,000 jobs have been created by the GEA
- peak consumption is down by 1900 MW
- the Long Term Energy Plan will be reviewed by the OPA and the report issued within the next 6 months
- all Ontarians will be able to comment via the web and they are looking for feedback on the “supply mix”, “conservation” and the “predictability of the clean energy process”
The Minister also spoke to how the NEW Liberal government want to “mitigate rate increases” with “affordable energy” and to the NEW government’s commitment to let municipalities pick and choose on generation projects.
NB: I (Parker Gallant) have requested a copy of Minister Chiarelli’s directive to the Ontario Power Authority in respect to the review of the Long Term Energy Plan.