Pembina and Greenpeace have the Energy Minister’s ear
|No thanks: I already know what I am supposed to think|
Following Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli around the province is an interesting exercise that raises questions. Back on September 10th Minister Chiarelli and Premier Wynne were feted by Bruce Power at an exclusive fundraiser that reputedly generated $100,000 for the Ontario Liberal Party.
On the same day, a joint Pembina Institute/Greenpeace report was released titled “Renewable is Doable” with the following statement:
“Ontario has experienced an absolute decline in electricity demand in recent years, due in part to the province’s successful conservation programs.”
One can challenge the veracity of that statement: the decline in demand for electricity is due to the demise of Ontario’s industrial manufacturing base, which is being exacerbated by high electricity prices. There’s more: the report was prepared by three graduates in “environmental studies,” and from the charts and writing, one discerns a lack of basic math capabilities.
That aside, the report is all aglow about Conservation and states:
“Ontario’s new “Conservation First” initiative provides the opportunity to continue electricity savings [writer’s emphasis: presumably meant in an non-monetary way]. The evidence presented in this report shows that putting conservation first, and supplementing it with a diversified portfolio of green energy sources, can be more cost-effective [writer’s emphasis again:that would be the math problem] than renewed investment in nuclear stations whose costs continue to increase [not according to the Minister’s remarks below].”
Scrolling through the Executive Summary one also finds this: “Can Ontario replace nuclear reactors with a cost-effective, low-carbon energy mix?”
Well, the report’s title says it all so the conclusion is, it can! Examining the report and several of the charts you find the words “typical”and “averaged,” butnot “actual”! If one specifically looks at the charts depicting how “renewables” can replace nuclear you find the phrase “Modelled from historic output data”! The report smooths or averages intermittent production from wind and solar and fails to note they produce at both the wrong time of the day and the wrong time of the year. The report also ignores the cost of back-up gas plants, as well as the costs of exporting surplus energy, additional transmission cost, and the costs of constraining wind and solar. All of these billions of dollars are omitted.
With all these flaws, our Energy Minister wouldn’t buy into that report, would he? He did! On October 25, 2013 he Tweeted:
@Bob_Chiarelli 5hOntario does not need new nuclear at this time agrees the Pembina Institute and Greenpeace: http://www.pennenergy.com/wirenews/powernews/2013/10/25/weighing-ontario-s-controversial-choice-on-nuclear-power.html …”
That Tweet by the Minister followed the news reports of Thursday October 10th of criticism by the PC Party and a comment from the NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath, who said,“the optics are very, very bad.”
The CBC reported:
“Ontario’s Liberal government on Thursday abandoned plans to spend billions of dollars to build two new nuclear reactors, saying the province doesn’t need the power to meet its electricity demand.
“New nuclear will not be part of the long-term energy plan which we hope to finalize before the end of this year,” Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli told reporters.
“We’re in a comfortable surplus position at this point in time, and it’s not advisable to make the major investments in new nuclear.”
Costs have fallen since the province first paused its plans to build two new reactors in 2009, when the estimated price was said to be as high as $26 billion.
“The costs have come down, but they have not come down enough to justify us building new nuclear when we have a very comfortable surplus,” said Chiarelli.
“It is not wise to invest billions and billions of dollars in new nuclear when the power is not needed.”
Sure sounds like the Minister bought into the “Renewable is Doable” diatribe of the joint report. Instead, he will take “billions and billions” from ratepayers pockets to satisfy large and mainly foreign corporations who came to Ontario for above market rates paid for wind and solar developments.
The coincidences over the past two months are just too obvious to ignore: the fund raiser and the release of the joint report on the same day; then Minister Chiarelli’s visit to Bruce Power on October 7thand three days later he announced cancellation of the 2,000 MW of new nuclear to be built by Ontario Power Generation and confirmationof the refurbishment of nuclear reactors at Bruce and Darlington.
When can the people of Ontario expect to see competent and transparent management of this portfolio? I leave that question to the voters for the next election. I certainly hope they will reflect on the obvious. Their pocketbooks will be not be protected by anyone appointed by the Ontario Liberal government!
Parker Gallant October 28, 2013
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the policies of Wind Concerns Ontario.