Cancel wind contracts to get electricity bills down, WCO tells Ministry of Energy
Wind power a significant portion of punishing electricity bills, community coalition says. Cancel contracts wherever possible, immediately.
The Ontario Ministry of Energy asked for input to its new Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) both online and through a series of consultations held throughout the province in October and November.
Wind Concerns Ontario filed its formal comment document this week on behalf of its membership, and recommended the Ministry do everything it can via the LTEP to get costs down. That includes cancelling the wind power contracts awarded past spring, cancelling contracts for wind power projects not yet built, cancelling contracts for projects already operating that are not meeting the terms of their Renewable Energy Approvals, and permanently cancelling the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) II process, which is currently only “suspended.”
“I was horrified by the comments about the growing energy poverty in this province and the fact that social assistance agencies like the Food Bank association and the United Way are pointing at electricity bills as a major factor,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president, Jane Wilson.
“We are in a situation of surplus power, and the past few years have clearly shown that not only is large-scale wind power development a poor source of power, it is also unaffordable, and has few benefits for the environment. More than half of wind power produced is unusable, but we’re paying for it anyway. Poor families, and people on fixed incomes like seniors are paying for it — this has to stop.”
While the corporate wind power lobby maintains that wind power is a low-cost option for power, Wind Concerns Ontario’s analysis shows that the real cost is far higher than the industry and government say. Costs such as wasting nuclear and hydro power to accommodate wind power when it shows up in times of low demand are often not included in promotional material.
It’s also a myth that the government actually makes money on selling surplus power, WCO says.
Ontario electricity customers are bearing costs that they shouldn’t be, the report also says, such as the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program which should properly be funded by the ministry responsible for social assistance, not already over-burdened electricity customers. Inequities between urban and rural power customers also need to be addressed: rural Ontario is being penalized by being forced to host wind power projects and then charged more money for electricity.
“The Premier and the Minister of Energy have both said that the energy policy has failed, and that the government now needs to get electricity bills down,” Wilson said. “That should be the focus of the new Long-Term Energy Plan: to find lowest cost sources of power and to do proper planning based on cost-benefit analysis.”
Wind Concerns Ontario’s recommendations:
- Reduce costs by cancelling contracts for wind turbine projects. The supply of power in Ontario is “robust” and additional capacity is not required. The action affects LRP I and II, FIT 5.0 and projects without a Notice to Proceed.
- Reduce costs by reviewing contracts for operating projects being paid excessive rates. Assess potential to buy out all contracts to eliminate cost over the medium term, while achieving immediate savings by eliminating the need to dispose of surplus electricity.
- Reduce costs by removing non-electricity costs from consumer charges, ending ineffective conservation programs and funding for speculative innovation.
- Reduce costs by reassessing delivery costs and improving customer service.
- Reduce costs through improved procurement processes.
Read the entire report from Wind Concerns Ontario here: wco-ltepresponse.