Energy Policy and Canada
The green lobby in Europe is so strong that it has pushed EU politicians to oppose virtually every kind of reliable non-renewable energy. ..."Ordinary families and small and medium-sized businesses are essentially subsidizing the investments of green do-gooders," who can afford to install solar panels on their homes and their businesses. But what's really starting to cause citizens and policy-makers to question their green energy agenda, is that soaring energy costs are driving energy-intensive industries in Europe to move to the United States.
A certain degree of local congestion and general oversupply is often planned into the system. However, given the relatively narrow operating margins of wind and solar projects, typical project leverage ratios and the debt service coverage ratio covenants by which most projects are bound, an annual curtailment of generating capacity of more than one percent can have a devastating impact on project viability.
A deliberate attempt to obscure the cost of those decisions by releasing only partial numbers? Testimony before the justice committee this week has shown the Liberals knew the $40-million cost of the Oakville cancellation that the former energy minister had insisted was the only true cost, in fact, referred only to sunk costs, and that the final bill would actually be much higher.
The simple truth is that the Liberals' foolish pursuit of wind power has resulted in the creation of a massive Potemkin Village in Ontario, an outwardly impressive but ultimately useless facade.
In the real world, it would have been smarter, cheaper and greener for the Liberals simply to have replaced coal-fired electricity with gas-fired electricity, while completely avoiding the boondoggle of wind.
Ontario is still paying green energy producers more to generate clean power than customers are charged for it. That maybe made sense to get the infant industry going, but it's hardly defensible now. Instead, the government is papering over the difference, spending $1 billion a year to discount the higher cost on consumers' bills.
Today, the wind power generated in Ontario is both expensive and useless. The province actually pays hundreds of millions of dollars to other jurisdictions to take surplus power off its hands. Energy-intensive companies are leaving because their hydro bills are too high. And taxpayers are stuck with 20-year contracts that will add billions to their hydro bills (and/or the provincial deficit).
Wind energy continues to flunk the market test. Ontario buys wind energy at a price 50% higher than it would have to pay for electricity from natural gas. (A new natural gas facility can make money selling electricity at 7-8 cents a kilowatt-hour. Ontario buys newly installed windpower at prices of about 11 cents per kilowatt-hour.)
When Ontario's auditor general looked at the Liberals' renewable energy policies in 2011, he found they (a) rushed into the field without knowing what they were doing (b) failed to develop a business plan (c) did no internal audit work ...(f) grossly over-estimated the number of jobs they would create.
As a result they have added billions of dollars to the cost of electricity Ontarians will be paying for years to come.
This home to nature is shortly to be under attack, not from hunters or foragers but from a Government approved industrial wind developer. Those of us throughout the province who admire and want to protect nature stand in disbelief at the carnage that will unfold and that is a result of the Green Energy and Economy Act (GEA) passed by the GTA centric Liberal Party.
Under the WTO pact, Canadian provinces have wide leeway to demand local content in government procurement contracts. ...But the key here is that a public body does the purchasing. In the green energy case, Japan and the European Union successfully argued that the purchasers to whom Buy Ontario rules apply (the private generators) are not public bodies.
The idea that windmills will save the Ontario economy is the kind of wisdom you might pick up down at the local hemp shop. But wherever the idea came from, it has yet to power Ontario forward. Unemployment in too many cities sits in double digits even as turbines spin in that wayward wind. But even if subsidized wind energy hasn't powered the mighty Ontario job creation machine, it has been jet fuel for Ontario deficits.
The centerpiece of the McGuinty agenda was his controversial green energy policy.
The idea here had three parts. First, electricity consumers would subsidize new forms of power generation, such as wind power, through their hydro bills. Coal would be phased out as a source of electricity generation and replaced by natural gas.
Those complaining that industrial wind turbines are making them sick and forcing them from their homes are no longer on the margins. Their numbers are growing. Their voices are becoming louder.
The glow that folks once felt in supporting renewable energy is wearing thin once they learn that generating really expensive, poor quality electricity is ruining their neighbours' lives.
Ontario's Green Energy Act is stacked in favour of wind developers. Its authors seem not to have cared about basic rights. They just bash ahead despite evidence that turbines provide little in the way of jobs, reduce property values, make some homes unsaleable, affect the health and social well-being of locals and kill migrating birds and endangered species. Our descendants here in Prince Edward County will inherit a devastated local economy, landscape and way of life, not to mention an increasing (province-wide) financial burden to pay for wind-company profits.
We'll get the old "bait-and-switch."
The "bait" will be that money extracted from us through higher energy prices will go towards improving the environment and to help "the poor" cope with higher energy costs.
The "switch" will be that most, if not all, of the new revenue will go down the black hole of general revenues to pay for anything the government wants.
"Further be it resolved that if the (one-year) moratorium (on wind turbine developments) is not announced prior to the start date of the conference, that all municipal officials in attendance ...shall leave the room immediately when the agenda reaches the point that the premier or his designate addresses the conference, in a show of solidarity to once again demonstrate our frustration, anger and disappointment over their complete and total mishandling of the Green Energy Act. and Industrial Wind Turbines in particular."
The situation regarding Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT) has become untenable. The proliferation of wind turbines across rural Ontario has seriously polarized our rural communities. Residents not engaged in turbine developments have been pitted against neighbours, over concerns with health impacts and quality of life issues. IWT development currently preoccupies the rural agenda.
As a result, Ontario's renewable energy future is, yet again, in a state of uncertainty. Fortunately, projects that already have an existing FIT contract with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will not be subject to the new rules and pricing.
Over the past month and a half, the OPA and Deputy Minister Fareed Amin, tasked with spearheading the FIT review, have held numerous consultation sessions.
But he also implicitly acknowledges that he moved too aggressively on some fronts. And one of his related recommendations will deservedly get a lot of attention.
Nothing has fuelled more green-energy opposition than the decision to strip municipalities of their decision-making power when it comes to the placement of wind turbines. Liberals have long contended that doing so was necessary ...But Mr. Smitherman now sees the need to assuage what he called "unsettling circumstances in some municipalities."
"I have no doubt, honestly I have no doubt" the Green Energy Act cost the Liberals their majority, Gillis said. ...Green Energy Act opponents were hoping for a Progressive Conservative majority. Party leader Tim Hudak had promised a moratorium on wind farms until new studies on the impact of industrial turbines were completed.