Energy Policy and Canada
Horwath told me her task as leader is to listen to all sides - not just environmentalists, but opponents of wind turbines and commuters who complain of high gas prices.
"I'm an environmentalist, always have been and always will be. But I don't think making life more expensive for folks . . . is the right way to go."
ATI, along with the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University estimated the cost to the economy of forcing renewable energy mandates. They estimate in addition to the extra cost of energy to consumers, the cost to business would be passed along in reduced income or layoffs.
McGuinty tried to take a great leap forward, essentially imposing wind power on Ontarians, instead of nurturing it, with the Green Energy Act. It limits municipalities' powers to block wind projects. And an untendered $7-billion contract with South Korean firm Samsung to develop 2,500 megawatts of wind and solar power in Ontario seems like an unseemly sweetheart deal.
This business of multiplying up by the "number of homes" is a common device in the alternative-energy and climatechange industries. Pretty much every week there is a new announcement of some new wind farm coming on stream, about to power six hundred homes, or a thousand homes, or six thousand homes. But you should be skeptical of these assertions. The homes device is just a way of making the numbers sound big when they aren't.
Double speak the issues all you want, anyone willing to lease or sell their property to wind and solar developers knowing full well what their neighbours are in for and the possible health issues that could ruin their neighbours lives for a few dollars, leaves me wondering how they sleep at night.
To understand what the smart grid is supposed to be, and supposed to do, think Internet by analogy: The power company would be akin to an Internet service provider, the smart grid akin to the Internet network ...In contrast, the smart grid, which is unprofitable, would carry mostly low-value electricity, which is unprofitable, from solar panels and other incapable devices, which are unprofitable.
Holliday has for several years been predicting that blackouts could become a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines in order to meet greenhouse gas targets.
The FIT program led to a run to Ontario by investors seeking to cash in on over-market pricing. The FIT and MicroFIT programs took a big hit recently as McGuinty and three of his ministers tried to quietly back away from some of the more onerous aspects of the GEA. No offshore wind, due to a voter backlash, and mea culpas (via the OPA) to 1000 small solar investors due to technical problems.
For years, Premier Dalton McGuinty has made an art of dividing rural Ontarians from urban. Now he's gone one better, seeking to split the wealthiest rural landowners, those with lakefront property, from the rest of us. It's a breathtaking display of cynicism and a move that, in pure political terms, is clever.
Locally, there has been a great deal of legitimate concern about the impact of a proposal to put 715 turbines in lakes Erie and St. Clair. Residents, doctors and municipal politicians have expressed concern that wind turbine construction would stir up sediment and possibly release toxins near the intake pipes channelling water into treatment plants. There have also been questions about the impact of the giant turbines on fish and wildlife.
Ontario's action puts the New York Power Authority on the spot. The power authority has been reviewing private-sector proposals for one or more electricity-generating wind farms in the New York waters of Lake Erie or Lake Ontario, and was supposed to pick one or more developers in the next month or so. It now will have to explain why it wants to proceed when its counterpart in Canada does not.
Since McGuinty came to power residential electricity costs have gone up 60 per cent and the government has finally acknowledged we will see at least another 46 per cent over the next few years. ...Because of its variable and intermittent generation, wind energy will never provide more than a relatively small portion of Ontario's electricity needs.
What a mess.
Years of dreamy plans for renewable solar and wind energy, expensive conservation plans, unfulfilled promises to close coal-burning stations, and a belief that Ontarians can always reach deeper to pay for hydro rate increases have led to massive rate increases and knee-jerk rebate programs.
From smart meters, to the Green Energy Act, to the Samsung subsidy, electricity bills are skyrocketing. When you add in the impact of the HST and other rate increases, the annual cost of electricity bills for Ontario families is set to increase by another $732 per year by 2015, according to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
Premier McGuinty is running Ontario's hydro system in a way that is unsustainable.
With the market for wind shrinking, Denmark's Vestas, the world's largest wind-turbine company, recently announced it is closing five production facilities in Denmark and Sweden and laying off 3,000 workers ...The coming collapse of the renewables industry - largely a creature of backroom lobbying for government favours by multinationals - is also evident on this side of the ocean.
The shrillness and sheer emptiness of the McGuinty Liberals' arguments on the energy file has been revealing in recent weeks. It is, I think, a measure of the desperation the provincial government is feeling less than a year away from an election. They realize the anger and resentment they've stirred up in rural Ontario, where they have unleashed their industrial wind energy experiments.
The Green Energy Act has wobbled on the way toward its goal of replacing coal-fired electricity in the province with clean, renewable energy. ...The Liberals conceded that the 1 per cent rate increase promised a little over a year ago was wildly optimistic, and that the hike would be 7.9 per cent annually for the next five years.
Premier Dalton McGuinty would like everybody to believe that his government is leading a green revolution with its wind power policies. McGuinty's motives are clear: he wants to appear green and putting up wind turbines is something "green" for him to point to.
However, just because the Premier says they are "green" doesn't mean they are green.
The policy goals and intent of the Green Energy Act may well come undone under the withering glare of disaffected and angry consumers. Thus, there's an urgent need to begin the process of reducing the largesse provided to those who have become adept at securing private benefits -albeit under the convenient disguise of green - at the expense of the captive consumer.
Ontario's new electricity advisory panel makes little room for consumers - even though consumers are paying for it all in more ways than one. Here is the latest report by former Canadian banker Parker Gallant.