Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Canada
The Spanish government, like most European governments, is staggering under a mountain of public debt after having used borrowed money for decades to pay for massive social benefits. Spain's green energy subsidies were among the most generous in Europe - about $5.75 billion annually in a country of 47 million people.
With the bulk of Ontario's baseload electricity capacity coming from emissions-free nuclear power, commissioning massive amounts of wind and solar energy at guaranteed sky-high rates was a dubious idea from the get-go. With energy surpluses galore, idling nuclear reactors so an overloaded electricity grid can accommodate intermittently produced renewable energy is costing Ontario dearly as it exports unneeded wind power at a fraction of what it pays for it.
Are claims about the merits of wind power full of hot air? Wind turbines provide fewer economic and environmental benefits for Ontario than advocates had hoped for, says a new report by a University of Guelph economist.
"Quebecers pay literally hundreds of millions of dollars a year to produce electricity from wind turbines that they don't need. This energy is 2.5 times more expensive than hydroelectricity. Even if they account for only a small proportion of the electricity produced here, Hydro-Québec has indicated that the most recent rate hike was due almost entirely to these new projects."
Most worrying was that while promising to give municipalities more say over where turbines are constructed, that power won't be bestowed until hundreds, perhaps thousands, more industrial wind turbines are erected on Ontario's skyline. This is because projects already navigating the approvals process are unlikely to be subjected to the province's new process.
"It remains to be seen just how, or if, this new direction will have any impact on Pattern and Samsung's project, which already has Feed-in-Tariff approval," Clarke said. "Going forward, if there will be a more inclusive process that engages municipalities, that's fine, but what does it mean for current projects?" ..."The devil will be in the details."
But with the slashing of two gas plants in the greater Toronto area leaving taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, Hudak said it's critical to cut wind subsidies before the cancellation fees mount. "That's why we've got to stop now," he said. "We've got to turn off the tap. Otherwise the costs are going to be even higher down the road.
"The FIT program is affecting everyone in Ontario through higher electricity rates," said president Jane Wilson. "And it's not necessary. Coal is virtually gone as a power source. We don't need more expensive unreliable wind power, and Ontario electricity customers don't need to be subsidizing huge power corporations. End the FIT, now."
Bluewater's new law would impose a building permit fee of $14,000 per turbine on wind developments. The bylaw also imposes refundable security deposits totaling $420,000 per turbine for decommissioning, health and property damage, and legal fees.
Surplus wind power could cost Ontario ratepayers millions and compromise power system, says electricity system operator. It says renewable energy market rules must change. ...The IESO has drawn up new rules that will allow it to shut output from wind and solar operators ...The renewable power generators are fighting the new rules vigorously.
If the preliminary report stands, Ontario might have to dismantle parts of its controversial "feed-in-tariff" program that pays high prices to producers of wind and solar power, as long as they buy a certain proportion of their equipment in the province.
By the end of 2013, Ontario household power rates will be the second-highest in North America (after PEI), and they will continue to accelerate while they level off in most other jurisdictions. Even more alarming for Ontario's economic competitiveness, businesses and industrial customers will be hit by almost $12-billion in additional costs over the same period.
The Progressive Conservatives said the lucrative premiums paid for wind and solar power are making electricity unaffordable for families and driving companies out of Ontario, and called on the Liberals to cancel the feed-in-tariff program immediately. "It would stop the high subsidies that have caused energy bills to skyrocket," said Opposition energy critic Vic Fedeli.
It's hard to imagine a better example of a waste of taxpayers' money than the plans to install a single-unit "wind farm" at Saskatoon's landfill. While such a project might be great for public relations, particularly with those tourists who include the dump on their list of must-see civic attractions, the project is untenable on economic and environmental grounds.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty struck a green electricity deal -- allegedly the biggest of its kind in the world -- that will transmit a subsidy worth as much as $10-billion into the hands of a Korean state enterprise and corporate giant Samsung. The subsidy means that over the next 25 years Ontario electricity users will pay 50% more for the wind and solar electricity produced under the Samsung deal than they would buying the same power from conventional sources.
Two major wind energy projects in New Brunswick have been put on hold indefinitely, putting a wrench in NB Power's plans to use significantly more wind energy by 2010. ..."It has made liquidity for capital projects scarce," said Eric Schneider, a spokesman for the company. Schneider said that it's "far more expensive to build and get financing in the market situation we're dealing with right now."
My column in the National Post about Ontario's irrational windpower policy has elicited an electric surge of very interesting responses.
Must we destroy the environment in order to save it? In the province of Ontario, the answer seems to be "yes." This month, the Liberal provincial government of Dalton McGuinty will finish drafting its proposed Green Energy Act. The Act's early drafts call for a big increase in renewable energy production in Ontario. Sounds nice! How do we get there? The plan contains two big elements: (1) a huge cash giveaway and (2) a brusque slap-down of local democracy.
Once a booming industry thanks to sky-high oil prices, the feel-good trend, carbon reduction and subsidies, the financial crisis has pushed investors to give up on green energies, and like the dot-com bubble of 2000, some analysts say it's about to burst. ..."I think economic reality will kill the green industry," said Mr. Buckee, who now lives in Britain and lectures on climate change. Solar energy isn't alone in its woes. Wind, biomass, biofuel and other "clean-tech" companies are getting pasted too as the financial crisis sends investors fleeing from technology names, dries up credit and freezes the IPO market.
The two farms, Bartlett reported, represent a $250 million SUEZ Renewable Energy investment. SUEZ will receive incentives of up to $2.8 million over 10 years from its Norway wind farm, based on a one cent per kilowatt hour rate. The provincial government's 30-megawatt wind farm at East Point qualifies for up to $9 million in federal funds over 10 years. How much government incentive SUEZ Renewable Energy NA will receive for energy generated at West Cape wind farm was not disclosed. Bartlett noted only power sold into the domestic market qualifies. Much of the electricity generated at West Cape is destined for the export market.