Articles filed under Energy Policy from 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.
Earlier this month the Fraser Institute published a report sharply critical of one of the flagship policies of the Ontario government, the Green Energy Act (GEA). We found the Act is costing Ontario over $5 billion annually but yields negligible environmental benefits, and that equivalent or greater benefits could have been achieved using conventional pollution control measures at less than one-tenth the cost.
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 Green Energy Act, with its goal of continuing to increase alternative energy as Ontario faces the need to update its power-generating and transmission infrastructure, is being hotly debated by members of the public, municipal councils, provincial politicians and those in the business of creating power. The following are two sides of the energy story.
Last year, Ontario spent millions of dollars paying other states and provinces to take our excess power, most of it from renewables. But the contracts between the province and wind companies gave wind power first dibs on the grid, meaning Ontario was paying other jurisdictions to take some of most expensive power, while spilling cheaper hydroelectric power at Niagara Falls.
The new rules will allow the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to switch off the flow of power from wind turbines if there's too little demand. Wind operators will be compensated.
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.
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.
Wilson and the Ontario PC Party have been calling for a moratorium on industrial wind energy projects until third party health and environmental studies have been done. They have also committed to scrapping the feed-in tariff that is increasing hydro bills by rewarding energy developers up to fifteen times the average price of hydro to produce power no matter if it is needed or not.
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).
The renewable energy firms say that's how much they'll lose if the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) restricts the flow of wind and solar power onto the electricity grid when the demand for power is low, but winds are high.
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.
Pettapiece said his party isn't opposed to "green energy" but does feel that Ontario's current approach to wind power is not efficient. "We're not against green energy, but it's got to be affordable. This is not."
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.