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Government suspends future renewable energy contracts

Ontario’s government has suspended any movement on a second round of renewable energy contracts for solar, wind, hydroelectric, bioenergy and energy from waste projects. This decision is expected to save up to $3.8 billion in electricity system costs relative to Ontario’s 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan forecast.

The decision has no effect on cancelling existing or in-process wind or solar contracts, so will not change battles under way for the County’s south shore.

Scheduled for 2017 were to be almost 1,000 MW of additional green energy, including wind 600 MW, solar 250 MW, water power 50 MW, bioenergy 30 MW. However, Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith says the government had yet to sign a single contract because it had yet to finalize a procurement process.

“The government is saying this will save people money. That’s like saying that you saved money because you didn’t buy a sports car,” Smith said. “We still have FIT and LRP phase one projects under construction. Plenty of these projects are still being added to the grid, which means that they’ll still be added to your bill. All this did was cancel projects that weren’t scheduled to come online until 2020.”

The government stated its decision “is expected to save up to $3.8 billion in electricity system costs relative to Ontario’s 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) forecast” – saving the typical residential electricity consumer an average of approximately $2.45 per month on their electricity bill.

“It seems like the government keeps agreeing with us five years too late,” said Smith. “My first bill in the legislature would have returned local control over these projects, which would have kept a lot of them from being built. We knew back then they were driving up your hydro rates. The government just figured it out this morning apparently.”

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff says the 124 municipalities who have declared themselves ‘Concerned’ and ‘Unwilling Hosts’ and municipal support resolution bylaws need to take credit for their work on making this happen.

Influence and constant pressure has also come from County citizen groups such as the the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County and the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy, along with other groups province-wide and opposition parties in the legislature.

The Ministry of Energy plans to commission a new plan to be released in 2017 following consultation with stakeholders.

On September 1, 2016, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) provided the Minister of Energy with the Ontario Planning Outlook, an independent report analyzing a variety of planning scenarios for the future of Ontario’s energy system. The IESO advised that Ontario will benefit from a robust supply of electricity over the coming decade to meet projected demand.

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  1. Borys says:

    I do think some politicians lie knowingly.

    I would include Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Kathleen Wynne along with her Cabinet.

  2. Gary Mooney says:

    Randy’s staff made an honest effort to provide accurate information, as indicated by including the detail of their calculations. But their figures were as of May 1. Some provinces have updated rates since then, and they haven’t updated their calculations. Mine are as of August 1.

    I couldn’t make any sense of their Ontario calculations. I emailed them about this, and followed up, but never heard back.

    I have done extensive checking of my calculations — reproducing sample bills posted online by the various provinces and reconciling with surveys of provincial bills done by Manitoba Hydro and New Brunswick Power.

  3. Borys Holowacz says:

    I guess I am naïve then.
    Why would a politician post calculations that can be checked for accuracy?

  4. Gary Mooney says:

    Borys, you’re kidding, right?

  5. Borys Holowacz says:

    I would not expect a politician to intentionally post bad numbers and Hillier does provide detailed calculations.

    Regardless, I think we all agree that Ontario’s hydro rates have increased rapidly over the past few years and that our bills are very high and hard to afford for many people and business.

  6. Gary Mooney says:

    Borys, I reviewed Randy Hillier’s calculations in detail and several are not correct as of this date. MB and NS are too low, while QC, NL and ON are too high. I cannot make any sense out of his detailed calculation for Ontario. (Note that these amounts are pre-tax.) But his chart does show, correctly, that the Ontario rural rate is much higher than anywhere else in the ten provinces.

  7. Fred Flinstone says:

    Looking forward to that $2.45 in savings on my bill. That will let me fill the tea kettle with Picton water one more time a month.

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    Sorry, but I wouldn’t call Conservative MP Randy Hillier an unbiased source of information – but thanks I will look it over.
    I think we here in PEC know already that we pay more than most other jurisdictions and why – so what else do we need to know?

  9. Borys Holowacz says:

    It remains true that the Ontario all in cost of electricity for rural residential homes is much higher than all other provinces in Canada. Much of PEC is pays the rural residential rate.

    Electricity costs can be easily compared by looking at the chart found at http://www.randyhilliermpp.com/hydro_facts that shows the all in cost for 1000 kWh per month in a rural residential home as of May 1, 2016 across Canada.

  10. Sam says:

    And significantly more in provincial income tax.

  11. John Thompson says:

    I have an Ontario friend who also owns a ski chalet in Quebec and he has said that we should not compare our power rates with Quebec as they are subsidized. We also know that Quebec’s massive James Bay water has been developed as an economical source and they have profitable export contracts. Perhaps that is their method of subsidization.

    On the energy topic, they pay more for gasoline and car licence fees.

  12. Gary Mooney says:

    Taking account of the 8% PST rebate and the latest saving-by-not-purchasing of less than 2%, the government has just about replaced the 10% discount called the Green Energy Benefit, which expired less than a year ago.

    The fact is that, after the above “savings”, County’s rural residents will still be paying 3 times what Quebec’s rural residents pay.

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