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Green energy costing taxpayers

Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith says four days after defeating a Bill that would have returned control over Green Energy projects to municipalities, the full cost of the failed economic strategy was laid bare.
“This policy is a perfect example of government waste. As an economic policy, it’s a boondoogle. As an environmental policy, it’s laughable,” said Smith. “This premier and this government are costing Ontario taxpayers jobs; they’re costing small businesses employees and their refusal to admit their mistake cost taxpayers almost two billion dollars.”
Smith said the Auditor General noted that for every job that the McGuinty government might be creating in the renewable energy sector, it was coming at the expense of two to four jobs in other sectors of the economy. This analysis indicated that not only is the Green Energy and Economy Act failing to follow through on the jobs it promised to create, it was actually costing the province jobs that existed before the Act was passed, adding to the province’s economic woes.
“If a company was run the way the government has run its Green Economy initiative, we’d be calling in the forensic accountants,” said Smith. “There was no evaluation on the environmental impact and no evaluation done on the economic impact. The government won’t let you open a McDonald’s without doing an environmental impact assessment but it can put up a wind factory without one.”
Less than a week after the Gilead Project planned for Ostrander Point was added to the EBR at the Ministry of Environment, the Auditor’s General’s report indicated that Wind and Solar were unreliable as sources of energy and often needed to be backed up by other sources of power generation. Part of this conclusion included the fact that Ontario actually ran a $1.8 billion dollar deficit when selling its excess power to other jurisdictions over what the electricity actually cost Ontarians to produce.
“The Samsung contract is a total mess,” Smith added. “The AG has said that the Ontario Energy Board, the Ontario Power Authority and most amazingly, the Cabinet, were not consulted about the agreement prior to the government’s decision on the Samsung deal. No due diligence was done and as a result, taxpayers are on the hook for a deal this government can’t afford.”

UPDATE Tuesday, Dec. 6:
On the heels of the Auditor General’s scathing review of the government’s Green Economy policy, Smith took a stand for small businesses in the Ontario Legislature Tuesday morning.

Brandishing a copy of the Auditor General’s report, Smith confirmed the auditor’s numbers on specific failings of  government policy in regard to job creation and energy prices.
“A typical household’s annual electricity bill will increase by about $570 or 46 per cent, from about $1,250 in 2009 to more than $1,820 by 2014. More than half of this increase would be because of renewable energy projects,”
Smith quoted from the Office of the Auditor General 2011 Annual Report pg. 95
“About four jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy for every one new job in the renewable energy sector, primarily because of higher electricity prices,” he quoted from the report, page 118.
Smith said the report further states “the government was paying out exorbitant Feed-In-Tariff rates that were in fact driving up electricity prices for both residents and small businesses in the province. The report went on to further state that all Ontarians would continue to see their hydro bills rise, by at least eight per cent annually and in some cases exponentially, between now and 2018.
“The Minister of Energy refused to address the Auditor General’s report in his answer to the MPP for Prince Edward-Hastings and instead referenced several, unrelated pieces of legislation from the last sitting of the House.
“Today, the Minister of Energy continued his favourite parliamentary tradition. Hiding the truth and refusing to answer questions. The Auditor General has clearly labelled the massive problems with this policy. People are losing their jobs, people are losing their homes, hydro bills are going up and the AG has tied this to the government’s policy. Today, rather than level with Ontarians, the Minister continued to lie to Ontarians,” Smith said.

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  1. David Norman says:

    @John Thompson in respect to my last comment:
    In answering my last comment, if you should deem it prudent to do so, I ask that you do not misrepresent my concerns. I predict that you will in fact see the County dotted with the monolithic phallic symbols that Industrial Wind Turbines represent, regardless of any economic, social and environmental harm they do. I know that it is virtually impossible to overcome the greenwash charade that parades in the media square, day after day, with an army of “Friends of Wind” waving banners with provocateur proclamations of how IWTs, under the guise of Climate Change, will help sustain the power behind the economic growth fetish. I do recognize the origins and strength of your ethos that ‘all are good and more and bigger are better’. This is a process which is for example, explicitly encouraged on the County Sustainability Group web site. And for those of your ilk who require a more emotive expression, I am in the death throes of my own naively nurtured democracy, feel helpless and hopeless, and spitting out the remnants of my revolutionary spirit, that have choked my last breath. However, I choose to go down fighting. I do not hold myself in any high regard in this respect and know that I am of little more significance to this IWT impetus than that of a Whippoorwill being sacrificed to the contemporary suastika of the turbine blades, this symbolic honor of which has recently been bestowed upon a leader of a local “green” brigade.
    I do laud your accomplishments, with all of the delusional references that this implies, and attribute to your efforts the authoritarian goals, for example “The Green Energy Act”, which have served to regulate our economic structure and transformed social relations to “greener” purposes. Despite the uneasy relationship of “The Friends of Wind” with the corporate and governing elite, together they have indeed created and enforced rules that are more colourful (greener) and strident, which have served to temporarily relieve the anxieties of the common folk to the looming environmental armageddon. You have ritualised actions, engineered safety and temporarily banished despair for many of these folk by encouraging them to stay focused on the end of their noses.
    And to be transparent, although I believe in the essence of the notions I have expressed in this comment, the manner in which I have presented them is indeed condescending, contrived and strategic.

  2. David Norman says:

    @John Thompson
    In what manner does your most recent comment “answer” my question? You provide no criteria for explanation other than your own unsubstantiated musing that renewable energy is “much safer”. I put forward that you simply do not know this to be the case, have developed a predilection for the unsustainable “green” ruse of IWTs and as such are unwilling/incapable of engaging in dialogue.

  3. John Thompson says:

    To answer the question below, I see all of the renewables are as being much safer and we would need the whole suppy mix including new transmission lines for importing hydro power from Quebec.

  4. David Norman says:

    @PEter
    I find your perspective refreshing considering the more commonly encountered “lumpenproletariat” thrust of politicians and their allies (constituencies and stakeholders)in regards to energy policy. Many years ago I recognized inconsistencies in policy and implementation of energy strategies but at that time was unable to determine any source or logic for this. My Environmental Studies graduate school advisor then suggested I study the Energy Security Policy put forward by CSIS. I was startled by the discovery of the significance of this to the CSIS mandate. From this I began to understand how energy policy was actually controlled and adopted, and the role that “Corporate” entities like NERC play in determination. Perhaps “knowledge is power”, or more appropriately “power is knowledge”, in both the literal and figurative sense.

  5. David Norman says:

    @ John Thompson
    Since IWT production and adoption, as touted by the ‘County Sustainability Group’ to which you belong, produces much radioactive waste in the form of Thorium, what “safer” alternatives are you proposing?

  6. Chris Keen says:

    News from Germany courtesy of the “Financial Post”:

    “Subsidies, or so-called feed-in tariffs, through which operators of solar panels receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate, made Germany the world’s largest solar market and had created 150,000 jobs by 2010.

    But over the past two years, Germany has sharply reduced the tariffs, and a recent proposal to limit subsidies for new solar installations may seal the industry’s fate.”

    http://business.financialpost.com/2011/12/14/german-solar-firms-go-from-boom-to-bust/

  7. John Thompson says:

    With 24 billion for a nuclear waste storage, 10 billion for Darlington repairs and 26 billion for new reactors at Darlington, how would this movie end? Safer alternatives could be more economical as well.

  8. PEter says:

    @Mark
    Now we’re talking! When it comes to energy, the words ‘money’ and ‘energy’ can be used interchangeably. It’s called a petroleum economy for a reason!

    @Chris Keen
    You make some fantastic points, however; I disagree with you when you say there is no green energy “plan”. There is one, it’s just not McGuinty’s plan. It’s a North American energy “plan” posited upon the people of Canada (Ontario) via the USA backed and controlled North American Reliability Corporation.

    Proposed standards are reviewed and approved by the NERC Board of Trustees, which then submits the standards to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Canadian provincial regulators for approval. Once approved by these governmental agencies, the standards become legally binding on all owners, operators and users of the bulk power system.
    Source: http://www.nerc.com

    June 1, 1968 – National Electric Reliability Council (NERC) was established by the electric utility industry, in response to the 1965 blackout. Nine regional reliability organizations were formalized under NERC. Also formalized were regional planning coordination guides, which NERC maintained. NAPSIC operations criteria and guides continued to be maintained and practiced voluntarily.

    May 1, 2002 – NERC operating policies and planning standards became mandatory and enforceable in Ontario.
    Source: http://www.nerc.com

    I would submit that the province of Ontario most probably agreed to energy generation commitments both in 2002 and more recently (both green and traditional) vis-a-vis NERC and its binding decision making process. Remember, in 2002, we were all still suffering tremendous shock regarding the events of 9/11. Ontario, I believe, was particularly vulnerable to American influence on energy generation and security at the time. This probably led to, in effect, handing over our sovereign rights related to energy generation and security in Ontario.

    I think we need to be asking our elected representatives what energy commitments they secretly brokered on behalf of the people of Ontario during 2002 and up to present day. Interestingly enough, as I recall, the green energy buzz started to take hold around the same time – coincidence or planned? I would suggest ‘planned’. Seems to me, NERC understood early on that many ‘green energy’ projects would have to come online in order for North America to meet its current and future energy demands.

    Perhaps this helps to explain why many of us are so puzzled with McGuinty and his inability to make sound political decisions with regard to the energy file. Maybe he can’t!

  9. yehudi zeno says:

    http://media.cns-snc.ca/ontarioelectricity/ontarioelectricity.html

    50% of Ontario’s electricity is produced by nuclear facilities.

    I read this weekend that one plan to deal with current nuclear waste by burying it near Lake Huron will cost 24 billion dollars.

    I also read the Toyoto factories in Japan close on Thursdays and Fridays and produce cars Sat. through Wed. due to electricity restrictions.

  10. Chris Keen says:

    And this from Rex Murphy:

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/12/10/rex-murphy-for-dalton-mcguinty-its-too-easy-being-a-greenie/

    “The Ontario government, and Premier McGuinty in particular, gave themselves over to this madness, becoming overzealous crusaders, because the cause was green. And, sadly, there seems to be no other area of public policy in which fitful enthusiasms, pie-in-the-sky thinking, under-researched proposals and the mere hint of possible benefit get so respectful a response and are shielded — almost as if by magic — from the criticisms and analysis that would greet proposals from any other policy area whatsoever. Call it green and every other consideration goes out the window.”

    And … the Post editorial to which he refers:

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/12/07/national-post-editorial-board-mcguintys-green-energy-disaster/

    “If the same reckless approach were taken with shareholders’ [i.e.taxpayers]money in a private company, securities regulators would almost surely recommend charges be laid against those behind such a scheme.”

  11. Chris Keen says:

    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/12/09/we-pay-for-mcguintys-green-blunders

    Here’s a brief synopsis from an Editorial on the “Toronto Sun” website, posted last night, entitled: “We pay for McGuinty’s green blunders”.

  12. Doris Lane says:

    IWT’s are all about GREED not Green
    Big oil companies are driving wind energy
    Water power is the cheapest–wht not stick with it
    Let’s pay attention to the auditor general

  13. Mark says:

    If you really want to know why energy rates will double and why Idustrial Wind Turbines would even be suggested for such an environmentally sensitive area as Prince Edward just follow the money trail. It’s all about $$$$$.The ones who support it here are the one’s that think they can grab a fast buck.Drive around the County and look at the support wind energy signs while in the backyard sits an outdoor wood furnace spewing CO’s. Yeah they are really green! Follow the $$$$ trail as it almost always reveals the truth.

  14. PEter says:

    It’s time to focus on the macro issues surrounding the energy debate in Ontario. I understand our NIMBY obsession. I understand the impact on wildlife. I understand the impact on the natural landscape of the County. I live here, too! In my opinion, to continue beat the proverbial micro-issue drum is a waste of time. Look where it’s got us to date. The industrial wind turbines are coming regardless of how loud we scream. We need to dig in to find out the ‘why’. Simply put, are the macro issues shaping the direction of energy generation in Ontario? If so, is there really anything County residents can do to change it?

    Since the events of 911 and the blackout of 2003, the US has become ultra obsessed with energy availability, reliability and security. In addition, the peak oil issue has further served to intensify the debate. And because Ontario’s energy system is so heavily integrated with the North American grid, there is a price to pay. Energy decisions we used to make independent of America must now be made with consideration to compliance standards set out by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). Ontario is directly tied and committed to NERC through our Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).

    Okay, so what does all this mean?

    We need to immediately begin a process whereby we call on Mr. Kramp, Mr. McGuinty and the current federal and provincial Minister’s of Energy to explain whether or not Ontarians have unwillingly/unknowingly given up sovereign rights related to energy generation via our commitments to NERC. In other words, is NERC policy and our commitment to them dictating Ontario’s energy direction? Let’s shame them into having to come clean. Let’s shine a light where it’s dark!

    Check out:

    http://www.nerc.com
    http://ieso.ca

  15. David Norman says:

    @ Chris
    Speaking of speculation and ‘EA Its in the Games’ query, “If wind energy was so damned important, how come there isn’t a wind factory planned for Toronto Island?”, I’ve come up with an interesting idea. I’ve always considered that the Leslie Street Spit, created from dumping hundreds of thousands of tons of toxicant bearing construction waste into the lake, would be a great place for a Industrial Wind Turbine development. Back in the early 1970’s it was designed and planned to be used as an airport until the powers to be realized that they would have to reckon with the then omnipotent nimby power of the Beaches constituency. And they could literally ‘kill two birds with one stone’. That is, instead of employing folk to scour the spit for the nesting sites of now perceived pesky Gulls, Cormorants and Canada Geese, and coat with oil (smothering to death), tens of thousands of the eggs of their developing chicks, they could just let the IWTs kill them off. Even the Liberals should see this as a win-win in this time of fiscal restraint.

  16. EA It's in the Game says:

    Two seats?

    Try six. All five in Mississauga and one in Oakville. All have federal Tories.

    Huge cynical vote grab right there. If wind energy was so damned important, how come there isn’t a wind factory planned for Toronto Island?

  17. Chris Keen says:

    I would suggest that the Auditor General’s job is to deal with facts not speculation.

    Yes, there will be reduced health costs when power comes from renewables – $1 or $10 million – who knows? Any number is idle speculation similar to McGuinty’s tiresome mantra of 50,000 new jobs for Ontario. The AG has pointed out this is nonsense as most of these are temporary.

    As to cost comparisons: my recollection is that a perfectly good well-on-its-way-to-being-completed gas powered generation plant was shut down by McGuinty to save a seat in the last election in the GTA. A second one was axed before a shovel hit the ground. At what cost? We don’t know because he won’t say. Cynical vote grab? You bet – two seats saved.

    This is a prime example,and there are lots more, of the bankruptcy of McGuinty’s green energy “plan”. There is no plan – it’s made up as it goes along, in back rooms, far from public scrutiny. No wonder there is such cynicism on the part of many of us as he spends hundreds of millions of OUR tax dollars and tries to hide where they go.

    The Auditor General has shone some light in some very dark corners and what he’s found is not pretty.

  18. John Thompson says:

    I suggest that the auditor general should have had a broader vision and factored in the reduced health costs and risks that result when our power comes from renewables.

    It also would have been best to compare the cost of each of the renewable sources with the cost of newly built competing forms of generation going forward.

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