Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ontario back-pedalling on renewables

Hot on the heels of its recent announcement of the subsidization of the electricity industry and it's commitment throwing good money after bad by refurbishing its expensive ageing nuclear plants (as detailed in a previous post), Ontario takes another step backwards with the shock news today of the cancellation of the latest round of green power projects.
Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault justifies the move on the grounds that the electrical system operator has told him it does not need any additional generating capacity. Which, as far as it goes, may be true, but if they then go ahead and spend billions of dollars refurbishing its ageing nuclear plants instead of investing in clean, renewable energy from wind and solar, then how can we be said to be going in the right direction on energy policy. And for a province that talks big on climate change, shouldn't we be phasing out carbon-intensive gas plants and replacing them with carbon-free renewable generating capacity?
Like the province's move to subsidize electricity prices (which I have already lambasted in a recent post), this looks for all the world like another vote-grabbing exercise on the part of the Liberals (e.g. pandering to those rural residents who oppose wind farms in their back yard).
The local solar and wind energy industries, who were just starting to make a significant impact in terms of local employment and exports, are in shock over the announcement. Many Canadian green power producers have already shifted development plans from Ontario to provinces like Alberta that are in the process of moving away from coal-fired electricity production. Another development opportunity squandered.
I have now officially lost all remaining faith in the Liberal Party of Ontario.

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