Does Dalton McGuinty have a power plan?: Editorial

Toronto Sun

John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Co., could have had Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty in mind when he noted the following in his new book, Why We Hate the Oil Companies.

He said whatever the failings of oil executives — and there are many — the problem with politicians is they spend too much time promising energy will be green and sustainable, while ignoring it has to be affordable and available.

While Hofmeister supports developing “green” energy like wind and solar power, he also points out its practical problem. It’s such a small component of the energy grid, even if governments quadruple it, it will still provide a mere fraction of our energy needs for the foreseeable future.

To say nothing of requiring huge, 20-year public subsidies, meaning higher electricity prices, without which renewable energy isn’t viable.

Indeed, the Ontario government is already cutting back the subsidy it initially offered for small, ground-based solar panels because of the huge costs involved.

This brings us to McGuinty’s main energy policy which, so far, seems to be to indefinitely delay the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Darlington Station.

The problem is, in the absence of any clear alternative being proposed by his government, this isn’t a policy. It’s a non-policy.

Particularly if McGuinty is going to make good on his 2003 election promise to close Ontario’s coal-fired electricity stations, which was supposed to have been completed in 2007.

All that’s preventing Ontario from suffering a serious energy shortage today is the province is still struggling to emerge from a recession in which its manufacturing sector was gutted, one reason being high electricity prices.

We’re also looking down the barrel at another problem utilities across North America face — an aging electricity transmission system nearing the end of its lifespan. Without a viable system, you can’t get power to where you need it.

Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid says in tough economic times, the province has to strike a balance between upgrading transmission lines and pushing already rising electricity prices into the stratosphere.

But without a modern transmission system, you can’t make renewable energy work.

McGunity inherited many of these problems, including debts we’re still paying off from Ontario’s original nuclear fleet.

But if he’s really saying Ontario’s future isn’t nuclear power — the workhorse of our system which provides over 50% of our electricity — what is he saying? You can’t build new reactors overnight — it takes at least a decade.

While last week’s power failure affecting 240,000 homes during a heat wave, following a fire at an Etobicoke transformer station, wasn’t a supply issue, it provides a glimpse of our potential energy future if we don’t make the right decisions today.

So what is McGuinty’s energy plan and how is he, meaning how are we, going to pay for it?

19 thoughts on “Does Dalton McGuinty have a power plan?: Editorial

  1. Dalton doesn’t want anyone in Ontario to have inexpensive energy…He is doing everything he can to spend ridiculous amounts of money (currently over $20 Billion) to provide alternative solutions that will only force energy costs to skyrocket…This is his goal…No additional energy but increase the costs of energy substantially…After all, isn’t that what conservation is all about..Make it less affordable under the guise of FAKE Green Energy…

  2. Exactly, Randy

    McGuinty and his gaggle of social engineers want electricity to be as high as possible. They admit it. You see, then we would all be forced to use less and magically “save the planet”.

    The poor and the elderly are simply collatoral damage. The Gang Green are on a mission, don’t you know.

    Of course WHO gets all the extra money in the end has all been thought out ahead of time. e.g. wind developers, eco-fee recipients, and the gang of social engineers themselves!

  3. C’mon guys, I realize you’re against the Mcguinty government’s Green Energy Act and aspects of how he and the government are going about it – and I sympathize to a degree, of you’ve been reading my blog – but quoting Rex Murphy verbatim in the Nat’l Post – both well known climate change deniers – is a bit much isn’t it? Doesnt seem that “progressive” to me.

    (Not to mention quoting the entire editorial verbatim is probably in violation of the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act, but thats another story)

  4. The gist of Rex Murphy’s article has nothing to do with AGW. It has to do with how a manditory fee is suddenly not a tax if you put the word eco in front of it. Where is the accountability to where this money is going? How is the consumer even know what they must pay before they go up to the cash register? Who gave the authority to these people to even set what these fees should be? There is lots wrong with this program and just because it is colored “green” does not make it exempt from scrutiny.

    Anyone who even uses the term “Denier” has just lost rational, scientific credibility in my eyes. Perhaps the medieval term “heretic” would be better. Science is not science if debate is discouraged and smothered.

    You’re right about the copyright. Many newspapers have no problem with posting it here because it sends people back over to them. Be assured, if they have a problem with it, I immediately take it down.

    P.S. Keep up the good work on exposing the G20 violations of human rights. Bang on! We need a public inquiry.

  5. I guess Scott is angry that Rex Murphy was referenced instead of his own Liberal / progressive blog ?

  6. I don’t consider myself left or right. It is a stupid black and white illusion that distracts from the issues.

    I try to choose my stance on each individual issue because neither the right or the left have the ultimate answers…not by a long shot!

    When it all boils down to it, all political parties have their own self interest at heart, not yours.

    Being too afraid to read the other side’s point of view leads to extremism and irrational thought.

  7. Not at all Randy; The folks here can refer to anyone they want; I’m not vain enough to try and get traffic to my site by gratuitously referring to it. I just brought it up so I automatically didn’t get labelled as a Mcguinty supporter or a Liberal Party Member of Ontario (which I’m not).

    As for Rex, I referred to my dubiousness of quoting him as a source, because he’s well known to be a climate change sceptic, and will take every opportunity he can to go after “Green” initiatives, whether its warranted or not. The same goes for Lorrie Goldstein of the SunMedia group.

  8. Perhaps we need more journalists to call a spade a spade. Goodness knows, most of the press is afraid to touch these subjects with a 10 foot pole. Is that healthy thinking?

  9. As far as I can determine – life is all about balance. Nature is all about balance, Knowledge is all about balance, debate and respect are all about balance – even grape growing and winemaking (my particular fields of endeavour) are pretty much all about balance.

    Without the Lorrie Goldsteins and Rex Murphy’s of this world – there would be absolutely no chance for balance in this debate.

    If it were left up to the Toronto Star, the Globe, CBC or the bought and paid for spokespeople of the environmental evangelist movement, such as David Suzuki, Al Gore and the rest – there would be no such thing as balance.

    I don’t begrudge them their religion but our government has no place forcing this particular brand of salvation on the rest of the population, any more than it does other radical, evangelical doctrines.

    (and I agree with MA – the term deniers removes this debate from the scientific realm and immediately turns this into a religious argument. Science is all about openly and constantly challenging every truth – otherwise we never even get a glimpse of it)

  10. There are a lot of varied opinions and articles. No one has to agree with every one put forth, but this blog is great for learning, and coming up with interesting perspectives.
    The site has grown since it began, but so has more legislation and more debate about the status of our environments.
    Sharing information creates an enriched knowledge base. Yay for blogging and learning together!!!! 🙂

  11. Demand on July 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm is 18,361 MW, Power production is 19,106 MW of which wind is producing 87 MW. Forecast for peak demand to go to 19,674 MW at 6 pm and no one knows what wind will contribute. Industrial wind is an expensive and useless waste of time regardless of any perception of green power produced. Spending our money should be for something that will have a better chance of working.

  12. Just wanted to add a ditto of johana above: thanks a million MA!!!

  13. Yes MA, if you are ever up in our neck of the woods, there is a steak on the barbeque with your name on it.

  14. Ditto MA….. we will throw in a Lobster Tail too… just kidding… we are all very proud of you for the work you do, your knowledge and your patience. I know you cover all the other sites as well and when a letter is needed …. you give em what for!
    Thanks, Mel

  15. Scott Tribe, there is no IPSP – aka , a plan – and that is specifically in order for politicians to do whatever they want without the burden of expert advice or intelligent thought.
    Or maybe you have a better explanation of why there is neither an IPSP, nor any talk about ever having a long term plan.
    Murphy and Goldstein may be on the evil deniers team – or that might just be more deflection from the self-righteous reverse Robin Hood squad
    There is no plan
    That is a fact

  16. Aw, thanks guys. Just came back from Erieau for supper at Molly and OJs. I highly recommend it.

  17. The Liberals must have lost the IPSP produced by OPA in 2007 and endorsed by the OEB

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