For years, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has been pushing “green” energy alternatives. Only now are we learning how expensive the Premier’s green dreams have become.
On Tuesday, the government’s own Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress (TFC) released a study of Mr. McGuinty’s Green Energy Act. It shows that the Ontario Liberals have grossly underestimated the Act’s cost to electricity consumers and overestimated the net number of new jobs created by the hoped-for switch from carbon energy to wind, solar, hydro and biofuel.
While the switch to green energy may produce 50,000 new jobs, the higher energy prices the Act will provoke could kill that many (or more) jobs in existing energy-intensive industries such as manufacturing and agriculture. The TFC also noted an analysis by London Economics International, a global consultancy that estimates the Act’s cost at between $247 and $631 in higher electric bills per household per year.
The Liberals last week moved to offset some of the higher costs by announcing a 10% rebate on hydro bills. But as the TFC report this week points out, that savings will be quickly gobbled up by bills that will rise between 6.7% and 8.0% every year for at least the next five years.
The reason for all these higher costs is the fact that markets for green energy simply do not exist if governments don’t force them into being. If governments, such as Ontario’s, don’t overcharge for carbon energy and use the excess to subsidize alternate energies heavily, green energy makes no economic sense. And no amount of good intention or government wishing can make it otherwise.