Ontario opposition would seek green energy changes

By Nicole Mordant Reuters

Ontario’s opposition Progressive Conservative Party would overhaul the province’s feed-in tariff program for producers of renewable energy if it wins the October provincial election because it is too expensive, a party leader said on Wednesday.

The Conservatives, who have a double-digit lead over the governing Liberal Party in opinion polls, would also comb through existing contracts handed out under the incentive plan to see if changes can be made, said John Yakabuski, who is in line to take over as energy minister if his party takes power.

“Going forward, absolutely, we would not be signing these contracts,” Yakabuski said.

“We are not going tear up contracts, but I can tell you we are going to look at each and every one of those contracts to see what options we have,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, has attracted billions of dollars in investment from foreign and domestic producers of renewable energy since it launched North America’s richest and comprehensive feed-in tariff program late in 2009.

The program, which is aimed at creating jobs and eliminating coal-fired power plants to cut greenhouse gases, pays above-market rates under 20 year contracts to solar, wind, water and biomass power producers who meet certain criteria.

Ratepayers, who bear the costs of the program, have started to complain as their monthly power bills have risen.

“The problem is that the consumer pays and that is the tremendous, terrible wrong of their program,” Yakabuski said.

He said the Conservatives were in favor of closing down coal-fired power stations and encouraging the development of renewable energy, but contracts for new power had to be awarded through a competitive bidding process.

The Conservatives have not yet issued their official energy policy but will do so well before the Oct. 6 election, he said.

The biggest investor in the Ontario green energy program to date is a consortium led by South Korea‘s Samsung C&T (000830.KS), which was awarded a C$7 billion ($7.01 billion) contract a year ago to build wind and solar projects and set up manufacturing plants.

Other foreign investors include Germany‘s Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE), which plans to build a wind turbine plant in the province, Bosch Solar Energy AG (BSLRF.PK) and Japan’s Marubeni Corp (8002.T).

“I think the posture of the Conservatives is slowing some investment,” said Michael Carten, chief executive of Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd (STG.V), which has partnered with Bosch to build solar modules and inverters.

“I am sure that some of the big players are saying ‘I have to see some continuity on this, let’s see what will happen after the fall’,” he said.

9 thoughts on “Ontario opposition would seek green energy changes

  1. About time….some common sense, the wind industry is ripping off the taxpayer of Ontario and the potential to harm rural residents is being overlooked by the greedy multinational corporations. Why don’t they place these turbines on some landmarks such as Queens Park or the CN tower or better yet a nice 500 meter turbine in Dalton’s backyard.

  2. First: ” The program, which is aimed at creating jobs and eliminating coal-fired power plants to cut greenhouse gases, pays above-market rates under 20 year contracts to solar, wind, water and biomass power producers who meet certain criteria.”

    Industrial green energy has NOTHING to do with mitigating coal generation or CREATING JOBS!

    It never has and never will!

    Second: I’ll believe the PC rhetoric when and only when I see it implemented in a meaningful way!

    I fear we are simply looking at a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Industry will not easily or quietly say “goodbye” to this insane, unsustainable and downright CRIMINAL green energy subsidy gravy train!

    As we all have learned the hard way; governments STOP listening to the people and START listening to industry the DAY AFTER the election is over!

    If any thing MUST change, that is most certainly IT!

    B.B.W.

  3. This is the worst energy investment this Province has ever made, and when times are this tough, there isn’t money to slosh about on unproductive projects. Thank you Conservatives for finally making the voice of consumers heard!

  4. TO THE PC’s:

    SCRAP the GEA….SCRAP the FIT Program………………now that’s the ticket!……….stop all the BS rhetoric about “we wouldn’t sign this”…and ….”we wouldn’t do that”……………have some guts and say what needs to take place!

  5. Johana:

    The “IT” alludes to a return to democracy in the real sense of the word.
    (See paragraph previous to the statement)

    As to how we get there… One would hope complete decimation of the Liberals
    as a political force in Ontario at the polls this fall but history has shown us only one path…

    Unfortunately, it involves blood, sweat and tears! A lot of blood, sweat and tears!

    Freedom isn’t free. ESPECIALLY freedom from TYRANNY!

    B.B.W.

  6. If ANYONE is really interested in seeing exactly how far we’ve gone down the road to a dictatorship and how absolutely “tyrannical” this country has become and actually have the courage to watch this then go here: (and everyone thinks the GEA is anti-democratic!)

    Bill C36 takes us back to Medieval Days!

  7. BBW is right. Where’s the moratorium? Where’s the compensation for those already affected? Maybe we should be running a bunch of Windependents in the next election.

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