Ontario quietly reverses field on wind, solar energy

by , National Post

Times of international turmoil are great moments for domestic governments to make important announcements they don’t want to be noticed. Especially if the announcement involves a sudden reversal in policy that could seriously embarrass the government.

So Friday afternoon was an ideal time for Ontario’s Liberal government to take a big chunk of its alternative energy program and chuck it overboard. Attention was riveted on Egypt, where spectacular events were unfolding.  The perfect opportunity for Premier Dalton McGuinty to engineer yet another major reversal, while paying a minimal price among voters.

After years of touting wind projects as a critical piece of the alternative energy puzzle, the government let slip — very quietly — that offshore wind projects are no longer part of the game plan. Turns out there just isn’t enough scientific evidence that offshore wind projects do a lick of good, said Brad Duguid, the energy minister.

“It’s simply a case of recognizing we need to take a closer look at the science on freshwater offshore wind projects,” said Duguid. “Right now there’s only one in the world we’re aware of, in Sweden. There’s a number of issues that need to be looked at before anything could ever be considered for approval.”

Gee, now wouldn’t you think the government would have checked out the science before insisting wind power was the way of the future? Evidently not. The McGuinty people have been pushing ahead vigorously on the wind front ever since they concluded they could squeeze more votes from trendy enviro-enthusiasts, who are in favour of anything that sounds remotely Greenish, whether it makes sense or not.

They’ve been running into a spot of bother, though, as rural residents grow increasingly agitated at the monster wind towers being slapped up wherever the government sees fit to put them. Turns out the government may have been a bit rash in dismissing complaints that the low-level noise from the turbines can cause health problems. A court challenge launched late in January claims that the 550-metre minimum setback is far too close for comfort, and argues the government didn’t do adequate homework into the potential health hazards when it declared the towers to be free of any danger.

Added to McGuinty’s problems with wind are similar signs of trouble on the solar front. After strongly encouraging individual solar projects, and offering outrageously generous pricing on solar-generated power, the province unexpectedly announced last summer it was slashing the rate it would pay  on some projects.  On Friday, hundreds more Ontarians were told that installations they’d erected at the behest of the government can’t be connected to the provincial grid because of technical problems. Rural residents, some of whom have invested large amounts in solar generating operations, will be left high and dry. The Toronto Star reports:

“I’ve got $70,000 sitting right out in my backyard,” said Brian Wilson, who lives near Belleville, of his 10-kilowatt solar array. “I can go two doors down and they’ve got $70,000 invested, too.”

But they’ve both been told that they can’t connect to the electrical grid because of technical issues.

“It’s a mess,” says Kim Doherty of Farmed Energy Inc., who supplies solar equipment. He started getting calls from clients this week, saying they’d been told no connections are available for their projects.

One of his clients, a father-and-son team near Strathroy, made a $170,000 down payment on solar equipment, and built four concrete support platforms at a cost of $20,000 each, Doherty said

Angering rural voters, and battering your credibility with the environmental crowd,  aren’t great ideas if you run a government that faces an election in eight months. So it’s no wonder that Ontario’s Liberals sought to hide the bad news by releasing it when (they hoped) no one was watching. But the excitement in Egypt won’t last forever, and eventually people will notice that Ontario’s government, once again, has been forced into a humiliating retreat at considerable trouble and cost to individual Ontarians.

National Post

17 thoughts on “Ontario quietly reverses field on wind, solar energy

  1. Ontarians “HAVE NOTICED” this man’s attempt to “bankrupt” Ontario……….it’s written every month in what is called a Hydro Bill!

  2. This is turning into a debacle. Aside from Egypt, looks like the offshore wind announcement was just cover for the big news: cancellation letters sent to the solar MicroFIT contractors.

    In one Friday afternoon, McGuinty has

    1. Alienated urban green voters.
    2, Re-energized the rural opposition, (who have got more free publicity in one day than all year).
    3. Angered solar supporters who, having invested big dollars (and might have been inclined to protect that investment by voting Liberal), just saw their money blow away.

    All in all, a great day.

  3. Government to take a big chunk of its alternative energy program and chuck it overboard. Great idea! A good way to fix a bad idea.
    Better a few investors money blowing away rather than the whole COUNTRY!
    Quote: Turns out there just isn’t enough scientific evidence that offshore wind projects do a lick of good, said Brad Duguid, the energy minister.
    How long do you think it will take them to figure out the wind projects on land don’t do a lick of good either.

    Quote: “I’ve got $70,000 sitting right out in my backyard,” said Brian Wilson, who lives near Belleville, of his 10-kilowatt solar array. “I can go two doors down and they’ve got $70,000 invested, too.”

    But they’ve both been told that they can’t connect to the electrical grid because of technical issues.
    How long before the Government tells the wind developers the same thing. The more crap on the grid the more crap your going to see. At least the Govt. has enough sense to stop before it collapses. Maybe the solar investors can hook up their local neighbors direct. This would cut the Govt. and the utility companies out and relieve their neighbors from the hydro bills and taxes.

  4. This government has filed to protect the health of its citizens from Industrial Wind Turbines and it it no surprise it can’t honour its contracts made for solar.

  5. I’m constantly incredulous at how easy fools are parted from their money!

    If you are intelligent enough to be able to afford ten’s or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on solar panels, one would assume that you are intelligent enough to first do a small bit of research to see if you can actually use them or not!

    I have no sympathy for these poor greedy bastards!

    Looks good on them!

    And the dominoes start to fall…

    B.B.W.

  6. I would think before one spent $70,000 one would have made sure you had a connection agreement first. Finally the liberals are realizing that Smitherman’s brain fart was impossible without crashing the grid, the twit.

  7. I don’t imagine this will do much for the solar industry in Ontario. Who is going to invest all this money in solar panels if there is a chance that they will not be able to hook up to the grid?

    Are these people now able to sue to recoup their losses?

  8. And since people keep missing my “resort” reference…

    ******************
    http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2011/02/12/mubaraks-resort-retreat-is-a-world-apart-for-many-egyptians/

    “In reportedly fleeing to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has landed in a world apart from most of his countrymen.

    While 40 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people exist on less than $2 a day, Sharm el-Sheikh’s existence is anchored in five-star hotels for international tourists, lush golf courses, casinos and shopping.”

    Sharm el-Sheikh was once a quiet fishing village on Sinai’s southern tip, but now rivals Egypt’s pyramids as a tourist destination. Sharm el-Sheikh and the rest of the Sinai were handed over to Egypt by Israel as part of the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries concluded by Mr. Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar Sadat.

    ******************

    It sounds good but it is a USELESS existence — very frustrating for ex-movers and shakers…

    ..and it’s probably still full of Israeli bugs… or we can hope. 🙂

  9. David,
    I did get your ‘resort’ meaning.
    I thought of Dalton McGuinty as I was cleaning our boy’s
    bathroom this morning, as I was cleaning the toilet and
    using tweezers to pull the hair and scum out of the sink
    drain. No, I don’t have a cleaning lady. We have to pay
    Ontario Hydro every month and have had to rethink our
    retirement plan.
    As I commented in another post, he deserves to
    answer to his crimes and be committed to a prison
    where he will get some mental help. I don’t even think
    he knows how many lives he has affected with his
    ambition, or if he does, he doesn’t give a d—.
    That, in itself, is grounds for some serious assessment.

  10. Duguid appears to be talking about the technology science and not the environmental science. The technological science to produce power for the grid will never exist to support the operation of IWTs.
    As for the solar: For someone to sink 70,000 plus into solar with the hopes of making money didn’t do the math. The thought of pay back in 7 to 10 years has been quoted, but when the real math using real production values for the northern hemisphere it is more likely 15 to 20 years if they are lucky with no further expenses. By then efficiency ratings fall down enough to question replacement. Corrosion and breakage of connections and solar panels are most likely. The added problem of not being connected or being disconnected is all part of doing business. Hard to feel sorry for someone too greedy to care about who pays.

  11. Lynne, the MicroFIT program is now dead as a result of these letters. Who is going to spend anything?

    I have a neighbour who has just about completed his solar installation. $70000 blown. I know he cannot afford this. All he has to fall back on is his turbine lease, and we are damned if that will happen. I know several other local farmers, who even when hooked to the grid, cannot get paid by Hydro One because ” they have no billing procedure in place to address FIT generation”. I kid you not.

    Look, the point is that many of the microFIT proponents are farmers, who were ‘obliged’ to vote for Liberals in order to ‘maintain’ their investment. Why on earth would the Liberals piss them off prior to an election? These guys know how to block highways, stir up trouble, make noise. This is a recipe for disaster.

    If I were Hudak, I’d be promising to honour these contracts asap, lol.

    So in one announcement, McGuinty has managed to demonstrate his lack of scientific credentials, upset green voters, anger farmers, re-energize anti-turbine NIMBYs, and gift Hanna, Kent Breeze, and Ed Gillespie with real credibility.

    I can tell you that my own liberal MPP, a long time friend and neighbour, is reaching the limit of his own loyalty. All it will take is one Liberal MPP to stand up, and McGuinty, Dugiud, and the Green Energy Act are toast.

  12. All I can say is “Thank you Lord” for Feb. 11th. There is freedom on one side of the earth and here at home an inflation of frustration that had been building for a long time. “This is the day that the Lord has made…let us rejoice and be glad in it!!!!”

  13. John, I hope that Liberal MPPs will do some soul-searching and a few courageous souls will stand up for their friends, neighbours and fellow citizens.

  14. John,
    Your poor neighbour who has blew 70,000.00
    and has only his turbine lease to fall back on.
    Boo, hoo. He has only himself to blame.
    I do not have any sympathy. It just sucks to
    be that stupid and greedy. ‘If it sounds too
    good to be true, it probably is’. I do not care
    to spend or donate any more of my hard
    earned money to people who have been part
    of the problem.

  15. I can personally tell you about a local man who installed $40,000 worth of Solar Panels on his building and when I said to him that he should realize that he is contributing to higher Hydro Bills for his fellow neighbours his reply was: “I don’t care, they can also do the same thing I can if they have enough money and if they don’t, too F___ing Bad!”

    So there you have it……..this is the type of individual who is very likely to be an investor in the Green energy FIT Scam…………….do not have any sympathy at all for heartless people like this!…….they should be “shunned within the community” because they aren’t really part of that community.

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