Editorial: Clean electricity’s dirty secret

“We intend to make Ontario’s bizarre electricity-pricing policies a major issue in this fall’s election.”

Toronto Sun

TORONTO – The dirty little secret of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s “clean” electricity is that it’s gouging Ontario consumers coming and going.

First, we’re paying inflated prices for expensive and inefficient wind energy, one reason we’re facing an estimated 45% hike on our electricity bills over the next five years.

Second, because under the contracts the Liberal government signed with wind developers we have to use wind energy even if we don’t need it, consumers are also subsidizing the sale of cheap, surplus electricity to the U.S. and Quebec.

This electricity is so cheap the price often falls below zero-cents-per-kWh, meaning we literally have to pay other jurisdictions to take the surplus off our hands.

And yet as Ontario residential hydro customers, we can’t access this cheap electricity for ourselves.

As the Sun reported Tuesday, on Earth Day (Good Friday, April 22) Ontario hydro customers once again had to pay to export our surplus electricity to other jurisdictions, as we did on New Year’s Day.

In fact, this has already occurred more than two dozen times this year — usually for an hour or two at a time — costing Ontario electricity customers millions of dollars.

In fairness, at times we benefit from cheap, surplus electricity available in other jurisdictions.

But the concern is that with 5,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity coming online in Ontario by 2013, we could soon be faced with having to sell surplus electricity at a loss as often as one day in seven.

These surpluses, combined with the fact Ontario has to pay for wind energy first, create absurd situations in which we forgo using cheap, clean, reliable, hydro power, in order to pay for expensive, unreliable wind power, which we then sell at a loss.

Ironically, because wind power can’t deliver electricity on demand — since the wind doesn’t always blow — it has to be backed up, often by fossil fuel energy such as natural gas, which emits the greenhouse gases linked to climate change wind energy is supposed to reduce.

We intend to make Ontario’s bizarre electricity-pricing policies a major issue in this fall’s election.

But beyond bashing the Liberals for bungling the file, the Tories and NDP must explain how they plan to help consumers already struggling with high electricity bills.

6 thoughts on “Editorial: Clean electricity’s dirty secret

  1. More green jobs myth-busting at the National Post:

    “Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every job created,” write Kenneth P. Green and Ben Eisen in their paper for the Winnipeg-based think-tank, Frontier Centre, “while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create five new jobs in the general economy.”

    “far from generating a new source of economic growth, job creation and government revenue, Spain has found its foray into renewable energy to be unsustainable.”

    Italy and Germany, if anything, fare worse. “As with Spain, corruption runs rampant through the renewable-energy sector,” write Green-Eisen.


  2. LOVE IT! As predicted, exponential angst will win the day! Yes Oh Canada , We DO stand on guard for THEE. We always have stood on guard for THEE and we always will stand on guard for THEE.

    I think I will go across the road to the little grave yard that the original pioneers who settled our farm in 1837 were laid to rest, Duncan and Angus Gilchrist and their families. I will toast them and tell them to rest in peace…the land they worked so hard for and loved so dearly will not be defiled by a false industrial ideology.

  3. posted this on Facebook, 2 friends re-posted it on theirs. Let’s get the word out

  4. Cap and Trade ,
    The concept of carbon trading originated with how to deal with a problem known as acid rain and smog caused by the burning of coal in power stations.
    A Carbon Trading System was favoured , CTS rather than regulate individual power stations that could have put constraints on level of emissions.
    It was seen as being effective dealing with the problem of acid rain and is now been adopted to deal with global warming.
    Carbon does not mean emitting carbon as in carbon monoxide pollution from automobiles, factories and coal or oil fired power stations. It mainly involves restrictions on emitting carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas), which is a gas required for the existence of all life on earth but in higher levels some scientists link to warming of planet earth. The idea of trading in carbon is that individual countries set up a market for carbon thereby requiring emitters (business and industry) to purchase carbon permits for the right to emit greenhouse gases. Targets for lowering greenhouse gas emissions are set by government and all emitters, originally industrial, which are then usually required by law to use cleaner technologies as part of lowering their emissions.There are a number of countries with CTS regulations in place. The largest of all carbon schemes is the one operated since 2005 by the European Union (EU). The United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand , Portugal , Spain , and some US states in the United States also have schemes in place.

    Carbon trading is not the only real option , the alternative that is often considered is a carbon tax. By putting a price on carbon governments are supposedly putting a cap or restriction on level of carbon emissions in the atmosphere.

    But there is a fundamental difference in how both concepts work.
    In the case of a carbon tax, a fixed charge is applied to each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. The idea is this allows the market to decide the appropriate level of emissions and the appropriate cost. In the case of carbon trading, it applies a fixed level of emissions and then leaves the market to decide the level of cost needed to meet this constraint. Carbon trading schemes have they been costly in terms of weakening economies and destroying jobs. Keep in mind each country’s economy is different. Canada’s economy cannot be compared to New Zealand or Denmarks. . It also depends on the industries that drive a country’s economy.
    Very few, if any, countries that have introduced a CTS appear to have consistently met their emission reduction targets, and as with any form of trading scheme or tax, there are ways that some industries are able to manipulate the system as has been the case in England , Spain and Portugal.
    Spain’s economy for example has suffered high unemployment and some industry has moved offshore.
    Spain relies on higher cost wind and solar renewable sources of energy more than France. France has a long history of nuclear power generation and has continued to opt for this path more than solar or wind energy alternatives.

    You will hear those parties that have a Cap and Trade Platform , just like good old Dalton McGuinty talk about Green jobs created by building wind turbines or solar power , but those jobs are short lived. Many companies manufacturing renewable energy in Europe pay just the legal minimum wages. They frequently go bankrupt and offer little job security.

    The permanent “green” jobs are, the expanding green bureaucracy and green police.

    Using Europe as an example, the green-police fine people for putting plastic in a glass recycling bin. They force people to write lists of what’s in their rubbish bags; and to use electricity when it suits the wind-generators, and not the people.
    Yes , Dalton Mcguinty’s vision for Ontario will be grand.

    The Green-police self propagate. They create problems that then need even more auditing, advising and checking.
    Like closing off the natural drafts in houses, then when people got sick from the fungus, they sent around officials to create artificial airflow to stop “sick building” syndrome. When green bureaucrats demanded everyone use less water (whether they needed to or not) stagnant ponds were created in places that had water to spare, and that then led to the creation of a new army of green-water-specialists to sort out the putrid ponds. In an exponential pattern, the populace was slowing co-opted from productive tasks into the big-government-green-merry-go-round.

    In the last 20 years the big increase in “green jobs” in EU has been in the public sector. A whole new set of bureaucracy of people are working to expand green tape. It has created millions of new public sector jobs in Europe. Typical green jobs are mainly public sector jobs – enforcing regulation, taxing, and surveillance of people. An ever-increasing tax on carbon will speed up this transformation of society.

    When you went to a dump in Germany a few years back you were required to fill in forms to specify the content of each bag, and each form had three carbon copies, blue, red and yellow. So after filling out 36 forms (including the carbon copies) if one could not remember the content of each bag, you just wrote “Misc. Rubbish”. Today, one would have to pay at least 90 Euros, and risk a fine if one did not declare the contents correctly. Now they inspect each bag.

    In every office or railway station in Germany , each person has four or five rubbish bins. In an office with four people you can have 20 rubbish bins. Since you must make sure people don’t put the rubbish in the wrong bin so there are surveillance cameras and inspectors. In the UK, some local councils require people to sort the rubbish into up to nine different bins. Some councils are now enforcing fines to up to £100 if you put waste in the wrong bin. The bin inspectors must be administrated by managers. On top of this you have more senior people setting the strategy, administrating the whole chain, and advising the politicians about climate and green living.

    If people think they have been wronged by the authorities, they can bring it to the magistrate’s court, so the petty crime of rubbish in the wrong bin can be argued by barristers in front of judges.

    Green jobs.

    The European Emission Trading System has created a whole new class of well paid white collar jobs. The best paid are the emission rights traders and the electricity traders. They work for big banks or electricity generators. Most of them make millions a year (thank you consumers). Every company in the emission trading system has to be certified and audited. This creates jobs for an army of auditors and inspectors. Two billion reports about emissions are filed every year in the EU. The professional service companies thrive on more regulation and red/green tape.

    Under this great green cap and trade plan you could pay for and trade emission rights from developing countries. For example, you could pay Indonesian billionaires to “save” their rain forests. So even Indonesian billionaires have green jobs nowadays, dipping into western tax money. You don’t really think the poor benefit do you? This has never been about the poor or the planet warming.

    Expensive “smart” meters are the central technology to transform our lives don’t you know?
    Thanks to McGuinty , the days are gone to expect to use electricity when you need it. That would mean that the supply companies would be expected and obliged to actually supply their customers energy when they need it.
    Windpower they say is the future , unfortunately it does not work when the wind does not blow. Solar panels work well in daytime, but not when its dark. The whole idea with smart meters is demand management. Because electricity is difficult and expensive to store, the goal is to make consumers use electricity when it is produced, rather than when they it is needed.
    If you want to use air conditioning on a hot day, it will be very expensive. But if you use it on a windy rainy day, it will be cheap. The same applies to electric cars, which have lithium–ion batteries but relatively low capacity. The use of cars in future will be more like having a sailing boat: if the wind blows, you can drive.

    Denmark has built a lot of windpower. Denmark has got a high carbon tax as well as the EU emission trading system and feed-in subsidies for windmills. Some days the wind blows too hard, so the electricity generators have to pay to get rid of the surplus. Fortunately for Denmark, they can export electricity to Norway, that can store it in hydropower dams. The Norwegians can then stop their own production to sell the Danish electricity to their captive customers with a hefty profit. If it blows harder than a gale, the windmills must all suddenly stop in order not to overrev. Then Denmark buys back electricity from Norway for a very high price. Fortunately, Denmark has almost no manufacturing left. Even the windmill manufacturer Vestas Wind has moved most production abroad, because of high manufacturing costs. But Denmark has got one of the biggest public sectors in the world. They are indeed doing well!

    Insulation of buildings has created many green jobs. In the 1980s the Scandinavian countries encouraged people to better insulate their homes against the cold winters, and thus save energy. The authorities introduced new building codes. Tightening the houses and reducing drafts did indeed save energy. But the interesting side effect was that many of the tight houses started to rot. People got sick from fungus, and sometimes also from radon gas. So most of those houses had to be repaired and rebuilt once more to get rid of the dangerous fungus, and many houses got mechanical ventilation and heat exchangers to keep the indoor air healthy. Later on this Swedish building code to save energy became an EU-regulation, so these flawed buildings are now mandated all over Europe. To enforce the flawed building code you need bureaucrats. Then you can have an army of building inspectors, insurers, and building engineers to sort out the problems and conduct further research into upgrading the building codes. These are typical green jobs.

    Twenty five years ago you would never had believed that a cow was indeed a pig. But in fact, cows and sheep are climate pigs, worse than many gas guzzling big SUVs according to environment scientists in the EU. The poor animals are farting methane gas, whose greenhouse effect is 21 times larger than carbon dioxide. So a lot of research money now goes into reducing emissions from animals. There are EU and UN programs about gas from animals, so thousands of engineers and veterinarians are studying the problem. Because the problem seems so serious, in some countries they teach children in school to drink less milk and avoid eating meat. Many more green jobs.

    Most parts of Europe have sufficient natural drinking water, but some big cities have a problem getting enough fresh water. So the EU introduced a regulation to save water, but it is enforced in northern Europe as well as in Spain and Greece where it is needed. So water consumption in Germany and Sweden is now falling year by year, which created a new problem of stagnant water with thriving bacteria. So there are yet more scientists researching this, and engineers and workers changing the water pipes.

    The great transformation of society needs a great surveillance apparatus, to monitor and punish the stupid people who don’t understand what’s best for them. The EU has made this a reality. People there are no longer citizens, but treated simply as stupid ATMs. The European Union has in less the than twenty years been transformed from a group of sovereign democratic states into a political union that has much in common with the medieval German-Roman feudal state or the former Soviet Union.

    The politicians and the bureaucrats in the European Union headquarters in Brussels know that Europe is not doing very well economically because of all the red and green tape. So they try to export what the EU can do best – regulation – to other parts of the world. They are spending billions of taxpayers Euros on propaganda to influence politics in other part of the world. They use the UN, and NGOs such as the WWF, as front organizations to spread the emotional and manipulative message of Climate Change and the Green Agenda.

    Sound all too familiar?
    Know and understand what Cap and Trade really means in your life.
    This is what the Liberals , NDP and the Greens have in store for you.
    Dalton McGuinty has already signed you on in 2009.

  5. I think that the fall election will indeed be all about energy. But, it needs to be about breaking the wind energy contracts that are now in place. The Liberal government has made a horrific mistake, and we are going to pay big time, so we just as well pay up front, and at least save our rural Ontario from being de-faced.

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