Green energy sector not cheering Tory majority


by Richard Blackwell – The Globe and Mail

The renewable energy sector is likely one of the few spheres of Canada’s business community that is unsettled about a Conservative majority government in Ottawa.

After years of providing lukewarm support for green power while running a minority government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is unlikely to suddenly change his stripes, particularly when he has full control of the House of Commons, industry executives said Tuesday.

“The Tory government has not exactly been a global leader on environmental issues,” said Phil Whiting, chief executive officer of EnerWorks Inc., a Dorchester, Ont.-based company that makes solar-thermal equipment.  “I expect them to do the minimum they can get away with in this area.”

Mr. Whiting said he hopes the government sticks with the minor extensions of some incentives that were included in the federal budget last month. But the Conservatives have shown “minimalistic investments” in renewable energy over all, and only under pressure from the opposition parties, and that’s likely to get worse, he said.

“The Tory government is not well known for its global level, insightful, inspiring leadership on environmental issues,” Mr. Whiting said. “Quite the opposite. Everything that I’ve seen about them says they do only what they have to in order to survive.”

Given that “no democratic government in today’s world can get away with doing nothing,” Mr. Whiting said he expects the Conservative government will take small measures to make it appear as if it is doing something, but that it will not show leadership on the issue.

Thomas Schneider, president of wind-farm operator Schneider Power Inc. in Toronto, said he is concerned that the Conservatives had no specific renewable energy component in their election platform. Consequently, he is not optimistic the industry will get any sort of significant support from the new government.

One hope, he said, is that the Conservative focus on infrastructure investments might mean some increased spending on electrical transmission capacity, an area that needs help if renewable power facilities are going to be able to plug into the power grid.

“I hope that even though they are not very jived about renewable energy, that they do something about transmission,” Mr. Schneider said. He also hopes that the New Democratic Party, which has a strong environmental platform, will be able to put increased pressure on the government now that it has Official Opposition status.

If there is a silver lining for the renewable energy sector in the Conservatives gaining a majority as a result of seat gains in Ontario, it may be that the government will be less beholden to its conservative backers in the oil patch, said John Kourtoff, president of Toronto-based Trillium Power Wind Corp., which is planning major wind projects in the Great Lakes.

‘Maybe now that Mr. Harper isn’t always on the tether of his Western base, he might be able to do what’s right for each province and not so much have to always play to the [West],” said Mr. Kourtoff, whose projects are on hold because of a moratorium on offshore wind put in place by the Ontario provincial government.

His hope for the new government is that even if it refuses to consider direct financial support to renewable projects, it might help finance transmission lines or provide low-cost loans to early stage companies.

Ted Lattimore, chief executive officer of solar lighting company Carmanah Technologies Corp., in Victoria, said that simply having Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in the House of Commons could raise the profile of the renewable sector. “Having Green Party official representation – and a well-spoken one – maybe the average person will become a little more familiar with renewable energy policy and that might make it more attractive for the Conservative government.”

17 thoughts on “Green energy sector not cheering Tory majority

  1. My vote went directly to who would invest least in these crap forms of electrical generation. I would like electrical generation that is for public consumption and is good quality.
    I’ll vote the same in the Provincial election this fall. Ontario needs to protect it’s citizens. Dalton McGuinty Liberals have failed.

  2. Green Energy advocates love the Ontario Liberals cause they spent $28 Billion on FAKE Greene Energy….result ZERO additional energy and then we have to pay the U.S. to take it off our hands….Green Energy lobbyist and FAKE Green Energy Companies get millions and millions in subsidies and provide no REAL ENERGY…

  3. Since the Ontario Liberals won’t listen or change their misguided ways on Energy Policy, we all need to work hard to ensure that we get a better government in October…..a government that doesn’t confiscate our rites or our money…

  4. We went door to door in all the cities to ensure people understood what the under the radar REAL issue was this election.
    CAP and TRADE.
    I believe we made a difference.
    We ensured people knew what it would mean to their lives and what little it would do for the green issues they make up.
    I know you read these Provincial Liberals….You are all gone.
    Your party sold us out to wind developers and the GEA.
    Adopted Cap and Trade
    And we intend to wipe you out this election and make sure you never get a job in this province again.
    And those IWT….they are coming down.
    We gave you a chance to be ethical.
    You are out of a job…you just don’t know it yet.

  5. We must be vigilant. Target your responses to any greenwash Elizabeth May comes out with. The fact that Phil Whiting , Thomas Schneider and John Kourtoff are whining in the G&M tells me we poked a hornets nest, that they will keep fighting hard. Our work is cut out for us.

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”
    Mahatma Ghandi

    This is the fight part, amping up… we will win with the truth. The liberal energy policy let all of Ontario down. They sold us out for a false ideology without doing their homework first.

    I believe that the Federal election felt the angst of Ontario.

    However, as you know full well this is not the time to relax or bask. Until October 6th , we must now more than ever “Put the Pedal to the Metal’. Strong and steady as she goes.


  6. The Ontario Liberals are committed to Cap n Trade…..This is another example of another way to tax it’s citizens MORE…..Just like FAKE Green Energy Act will quadruple your hydro bills…

    Ontario Citizens – HANG ONTO YOUR WALLETS…….
    Cap-and-trade plan now lies with provinces: minister (John Wilkinson)

    TORONTO — Canada’s battle against climate change is now in the hands of the provinces, Ontario’s environment minister said Monday.

    Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia will have to forge ahead with a regional cap-and-trade system now that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions appear to have stalled in Ottawa and Washington, said John Wilkinson.

    Talks to develop a regional system will “accelerate” in the wake of the Republican midterm victory that’s dashed hopes for new climate change legislation from the United States, he said.

    “I think those discussions over the next few months will be intensified as it becomes clear that we’re going back to the situation that we had prior to 2008, which is the need for individual states and provinces to create a system,” Wilkinson said in an interview from St. Marys, Ont.\

    Fact sheet – Ontario’s Approach to Cap and Trade—ontarios-approach-to-cap-and-trade.html

  7. Glad to see Randy getting lots of information out on the G&M website. Also good to see lots of negative comments on the Liberals. Gotta love the comment by Doug_F the best though! – View by highest score to find it quickly.

  8. “…efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions appear to have stalled in Washington and Ottawa, said John Wilkinson.” H-E-L-L-O, John. That is because they realize that to push a cap and trade system, especially in the USA right now, will be the death knell for that country. Economically they are still struggling. Yes, Canada is doing better, but for better or worse Canada is still VERY dependent on the USA for its economic success.

    Cap and trade for Ontario will be very hard on businesses. Electricty rates, property taxes, etc. are all very high in Ontario. Much higher than many other provinces or even states in the USA. Do Wilkinson and McGlinty want to make it even more difficult for businesses to survive? How many companies have already moved their businesses out of Ontario and for that matter Canada – and along with them thousands of jobs?

    We must be competitive with the rest of the world or we will get left behind, as is already happening. Cap and trade sure as heck won’t help the situation.

  9. Yep. Sorry dalton. Muckin the stalls are already takin care of. Enjoy your life as an executive fore the grinder. Oops I mean the turbine folk. Lucky for you your not my neighbor. You wouldn’t sleep and not because or IWT’s and their noise.

  10. The foundation for CAP & TRADE is the alarmist myth about CO2 being the cause of global warming. CO2 levels are the result of climate change, not the cause.

    The CO2 myth begets CAP & TRADE and the GEA. Here is a source of information that will provide valuable rebuttal science to set the record straight and free us from the tyranny of fear that is being promoted by the “Green Movement” and political parties of doom.

  11. For those that haven’t noticed, the Harper government, without fanfare, has made huge contributions to the number and size of National Parks and Nature Reserves across Canada. (By all means, look it up). Elizabeth May, of all people, even said so. Nice to see the Conservatives working on REAL green projects instead of the usual feel-good phony initiatives.
    The reason you haven’t heard about all this: When the Liberals were in power, CPAWS, Ontario Nature and other similiar groups would proclaim: “PRIME MINISTER JOHN CHRETIEN, THE LOCAL MP, LOCAL DIGNITARIES, ASSORTED HANGERS-ON CREATED THIS FABULOUS NATIONAL PARK … ”
    When the Conservatives are in power, the announcement says: “federal government creates park … ”
    These “green” groups and their traditional far left-wing supporters, and I know a lot of them, can barely speak the name Stephen Harper, let alone give him credit where it’s due when it comes to the environment.

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