Ontario Green Plan will cost us all

By Rick Fuschi, The Windsor Star

The threatened termination of activities by solar hardware manufacturers is surprising but ultimately inevitable. The entire renewable energy industry is anchored on a quicksand foundation, stabilized only by bales of tax money.

First came the unrealistic political promise to mothball 25 per cent of Ontario’s electricity production by closing coal-fired plants. When someone finally realized the promise should have been accompanied by a plan to replace capacity, the Green Plan was half-baked in response.

Quickly, the Ontario government started to sign up green-energy producers, baiting them onto the quicksand by promising huge premiums on their electricity generation and first claim to the grid.

Then, someone did the math and realized that commitments were being made fast enough to bankrupt the province. Their plan, all along, was to get hydro consumers to take up the slack and they tried by doubling hydro rates, but the hemorrhaging continues unabated.

The response was to renege on the promised returns to green producers and now, to leave many of the hooked participants with empty promises of a grid connection.

In spite of the excitement caused by the opening of greenjob plants, this historical snapshot should cause us to be weary of investing too much emotion in such a house of cards.

Inevitably, this experience will leave many rusting monuments to government ineptitude. Taxpayers and electricity consumers will be saddled with the fallout, at no net benefit.

Expect a new item on your hydro bill: McGuinty’s Green Plan debt retirement levy.

RICK FUSCHI, Tecumseh

44 thoughts on “Ontario Green Plan will cost us all

  1. LOOK UP THIS INTERESTING REPORT ON RENEWABLE ENERGY FROM THE USA Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
    ARE OTHER COUNTRIES OFFERING HUGE GUARANTEED CONTRACTS TO COMPANIES LIKE SAMSUNG? OR DO THEY HAVE ELECTRICITY PROVIDED BY PRIVATE INDUSTRY ?
    I ASK =
    WHAT IS BETTER-
    1, GOVERNMENT OWNED ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION? OR 2. PRIVATE COMPANIES OFFERING ELECTRICITY IN COMPETITION LIKE TELEPHONE, INTERNET AND NATURAL GAS?
    We are paying A HIGH COST for government mismanagement through the stranded debt – an obsolete delivery system and — now getting wind turbines thrust on us through the Liberal McGuinty political agenda that is lacking public input. The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generating will remove money from our spending options and so hurt our economy – and lower our standard of living.

    Are people in the USA and Great Britain supplied by government owned electricity utilities or private companies? Do they have a choice about using power from wind turbines?

    CHECK THIS OUT
    WHAT ARE THE ATTITUDES IN THE USA TOWARD GREEN ENERGY?
    Available electronically at http://www.osti.gov/bridgenational

    THIS IS FROM THE UNITED STATES NATIONAL RENEWAL ENERGY LABORATORY
    NREL is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.
    Consumer Attitudes About Renewable Energy: Trends and Regional Differences
    Natural Marketing Institute
    Harleysville, Pennsylvania
    NREL Technical Monitors: Lori Bird and Jenny Sumner
    Based on this analysis, NMI found the following:
    • The majority of consumers (80%) indicated that they care about the use of renewable energy. However, concern has diminished slightly over time, which is consistent with other broad environmental consumer attitudes (such as concerns related to environmental protection or sustainable agriculture).
    • Consumers primarily associate renewable energy with environmental benefits, despite the other potential benefits renewable energy has to offer and the recent efforts to broaden its appeal.
    • Consumer awareness of renewable energy purchase options remains relatively low, with approximately one in six consumers aware of the green power options provided by their electric suppliers, although approximately half of consumers have options available to them.
    • Consumers are more price sensitive for renewable energy than in the past, mirroring an increased price sensitivity NMI has observed across the green consumer landscape.
    • Despite the common perception, there are few differences in consumer attitudes across regions. However, consumers in the West are more aware of renewable energy terminology, such as renewable power and carbon footprint. In addition, Western consumers, compared to Midwestern consumers, are more aware of their purchase options, are less price sensitive, and are more likely to have already purchased at least some type of renewable energy.
    • Seven percent of the adult population reports buying at least some renewable energy for their home. According to similar research, this is a significantly lower percentage than the proportion of the population that cares about renewable energy and a higher percentage than penetration rates reported by utilities and marketers that offer renewable energy options to consumers.
    • Opportunities exist for continued market growth in renewable energy as indicated by the differential between concern and usage and declining premiums. However, the modest awareness levels of renewable energy options are a challenge.
    LOOK IT UP = electronically at http://www.osti.gov/bridgenational

    • A new twist from the Ontario Conservatives…where will Hudak go…

      Mike Harris Latest Senior PC to join Ontario’s Clean Energy Economy
      TORONTO, July 4, 2011 /CNW/ – Former PC Premier Mike Harris is the latest high profile Conservative to break ranks with Tim Hudak and join the parade that is growing behind the birth of a clean renewable energy economy in Ontario.

      Harris is the Chairman of Magna International, and a member of the board of the Aurora based company since 2003. In that time, he has helped shape the company into a leading manufacturer of both solar and wind systems.

      In what is a major blow to Hudak, Harris, his political mentor and someone he worships, has positioned Magna as a player in Ontario’s clean energy revolution through the Feed-in-Tariff program:

      “Solar Income Fund has entered into an agreement with Magna Closures, a division of Magna International, to purchase 14 dual-axis trackers for a series of solar energy installations under the Ontario FIT Program.” (April 4, 2011)

      Harris’ support for clean energy also extends directly to the Samsung Agreement as Magna is leasing a facility to Siemens in Tillsonburg to produce wind blades for Samsung, a facility that will create 700 good local jobs.

      Unlike Harris and Magna, Tim Hudak has failed to understand the days of dirty coal-fired electricity generation have gone the way of the dodo bird, and has promised to kill 50,000 jobs by scrapping Ontario Feed-in-Tariff program, Samsung’s $7 billion investment in Ontario jobs, and all the gains Ontario manufacturers have made in this forward-looking growth sector.

      Mike Harris isn’t the only senior PC who sees the advantages of Dalton McGuinty’s plan to build Ontario’s clean energy economy:

      Veteran MPP Frank Klees sits on the board of Tribute Resources – a company proposing to build a huge wind farm on the Bruce Peninsula – and holds stock options in the company
      Senior PC MPP, Ernie Hardeman is scrambling to save jobs – and directly contradicting Hudak – by saying a Samsung agreement could stay under a PC government. (St. Thomas Times-Journal, May 11, 2011)
      PC MPP Toby Barrett has warned local landowners with wind and solar projects to finalize their contracts as soon as possible – because he’s worried Hudak would kill them. (Simcoe Reformer, May 16, 2011).
      While Tim Hudak is only in it for himself and his election, his pledge to kill clean energy jobs and take us back to the dark days of dirty coal will hurt Ontario’s economy and our environment.

      • First of all — here is the link.
        http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/July2011/04/c3029.html

        Second — quoting the entire article without permission is a violation of copyright — only “fair use” is allowed…

        Third — it’s amazing how a little time a the trough, a bit of bogus science and a an executive position and afew shares in a public company can change your thinking.

        Hats off to Mikey for a good score!

        Make me an offer too please — I need the cash.

  2. Even more interesting…

    Were you aware of this and the IESO document at the link.
    http://www.mccarthy.ca/article_detail.aspx?id=5438

    See: ieso.ca/imoweb/pubs/consult/se91/se91-20110512-VTWG_Summary.pdf

    I cannot find the Sarnia Solar system on the IESO site — no production figures. Guess their new policy isn’t a policy.

    They are quietly making policy and many renewable generators cannot be found in the IESO reporting system. Is it because they are doing such a great job they need not be monitored? Is the project a disaster and they do not want it publicly known?

    What are the production figures for the Sarnia Solar project — until recently the largest in the world?

    More Green Scrapyards?

    • comment to your link above…..
      Looks like this project has been – contracted out, but still owned by Enbridge.
      …….”and power will be sold to the OPA” (a temporary agency) –
      and, this tight little package, could possibly be flipped to another eager investor……it would depend on the “climate culture” – of course.

      excerpt from link above:
      First Solar will also provide operations and maintenance services to Enbridge under a long-term contract. The power output of the 80 MW facility will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority pursuant to 20-year Power Purchase Agreements under the terms of the Ontario Government’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program.

      “Our recent investments in green energy projects in Ontario – including the 99 MW Talbot Wind Energy Project, our 190 MW Enbridge Ontario Wind Project, and the Sarnia Solar Project – are evidence of Enbridge’s commitment to advancing environmentally preferred energy solutions, and of the value of the Ontario government’s proactive support and encouragement of investment
      within the province,” said Mr. Daniel.

  3. The author of the letter is referring to this original article.

    http://www.windsorstar.com/technology/Grid+capacity+stymies+solar+sector/4998176/story.html

    My POV is simple. If we cannot see the production figures for First Solar Plant now owned by Enbridge we have no idea if the investment was worth the money. Since we pay for the power and IESO does run a public utility we should see the numbers. What are they hiding? Who allowed Enbridge to hide the numbers?

    Why does IESO not publish the numbers from Solar Generation? Does anybody have information on this?

    The letter writer is right on the money!

    In the meantime maybe the Solar Power manufacturers should leave. Clearly there is a problem in Sarnia.

    • People invested in solar panels on the basis of political promises and not on sound business judgements. All based on creating an atrifical demand for “green” products.

  4. The viability of renewable energy is based on creating an artifical demand for this type of energy production. The Ontario government has created an artificial demand for renewable energy through very high FIT programs. Otherwise renewable energy production would not be economically feasable. This was done in response to “green’ fairy tales.

      • I want a “private jet” –
        And I’ll call it the “challenger”

      • For example,the sales tax on the new”green” light bulbs is higher than the present tax on the incandescent bulbs now in use due to higher price differences.And the new “green” energy bulbs will be made overseas so no new “green’ jobs will be created

    • By putting new or increasing already existing taxes on energy bills/costs a governmnent can create artificial demands for so called “green” energy saving products and devices. For example insulation,doors,windows,light bulbs and etc. and all at great cost to many consumers who can’t afford these

    • Using taxes to increase energy prices and creating demand for “green” energy products and devices increases the overall sales tax revenuses for governments.Politicians just love to spend all the increased tax revenues they can get hold of by any means necessary.

      • So we pay to ship these new, so called green, light bulbs from overseas,adding to their costs,taxes on the product + taxes on the shipping + carbon footprint multiplied, and this is supposed to be the greener way? I think I`m getting a really bad headache.

  5. To tell the truth or obfuscate…. Oh the agony of such decisions…

    http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/amendments/tp_meetings.asp

    Read all about the SE91 working group as they decide whether or not to tell the truth about their power generations and ability to dispatch on demand.

    Can they forecast wind or not? Should they reveal on-site meteorological conditions or not? Should the consumer foot the bill for the technical toys that should have been there all along? Oh the agony of such decisions…

    Wait till they get to Solar… who would want to know the truth about the pi$$ poor performance?

    • They don’t have to perform – they get a pay cheque – regardless.
      The NGO called the OPA – calls the shots.
      It’s just a fabulous system – citizens are left in the dark, but – we can comment.

  6. Im pretty sure First Solar is a subsiduary of Walmart, they think the sunshines out of their………!

    The profit margin was aroung 49% out of the factory

  7. Gardner: P
    Politicians use science only when it suits them
    By Dan Gardner, Ottawa Citizen July 2, 2011 11:30 AM

    Federal and provincial governments employ many scientists and underwrite the work of many more.
    Why?

    Oh, politicians say their decisions are informed by science, but that’s a fairy tale they tell sleepy children and reporters. In reality, politicians cite science when it supports decisions they want to make anyway, for other reasons, whether ideological or political. When science does not support their decisions, they ignore it.

    And, since no politician has ever suffered at the polls for abusing science this way, voters seem to be just fine with that.

    Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Gardner+Politicians+science+only+when+suits+them/5028336/story.html#ixzz1QyJiUato

    This article refers to the asbestos debacle, but it could just as easily explain government’s role in the IWT’s issue. Let’s make sure politicians will have to explain themselves leading up to Oct. 6.

    I urge everyone to attend at least one All Candidates’ event in their area and point blank ask all of the candidates what their and their party’s position is on IWT’s. We already know, but we want to hear it in a public setting. Furthermore, ask the candidates who do not support a moratorium how they can look themselves in the mirror each day. How can they live with themselves…..? How can they run for a party who does not care about people’s welfare and health? Ask them. Shame on them.

  8. Why Solar Farms Don’t Report Production at the IESO

    The IESO only posts production of power stations of 20MW or more. In order for the Sarnia solar farm to milk us for money, they broke the operation in to 10MW units.

    Premier McGuinty likes to read books. He should read John Kenneth Galbraith’s book The Age of Uncertainty, subtitled Economic Ideas and Their Consequences. His nonsense belongs on the list.

    • Grant:

      I should have asked — can you point me at documentation that proves that? Just curious how this cover-up was done.

    • Mr. McGuinty would rather read books written by self proclaimed, “revolutionary communists” – like Van Jones.
      He should be reading books like –
      ‘Road to Serfdom’ written by Frederick Hayek, and once forbidden – in communist Russia.

    • Scott:

      Confirmed 20MW for reporting and less than 10MW for the microFit. This slips around the reporting, and the microFIT designation drives up the subsidy — so you hide the poor performance and rake in maximum bucks…

      From the article you mentioned/linked:
      A story in a recent issue of this magazine described another project structure, under which one solar farm is partitioned into multiple ownership units, each sold to a different investor, in a manner perhaps reminiscent of a wind cooperative. (See “Solar tracking PV to be installed cookie-cutter style” IPPSO FACTO, February 2011.)

      Nice work if you can scam it. Cute touch calling it a cooperative — it avoids discussing the filthy details.

      • This is similar to what happened here with the 4 Harrow wind farms, when you help write the rules, you know how to twist them to suit yourselves

      • To Grant:

        You are probably aware of the higher FIT given to IWT projects 10 MW.

        Our MPP, Toby Barrett has told us that “when” the Consevatives form the next government after Oct 6, one of the top issues [of about 6] they WILL act on is – cancelling the FIT incentives for IWTs. I can hardly wait for that day. If possible, I hope I can

  9. Can anyone forecast wind or not? The logistics of wind and getting energy from wind makes it impossible to forecast accuracy necessary to predict what energy could be available. A range of wind speed is not enough since the available energy from wind changes with the speed (cubed). This means a little change in wind speed makes a big change in energy available. Wind speed and direction of wind is not constant but changes instantaneously and is random. Trying to forecast wind to the accuracy necessary is not possible regardless of the instruments.

    • A wind forecaster from Alberta assures me that they do have a reasonable record forecasting wind. I have no stats or personal knowledge to back that up — but I suspect he is truthful.

    • I think there are 2 issues – the output from a wind turbine is, as far as I know, related to the wind speed by a factor of 3 or 4.
      My understanding is there are many places wind forecasts are within 10% consistently – but that’s a 30-40% difference in the output from turbines.

      • Power of a wind generator = 0.5 x Swept Area x Air Density x Velocity3
        Velocity cubed( Velocity3)= Velocity x Velocity x Velocity

        The power output of a wind generator is proportional to the cube of the wind speed – i.e. double the wind speed and the power output will increase by a factor of eight (2 x 2 x 2)

    • Well, if my shaky math is correct a 5% increase in wind speed would increase turbine output by over 50% then, and vice versa.

  10. It would seem that there should be a large protest at Queens Park shorty,when they get back or before their Holidays.
    If Wales in UK can get 1500 to protest then I think we could get more.

    There are a ton more people suffering down in Chatem/Kent that are not being taken seriously and it’s time some decent reporters started getting down there and covering these stories.

    Or are the Newspaper reporters just sitting around waiting for news from this site to plop into their laps?

    • No Peter, they just don’t believe the people,after all the gov’t tells them everything is fine and the people are just nimby’s. Our wonderful liberals wouldn’t lie now would they ?

  11. A rather long series of essays on Al Gore and the failure of the Green movement.

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/06/24/the-failure-of-al-gore-part-one/
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/06/27/the-failure-of-al-gore-part-deux/
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/07/01/the-failure-of-al-gore-part-three-singing-the-climate-blues/

    As an aside, I spent several evenings last week knocking on doors in the community as part of the pending provincial election. While most folks have not given the election much thought, the almost universal consensus is “McGuinty must go!”

    • Great series of articles and thanks for posting them. Just think what could/would have happened by now if Al Gore had been elected U.S. President back in 2000.

  12. What other response would one expect from a wind forecaster? A reasonable prediction provides information not much better than what presently exists without the added costs. The performance of wind will not change. Wind will continue to be unreliable and erratic.

  13. “The predictability of the wind varies with atmospheric conditions and so there may be periods where National Grid’s forecast and outturn values differ significantly.” (‘Wind forecast outturns – Information’, BM reports website). Other sources of power have to be available as was before.

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