Scott Stinson, Financial Post
If the idea behind Thursday’s changes to the Feed-in-Tariff program, the lynchpin of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, was to mollify the rural communities that rebelled against the Liberals in the last election, well then let’s look at now the news was received in the hinterlands.
“I just don’t know if it’s going to be very good for us,” a Middlesex county warden told the London Free Press. “There’s not a lot of credibility here,” one activist told the Sarnia Observer. “Truly, did they change direction, or did they just put a new spin on it?” Then there’s the mayor of Wainfleet, telling the St. Catharines Standard: “We knew it wasn’t going to be ideal, but I thought we were going to be able to take away something from this,” she said. “From what I’m hearing, we’ll get nothing.”
The skepticism is easy to understand. The changes announced by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, which will put a significant emphasis on approving only projects that have local support, would have been warmly received in the hundreds of communities that have fought the installation of wind turbines had they been brought in in the early days of the Green Energy Act. After the act was implemented in 2009, residents discovered that local objections to new developments were largely ignored as the McGuinty government dove headlong into a green energy future. As it stands, Thursday’s changes do nothing to alter the situation in the many communities that have protested wind-farm plans, where the developer already has a contract in place. So, as places from Norfolk County to Grey-Bruce to Prince Edward County line up to pass municipal resolutions that they are “unwilling hosts” to wind turbine developments, the Liberals are essentially saying that, although they admit that the turbine-siting process was flawed and unfair from the start, they won’t be going so far as to undo the mistakes already made. Read article