We’re too ‘engaged’ in power issues – cramping industry style

“Part of that has to do with the fact Ontarians, in general, are becoming much more engaged in energy production — how energy is produced — and many issues have been raised recently.” Shawn Cronkwright Director, Renewables Procurement, Ontario Power Authority

Ontario teaches world how not to run a FIT program
Tyler Hamilton, Toronto Star
The opening of a smart grid research and development centre in Markham on Tuesday was good news for the Dalton McGuinty government.

It’s never a bad thing when a global industrial titan such as General Electric decides to make an Ontario municipality the epicentre of its worldwide efforts in a particular technological growth area.

In this case, the $40-million facility will be a global centre of excellence for grid automation. It’s an opportunity for the Liberal government to tout the 146 highly-skilled jobs that will be created, and how General Electric is placing its faith in the skilled workforce and business-friendly tax regime that Ontario offers.

It didn’t hurt, of course, that the government supported construction of the centre with a $7.9 million grant.

I was originally going to explore GE’s smart grid ambitions in this column, but something else happened last week that was too frustrating to ignore. The province’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program for renewable energy (as distinguished from the microFIT program for very small projects) was supposed to re-launch on Monday.

After 11 months of waiting, the date came and went, another setback for the hundreds of manufacturers, developers and installers whose business plans have been placed on ice for nearly a year. Read article

Frustrated rural residents complain at Queens Park about wind

By Anne Howden Thompson, Ontario Farmer
Rural residents frustrated with the provincial liberal government’s Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program took their concerns into the heart of Toronto’s financial district yesterday, staging a peaceful protest rally that attracted hundreds of protestors from across Ontario.  Held in Simcoe Park adjacent to the CBC headquarters, the location put the protesters on the immediate doorsteps of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and underneath a digital sign with rotating messages, including one featuring a wind turbine, saying “this screen is powered by green renewable power.” Read article

The solar robber barons

Spain’s move to subsidize solar proved utterly unsustainable
by Peter Foster   Financial Post
Some foreign — and even domestic — solar equipment manufacturers are complaining that Ontario’s buy-local policies will cost investment and jobs. It takes some gall to criticize dumb and damaging initiatives when your existence depends on them. Continue reading

Why bother selling furniture? Just take our tax money

Each year, IKEA will receive $684,408 under Premier Dalton McGuinty’s green energy monster–for power that today retails for about $115,000.

by Terence Corcoran, Financial Post

The Swedish retail giant IKEA announced Thursday it will invest $4.6-million to install 3,790 solar panels on three Toronto area stores, giving IKEA the electric-power-producing capacity of 960,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. According to IKEA, that’s enough electricity to power 100 homes. Amazing development. Even more amazing is the economics of this project. Under the Ontario government’s feed-intariff solar power scheme, IKEA will receive 71.3¢ for each kilowatt of power produced, which works out to about $6,800 a year for each of the 100 hypothetical homes. Since the average Toronto home currently pays about $1,200 for the same quantity of electricity, that implies that IKEA is being overpaid by $5,400 per home equivalent. Continue reading