Around the world, governments that leapt before they looked in jumping on the green energy bandwagon are now desperately trying to jump off. That’s why it’s no surprise the debt-ridden Liberal government of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is gearing up to do what the U.K., Spain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, along with many other jurisdictions, have already done when it comes to subsidizing green energy.
That is, slash the ludicrously expensive subsidies of up to 80¢ per kw/h they have been forcing Ontario electricity consumers to pay for renewable energy, when the cost of electricity from conventional sources is around 5¢ per kw/h.
Energy Minister Chris Bentley didn’t say in his Tuesday announcement how many jobs will be lost after the Liberals review their so-called feed-in tariff (FIT) program in a report due by mid-December.
That’s because since renewable energy can’t survive without massive government subsidy, when you cut the subsidy, you cut the jobs that subsidy creates.
Then again, since the government’s claim wind and solar power will generate 50,000 new jobs in Ontario by the end of next year is the stuff of fantasy to begin with, it’s clearly too much to ask it to talk honestly about these issues.
In the real world, studies across Europe have shown high government subsidies for green energy kill far more jobs than they create because of their contribution to rising electricity prices.
McGuinty’s other boast about green energy — that investing in it has allowed Ontario to drastically reduce its coal-fired pollution and greenhouse gas emissions — is equally absurd. The reason for that is Ontario needs less power than it did a few years ago because its manufacturing sector, already under siege prior to the 2008 recession, has been devastated, meaning there’s less need for electricity.
Besides, we will still need fossil fuel energy to back up unreliable wind and solar power — because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.
McGuinty’s plan there is to replace our coal-fired power plants by 2014 (seven years later than he originally promised) with cleaner burning natural gas-fired ones.
In reality, that could have been done without the whole green energy boondoggle.
But that would have been too simple. And logical.