Wind subsidies gone, Samsung gone

Toronto Sun, Jennifer Bieman and Megan Stacey
The loss of 340 jobs at a factory that makes blades for wind turbines could be harbinger of troubles ahead in Ontario’s green-energy industry, a leading analyst says.

Siemens Canada announced Tuesday it’s closing its Tillsonburg plant, one of four Ontario green-energy factories set up under a controversial, multi-billion-dollar deal with Korean industrial giant Samsung.

The closing of one of the town’s largest employers came after weeks of nervous speculation.

But energy analyst Tom Adams said Ontario’s green-energy industry could be in for a rough ride if it doesn’t lay its hands on orders from outside Ontario, arguing the provincial market is saturated with wind and solar electricity brought online since the Liberal government plunged headlong into green energy in 2009.

“I think it was always pretty obvious that whatever jobs were going to arise from the Green Energy Act were all temporary or almost all temporary,” Adams said, referencing the provincial law that paved the way for big wind farms in Ontario under contracts paying energy giants more than consumers pay for power.

“Samsung had no history in renewable energy before they came to Ontario. They came only for the subsidies, and when the subsidies dry up, they’ll disappear as quick as they landed,” said Adams, an independent energy and environmental advisor and researcher. Read article

The Green Job “Joke” in Ontario

“Green Jobs” have always been a bit of a joke. Although not a very funny one.

Back in 2010 McGuinty signed a deal with South Korean company Samsung, and promised Ontarians that all kinds of employment would flow from it.

The Liberal government ended months of speculation in September when it confirmed it was in talks with Samsung about a project that could create about 15,000 jobs.

Ontario’s manufacturing sector has shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in the recession. The deal with Samsung would likely be the linchpin in McGuinty’s push for renewable sources of energy and his plan to create 50,000 jobs. CBC, 2010

The numbers were highly inflated in that press release. Even Samsung’s website could only cough up minuscule (although inconsistent) numbers.

Thanks to Samsung’s Green Energy Investment Agreement with the Government of Ontario, we are creating 9,000 jobs, kick-starting a new industry in Ontario and generate 1,369 megawatts of clean energy. Samsung Renewable Energy

Samsung and Pattern Energy’s wind power projects in Ontario are creating more than 1,000 jobs Samsung Renewable Energy, 2014

Our investments will create 900 direct renewable energy manufacturing jobs and 9,000 high-skilled jobs in Ontario. Samsung Renewable Energy, 2014

Down down down the number fell! We went from a promised 15,000 Samsung jobs in 2010, to a possible 900 in 2014? So what is the real number? I suppose nobody is really counting anymore. The fact is the province blatantly lied to the people of Ontario just so this juicy deal could be pushed through without much fuss. One would think the opposition parities would do as much as they could to investigate WHY this deal had to be made… Continue reading

Ontario gov’t ignored chance to cut $1.5B in hydro bills: documents

CTV News
Newly unearthed documents suggest Ontario’s Liberal government could have saved hydro customers $1.5 billion by terminating an agreement with Samsung, but decided against it.

The papers, uncovered by Progressive Conservative Finance Critic Vic Fedeli, relate to the 2009 Samsung green energy agreement that would take $10.5 billion from Ontario hydro bills, and pay it to a Samsung consortium over 20 years. In return, Samsung would deliver green energy and build factories in the province, employing 900 people.

Four years into the deal, however, a confidential document from staff at the Ministry of Energy advised the government it could save hydro customers $5.2 billion by terminating the agreement. This was because the Korean consortium was missing contract targets and deadlines on electricity projects that Ontario didn’t even need anymore.

But instead of calling off the deal, the Liberals renegotiated the contract to save only $3.7 billion –leaving $1.5 billion in hydro savings on the table.

“Even though we don’t need the power, and even though we can get out of this for nothing, (the Liberals) already told the public how important this deal is,” Fedeli told CTV Toronto, suggesting that the government ignored the potential savings “just to save face.” Read article

‘Ontarians have never been this angry’: Poll respondents feel unprotected from power price increases

We will NOT be sientNational Post, Ashley Csanady
Half of Ontario voters feel unprotected from price increases in the electricity system, a new poll shows.

“Ontarians have never been this angry,” declares a presentation of the Innovative Research Group poll, to be revealed Wednesday afternoon at the Ontario Energy Association conference in Toronto. A draft of the presentation was shared with the National Post and the results of the 600-person poll show a growing distrust in the Ontario government’s handling of the energy file, in particular electricity prices.

The poll about provincial politics and energy rates was commissioned by the Ontario Energy Association — an industry group representing everything from gas to electricity companies — for its annual conference.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-9-34-30-amWhen asked if they feel “consumers are well-protected with respect to prices and the reliability and quality of electricity service in Ontario,” 50 per cent of respondents “strongly disagreed” — the highest rate of disatisfaction since the firm started asking the question in 2002. Another 20 per cent “somewhat disagreed” while just 19 per cent said they “somewhat” agreed and six per cent “strongly agreed.” Three per cent had no opinion and another two per cent didn’t know. Read article

Ontario’s new electricity policy: History repeats as farce

wynneThe Globe and Mail

Karl Marx said that history repeats: first as tragedy, then as farce. In Ontario, the history of failed energy policy repeats – first as farce, and then as more farce.

Premier Kathleen Wynne faces an election in a little over a year and a half, and one of the main issues dogging the Liberal government is the price of electricity. Thanks to policy choices that the government itself seems incapable of unwinding, electricity bills have been on an upward tear for a decade. Many voters are furious. And so the Wynne government devoted the heart of its Throne Speech this week to a plan to lower the price of electricity. Not the cost of electricity, however. Just the sticker price.

Taxpayers of Ontario, you will now be paying for more of your electricity through your taxes, or through future taxes funded by deficit financing, and less through your electricity bill. Yes, that’s the new plan. It looks a lot like the old plan.

Nearly six years ago, Ms. Wynne’s predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, was facing an election. He was, like the current premier, spooked by rapidly rising electricity prices. These spiking prices, note well, had been engineered by the Liberal government’s mishandled Green Energy policy. To win back voters, Mr. McGuinty decided to give consumers a break. The tool: the so-called Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, which ran from the start of 2011 to the end of 2015.

The Clean Energy Benefit did not have anything to do with clean energy, and its benefits were illusory. All consumer hydro bills were awarded a government rebate worth 10 per cent – so the more electricity a customer used, the more they saved. This “benefit” for Ontario consumers was paid for by Ontario taxpayers. Yes, they’re the same people. Read article

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne attributes byelection loss to rising Hydro rates

wynneCity Centre Mirror, By David Nickle
The Ontario Liberals’ loss in Scarborough-Rouge River last week was largely a symptom of rising electricity rates, said Premier Kathleen Wynne at a media availability Wednesday, Sept. 7. Toronto Councillor Raymond Cho won the Sept. 1 byelection for the Progressive Conservatives—taking the riding most recently held by former Liberal MPP Bas Balkisoon from the Liberals for the first time since the 1990s.

Wynne expressed her disappointment with the loss on election night—and at Queen’s Park following a meeting with Toronto Mayor John Tory, reiterated her views that frustration with rising electricity rates helped power Cho’s surge in the polls.

“We heard concerns at the door in Scarborough-Rouge River and frankly those concerns we have to take to heart and we have to use them to inform our actions going forward,” said Wynne. “And one of the things we heard most consistently was Hydro rates.”

Wynne said that she had heard the same thing from northern Ontario residents during a summer trip through James Bay.

“I heard the same thing about electricity rates in the north,” she said. “It’s not something isolated. I recognize that the investments that we made in the electricity sector by building out the infrastructure, bringing the system up to standards, have caused this.” Read article

How Ontario’s Liberals bungled the green energy file

Dalton green dreamJon W. Kieran, National Post
Ontario set an all-time peak electricity demand of 27,005 megawatts (MW) 10 years ago this summer. At the time, rising demand and plans to retire its coal-fired power plants dominated provincial energy policy. What followed was optimism for a new energy policy, focused on the ambitious procurement of large wind and solar installations. I felt great pride in helping to lead an industry that would make Ontario’s power system clean, responsive and cutting edge.

What a difference a decade makes. Intrusive policy and poor implementation are largely responsible for the energy market debacle Ontarians face today. But there is no excuse now for buying more mega-projects when our power supply is saturated and hydro bills are skyrocketing.

Coal-fired power generation effectively disappeared after 2010, by which time Ontario’s electricity demand had already started to plummet. Demand has fallen 13 per cent in the past 10 years, including consecutive reductions in each of the past five years. In 2016, Ontario will consume less electricity than in 1997.

Peak demand exceeded 23,000 MW only one day this summer, despite parts of the province seeing 35 days with temperatures above 30 C. Yet our installed capacity approaches 40,000 MW. The system will have reserves above extreme summer peaks well into the 2020s. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) reinforced this point recently when it confirmed “Ontario will have sufficient supply for the next several years.” Read article

CTV News: Electricity Bills in Ontario – Shockingly High


Ontario Electricity Prices Are Out Of Control

The Huffington Post Canada, Daniel Tenceroriginal

Ontarians aren’t just imagining it: Electricity prices in the province are soaring.

Prices jumped by 15.7 per cent over the past year, according to Statistics Canada’s consumer price index, about eight times faster than overall inflation.

Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter published this chart showing just how far hydro rates have diverged from other prices in the province.

“Meantime, electricity prices in the rest of the country have posted average annual gains quite close to the overall inflation rate over these periods (i.e., roughly 2 per cent per year),” Porter wrote.

“In Ontario, only three other categories in the CPI have risen faster than electricity since 2002 — water charges, home insurance and cigarettes. But in the past seven years, nothing has risen faster than electricity prices.”

Ontario’s prices are being driven up by a number of factors, including subsidies for the province’s green energy program.  Read article

Wind developments are Resonating Across the Grid

Andrew Dodson was interviewed by Scott Medwid and Rick Maltese on the subject of grid stability, and the impact of “green energy”.

Government “Coffee Requests” that can’t be refused

by Dan Wrightman
In 1999 a friend of mine was planning to drive his truck to Costa Rica and asked if I could travel with him. Being young and knowing I might never get another opportunity to travel this way, I immediately said yes and we left for Central America in early December.

I had previously travelled by truck in northern Mexico, so I had an inkling of what to expect, but both of us were taken aback by the corruption we encountered on the Mexican roadways. It became obvious that as soon as we encountered any government authority through a traffic stop or a police checkpoint that we would be getting pulled aside and some of the first words out of the officer’s mouth would invariably be “Cafe/Soda?”

Slide1The game was this: the authorities would declare that they would have to search our vehicle for contraband, but that they would let us pass if we gave them ten pesos (enough at that time to buy a coffee or a pop).

The first time this happened, we refused, and the subsequent search of our truck stuffed full of tools and appliances took up an hour of valuable travelling time. Afterwards we just paid.  On average we were pulled over three to four times a day in Mexico.  We were frustrated and upset, not only by the cost, but by the abuse of power by government authorities. We felt sorry for what the people living there had to deal with on a daily basis.

Seventeen years have passed and I am astonished to recognize that we now have a government in Ontario that treats it’s own citizens in the same way. Multiple times a year the Ontario Energy Board announces a rate increase to our hydro bills, and each time it is minimized by declaring it as only a cup of coffee a month.

The billion dollar gas plant scandal is rationalized by our government as only costing a coffee a year for 20 years but that strains credulity, considering that the Green Energy Act was supposed to only cost us a cup of coffee and a muffin a month for 20 years.

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan is being sold as only costing us a coffee a day. Continue reading

Rising policing costs for wind turbines hike property taxes in smaller communities

IMG_0777[1]Colin Perkel, The Globe and Mail
Smaller communities across the country have been grappling with what they view as an ever-increasing tax bite for policing they can barely afford. Some say they have had to raise property taxes by as much as 20 to 30 per cent to pay for increases in police costs.

Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said rising security costs are hurting communities across Canada. “The real problem is in the rural areas – it’s in the contract-policing areas,” Prof. Leuprecht said. “It is completely unsustainable. Their tax base is stagnant. They’re cannibalizing all other aspects of their budget to pay for policing.”

Some communities, with their limited tax bases, are seeing upward of 25 or 30 per cent of their total budgets go toward policing. One hard-hit area is in rural eastern Ontario, where communities were surprised to discover they’re paying tens of thousands of dollars for police service to wind turbines and cellphone towers. The issue is especially galling, said one mayor, given his municipality’s embrace of green energy in part as a supposed revenue stream.

“We’ve got 86 of them here so it’s big numbers,” said Denis Doyle, mayor of Frontenac Islands, population 2,000. “We went out of our way to support the windmill rollout and now we feel like we’ve been kicked in the teeth when you find out they charge us back any money we might get from taxes just to pay (police).” Read article

Rural Lambton municipalities investigating any potential impacts to their OPP bills from wind turbiness

IMG_0777[1]By Barbara Simpson, Sarnia Observer
Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey is urging local municipalities to ensure they’re getting enough revenue from wind energy companies following the discovery that policing costs for wind turbine properties are now included in Ontario Provincial Police’s municipal bills.

Politicians in the Township of Frontenac Islands, near Kingston, first raised the red flag this month after they saw close to a $26,000 increase to their most recent OPP bill. After township staff investigated further, they discovered the increase was due to the cost of policing wind turbines on Wolfe Island, according to The Kingston Whig-Standard.

Under the OPP’s new billing model, municipalities are being charged a base service cost per wind turbine property – like they’re already charged for residential, commercial and industrial properties – if these wind turbine properties are already taxed as commercial and industrial, OPP Sgt. Peter Leon confirmed Friday. Calls for service – the second component of the new municipal OPP billing model – are only being charged if police have to respond to these wind turbine properties for service, Leon added in an email.  Read article

Frontenac Island Township ‘dumbfounded’ by OPP police fees of $300/wind turbine

By Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard
MARYSVILLE — Recent changes to how the Ontario Provincial Police bill municipalities for service could have a major impact on rural townships that are home to wind turbines.

More than six years after the turbines on Wolfe Island became operational, Frontenac Islands Township council was surprised in December when it received a bill for policing from the Leeds County OPP. “They charge us the same in this new policing formula for a wind tower as they do for a house,” Mayor Denis Doyle said. “It costs us a lot of money.”

Frontenac Islands Township pays an average of about $300 per household for policing, meaning new policing fees for the wind turbines properties added almost $26,000 to the township’s policing bill for 2016. “We were dumbfounded why our rate went up so much,” Doyle said, adding that township staff had to go back through the bill to find out the reason for the increase. “That’s gone way up from what we were expecting.”

Ontario sets tax rates on different types of properties depending on their use. Residential and commercial properties pay the full amount of property tax, while land being used for farming or forestry pay 25 per cent of the tax rate. Properties where wind turbines are located can only be taxed at a rate of five per cent of the full tax rate, Doyle said. Read article

Expect higher hydro bills in 2016, even with debt charge eliminated

electricity pricesCTV News
TORONTO — Ontario residents can brace for another hike in electricity bills on Jan. 1. The increase comes on the heels of a jump just two months ago, and hydro bills will rise again after the Liberals introduce a cap-and-trade plan in the spring.

Under the Liberal government, electricity prices in Ontario soared from a flat 4.7 cents a kilowatt hour in 2004, to the Nov. 1, 2015 rate of 17.5 cents a kwh at peak times, increases that total almost 375 per cent. There are various changes taking effect in the new year that will have an impact on electricity bills.

Energy sector analyst Tom Adams calls it “a multi-dimensional, inter-temporal shell game” of power rates. There are few details known about the Liberal’s cap-and-trade plan to fight climate change, but it is expected to push up prices for many consumer goods, including electricity.

“In terms of cap and trade, the cost of doing nothing is huge,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press. “We don’t have a choice as a globe.”

The Liberals have started the process of selling up to 60 per cent of Hydro One, which the opposition parties warn will also drive up electricity rates, but the government says rates will still be set by the Ontario Energy Board. “There’s no doubt about it, that we think the sale is going to have a negative impact on the electricity bill,” said Progressive Conservative energy critic John Yakabuski. Read article

Ontario’s Liberals have completely broken the electricity system

The Hamilton Spectator - Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

The Hamilton Spectator – Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

Finally – the Globe and Mail gets it!

The Globe and Mail, Editorial
In politics, as we wrote Wednesday, people get upset about the little things. Remember Bev Oda’s $16 glass of orange juice? In the context of a 12-figure federal budget, or ministerial trips justifiably running into the tens of thousands of dollars, some overpriced OJ hardly mattered. And yet it galled. Small misdeeds are relatable. A big, complicated and massively costly government screw-up, in contrast, sometimes leaves people cold.

Let’s see if this warms you up. On Wednesday, Ontario’s Auditor-General announced that, between 2006 and 2014, thanks to incompetence and mismanagement on the part of the province’s Liberal government, Ontarians overpaid for electricity to the tune of $37-billion. And over the next 18 years, consumers will be overpaying to the tune of another $133-billion.

Let’s try to put those numbers in context. Electricity overpriced by $170-billion is equivalent to $12,326 in excess costs for every man, woman and child in Ontario. Over 27 years, that averages out to $457 per person, per year. According to Statistics Canada, the average Ontario household has 2.6 people, so for the typical family, we’re talking about a power utility bill roughly $1,188 higher than it should be – every year. Read article

Residential Power Bill Comparison 2015: Ontario 52% higher than New Brunswick

What do all those lines on an Ontario power bill mean? How does a Hydro One power bill stack up to a New Brunswick power bill? Here’s a comparison from recent October, 2015 billings.

HydrooneHydro One statement:

  • 3 lines for the differing Time Of Use charges (916 kWH costing $19.18+$17.31+$52.38 = $88.87)
  • Delivery charge ($101.39)
  • Regulatory charges ($6.02)
  • Debt Retirement charge ($6.41)
  • HST ($26.35)
  • Total ($229.04)
  • Less the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (-$22.90)
  • New Total $206.14
  • Current cost per kWH with Clean Energy Benefit ($206.14/ 916 = $.225 per kWH)
  • Without soon to be removed Clean Energy Benefit ($229.04 / 916 = $.25 per kWH)

NB-PowerNB Power statement:

  • Monthly Service Charge ($22.65)
  • Kilowatt-hours used (833 kWH @ $.1025/kWH) costing ($85.38)
  • HST ($14.98)
  • Total ($123.01)
  • Bottom line cost per kWH, including the HST ($123.9 / 833 = $.148 per kWH)

In Ontario, this consumer would pay 52% more (including the Clean Energy Benefit), and will soon pay 69% more when the Clean Energy Benefit is terminated on December 31, 2015.

The Rebel

Nova Scotia scraps FiT program fearing future “negative impact on power rates”

Nova Scotia is ending its feed-in tariff program that pays local-level groups to generate power from biomass, wind and other renewable sources. Energy Minister Michel Samson said Thursday a provincial review of the community feed-in tariff (COMFIT) program shows it’s “at a point where the program could begin to have a negative impact on power rates.”

The review found no new generation is needed to meet electricity demand, the province said. Adding capacity “would negatively impact rates as Nova Scotians pay more for energy with small-scale, community-based projects than from other sources.” Also, the province said, some proposed COMFIT projects “are seeking extensions beyond what would be expected for a well-developed project.”

That said, the program “has exceeded expectations as a contributor to economic development in communities throughout Nova Scotia,” the province said. Also, the review found COMFIT had “exceeded expectations in energy output, with more than 80 (megawatts) in production and more than 125 MW expected by the end of 2015.” The cancellation means no new COMFIT applications will be considered, though projects already underway “will continue,” the province said. Outstanding unapproved proposals, extensions and lapsed-permit renewals are to be considered on a case-by-case basis and processed within 60 days. Read article

Solar company sues Ontario Power Authority for $9 million

BentleyDonovan Vincent, The Star
An Ottawa company that participated in a provincial program helping homeowners and farmers develop renewable energy projects is suing the Ontario Power Authority for $9 million, claiming it lost hundreds of customers and was forced to lay off all its employees after the OPA retroactively reduced fees paid out under the plan.

The claim, which the province disputes, relates to the government’s microFIT program, an ongoing initiative introduced by Ontario’s Energy Ministry in 2009. The program was launched to encourage homeowners, farmers, small businesses and institutions to produce small renewable energy projects.
These owners are paid for the electricity they produce, and the prices are set to enable them to recover their costs and earn a “reasonable return” over a 20-year period.

According to court documents, Capital Solar Power Corp. says it expended “vast sums of money” and time recruiting participants for the program, and in September 2011 saw about 275 of them apply for microFIT. Read article

Ending Ontario’s wind power “ripoff”

monteWindsor Star, Monte McNaughton
How do we ensure that when one government abuses its power, we don’t have to live with the consequences for a generation? Through the supremacy of our democratically elected legislative assembly in Ontario.

In 2009, the Ontario Liberals misused their majority when they stripped municipalities of their long-standing land planning rights in order to impose the wind turbine experiment.
They then used executive orders to hand out sole-sourced deals to line the pockets of their wind developer friends.

These 20-year deals provide guaranteed pricing to developers for wind power that is above market rates — because wind power cannot be produced in Ontario at reasonable market rates. The deals also guarantee revenue even when turbines are asked not to produce wind power. Read article

High Ontario power rates blamed for deterring investment

2014_06010078CBC News
A growing number of Ontario mayors and manufacturers say the province’s energy prices and infrastructure are bad for business.

According to the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario, industrial customers pay approximately $85 per megawatt hour in Ontario when all components of the price of electricity is included. That’s more than double the $40 average paid in neighbouring provinces Manitoba, Quebec and the state of Michigan.

Ian Howcroft, the vice president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Ontario, said energy is a major factor when companies look to invest or expand in the province. “Companies are looking at all costs. It could be a deal breaker,” Howcroft said of energy rates. “Ontario is a high-cost jurisdiction, especially with the high dollar.

“It could be the straw that broke the investment camel’s back.” Howcroft said energy could account for as much as 30 per cent of a company’s expense, especially in mining and foundries. Read article

Power prices zap Ontario’s oil gains

wynneFinancial Post, Parker Gallant
According to the Globe and Mail, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says her province “is ready to shield Canada from the economic tsunami caused by declining oil prices and a sinking dollar.”

Ms. Wynne’s comments came after an RBC report estimated the fall in oil prices will actually help the Canadian economy by boosting household purchasing power by $8.9 billion this year. With annual Ontario gasoline consumption of 16.4 billion litres, a permanent slide in the price of about 25 cents (from $1.20 a litre to 95 cents a litre) should translate to about $4-billion annually in the hands of Ontario consumers.

Premier Wynne went on to say: “I don’t wish for low oil prices and a low dollar for Alberta,” she said. “But at the same time, we want our manufacturing sector to rebound. So if that [low oil price] helps, then that’s a good thing.”

If lower oil prices are a good thing, what can the premier say about the higher electricity prices she is responsible for? Ms. Wynne cannot have it both ways. The cut in gasoline prices, in fact, will only replace a portion of the cash the Liberal government’s Green Energy & Green Economy Act (GEA) annually extracts from consumers on their electricity bills. If one goes back to 2009 when the GEA was passed into law and compare the price of electricity with today’s prices, the hit to Ontario’s ratepayers (including manufacturers) is about $4.5 billion per year. Read article

High hydro costs due to provincial bungling

CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO, INTERNAIONAL POWER GDF SUEZ from Talbot Trail 15Peter Epp, London Free Press
Hydro One has issued 10 suggestions on how homeowners and others who use electricity to heat their homes can reduce their monthly bill. But not one of those tips mention the major reason electricity bills have risen the past year. Hydro One’s first tip is to ensure trim on windows, between the frame and the house, are filled and secure. “As much as 13% of your home’s heat loss could be escaping through the gaps,” Hydro One says.

Other tips suggest closing off air registers in unused parts of the house, moving furniture away from vents, and installing a programmable thermostat. Some tips are ridiculously obvious. “On sunny winter days, trap warm air inside by opening window coverings to let the warmth of the sun in,” Hydro One advises. “Once the sun goes down, close window coverings to help keep the warmth in..” All of this is wonderful, and perhaps necessary for some homeowners, but you have to wonder if these tips will make any appreciable difference in electricity bills that are rising not because of leaky windows or unfortunately-placed sofas, but because of the government’s bungling in what was once one of the best-managed public utilities anywhere. Read article

Hot air from the wind power lobby

Tom Adams and Ross McKitrick, Financial Post
Wind and solar power are key drivers behind Ontario’s surging electricity prices
On Oct. 30 we published a Fraser Institute study entitled “What Goes Up… Ontario’s Soaring Electricity Prices and How to Get Them Down.” We analyzed the factors driving the rise in Ontario’s electricity prices, focusing on the so-called Global Adjustment (GA), which is a non-market surcharge set by the province to fund payments to electricity producers for above-market revenue guarantees. Our econometric analysis allowed us to track not only the impact of direct payments to power generating firms but also indirect effects arising when one distorted production decision subsequently distorts the incentives of others, boosting overall provincial liabilities. Among other things we found that adding wind power to the grid increases costs by about three times the amount of the direct payments to wind turbine operators, with the interaction effects making up the difference.

On November 3, The Canadian Wind Energy Association issued a response to our study prepared by the consulting firm Power Advisory LLC. CanWEA’s press release acknowledges that electricity prices are increasing but claims that these changes benefit Ontarians. While it is certainly true that rising prices — up 52% since 2004 in inflation-adjusted terms — have been enormously beneficial to CanWEA and its members, they are harmful to Ontario consumers and firms. It is important to understand the real factors behind price trends, and not simply to take at face value the claims of an industry group with an obvious conflict of interest in the matter. Read article

Rise in utility disconnections ‘unacceptable’: MPP

electricity costBy Denis Langlois, Sun Times, Owen Sound
MPP Bill Walker says he is deeply concerned about the skyrocketing number of people who are appealing to the local United Way for help after having their electricity or heating services cut off by utility companies or because they are at risk of a disconnection.

The Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Progressive Conservative politician said increasing hydro rates, which he blames on Ontario Liberal government mismanagement, and a lack of jobs in the province are behind the troublesome trend. “Sadly, I think we’re going to have more and more disconnections,” he said Thursday in an interview. “It’s unacceptable.”

Francesca Dobbyn, executive director of the United Way of Bruce Grey, told The Sun Times Wednesday that the agency has received more calls this fall — the bulk of which have come in within the last few weeks — about service disconnections than in any other year of its eight-year-old utility assistance program. Read article

Wynne’s Liberals zap us on green energy

mcwynnetyToronto Sun
Another day and another report says Ontario’s reckless experiment with wind and solar power has been a financial disaster for the province’s taxpayers and ratepayers. This time it’s the Fraser Institute, coming to many of the same conclusions the Auditor General of Ontario did in late 2011.

This time, energy analyst Tom Adams and University of Guelph economist Ross McKitrick in their report, What Goes Up, argue the Dalton McGuinty/Kathleen Wynne blunder into green energy is hurting consumers, making the province less competitive and benefitting industry insiders. It has created the absurd situation in which Ontario has an energy surplus, while energy prices skyrocket.

As Adams puts it: “Wind and solar power systems provide less than 4% of Ontario’s power but account for 20% of the cost paid by Ontarians, yet the government wants to triple the number of wind and solar generators. That’s a good deal for wind and solar producers but a raw deal for consumers.” Read article

Wind turbines blowing Ontario taxpayers’ money: Report

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Toronto Sun, Antonella Artuso
TORONTO — Wind turbines are sucking money out of Ontarians’ wallets, a new report says. What Goes Upa Fraser Institute report by Ross McKitrick and Tom Adams to be released Thursday, makes a number of controversial recommendations to ease the upward pressure on electricity bills.

The Ontario government should announce an immediate moratorium on new wind and solar power facilities, and revisit existing contracts that commit Ontarians to paying well above market rates for renewable electricity, the authors conclude.

“Wind and solar power systems provide less than 4% of Ontario’s power but account for 20% of the cost paid by Ontarians, yet the government wants to triple the number of wind and solar generators,” energy analyst Adams said in a statement. “That’s a good deal for wind and solar producers but a raw deal for consumers.” Read article

Achtung, Ontario! Renewables are a money pit

2014_06010035Financial Post, Brady Yauch
Germany, the model for Ontario’s wind and solar developments, now regrets its spending spree
Germany – the country on which Ontario modelled its approach to renewable energy development – has a $412-billion lesson for Ontario. That’s the amount the country has spent on subsidies in support of solar and wind energy, among other renewables, over the past 20 years, all in the push to wean the country off fossil fuel and nuclear generation.

On the surface – and according to many news sites – the program has been a success, and not just because of the 378,000 people renewables now employ.

By the end of 2012 (the most recent year for data), wind and solar provided about 13% of all German electricity consumption. Adding in hydro and biomass, renewables provided more than 23%. And in May, headline writers around the world proudly trumpeted that renewable energy provided 75% of the country’s total electricity consumption.

But scratch a bit below the surface and an entirely different picture emerges – one with households being pushed into “energy poverty” as renewable subsidies lead to soaring power bills, handouts to the country’s big businesses and exporters so they can avoid paying for those subsidies and a systematic bankrupting of traditional utilities. As for that one day in May when headlines celebrated that 75% of power generation came from renewables, well, it was a Sunday when demand for power is at its lowest level. Read article

Power Bill Comparison: Ontario to New Brunswick

What do all those lines on an Ontario power bill mean? How does a Hydro One power bill stack up to a New Brunswick power bill? Here’s a comparison from recent billings:

HydrooneHydro One statement:

  • 3 lines for the differing Time Of Use charges (739 kWH costing $21.98+$18.90+$30.63 = $71.51)
  • Delivery charge ($78.94)
  • Regulatory charges ($4.78)
  • Debt Retirement charge ($5.18)
  • HST ($20.85)
  • Total ($181.26)
  • Less the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit ($18.13)
  • New Total $163.12
  • Real cost per kWH with the Clean Energy Benefit ($142.28 / 739 = $.22 per kWH)
  • Without the soon to be removed Clean Energy Benefit ($160.41 / 739 = $.25 per kWH)

NB-PowerNB Power statement:

  • Monthly Service Charge ($22.02)
  • Kilowatt-hours used (739 kWH @ $.105/kWH) costing ($77.60)
  • HST ($12.95)
  • Total ($112.57)
  • Bottom line cost per kWH, including the HST ($99.62 / 739 = $.15 per kWH)

In Ontario, this consumer would pay 47% more (including the Clean Energy Benefit), and will soon pay 67% more when the Clean Energy Benefit is terminated.

Harvey Wrightman

Look in the mirror

McGuinty Visits Erie Shores WindfarmLetter to the Editor, Meaford Express, 2014 July 16
Power Rates, County Council and the Premier

The motion recently passed by Grey County Council read, in part, that “ …the County of Grey strongly urge the Premier to find out the reason why costs are escalating…”

Council could have helpfully added a practical suggestion to help move things along.

Specifically, the Premier could convene the entire Ontario Liberal Party, including herself and her Cabinet and Caucus, and simply stand in front of a big mirror.

Ron Hartlen
Clarksburg ON