By MPP Toby Barrett
As the cost of electricity climbs because of green energy schemes, people continue to fight the conga-line of industrial wind turbines snaking around rural Ontario.
Locally, opponents to the Next Era Summerhaven Wind project in Haldimand County are pursuing a legal challenge. Haldimand Wind Concerns and Bill Monture of Six Nations have appealed the MOE approval of the wind project leading to preliminary hearings last week. Hearings are tentatively scheduled later this month in Hagersville with the province’s Environmental Review Tribunal expected to hear 10 days of testimony on the project beginning May 28th. The tribunal will hear challenges such as risks to human health, wildlife, plant life and the well-being of the environment.
As well, a recent Fraser Institute study predicts Ontario ratepayers will pay an average of $285-million more for electricity annually for the next two decades to fund green energy subsidies. We’ve already seen a doubling of the electricity rate since 2003.
In two years Ontario will have the highest household power rates in North America, after Prince Edward Island.
According to reports, an average household using 800 kilowatt hours a month will see the ‘electricity’ cost on their hydro bill jump by nearly $72, while consumers using smart meters (or time-of-use pricing) will see an increase of about $50. The Ontario Energy Board, in response to the hikes, has indicated that prices are changing due to the replacement of coal-fired generation with natural gas, nuclear and renewable energy.
In opposition, we continue to highlight the reality when the subsidized green dream meets economic fact.
The truth is that Mr. McGuinty has turned what was once the strongest manufacturing sector in the country – built on economically attractive energy rates – into one of the weakest. As green powered energy rates rise, manufacturers are looking for the exits resulting in the loss of 300,000 lost manufacturing jobs.
In fact, the Auditor General stated that for every green job, we lose between two and four jobs in other sectors. Even those green jobs that McGuinty’s team have crowed about are already beginning to wither on the vine.
Recently, another renewable energy company found out just how flawed and unworkable this energy scheme is. Siliken, a solar panel maker in Windsor, Ontario, laid off 40 staff. This comes after Windsor’s WindTronics, a company that received $2.7 million from the McGuinty government pulled up stakes and moved to Michigan.
High electricity costs are hitting not only homeowners but also factory and business owners who are now paying for wind and solar subsidies through, what is called, a global adjustment that is billed to cover the cost of those subsidies
Since the introduction of the Green Energy Act to the Legislature some two years ago, Opposition members have warned of the sucker’s bet on the subsidization of electricity producers. The writing has been on the wall for jurisdictions in Europe and the U.S. that have tried – and failed – similar green gambits, with only job-loss and piling debt to show for it. Germany, Spain, Texas, and California all have well-documented war wounds resulting from failed green energy subsidization programs.
Until Government learns the lessons from those who have been there and done that, we will all continue to pay.