Turbines 10x more costly than coal retrofit

By MPP Toby Barrett

For much of the last decade, locally we have been saying what a recently released Fraser Institute report has concluded. Specifically, the Green Energy Act, and its industrial wind turbines, “is now 10 times more costly than installing pollution-control equipment on existing coal plants.”

Some 10 years after coal closure commitments, and four years after the passage of the Green Energy Act (GEA), we have been proven right. Regrettably we are being forced to pay for this government’s energy scheme. We’re left to pick up the tab for electricity that has doubled. We’re losing most of our 625 coal plant jobs at Nanticoke. We’re subjected to an onslaught of inefficient industrial wind turbines.

Not only does the Fraser Report point out the Green Energy Act and its massive wind turbines would not yield meaningful reductions in air pollution, it points out that government moved forward with the GEA while knowing the closure of Lambton and Nanticoke power plants would have negligible impact on air quality.

The Fraser Institute’s “Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act”, verified the Nanticoke closure could have been averted and coal plants retrofitted with clean air technology, “at a fraction of the cost” of the government push toward renewables.

And this month we saw the release of a second report chronicling Ontario government energy fiascos. The Auditor General’s Special Report on Mississauga Power Plant Cancellation Costs confirmed the 11th hour election decision to cancel the gas plant in Mississauga cost taxpayers a heck of a lot more than the $190 million government claimed – for a total tab of $275 million.

The Fraser Institute Report goes on to explain the, “claim that 50,000 jobs will be created by the GEA was a guess without any basis in formal analysis, and the Province has since admitted both that the vast majority of any GEA-related jobs will be temporary and that the figure of 50,000 does not account for offsetting permanent job losses caused by increases in the price of electricity.” Statistics bear out this job creation fantasy, as costs rose by 29 per cent in the manufacturing sector, employment has fallen by 50 per cent in the wake of the GEA.

What’s more, the poster-children of the GEA – monstrous wind turbines – produce 80 per cent of their power, “at times and seasons so far out of phase with demand that the entire output is surplus and is exported at a substantial loss.” In fact, Ontario has already lost close to $2 billion on exports to the US and other provinces. And more troubling, “the loss rate will continue to grow with every new wind turbine installation, because the mismatch between the timing of wind-powered generation and Ontario electricity demand is structural.”

Between the cost of the GEA and cancelled gas plants, the McGuinty/Wynne government has diverted billions of people’s money away from health and education to pay for its own ideologically and politically driven aspirations.

It’s clear this government’s Green Energy Act is costing us dearly, while doing little to reduce pollution. As predicted, in the aftermath of the GEA we are left with doubled electricity bills, inefficient unwanted turbines, a powerless power plant, and the spectre of 625 jobs lost at Nanticoke.