Letter to Auditor General for Ontario from North American Platform Against Windpower

Dear Ms Lysyk,

Please consider this letter as an urgent formal request for a complete and impartial audit for all matters pertaining to the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009, and its false assertions and negative results for Ontario: these misrepresentations include vigorous job creation, suggested cleaner air space, the ability to create energy facilities, wind and solar, in particular, in a cost savings manner, or competitive manner.

The Green Energy and Green Economy Act has suggested with not a little hyperbole, that it will “spark” growth in “renewables sources in Ontario, while creating savings, and producing 50,000 jobs, direct and indirect,” and “make a positive contribution towards climate change objectives,” whereas in fact the GEA threatens to eviscerate the economy of Ontario and Canada as a whole. The factual results of the GEA are of economic chaos, massive job losses, environmental degradation of the highest order, a decay of our treasured environmental protections in law, and yet uncounted human health and productivity costs.

Under the guise of positive net growth, and climate change objectives, this Act has been used to gouge and tyrannize the province, materially and economically.

We believe that the mandate of the Auditor General to provide access to “value for money” data, within an audit, will provide even more information with respect to the waste and perhaps fraud at the highest levels; consumers are indeed not being provided with fair business practices, but are continually subjected to even more egregious attacks in their daily “energy expensive” lives due to a battered and debt ridden economy. Jobs continue to leave Ontario. Some are relocating to Buffalo, to save, in one instance, $4 million per year in energy savings, or to Saskatchewan, for example. The bleed of jobs cannot continue, and we believe that an assertive and clear look at the funding and economic threat of the Green Energy Act will bear striking similarities to the international failure of wind power and Green Energy policies. Even information provided years ago by your office and the Fraser Institute did nothing to change the course.

We contend that none of the GEA assertions and projections have proven valid, and have in fact been a major contributor, likely THE major contributor, to the near demise of manufacturing in Ontario, to energy poverty for many Ontarians whose hydro bills have risen 30-40% with promises of more hikes, to the loss of jobs to the USA and western Canada, to the ill health of hundreds of Ontarians, some of whom have been forced to abandon homes, or been bought out by developers, or who reside in parking lots at Walmart, or at cottages, or with relatives. The energy chaos of Ontario now handily competes with that of Spain, Germany, or the UK.

All of this should be and should have been preventable, since the facts are well known. Indeed, the facts of the Green Energy failures of Europe should have been a lesson learned before this Ontario failure of a massive scale. (Ontario now has the unenviable position of having the highest cost of power in North America. The significance of this is not lost on Moody’s Credit Ratings system, with the threat of downgrades to Ontario.) The lessons of Europe have been put before the Legislature, all parties, on many occasions, without benefit or improvement.

The Fraser report of 2013 has already indicated that the assertions of the GEA are egregiously false.

Already, the GEA has caused major price increases for large energy consumers, and we’re anticipating additional hikes of 40 to 50 per cent over the next few years,” said Ross McKitrick, Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of “Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act”.

The Ontario government defends the GEA by referring to a confidential 2005 cost-benefit analysis on reducing air pollution from power plants. That report did not recommend pursuing wind or solar power; instead it looked at conventional pollution control methods which would have yielded the same environmental benefits as the GEA, but at a tenth of the current cost. If the province sticks to its targets for expanding renewables, the GEA will end up being 70 times costlier than the alternative, with no greater benefits. (News release, April 2013)

The study goes on to indicate that returns to investment in manufacturing are “likely to decline by 29 per cent, mining by 13 per cent, and forestry by less than one per cent.”

Professor McKitrick explains in his report that wind is especially wasteful, as surplus generation occurs generally when demand is low, and the resulting “dumping” also results in net losses to Ontario.

“The Auditor General of Ontario estimates that the province has already lost close to $2 billion on surplus wind exports, and figures from the electricity grid operator show the ongoing losses are $200 million annually”, says the report.

Terrance Corcoran in the Financial Post quotes from the Auditor’s report that the cost of power is estimated to rise again another 46% in the next four years. In his analysis of the Auditor General’s 2011 report on electricity, Mr. Corcoran writes of “wilful negligence” and a “high level of fiscal negligence and abuse of process and disdain for taxpayers and electricity consumers.”

A prime example of the negative impact on the Ontario jobs situation is reflected in Magna’s (the largest automotive parts manufacturer in Canada) announcement that due to the high cost of electricity in Ontario, it will not make any further investments. (Specifically, for Magna between 2013 and 2014, normal business activities resulted in an increased cost of electricity of 30 million dollars.)

The expressed primary purpose of the 2011 audit was to ensure that the OEB had sufficient and adequate systems in place to protect consumers, ratepayers. As noted also in the report, consumers are protected under the Energy Consumer Protection Act, 2010, and that under this legislation consumers shall be provided with the information they require about contracts, prices, and that they will be protected by fair business practices. This fairness has not been brought to fruition.

And the serial negligence continuing until this day, despite hearty and clear directives from the Fraser Institute and your office, has resulted merely in the advance of even more industrial wind in Ontario under Premier Wynne. Consumers are indeed not being increasingly protected, and continue to be recklessly thrown under the fiscal bus.

What we find most egregious is that the people of Ontario have warned the Premier(s) McGuinty and Wynne, and made reports to the Finance Committee, as well as reporting to these offices the results of energy chaos in Germany, Spain, the UK as well as other European states previously under the spell of “renewables.” (Please note the letter to the Editor, Financial Post, March 3, 2011: “No such thing as renewable energy.”) These abject economic failures in Europe should have provided clear warning of the folly of subsidizing inefficient non base load sources of power, particularly wind turbines.

The government and lobbying association CanWEA’s (Canadian Wind Energy Association) assertion that the wind turbine industry operates safely and without damage to human health is false and must also be examined, since the reports of ill health given to the MOE (Environment) now number in the thousands. The MOE (Ministry of the Environment) has recognized the problem, and admitted in an email obtained from an FOI that they “did not know what to do.” The costs of wind power to our medical system and human productivity have not yet been accounted for.

We remind you that with about 240,000 wind turbines worldwide, we yet only receive one half of one percent, NET ZERO, of our power needs from this source. This industry is a failure, plain and simple; does the build out then have something to do with massive subsidies deep in the pockets of developers? Who is receiving these massive double or quadruple profits? We would like to see a chart of the major beneficiaries of the FIT program in Ontario. In Spain, the profits have been so tidy, that the Government recently asked for some retroactive repayments, understandably chilling the wind developers’ aspirations. (The lineup of crimes against consumers continues in Ontario: with 86% of Ontario’s wind power being produced on days when we are already in a surplus export mode. Another net loss for consumers is obvious.)

Please also include an environmental impacts costs study in your findings. The extreme damage to water tables, prime farm land, general ecological tragedies and killing of wildlife, has an external cost factor as well, to be borne, sadly, by our future generations.

Mr. Geoffrey Cox, a UK Conservative MP, expressed his disgust for the “gigantic machines” which are terrorizing his country:

The reality is there is a Klondike-type gold-rush going on in rural areas where developers are anxious to get their applications through to pick up the vast profits that can be made.

This is having a disruptive, devastating and distressing effect on dozens of small rural communities that are being torn apart by these huge industrial machines that are just yards away from their home.

The number of applications seems to be going up rather than receding. What is going on is a stealthy, silent revolution of the most beautiful landscapes in Great Britain.

If we carry on we will have ruined this most extraordinary inheritance.

We look forward to your prompt reply and a rapid advancement into an impartial audit of these matters in their complete impacts on Ontario, on the economy, and on fairness, or in this case, unfairness, to each consumer and job seeker. It will be extremely useful to untangle some of the Byzantine financial and undemocratic policy arrangements that have led to this “made in Ontario” crisis. We must immediately stop this re-creation of the catastrophic results of Green Energy failures in Europe.

Please conduct an impartial and in depth assessment of all financial matters pertaining to the GEA and relay these findings to the people of Ontario at your earliest convenience. We anticipate that your report might reflect also on the medical costs to Ontario families, the loss of economic vibrancy and stability of rural Ontario which continues to bear the assault fully on its shoulders, the loss of tourism, and the loss of property values, which also contribute to economic stagnancy. Please also conduct a study on a trace of the profits to developers, kWh by kWh, if possible. We have a right to know where our hydro dollars are going.

The high octane waste of the “Green Energy and Green Economy Act”, which has been repeatedly explained to legislators, must cease immediately. It must also be retroactively remediated. Your office has the ability to further outline to the Government not only how it may alter course, but how it must immediately repair.

(We will be writing under separate cover to Commissioner Hawkes, as we fully believe the waste and apparent fraud of the GEA far overpowers the ORNGE, E-Health, and Gas Plant scandals.)

Thanking you in advance,

Sherri Lange
CEO, NA-PAW (North American Platform Against Wind Power)
Founding Director, Toronto Wind Action
Executive Director Canada, Great Lakes Wind Truth
VP Canada, Save the Eagles International

August 11, 2014

Appendix

What we know

IS THIS CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE?

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