Ending Ontario’s wind experiment
Special to Financial Post | January 27, 2015
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. They also guarantee revenue even when turbines are asked not to produce wind power.
The Ontario Liberals deliberately ignored the interests and wishes of rural Ontario and made all consumers, both urban and rural pay for it—to the tune of $1 billion to $3 billion annually, with increases projected every year. That’s $20 billion to $60 billion over the next two decades. This accounted for only 3.4% of Ontario’s electricity generating capacity, but represented 20% of the total commodity cost of electricity in the province.
And the bad news doesn’t end there — for the last two years, our electricity system has been forced to dump more than double the amount of power generated by wind turbines into other jurisdictions, and at a 75% discount on what we paid to produce it.
Why? Because we are producing more electricity than we need, and because the wind turbines in Ontario produce most of their power during off-peak hours – when we don’t need it all.
And how are the turbines helping the environment? Since wind power is unreliable it requires additional backup power from other generation sources, such as gas-fired generation, which — you guessed it — increases air emissions.
France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain have all had to reverse course on wind power. The reason — the exorbitant costs on consumers with no benefit.
So how do we get out of this mess? If a future government issued another executive order to terminate the McGuinty-Wynne wind power scheme and keep it out of public view, then taxpayers would be on the hook for the entirety of the commitments — as was done by Dalton McGuinty in 2010 with the proposed power plants in Mississauga and Oakville. If, however, the democratically elected legislature passed an explicit statute to end the wind power rip-off, Ontario could determine what compensation, if any, would be paid, and to whom.
Enacting legislation to repeal the Liberal wind power boondoggle is the right way forward. As Premier I will do just that and introduce measures in the legislature to correct this abuse of power by the Ontario Liberals.
Monte McNaughton is the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and a candidate for the leadership of the PC Party of Ontario. More details about McNaughton’s plan to end Ontario’s wind energy experiment are available at www.Monte.ca/wind.