TORONTO - The elephant at Queen’s Park this week is George Smitherman.
The political ghost of the former health minister turned energy
minister turned super infrastructure minister has haunted everything
from the auditor’s report on the Ornge air ambulance scandal (Smitherman
was at the helm of the health ministry when it started) to Energy
Minister Chris Bentley’s announcement lowering the price the government
will pay for wind and solar under its feed in tariff (FIT) program.
The Green Energy Act (GEA) was Smitherman’s baby. It offered
ludicrously high prices to producers of wind and solar power and
guaranteed that high-priced alternatives would be sold into the grid
before cheaper traditional energy from Niagara Falls and nuclear plants.
Worse, costly green energy sent hydro bills skyrocketing.
That massive impact of the GEA shows up disastrously on the
electricity bills of mid-sized businesses, many of which are getting
squeezed out of business by something called the, “global adjustment,” —
a line item that’s adding millions to their hydro bills.
Rural Ontario has been devastated by the GEA.
Small towns and villages had massive wind farms foisted on them over vigorous objections.
They’re a blight on the countryside and instead of bringing
employment to hard-pressed areas, many of them are owned and operated
outside this province.
Energy Minister Chris Bentley announced Thursday that future wind
turbine and solar projects will be approved on a points system basis.
New projects will get extra points if they’ve engaged the community
and the municipality in the process and if they involve a school,
hospital or university.
“We haven’t done everything people asked us to do, but we have made a
number of steps in terms of where these projects can be located in the
future that I think reflects that we’ve been listening,” Bentley said in
That’s not good enough, says Tory critic Vic Fedeli.
Unwilling host communities could still have turbines foisted on them.
Some of the cheapest green energy in the world is generated at Niagara Falls — and we’re throwing it away.
We have an excess of electricity. You can’t store it, so the only way
to get rid of it is to spill water that could be used to generate
electricity for 2 cents a kilowatt hour at Niagara.
Instead, until now we paid more than 80 cents a kwh for solar and 13.5 cents for wind.
Bentley announced Thursday those prices are going down — to 54.9 cents for solar and 11.5 for wind.
That’s still unaffordable and will still push up electricity costs.
Fedeli says the government has added 1,700 kw of costly renewables, claiming they were reducing coal use.
That’s not true.
“In fact, coal use was up 28% in 2010,” he said.
“For every megawatt of wind and solar that’s been added, clean renewable water power has been reduced by that amount,” he said.
The Liberals allowed $300 million-worth of electricity that could
have been generated at Niagara Falls to go down the drain. As well,
nuclear plants have been taken off-line, he said.
“At the very time that we need to be strengthening Ontario’s economy,
the Liberal government has doubled down on the wind and solar projects
which have killed jobs throughout Ontario,” he said.
There’s a trio of Smitherman elephants in the room: Green energy. Ehealth. Ornge.
Any parade of pachyderms, has a couple of clowns running behind, cleaning up the mess.
And this week, that sad task fell to Bentley and Health Minister Deb
Matthews. They were out there every day – shovelling the manure.
By: Captain Canuck
Tags: liberal, hydro, scandal, air ambulance, ornge, green energy, niagara falls, wind, solar, ontario
Location: Ontario, Canada (load item map)
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