The ups and downs of the energy transition

We read this week that the Ontario government is planning to scrap many of its renewable energy contracts in order to save the average homeowner Canadian $2.45 per month. Rob Ferguson writes about the developments in the Toronto Star. For a province that has few resources to generate electricity, it seems somewhat puzzling.

 

Ontario Liberals scrap plans for $3.8 billion in renewable energy projects

In another measure to keep hydro bills in check, Ontario is scrapping plans to sign $3.8 billion in contracts for renewable energy like wind and solar, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said Tuesday.

The move — which the Progressive Conservatives have been calling for regularly — will keep $2.45 from going on the average homeowner’s monthly hydro bill and halt the building of new wind farms opposed by many rural residents.

Thibeault said the decision was made after the province’s electricity planning agency released a report earlier this month saying there was no “urgent need” to procure additional supply.

“When our experts said we didn’t need it, that’s when I acted,” Thibeault told reporters.

“I’ve been tasked to find ways to bring bills down.”

The Liberal government, which is sagging in the polls and has long faced anger over skyrocketing hydro rates, announced in its throne speech two weeks ago that the 8 per cent provincial tax on electricity will come off bills starting in January.

Many rural homeowners who face high delivery charges for hydro will also see 20 per cent savings, and 1,000 more companies will be able to take advantage of a program that allows them to shift hydro use away from periods of peak demand in return for lower prices.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was shadowed by wind farm protesters last week at the International Plowing Match and booed over hydro prices.

Thibeault said renewable energy contracts already signed by the province will still go ahead, which means some wind turbines and other projects will still go ahead.

“Ontario will honour the renewable contracts that have been signed.”

Also Tuesday, the provincial Financial Accountability Office released a report that found households in Toronto and Niagara typically spend the least on home energy costs and confirmed that northern Ontario residents spend the most, with low-income families facing the highest burden.

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