(September 21, 2013) Three years ago (on November 9, 2010) “confidential” documents were obtained by the Ontario PC Party and reported on by the Toronto Star. The documents disclosed a plan to “confuse the public” about the “true cost of the government’s push for green energy”.
The consulting firm Sussex Strategy Group advised “a group of unnamed green energy developers” some three years ago on how to promote the governing Liberals’ policy and expedite lucrative government contracts for renewable energy. The Ontario Lobbyists Registry lists Sussex as a lobbyist for the “who’s who” of the green energy sector and therefore they have a lot of influence on the goings on at Queens Park, particularly as it relates to the Energy portfolio under the leadership of Bob Chiarelli and his many Liberal predecessors.
Minister Chiarelli seems to have picked up the mantra suggested by the Sussex Group in 2010 as he has launched several initiatives reputedly aimed at engagement of stakeholders. Those include the siting of large projects (over 500 kilowatts), engagement of community groups in regional energy plans and a revision of the Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). The latter “plan” came from the desk of Brad Duguid when he occupied the chair Chiarelli now sits in and coincidently surfaced just two weeks after the TorStar article and within spitting distance of the 10% Clean Energy Benefit put into place by the previous Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan.
Mr. Duguid’s LTEP forecast was; by the year 2030, we would have 10,700 megawatts (MW) of installed “Renewables-Wind, Solar, Bioenergy”.
It now appears that we will reach the levels forecast in the LTEP long before 2030 as a report recently published by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) discloses. In fact, the June 30, 2013 report indicates the OPA has contracted for 8,114 MW of renewable energy, which means the OPA has achieved 76% of the 2030 target. To summarize here is where contracted renewables stood as of June 30, 2013, and what was operational as of the same date compared to December 31, 2011:
Contracted Operational Operational LTEP
Date 13/06/30 13/06/30 11/12/31 30/12/31
Wind 5,752 MW 2,158 MW 1,958 MW ?
Solar 1,998 MW 814 MW 419 MW ?
Bioenegy 364 MW 109 MW 49 MW ?
Totals 8,114 MW 3,081 MW 2,426 MW 10,700 MW
It is worth noting that the “Operational” increase in wind, solar and bioenergy from the end of 2011 to the end of June 30, 2013 was 655 MW. That 655 MW increase appears to have played a large part in driving the Global Adjustment (GA) pot (the excesses of contracted prices less the hourly Ontario energy price or HOEP) up by approximately $90 million per month when comparing the first 8 months of 2012 to the comparable 2013 period. Annually that would add $840 million to the cost of electricity in Ontario with the largest bite coming from the increase in operational solar which carries a high Feed-In Tariff price for generators. That 395 MW of solar alone running at 15% of capacity and an average of $500 per MWh adds $250 million per annum to the GA.
The “Sussex” document disclosed that the “unnamed green energy developers” would be in the company of Environmental Defence and the GEA Alliance, both instrumental in creating the Green Energy and Green Economy Act when George Smitherman was the Energy Minister.
Although the document was exposed by the Toronto Star article it received little attention and the “strategy” proposed in the paper was basically executed by the Liberals, with the help of CanWEA, CanSIA, and the Environmental Non-government Organizations (ENGOs). That they achieved what was planned is a testament to the desire to wring money from the ratepayers of the Province and the OPA’s report of June 30, 2013 confirms their success.
Minister Chiarelli’s current numerous engagements seem intent on maintaining the “confusion” in the minds of the voters, taxpayers and ratepayers of the province. The fact that the OPA has already contracted for 76% of renewable energy planned by the year 2030 while Ontario experiences a huge surplus of supply that we ofter pay for not producing or pay to export seems to have escaped the Minister’s attention. Instead of having public servants running around the province holding “stakeholder” meetings he should simply say we are curtailing the granting of any additional contracts. Despite the obvious Minister Chiarelli has directed the OPA, via his directives of June 26, 2013 and June 12, 2013, to continue contracting an additional 200 MW of small FIT and MicroFIT plus another 50 MW of hydro for the system. Additional generation we obviously don’t need!
Those of us in the anti-wind, anti-solar renewable groups don’t have the financial wherewithal to fight the well-orchestrated media messages put out by the Ministry, the OPA and the other many benefactors of the GEA. Without the funding to fight the “confusion” we must rely on the eventual trigger to our unrest appearing on our hydro bills as they continue their relentless climb, causing further job losses and rendering Ontario to a Greece-like status and forcing energy poverty on a large chunk of our population, similar to what has occurred in Germany.
Our biggest hope is that the NDP finally wake up and discover the very people they claim to represent are the ones suffering the most from the GEA. At that point perhaps Ms. Horvath will stop playing nice with Premier Wynne and trigger an election.
Stop the confusion, kill the Green Energy Act!
Parker Gallant is a retired bank executive and a former director of Energy Probe Research Foundation. As with all independent bloggers on this site, Parker’s views do not necessarily reflect those of Energy Probe.