Energy stakeholders to the Wynne government: the new plan should focus on costs

January 11, 2017

Last October, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault launched the “Discussion Guide to Start the Conversation” with the objective of “Planning Ontario’s Energy Future”. The Long-Term Energy Plan or LTEP when presented in 2017 will be the sixth LTEP (including 1 and 1[a], discarded by Smitherman) developed by the current government in the past nine years, which says a lot about “long-term” planning.

Naturally when an opportunity to contribute to policy comes along, organizations offer their views on the direction the plan should take. I have prepared a review of some of the comments made to the Ministry of Energy on the LTEP.

First we have Robert Hornung (MA, Political Science), president of wind power trade association and lobbyist the Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA, who suggested “The only way to meet those goals [reducing carbon emissions] is to increase the use of electricity, particularly electricity generated from sources that don’t emit carbon. Wind is well-positioned to meet that need.”

Then Jack Gibbons (former Toronto Hydro commissioner) of Ontario Clean Air Alliance said: “While the world shifts to green sources, Ontario is doubling down on nuclear, rebuilding ten aging reactors, while pushing renewable energy to the fringe. This is a bad plan and an economically disastrous direction . . . Ontario should set a target or moving to 100 per cent renewable energy by 20150.” [sic]

Now that is what I call “long-term planning”!

On the other hand we have organizations who are interested in ensuring electricity rates stop rising at multiples of the inflation rate.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business – The CFIB suggested in their comments to the Energy Ministry that “Ontario Hydro rates are out of control”; they met with the Minister of Energy and made the following recommendations.

• Eliminate all time-of-use (Smart Meter) rates for small businesses and implement a lower cost rate system on the first 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity consumed per month.
• Accelerate the removal of the Debt Retirement Charge from commercial hydro bills, which is currently slated for April 1, 2018.
• Require the display of the “Global Adjustment” on all hydro bills to increase transparency.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation – The Canadian Taxpayers Federation website posting shows their concern:
“If Hydro Rates are ‘Urgent Issue’ for Wynne, She Must Repeal Green Energy Act” and also, “Ontario customers have seen the largest increase in electricity prices anywhere in Canada – more than 60 per cent higher than the national average between 2006 and 2015.”

Ontario Chamber of Commerce – The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) were more subdued but their report of July 2015 commented: “The price of electricity is a major factor in the overall cost of doing business for many companies. As such, it is also a critical component of a jurisdiction’s competitiveness in the global economy. Jurisdictions with high electricity prices are at a disadvantage when it comes to creating jobs and attracting investment.”
The OCC’s submission on this LTEP noted in muted tones: “the addition of renewable energy resources under the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program has contributed to overall systems costs by guaranteeing long-term and above-market payouts to generators.”

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters – The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) were much more aggressive in their submission on the LTEP. “We are calling for immediate relief for manufacturers from Ontario’s sky-high electricity rates and a longer term plan to use the system as a tool for economic development” said Ian Howcroft, Vice President of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) Ontario Division. And “we urge the government to push further and faster to bring rates in line with competing jurisdictions.”
CME’s priorities for reductions included several recommendations including: Providing relief targeting smaller to medium sized manufacturers that aren’t covered by existing programs, and eliminating the Debt Retirement Charge (DRC), and “Offering more surplus capacity to manufacturers” among other suggestions.
Finally, they added this grave warning: “Lower manufacturing rates are necessary to retain and attract investment in Ontario rather than seeing it go to other jurisdictions.”

Ontario Society of Professional Engineers – A September 2016 article by Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post noted “Experts and analysts have been warning of the excess wind and solar expansions for years. The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers’ Paul Acchione warned in 2012 that wind expansion is ‘costly’ and ‘technically difficult to integrate’ into the Ontario system.” OSPE’s submission on the LTEP is a focused document that carries a lot of interesting facts. For example, they say this about power generation from wind:
“Wind generation has relatively little economic value in Ontario’s low emission power system.”

OSPE’s recommendations on ways to reduce the price of electricity are: Reduce operating costs or increase revenue from the sale of surplus electricity; Move existing costs not directly associated with producing electricity into tax-supported accounts; Transfer market risks from electricity consumers to investors; and, Remove government sales and water use taxes on electricity.
While the recommendations appear short and simple people “in the know” will recognize the seriousness subtly expressed in each of those four recommendations.

Strategic Policy Economics – Marc Brouillette’s excellent submission on behalf of Bruce Nuclear also carries some sane observations such as “Wind generation has not matched demand since its introduction in Ontario” and, “Over 70% of wind generation does not benefit Ontario’s supply capability.” And this one, which is becoming more evident as ratepayers are forced to pay for curtailed generation: “Wind generation will not match demand in the OPO Outlook future projections as 50% of the forecasted production is expected to be surplus.”

The recommendation that will cause the most handwringing will be: “The LTEP should integrate the objectives of Ontario’s environmental, energy, industrial, and economic policies for the long-term future benefit of Ontarians.”

Wind Concerns Ontario – The coalition of community groups and individuals throughout Ontario had this to say by way of advice to the Ministry: “The government policy to promote “renewables” such as wind and solar have been a critical factor in the grave economic situation today. Wind power for example, now represents 22% of electricity cost, while providing only 5.9% of the power. Worse, that power is produced out-of-phase with demand, as has been detailed by two Auditors General; so much of it is wasted. This is unsustainable.

“Clearly,” WCO continued, “the direction for the Ministry of Energy is to formulate a new Long-Term Energy Plan that will take immediate action on reducing electricity costs. Those actions must include a review of all contractual obligations for power generation from wind, and action to mitigate further costs to the system, and the over-burdened people of Ontario.”

WCO called for cancellation of all the wind power contracts given in 2016, the FIT 5.0 program, and further, cancellation of all contracts for projects not yet built or which are not going to make a critical commercial operation date. In fact, all wind power contracts should be reviewed and paid out, as Ontario can save money by eliminating the need to dispose of the surplus electricity.

 

Time will tell what the Long-Term Energy Plan will look like, but if it doesn’t include direct action to reduce actual costs to the system, it will be no plan at all.

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4 thoughts on “Energy stakeholders to the Wynne government: the new plan should focus on costs”

  1. Ontario’s hydro rates are now the highest in Canada, and still going higher, while in other provinces, hydro rates are poised to go higher as carbon taxes kick in.

    Number One: there is growing proof that global warming is not happening, rather we are starting to enter a period of global cooling. I’ll be posting a link to that effect below here shortly.

    Number Two: and most important is to understand who is driving the program for wind turbines and carbon taxes. While there are some agitators from Hollywood, the major agitators are actually in Canada and operating in Provincial and Federal governments and the list can be boiled down to a handful of men connected with the environmental groups and the wind industry basically sucking and blowing off each other with the help of mainstream media and members of parliament of the governments turning a blind eye to these salacious relationships.

    The following is some research I have done and posted in numerous other groups, and just added the above introduction for the benefit of this group.

    We read much about “trudeau does not get it” topic these days. He has had over a year to “get with the program” that Canadians wanted, yet it appears that he doing his own thing and totally ignoring the needs of Canadians.
    There is a need to investigate this matter.
    Starting with the liberal party executive, there are at least two names that figure prominently on the internet and also in the Hansard of the Ontario government.
    Exibit A: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Butts
    Mr. Butts appears to be well connected with environmental groups who were pushing the environmental agenda in the McGuinty government. It is no surprise that the shutdown of coal and in particular building wind turbines has emanated from those groups. Mr. Butts appears to be everywhere including at the forefront in discussions with the Trump administration on trade.

    “In 1999, Butts became a policy director within the Government of Ontario.[6] He was the policy secretary, and later the principal secretary, in the office of the then premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, in Toronto.[10] Prior to the 2007 election, Butts was a McGuinty insider. After the election, he became McGuinty’s principal adviser. As one of his biographical notes describes it, Butts “was intimately involved in all of the government’s significant environmental initiatives, from the Greenbelt and Boreal Conservation plan to the coal phase-out and toxic reduction strategy.”[11]
    Butts had previously worked with Senator Allan MacEachen, and with George Smitherman.[6] With Butts’ influence,[8] the Ontario Liberal Party won the Ontario provincial elections in 2003 and in 2007.
    On June 25, 2008, Butts was announced as the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada. He officially took up the position on September 2, 2008,[12] succeeding Mike Russill.
    On October 16, 2012,[13] Butts left WWF-Canada to become the political advisor to Justin Trudeau.[14] His position at WWF-Canada was filled by David Miller, a former mayor of Toronto.
    On December 13, 2012, Butts was interviewed by Steve Paikin for The Agenda on the topic of “The Best Way to Clean Up the Environment”.[15][16] Butts has published articles in the Boston Book Review, the Literary Review of Canada, and Gravitas. He has also appeared on television programs such as W5 and TSN’s Off the Record.”

    Exibit B: https://yourwardnews.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/liberal-hack-mike-crawley-exposed/
    Read carefully the paragraphs that can be found in the official record of the Province of Ontario that are summarized on this web page. In particular note that Mr. Crawley is an active member of the liberal executive, and also a wind developer. Mr. Crawley is therefore the beneficiary of the liberal energy policy that was implemented in Ontario, and being attempted to be implemented across Canada.

    CONCLUSIONS

    1. The liberal government has got to be the most salacious and incestuous governments Provincially and Federally in the history of Canada.

    2. Trudeau himself is largely uneducated as a business man, and no real government experience would not have developed the mind for critical thinking about Canada as a country.

    3. From the above, Trudeau is merely a puppet for the lobbyists and ‘advisors’ who have an agenda that runs counter to common sense and the greater good of Canadians.

    The statement that “trudeau doesn’t get it…” is very true, but what is also true is that ‘he will never get it’.

    The thing that is transparent about the trudeau liberal transparent government are the many signs of corruption and unethical associations.

    This needs to be brought to the attention of the Governor General in order to issue a writ to dissolve the trudeau government and force an election. Failing this, then all of the above needs to be brought out into the public domain by media and some of the media eg. CBC needs to be shutdown in order to stop the pontification about the greatness of the liberal government.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eric, your comment needs to be seen by everyone in Ontario. Exposing all of the key players in this ill conceived fiasco is necessary. This needs to be done again and again and again until the majority of people get it. The harm these people have done will not be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

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