Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) 2017 is labeled “Delivering Fairness and Choice”. It comes on the heels of the Fair Hydro Act, indicating the government has moved beyond their Stretch Goal concept and now, pre-election, favour the term “fair”.
The 2017 LTEP is full of self-congratulation starting with the Minister’s Message describing their concept of fair! Energy Minister Thibeault says:
“Delivering Fairness and Choice makes an important commitment: we will strive to make energy more affordable, and give customers more choices in their energy use, ensuring that Ontarians and their families continue to be at the centre of everything we do.”
He goes on to state, “By eliminating coal-fired generation, we now have an electricity system that is more than 90 per cent free of emissions that cause climate change. The phase-out of coal-fired generation and our investments in clean generation have contributed to dramatically improved air quality in Ontario – smog advisories have dropped from 53 as recently as 2005 to zero in 2016.”
The latter comment makes one wonder why he went back to 2005 instead of going to 2012, but perhaps it was because the claim wouldn’t look nearly as impressive. By that time the Liberals had been in power for over nine years. It is worth noting that in 2012 the coal plants generated only 4.3 TWh of electricity and there were 30 days with smog advisories.
Minister Thibeault continues by describing the wonders of what (they claim) has been accomplished, and broadly describes future plans while elaborating on how government “is using this opportunity to move ahead with innovative ideas for managing the system and reducing costs. Initiatives such as Market Renewal will ensure the province has appropriate sources of electricity at the lowest possible price. This initiative could save Ontarians up to $5.2 billion over a 10-year period.”
In a quick review of the 156 pages of the report I found several other claims about all the money they previously saved, together with how much the 2017 LTEP will save! Here are some of them spread throughout the plan:
- Deferring the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, avoiding an estimated $15 billion in new construction costs;
- Driving down the cost of renewable energy generation through annual reviews of Feed-In Tariff (FIT) pricing, revised procurement totals, and the introduction of competitive procurement for large renewable projects. This reduced the cost of renewable energy generation by at least $3 billion, compared to the forecast in the 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan (2013 LTEP);
- Suspending the second round of the large renewable procurement process (LRP ll) and the Energy-from-Waste Standard Offer Program. This is expected to save up to $3.8 billion compared to the forecast in the 2013 LTEP;
- Renegotiating the Green Energy Investment Agreement with Samsung, reducing contract costs by $3.7 billion;
- Starting the refurbishments at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in 2020, instead of 2016, helping to save $1.7 billion compared to the forecast in the 2013 LTEP; and
- Pending regulatory approvals, continuing to operate the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station up to 2024, for an estimated saving for ratepayers of as much as $600 million.
Do the quick math on the above statements, without the savings of $5.2 billion from the “Market Renewal”, you will quickly note they total $27.8 billion! Reading about the above savings one notes a substantial amount of the savings comes from pushing expenditures into the future which will presumably coincide with repayment of the money deferred under the Fair Hydro Plan. That means our children and grandchildren will face some dreadful electricity costs!
One of Minister Thibeault’s closing sentences tells us, “Our plan will ensure we can all depend on a clean and reliable supply of affordable energy to power our households and businesses for many years to come.”
With those purported savings of $27.8 billion we should ask Minister Thibeault to please explain why rates have gone up so much since the Green Energy and Economy Act was passed by the Legislature in 2009?
We should then ask him, why his newly minted 2017 Plan indicates they will continue to climb in future years at well over anticipated inflation rates?