Having just read the press release from the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) on how they are partnering up with ITC Investment Holdings Inc., and using $655 million of our tax dollars to build a 117 kilometre underwater transmission line connecting Ontario with the PJM Interconnection, the 1994 movie, “Dumb & Dumber” immediately came to mind.
ITC is a Michigan based company (subsidiary of Fortis Inc.) and they will own 60% of the project with the balance owned by the CIB. As a bit of an oxy-moron Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is planning to shut down the Line 5 pipeline which supplies oil to Ontario refineries (includes aircraft fuel, etc.), chemical plants etc. in Sarnia, and where propane is produced and supplies Ontario and Quebec farms and households. Line 5 also supplies refineries in the US and homes and farms in Michigan with propane. Interestingly enough, Line 5’s entry into Michigan is also underwater and is the reason Gov. Witmer wants it closed. What this implies is if Whitmer is successful, it will cause job losses in Ontario while our tax dollars will create jobs in Michigan. That suggests those in Canada making the decision on this project are “dumb”!
The time estimate to complete the Lake Erie underwater PJM connection is 4 years which would mean it should be operative in 2025, That year happens to be the same year the Pickering nuclear plants will be taken out of service. Those plants currently provide 2,500 MW of capacity and generally run at their maximum so closure will remove 2,500 MWh (megawatt hours) of supply to Ontario’s ratepayers almost every hour of the day. Additionally, Ontario’s grid operator, IESO, forecasts the closure will create a supply deficit in the summer months when Ontario demand peaks. One wonders if IESO were consulted or involved in the discussions leading to the CIB jumping on board and if not then it adds “dumber” to the announcement.
The “Endorsements” contained in the CIB press release serve to make the reflections of those quoted look “dumb and dumber”. Here are a couple of their quotes with some observations!
First, we will start with Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank who stated: “This project will allow Ontario to export its clean, non-emitting power to one of the largest power markets in the world and, as a result, benefit Canadians economically while also significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the PJM market. The project allows Ontario to better manage peak capacity and meet future reliability needs in a more sustainable way. This is a true win-win for both Canada and the U.S., both economically and environmentally.”
Had Mr. Cory actually done some research with IESO he may have learned Ontario will be facing a shortfall from the time Pickering Nuclear is closed in 2025 until new reliable power is added, meaning Ontario will not have any of “its clean, non-emitting power” available to export. How then could it contribute to any “greenhouse gas emissions reductions”? Dumb?
Second, here is what Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Minister of Indigenous Affairs had to say: “The Lake Erie Connector demonstrates the advantages of public-private partnerships to develop critical infrastructure that delivers greater value to Ontarians. Connecting Ontario’s electricity grid to the PJM electricity market will bring significant, tangible benefits to our province. This new connection will create high-quality jobs, improve system flexibility, and allow Ontario to export more excess electricity to promote cost-savings for Ontario’s electricity consumers.”
Three years into the portfolio and from the basis of his comments he has still more to learn! Similar to Mr. Cory above it appears Minister Rickford also didn’t speak with anyone at IESO as he suggests the $655 million in Federal tax dollars used to build the Lake Erie underwater transmission line will “allow Ontario to export more excess electricity to promote cost-savings for Ontario’s electricity consumers “. Had he spoken to IESO they would have perhaps explained we will be potentially facing an energy shortage once the Pickering Nuclear plants are closed. What that infers is we will not have “more excess electricity” to export! Dumb?
Third, this is what Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities apparently said: “With the US pledging to achieve a carbon-free electrical grid by 2035, Canada has an opportunity to export clean power, helping to reduce emissions, maximizing clean power use and making electricity more affordable for Canadians. The Lake Erie Connector is a perfect example of that. The Canada Infrastructure Bank’s investment will give Ontario direct access to North America’s largest electricity market – 13 states and D.C. This is part of our infrastructure plan to create jobs across the country, tackle climate change, and increase Canada’s competitiveness in the clean economy.”
As one will note Minister McKenna, also famous for attending an illegal cock fight and eating dog pretty well maximizes the fallacies of the prior two quotes illustrated above and expands on them. Once again, a call to IESO or perhaps a chat with Minister Rickford should have disclosed in 2025 when this project may be complete it would have spelled the end of “an opportunity to export clean power, helping to reduce emissions, maximizing clean power use and making electricity more affordable for Canadians.“ It will do none of those things! If this is part of their “infrastructure plan to create jobs across the country, tackle climate change, and increase Canada’s competitiveness in the clean economy“ we are in big trouble!
Throwing our tax dollars at a plan that cannot be justified in any way is a total disservice to all Canadians or to summarize, this is both “dumb and dumber” than perhaps anything we have seen before aimed at wasting our taxes.
To paraphrase Mr. Corey; this a true economic loss for Canada and our taxpayers.