Ecojustic, the ironic charity

The charity, Ecojustice Canada Society, claims, “everything starts with the law” but, certain events related to their involvement in recent court actions suggest what should be added to their statement is; “as long as it suits our views”!

Ecojustice recently noted on their website; “In about 48 hours, my colleague Harry Wruck and I will appear in the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). We’re arguing that British Columbia has a right—and a constitutional duty—to protect communities and the environment from toxic diluted bitumen spills.”

So, in the above case they were arguing provincial jurisdiction should take precedent over Federal jurisdiction but only one month earlier their website had the following statement; “That’s why for the last year, we’ve helped the David Suzuki Foundation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation participate as interveners in Ontario, Saskatchewan and now Alberta’s attempts to derail national-coordinated efforts to take action on climate change, including putting a price on carbon pollution.”

The argument they plan to make in the upcoming SCC cases, by supporting the Federal jurisdiction against the provinces, is of course related to the “carbon tax” implemented by the Federal government under the “Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act”.

In the latter case, perhaps, because they received “charitable” status, their aim is to protect that status by having others pay tax so they can remain tax-free.  Others of their ilk will be pleased to support them due to their ability to receive a tax receipt!

Those oxymoronic views entice you to examine Ecojustice’s CRA filings where one notes they (over the five years of financial reports) spent $3.658 million on fundraising activities and raised $1.806 million as a result.  Logic suggests by not spending money on fundraising activities they could have saved $1.852 million of tax-free funds which may have been useful for other court actions.

Also, over those five years, Ecojustice received almost $5.4 million in donations from other CRA registered charities including; the University of Ottawa, two Tides registered charities, the McConnell Foundation, Ivey Foundation, etc. and several were (surely a coincidence) also funders of the Ecofiscal Commission and the Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration.  Of the total revenue ($30.895 million) reportedly received by Ecojustice over five years, 58% ($17.932 million) was expensed for compensation and 52.7% ($16.278 million) was reputedly allocated for “charitable activities”-like fighting for a carbon tax!

It is also noteworthy, despite Ecojustice’s many claims, they also fight on behalf of “species at risk” yet they’ve never intervened in any actions in Ontario in support of groups fighting the intrusion of industrial wind turbines (IWT) and the harm they cause to “species at risk” (birds, bats, turtles, etc).  Various nature groups in Ontario have fought IWT intrusion in front of ERTs (environmental review tribunals) and Ontario courts and not once has Ecojustice joined them.  One should wonder why?

Ecojustice supports continued implementation of a carbon tax in support of the Liberal, Federally imposed tax by working against the province’s elected governments.  The carbon tax will have no effect on the planet’s climate!  On the other hand, Ecojustice claim they fight on behalf of species at risk, but don’t defend those “species at risk” when  harmed by industrial wind turbines.

Truly ironic!

November 2019 a reflection on the cost of reducing emissions in Ontario’s electricity system

IESO finally released the November 2019 Monthly Market Report in early January and compared with November 2018 overall costs (GA + HOEP) for Class B ratepayers was down slightly from $123.69/MWh to $120.54MWh (12 cents/kWh) or 2.8%. Falling exports of 975,600 MWh (down by 151,200 MWh or 13.4%) from 2018 resulted in Ontario experiencing a drop in overall costs despite the GA being slightly higher (98 cents/MWh) in 2019*.  The drop in exports resulted in ratepayer costs of $97.1 million versus $111 million in November 2018. Ontario ratepayers are obliged to pick up the GA costs**.

Intrigued by the marginal good news for November 2019 and the arrival of 2020, nostalgia overtook my brain waves!  A decade ago, I started my quest to explore the electricity sector in Ontario. My quest coincided with a high electricity bill and the passage of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA) in 2009.  The GEA passage led to the OPA (Ontario Power Authority) receiving directives from various Energy Ministers in the McGuinty/Wynne led Liberal provincial governments telling the bureaucratic experts how to run the system.  It was meant to signal the world; Ontario was a beacon in emission reductions.1 The ministerial directives were aimed at contracting for renewable energy (principally in the form of industrial wind turbines [IWT] and solar panels) and closing two coal power plants.  Due to above market rates offered to (mainly foreign) companies and the lack of a cost/benefit analysis rates skyrocketed as projects were commissioned.  The consequence of creating the highest electricity rates in Canada and the US resulted in total defeat of the Ontario Liberal Party in 2018.

Based on the “nostalgia” it is perhaps worth going back a decade to November 2009 and compare it with the one just passed.

All-in Generation Costs for November 2009:

The IESO Monthly Market Report for November 2009 indicated the weather over the month was warmer than normal whereas in November 2019 is was colder than normal and as one might expect the latter resulted in higher Ontario demand coming in at a daily average of 375,178 MWh versus 370,578 MWh in 2009.  The extra 138,000 MWh we consumed in 2019 would translate into higher costs even if the cost of generation had remained the same. The weighed average cost (GA +HOEP) for November 2009 was $68.39 MWh so the additional 138,000 MWh Ontario ratepayers consumed should have added approximately $9.4 million.  It is worth noting back in 2009 there was only one ratepayer class so the $9.4 million would have added 84 cents for each additional MWh consumed. The average household back then was consuming 800 kWh monthly.  The total consumption of 11.117 TWh (terawatt hours) by Ontario ratepayers in November 2009 had a cost of $760.4 million.

All-in Generation Costs for November 2019:

 So, ten years later in November 2019 the 11.255 TWh consumed by Ontario ratepayers cost considerably more than the $760.4 million suggested above.  The weighted average cost for this recent November came in at $120.24 for Class B ratepayers; an increase of $51.85/MWh or 75.8% for the 8.106 TWh they consumed.  For Class A ratepayers the ten-year increase was only $3.59/MWh or 5.2% for the 3.384 TWh they consumed.  Putting the foregoing in perspective if Class B ratepayers consumed 8.106 TWh in 2009 the cost would have been $554.4 million and in 2019 it was $974.7 million or $420.3 million more for just November!   For Class A ratepayers the increase would have been a much lower amount of only $12.1 million costing them $243.6 million versus $231.4 in 2009.

As one can deduce from the foregoing the $760.4 million all-in costs for one month of electricity generation in 2009 jumped to $1.218 billion (up $457.9 million) in the decade.  The jump of $457.9 million impacted Class B ratepayers (residential and small and medium sized businesses) to a much greater extent than Class A businesses and is only representative of one month.

What caused the jump?

The increased costs drove our average rate of 6.84 cents/kWh in November 2009 to 12.02 cents/kWh (UP 75.7%) in November 2019.  That increase is about four times the inflation rate and there are several reasons for the jump in costs.

One of the major causes of the increase was the addition of industrial wind generation and solar to our grid(s) over the decade.  Their intermittent and unreliable ability to generate electricity when needed meant back-up capacity (principally gas plants including the $1 billion to move two of them) was required. To top things off the intermittency of wind generation caused the market price (HOEP) to fall and the GA to increase.  The GA is not included in the sale of surplus electricity to our neighbours so we earn less for our exports to NY, Michigan, etc. but Ontario ratepayers must absorb the difference (the GA) in the contracted value and the HOEP market price.

A rough calculation of the additional losses on our exports in November 2019 versus November 2009 indicate it represents about $68 million of added costs.  Thanks to Scott Luft’s wind generation and curtailment files I was also able to calculate IWT generation costs which increased considerably from November 2009 adding $178 million to the increase. Those two additional costs of about $246 million represent about 54% of the $457.9 million increase. The balance of increased costs can be attributed to payment for additions in; solar generation, gas plants (idling costs), biomass, and some of OPG’s expenditures on Big Becky ($1.5 billion) and the Lower Mattagami ($2.6 billion) hydro projects.

If November’s comparison becomes a measure of how the GEA harmed our electricity sector by driving our electricity rates up almost 76% in the last decade we will be looking at total additional costs of around $5.5 billion in 2019 versus 2009. The $457.9 million is but one month of comparison out of the 120 months since the start of 2009 so the final number for the decade will probably be in the tens of billions of dollars to achieve those emission reductions sought by the governing Ontario Liberals.

*The GA or Global Adjustment rate for Class B ratepayers has been higher in 10 of 11 months in 2019 compared to 2018.                                                                                                    **Exports are sold at the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) price via the market to traders who buy/sell our surplus energy to Michigan, New York, Quebec and other grid connected markets.

  1. The Ontario Energy Quarterly shows our CO2 emissions fell from 20 megatonnes at the start of 2010 to 2 megatonnes at the end of the 2019 second quarter.

Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration, Phase Five

There has been a discernible decline in interest to the posts related to the P-CEC, however, as the expression goes, “there are still more tales to tell”.  This Phase will look at two more of those on the list of “collaborators” connected to Bruce Lourie and the Ivey Foundation.

It is important to understand one of the most influential “collaborators” in the P-CEC, is the self-proclaimed, “Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission,” and they have recently called for the “carbon tax” to be increased to $210 a tonne!  As this article is being written our new Environment and Climate Change Minister, Jonathon Wilkinson is in Madrid, Spain, attending the UN’s COP25 conference and it’s an unknown as to what he will promise on Canada’s behalf but be prepared for further hits to your pocketbook.

Up to this point we have connected Bruce Lourie to seven (7) collaborators, including the Ivey Foundation where he is the existing President. This will suggest there are at least two more they are connected with on the P-CEC list.  They are:

Trottier Family Foundation—a P-CEC “collaborator”                                                                                  Visiting the Trottier website one is struck by their vision to make a meaningful and positive impact on the world”. The co-founder of the Foundation is Lorne Trottier who along with Bruce Lourie sits as an “advisor” to the Ecofiscal Commission.   The Trottier Foundation is a member of the Lourie founded CEGN (relabeled as Environment Funders Canada) and provided $80K in grants from 2016-2018. They also donated to the Clean Economy Fund and as previously called; Summerhill Foundation (a Lourie creation) and granted them $225K from 2016-2018.  In 2016 The Trottier Foundation reputedly donated $315.5K to the Ivey Foundation but Ivey Foundation’s filing with the CRA and their 2016 annual report both fail to indicate they received that donation.  It appears the CRA failed to note this discrepancy!

The Trottier Foundation in their 2018 CRA filing had total revenue of just over $13 million and $7.7 million of that came from charitable donations they received and issued tax receipts for. The “Foundation” then reputedly handed out $9.7 million to “qualified donees” with one of the larger ones ($650K) made to The David Suzuki Foundation and one for $660K was handed out to McGill University, presumably to support the Ecofiscal Commission.  In 2017 the Foundation’s gross revenue was just over $90 million of which $81,5 million was donations where they issued tax receipts. It seems truly odd that a charitable foundation such at this would seek charitable donations to the extent of the two years reviewed unless there were perhaps, favourable tax benefits for the donators? Unfortunately, the CRA doesn’t seem to require any declarations on who donates to these “charitable foundations” or one might be able to reach a conclusion as to why that happened.  The Trottier Foundation has one (1) permanent staff member so it’s unclear how they will add a lot of “expert” input to whatever it is the   P-CEC researches and recommends to the new Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR), University of Calgary—a P-CEC “collaborator  CESAR’s report is a collaborative effort with the Institut de l’energie Trottier, Polytechnique Montreal as noted in their opening preamble:  “This report was initiated by the Ivey Foundation in December 2017 as a way to integrate the work of the authors with the discussions that occurred in a number of workshops over the past two years (see Appendix 1). The purpose of this report is to make recommendations on how to achieve the objectives laid out by Canada and the provinces in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change [4]. The authors thank the Ivey Foundation for their support of, and assistance with, this work.  We also appreciate the critical input and advice from the following reviewers: Ralph Torrie, Robert Hoffman, Lorne Johnson, Bruce Lourie, Katherine Wynne-Edwards and the staff at CESAR.  DBL is grateful to the Edmonton Community Foundation, without whose support many of the ideas presented here would not have been developed. LB thanks the Trottier Family Foundation for supporting energy and climate change related initiatives that helped in the production of this report. While the two authors of the report David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC of the University of Calgary and Louis Beaumier, MASc, Executive Director,  Institut de l’énergie Trottier (IET), Polytechnique Montréal thanked the Ivey Foundation, the Trottier Family Foundation and the Edmonton Community Foundation it was impossible to locate information as to the actual funds supplied by the three foundations for this summary report other than a $20K donation by the Ivey Foundation.

The odd thing about the latter’s donation is another donation Ivey Foundation reported on their website for 2017 for $100K sounded exactly what they wanted to obtain from CESAR as it said the following:

 “Engaging and Supporting the federal government’s implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to ensure meaningful actions on both carbon pricing and complementary policies.” 

The donation was for another Lourie connection where he was Chair of the Board ie:  Environmental Defence!  A search of the Ivey Foundation’s filings with the CRA for the 2017 year failed to locate that donation so one must assume either the Ivey Foundation was wrong in making the statement or they didn’t report it to the CRA!  

It should be noted the Institut de l’énergie Trottier (IET), Polytechnique Montréal is another of the P-CEC chosen “collaborators” as are the Ivey and Trottier Foundations.

The review prepared by the two “experts” pulled together various recommendations developed at several other events* focused on climate change and recommended; “the establishment of an Institute [Working title: Canadian Climate Change and Clean Growth Institute (C4G Institute)] with a mandate to build capacity across Canada for systems change modelling and analysis. It would provide governments (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) with independent science- and evidence-based analysis, policy options and advice regarding how they could meet their Framework commitments related to climate change and clean growth.” It is obvious the P-CEC announced on April 9 2019 was predestined to happen however the title suggested by Messrs. Layzell and Beaumier wasn’t chosen!

The above brings the Ivey/Lourie related connections to nine of the chosen members of the P-CEC  including the Institut de l’énergie Trottier (IET). It highlights his impressive ability to bring together so many climate change advocates located across the country and augment that with donated funds for the research to the current government they seek to convince us of the actions they plan.

Surely the results will culminate in a higher carbon tax and other pressures resulting in the citizens of Canada suffering from a reduced standard of living but will fail to reduce global emissions.

NB: The next one in the series will be the final one!

*Many of the events were initiated and/or sponsored by the Ivey Foundation or the Trottier Family Foundation and Natural Resources Canada were a participant in a few of them.

Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration, Phase Four

As Yogi Berra once said, “it’s déjà vu all over again”!

My somewhat relentless review of the electricity sector started about 10 years ago as Ontario embarked on the unmitigated disaster that was the Green Energy Act and its focus on acquiring unreliable wind and solar generation. I was recently reminded; many of the ENGO names and individuals associated with my research back then are still around and have become more verbose. They are imbibing in more of the panic exercised years ago and using more tax dollars in the process. That conclusion was reached by researching the “collaborators” participating in the captioned, connecting names, reviewing websites and CRA’s Charities files to see where the money comes from and where it goes.  Those ENGO and individuals have moved on from renewable energy worship to “carbon tax” endorsement!

One example was one of those chosen as an expert collaborator highlighted in Phase Three.  MaRS Discovery District, a creation of the McGuinty led, Ontario Liberal ruling party. In 2014, MaRS received $26.7 million from the province and zero from the Feds. In 2018 the province gave them $31.7 and the Feds coughed up $2.9 million.  In other words, our tax dollars to them increased $7.8 million (29.2%) in four years.  Most readers will recall Ontario’s taxpayers bailed out MaRS failed real estate deal to the tune of $308 million. MaRS also receives revenue from other charities ($2.8 million in 2018) and hands out money to other charities such as Evergreen, (somewhere between $100/$500 thousand) one of the other “collaborators” in the P-CEC group.  MaRS also handed out grants to CEGN (Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network), a Bruce Lourie creation renamed Environment Funders Canada. Lourie is President of the Ivey Foundation another “collaborator” in the P-CEC group.

From outward appearances the chosen ones are destined to tell PM Trudeau’s government and his new “Environment Minister”, Jonathan Wilkinson, how much to UP the “carbon tax”!  MaRS, as noted in Phase Three, also received grants from the Trillium Foundation (provincially owned) and were granted money from another McGuinty creation; Friends of the Greenbelt (FOTG)–funded by taxpayers and another member of Environment Funders Canada. FOTG hand out grants to ENGO’s such as Environmental Defence where Lourie once held a vaunted position. As an aside the CEO of MaRS earns a salary north of $350,000 annually-not too shabby for a registered charity!

Now let’s look at two more of the “collaborators” connected with the Ivey Foundation:

Evergreen and Future Cities Canada—a P-CEC “collaborator”

It’s unclear what Evergreen brings to the table as a collaborator as their focus for almost 20 years has been to convert an old brickworks plant into what is an urban farmer’s and garden market.  Their CEO doesn’t appear to have a degree related to “climate” issues but according to their filing with the CRA it appears he may be paid in excess of $250K per year. Evergreen have done a remarkable job at raising charitable funds over the years, so, maybe that is the key to being chosen.  Revenue in 2008 was $5.758 million and in 2018 was $21.762 million, an increase of 277% in only 10 years.  Their 2018 annual report shows they received over $1 million from both the Provincial and Federal governments and over $500K from the Trillium Foundation (Lourie was a former Director and Trillium are members of Environment Funders Canada). The J. W. McConnell Foundation is also included in the same contributing group as Trillium and also have been a major grantor to one of the Lourie creations (more on that one in the future) and are also members of Environment Funders Canada. They donated $1.1 million in 2017 and $775 thousand in 2018 to Evergreen. In reviewing the Trillium grants listing, it shows they have granted over $1.8 million over the past few years to Evergreen.  MaRS (another collaborator) is credited with donating somewhere between $50K to $100K in 2018 and the same in earlier years. The Ivey Foundation has granted them at least $60K in the past few years.

Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), Simon Fraser University—a P-CEC “collaborator”

Often when researching individuals involved in predicting the end of the world due to “climate change” one finds the parties leading the predictions have little or no affiliation with the sciences needed to logically develop that line of thought.  In the case of ACT, it is led by Deborah Harford.  Ms. Harford is the Executive Director of ACT and her formal training indicates she holds an SFU “Bachelor of Communications and English, Communication and Media Studies”.  Ms. Harford is active in posting any articles favouring the concept of “climate change” as one would expect from her degree, but she posts none on the ACT website with a differing view. SFU prides itself on its affiliation with similar institutions including Clean Energy Canada (launched by Tides Canada) as they attract donations from charitable institutions such as the IVEY Foundation* (over $1 million since 2014), $900K from the McConnell Family Foundation, $2.3 million from the Trottier Family Foundation (another P-CEC “collaborator”!   Both of the latter are members of Environment Funders Canada.

Perhaps if one augments the perceptions of those handing out the grants, the money will continue to flow, to those who produce the prejudicial and supportive reports the grantor sought!  Just an abstract thought!

While Phases one through four of this series have raised the connection concept of the Ivey Foundation’s relationship with six of the P-CEC named “collaborators” there are a few more of interest. The tale of the tangled web will continue in the next Phase!

*A few hundred thousand dollars was also granted to Tides Canada.

Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration, Phase three

The collaboration alluded to in Phases one and two of this series are expanded on below. Those who read all three will hopefully recognize exactly what the “collaboration” seems designed to create.  Whatever unfolds in reports from the P-CEC appears certain to endorse a further burden on tax-payers in the form of increased “carbon taxes” beyond those currently envisaged.  As our former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper put it in defining “carbon taxes”: “they are attractive to governments simply because they raise revenue reliably.  In other words, they are not effective at reducing emissions.”

The two earlier articles suggested the collaborative group assembled may have been substantially influenced by Bruce Lourie, a major player in getting Ontario’s Liberal Party to pass the GEA. The GEA focused on closing two coal plants in Ontario and professed; we could cheaply replace them with industrial wind and solar energy and create 50,000 jobs.  Ontario ratepayers know how that unfolded!

Phase two in the series brought out the interests of the “insurance industry” and their support of the alleged “climate emergency” declared by an “Act of Parliament”.  The article singled out two individuals who will play a key role in orchestrating recommendations to our, soon to be announced, Environment and Climate Change Minister.

Shortly after the winning bid announcement by Minister McKenna, Insurance Business Canada had an article stating:  “According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), the group will generate research and advice in three specific areas – carbon pricing, clean energy development, and strategies for climate-change adaptation – as “an independent, standalone organization.” and, “According to Feltmate, (refer Phase two) insurance claims for catastrophic loss events in Canada between 1983 and 2008 were in the range of $250 million to $400 million annually. However, in nine out of the last 10 years, catastrophic losses have gone over $1 billion, adjusted for inflation.”  This sets the tone for their upcoming recommendations!  I and others I’ve spoken with wonder, why, in view of insurance losses in Ontario, in respect to “flooding”, the Insurance Industry haven’t sued the IJC (International Joint Commission) for their instigation of “Plan 2014” raising water levels in Lake Ontario in particular, and causing hundreds of millions in losses in 2017 and 2019.  The State of New York has sued!

The first of this series noted, “There among the twenty-one (21) names in the “collaboration” was the Ivey Foundation and several others Mr. Lourie either helped to create or presumably supported by providing grants via his position as President of the Ivey Foundation.”

The particular one mentioned in the earlier article was the Ecofiscal Commission.  Its address is the Department of Economics at McGill University where the Chair of the Commission, Chris Regan, is Director of the Max Bell School of Public Policy and an Associate Professor in McGill’s Department of Economics.  The Ivey Foundation in their reports to the CRA Charities files from 2015 through to the 2018 filing indicates donations to McGill/Ecofiscal were $1.122 million and reports from the “grants” information on Ivey Foundation’s report indicates from 2015 to 2018 donations totaled $806,486. Perhaps an audit by the CRA would be worth pursuing!

Needless to say, all of the recommendations from Ecofiscal where Mr. Lourie and fellow collaborators are either commissioners (Stewart Elgie of Smart Prosperity is one) or advisors (Lourie is one) who push for a “carbon tax”. The “Commission” demonstrates a strong bias in presenting “myths” about carbon taxes while presenting only facts to support the myths but not the tax.  It appears the “Commission” or Lourie used their/his influence to get other charitable foundations to fund Ecofiscal as noted in an earlier article.

Here are another two collaborators!

Smart Prosperity Institute—a P-CEC “collaborator”

Now another of those P-CEC collaborators beyond the Intact Centre and  the Ivey Foundation is (SPI) “Smart Prosperity Institute” (formerly Sustainable Prosperity) headed up by Stewart Elgie. Elgie founded Ecojustice (a charitable legal institution with 2018 revenues of $7.4 million of which $4 million was spent on compensation and almost $700 thousand on consultants).  SPI appears to be a “not for profit” institution however, as it is associated with the University of Ottawa, you can donate via them, to obtain a tax receipt. Trying to secure information via filings of their 22 funders in the CRA Charities files was almost impossible and only a couple could be directly connected to SPI.  One of those was The Green Belt Foundation (GBF got $25 million in 2005 and another $20 million in 2012 from Ontario’s Provincial taxpayers) and they granted SPI $80K.

The foregoing is ironic as the current government in Ontario is fighting the “carbon tax” but indirectly taxpayer dollars will be used to support it!  One of the SPI “funders” listed is also supplemented by Ontario taxpayers and that is the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.  All Google searches for funding from them to the SPI came up empty!  Three of the other “funders” are Federal and as one would expect include Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The only other “funder” with obtainable information was the J.W. McConnell Foundation who granted SPI  $725,000 via the University of Ottawa. The SPI did not include the Ivey Foundation in their “funders” list but they received $120,990 from them via the University of Ottawa over three years and the Ivey Foundation also provided $105,000 in grants to Elgie’s other entity—Ecojustice.  It certainly appears there is a pretty close connection between Bruce Lourie and Stewart Elgie.

MaRS Discovery District—a P-CEC “collaborator”

MaRS Discovery District was a McGuinty creation owned by the province and granted charitable status so its annual filings can be found on the CRA Charities website.  In their year ended March 31, 2018 they received $2.9 million from the Federal Government and $31.7 million from the Government of Ontario. They also received $2.8 million from other charities.  Mars in turn claim charitable expenditures of $37.7 million out of the $48.3 million in total expenditures but don’t name any recipients.  Over the past three years they have received $300,000 from the Ivey Foundation.

Ironically, the Trillium Foundation is owned by the Government of Ontario, where Bruce Lourie formerly sat as a Director.  They have granted money to MaRS, ($413,700) to (CEGN)  Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network (now called Environment Funders Canada) ($64,600) which Lourie founded and to Environmental Defence ($661,300) where he served as director and Chair of the Board when his friend Rick Smith was Executive Director.  Lourie is well connected to Tom Rand, the former head of the MaRS, “cleantech” sector

Oh, what tangled webs we weave!

Stay tuned as Phase Four will look at a few more of the P-CEC collaborators and their connections.

Consuming less drives up costs for Class B ratepayers

The IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) released their September 2019 Monthly Market Report last week.  Ontario’s total consumption was 10.319 TWh (terawatt hours).  Looking back as far as September 2010 for comparison (the year following enactment of the GEA) Ontario consumption in September 2019 was lower than every year since then.  Consumption by Class B ratepayers this past September was down 8.7% (690.000 MWh-750,000 average households’ annual consumption) from September 2018. Class A ratepayers also consumed less (102,000 MWh or 3%) compared to September 2019.

Consuming less means lower costs, right?

The foregoing question/assertion certainly applies to pretty well everything we consume, if the price remains stable.

Due to the perplexity of how the electricity system functions in Ontario consuming less has a limited ability to reduce our costs.  Each and every generation source is basically treated differently in respect to their rank; on access to the grid, pricing (guaranteed or set by the OEB), length of contract term(s), and their perceived effect on global warming!  Both solar and wind generation, as examples of the latter, are granted “first to the grid” rights meaning they rank higher than nuclear plants and hydro generation units.  Additionally, original contract(s) offered prices in 2010 guaranteed for 20 years with large solar at 63.5 cents/kWh and wind at 13.5 cents/kWh along with a 20% guaranteed escalation clause related to increases in the cost of living (CoL).  At the same time IESO must contend with a trading market referenced as HOEP (Hourly Ontario Energy Price). IESO buys or sells generation based on shortages or surpluses to our grid connected markets such as New York, Michigan, etc.   What the HOEP values generation at and what we pay for it via those contracts evolved into what is known as the GA (Global Adjustment Mechanism) ie; contract value minus HOEP = GA.  Contracting for unreliable intermittent generation like wind and solar has made Ontario a supplier of cheap power for Michigan, NY, Quebec and other connected markets as the GA is not a part of the HOEP sale price.

As noted, Class B ratepayers consumed 8.7% less power in September 2019 versus 2018 and IESO reports our all-in cost (GA+HOEP) was $136.97/MWh versus $115.78 in 2018 for a jump of $21.19/MWh or 18.4%!  In the case of Class A ratepayers, because the HOEP fell from $29.94 in 2018 to $14.34 in 2019 they saw a reduction in their cost per MWh falling 7.7% from $77.70/MWh in 2018 to $71.73 in 2019.  The methodology of Class A pricing results in Class B ratepayers paying more of the GA when the HOEP is lower.

The next question one should ask is why is the HOEP lower if we consume less?

That question is related to facts such as, wind and solar generation get “first to the grid” rights.  As noted, September was a low consumption month as are most spring and fall months but that is when wind (in particular) generates the bulk of its power and is surplus to our needs.  The result is IESO is obliged to accept it and sell via the HOEP market or curtail it, which we also pay for.  IESO will also steam off nuclear or spill hydro both of which we also pay for.  When they are selling off the surplus our neighbours may not need the power but if it is really cheap, they will snap it up.  In September, as an example TX (transmission connected) and DX (distribution connected) wind combined was (according to my friend Scott Luft) 948,951 MWh including 141,485 MWh of curtailed wind.  Together the costs of unneeded generation was $126 million. The accepted wind generation was HOEP valued at less than $7.4 million adding $118.6 million to the GA pool. As it turned out accepted wind represented 75.7% of our net exports of 1,067,040 MWh and 50.9% of our total exports of 1,586,880 MWh in September. We clearly didn’t need wind generation in September nor since we started handing out those contracts!

To make the foregoing much clearer a read of Scott Luft’s recent post provides an excellent review of how much wind (accepted and curtailed) he calculated, was not exported.  It is truly shocking to see it is less than 10% in each year going back to 2006. Using September’s costs as the base to calculate how much it has affected ratepayers and taxpayers in Ontario for its output (over 37 TWh) since 2006 is a simple task.

Shockingly it represents a pocketbook cost of over $5.5 billion.

The electricity sector has taken $5.5 billion from the pockets of Ontario’s ratepayers/taxpayers just for wind related contracts.  The $5.5 billion could have actually been used to provide things like; better health care, tax reduction, infrastructure investments, electricity price reduction or flattening which would have attracted investments and created jobs.  Instead, we allowed our provincial government to hand out lucrative contracts to foreign wind and solar developers.  Many of those who rushed here to obtain those contracts have taken our money and sold their projects to our government pension funds and left Ontario for “greener” fields!

What the above shows is the Green Energy and Green Economy Act was a disaster for Ontario and will continue to negatively affect us until the contracts expire or our current government acts to cancel or amend them!

Is it time for Canada to claim environmental hero status?

Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are well below the world average and despite a resource extraction economy, our air pollution improvement is among the best in the world—so why are we made to feel so guilty?

Recently, I discussed to how politicians continue to “virtue signal when advocating for renewable energy.  And sometimes, they omit facts. That might be because the omitted facts fail to support the “virtue” they are promoting, like a clean green environment, or maybe, the politicians don’t feel the need to discuss  cost/benefit or examine that closely.

New information has come to light as to why politicians leave out the facts sometimes.

On December 19, 2018 an article by Philip Cross published in the Financial Post on renewable energy was blunt in its lede: “StatCan just exposed how worthless ‘green’ industries are to Canada’s economy” — that was exactly what many have long suspected.  Mr. Cross  detailed how false or exaggerated information is fed to politicians by proponents of ventures (wind and solar power, for example) and how those politicians in turn, embarked on “virtuous” actions, based on those supposed facts.

They issue press releases which are then gobbled up by the media for the masses to digest.

Excerpts from the Cross article highlight the failings of those “green” industries. 

“Environmental and clean-technology industries accounted for a puny 3.1 per cent of Canada’s GDP in 2017. More importantly, StatCan noted that this ratio has remained relatively stable since 2007 when the data began. The green economy’s share of GDP stagnated for 10 of the biggest years for pro-green policies and hefty government support, and against historically slow growth in the rest of the economy. If the green economy cannot flourish in these circumstances, it is doubtful it ever will.

The green economy is even less important for jobs, contributing only 1.6 per cent of total employment. If clean-tech and green-tech are the jobs of tomorrow, as their boosters tirelessly claim, then our job prospects are bleak indeed.”

A few weeks after the StatCan report, another discovery the media apparently missed (or ignored) came to light.

At some point in early 2018, just before the Wynne-led Ontario government lost the election, Global Affairs Canada issued a 144-page Voluntary National Review in respect to the 2030 Agenda.  The “Agenda” was a precursor to The Paris Agreement and the synergies in respect to aligning issues related to climate change are significant.

Here are a just few examples:

  1. “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the poorest and most-vulnerable populations affected by climate change and has committed $2.65 billion in climate finance by 2020-2021 to help developing countries transition to a lower-carbon, climate-resilient economy.”
  2. “The Investing in Canada Plan allocates $9.2 billion to provinces and territories for green infrastructure investments to support mitigation projects, build infrastructure to help communities respond and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, and build other green infrastructure that supports a healthy environment, including water and wastewater infrastructure.”
  3. “Significant investments are being made to develop a national network of charging and re-fuelling stations for alternative fuel vehicles. This infrastructure will enable Canadians to use lower-carbon or zero-emission vehicles.”
  4. ”In addition, Canada is working with its continental partners on the North American Renewable Integration Study (NARIS). By 2019, NARIS is expected to identify the key opportunities and challenges of integrating large amounts of wind, solar and hydro capacity into the North American electricity grid.”
  5. “Clean, non-emitting electricity systems will be the cornerstone of a modern, lower-carbon economy. Several programs have been introduced to support this goal, including initiatives to reduce the use of diesel in rural and remote areas, including for Indigenous communities, and support renewable power technologies, such as geothermal, tidal and offshore wind projects.”

Those five examples are a demonstration of the current Canadian government’s belief that simply spending billions of Canadian tax dollars in Canada and around the world will somehow impact climate change.

Climate change advocacy via continued virtue signaling about a carbon-tax is being challenged by several provinces; however, Canada’s federal government seems intent on causing further damage to Canada’s economy despite the evidence on “green” fails by StatCan.

The “Voluntary National Review” suggests how the spending will be paid for: “… revenues from oil and gas production will help fund the lower-carbon transition.” Clearly, “revenues from oil and gas production” is a reference to the “carbon tax” which will increase substantially over a short time period, affecting all Canadians and pushing our economic prospects down as those “revenues” a.k.a. “carbon taxes” drive up the price of everything we consume.

The “Review” references other reports/studies, for example, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and a report on health, the “Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project [which] ranked air pollution as the fourth-leading risk factor contributing to early deaths (6.9 million deaths worldwide) each year. In Canada, the GBD ranked air pollution as the 11th leading risk factor for premature death.”

The GBD report compares data from 2007 to 2017 and provides + or – percentages. For Canada, the drop in the “air pollution” risk factor was negative 17.5% and appears to be one of the biggest drops of any country. Surprisingly, Poland which gets 80% of its electricity from coal, shows a drop of 14.4%. China was up by 1.7% whereas India was down 2.7% and the USA by 5%. Germany (the bastion of renewable energy) was down by only 2.7%. This data suggests Canada is a leader in reducing air pollution.

As one would expect, the Review says a lot about GHGs and climate change, and laid out reputed accomplishments and future plans. The Review also lectures us, telling us to use less: “The best energy is the energy we do not use. By doing more with less, Canadians can significantly reduce GHG emissions, save money, improve their environment and make their homes more comfortable.”

Most of us heard similar lectures by the Ontario Liberal government (Premier Wynne once chided Ontarians for being “bad actors” when it came to electricity use) and we did consume less. However, we failed to see any savings. In fact, we paid more for less!  (Voters didn’t buy the non-truths, judging from the election results last June.)

On the issue of GHG emissions the data available is extensive and varying.  A simple Google search on list of countries by carbon dioxide emission provides almost 8.7 million hits. Canadians are generally told they contribute 1.6% of Global GHG and from what was available in reviewing some Google links, that appears to be in the ballpark.

One measure where Canada seems to stand out favourably is in the measurement of “Emissions (kg) per $1,000 [US$] of GDP” despite our dependence on agriculture, energy, forestry and mining which collectively represent over 50% of our exports.  Canada’s emissions were 301.0 kg/$1,000 of GDP versus the world average of 490.8 kg. The USA is 324.2 kg and China is 1,235.0/kg. France stands out as the lowest at 110.5 kg and Uzbekistan is the highest at 1960.9.

Taking all this into account, and with the knowledge that Canada is leading the world in reducing air pollution while actually being a low emitter of GHGs in respect to our GDP, and despite our dependence on extraction of natural resources including oil and gas, the question is this — why is the Government of Canada demanding a carbon tax from us and penalizing us domestically with useless intermittent renewable energy and massive conservation spending? With only 1.6% of global emissions we are unable to save the world.

It’s time to let the rest of the world and their 98.4% of emissions catch up!

PARKER GALLANT