Some details of Ontario’s $7 billion green energy agreement with Samsung were made public Monday, but the government still won’t say exactly how much the Korean company will be paid.
The Tories and New Democrats have condemned the deal with Samsung and Korea Electric Power Corp. as a massive taxpayer subsidy to a foreign company.
The agreement, first announced a year ago, would pay the Korean giant a premium to generate electricity with wind and solar projects.
The NDP finally obtained a copy of the Samsung deal through a freedom of information request, but all the provisions regarding payments and premiums for Samsung were deleted before its release.
Several of the 32 pages are virtually blank, except for introductory lines stating “there shall be paid an economic development adder” to Samsung by Ontario taxpayers. The amounts were left blank.
There’s no good reason to keep the details of the agreement secret from the taxpaying public, said NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns.
“It may be that Samsung and Korea Electric Power have some concerns about other competitors, but generally speaking if you’ve got a deal that’s defensible, you can put it out in the public can look at it and come to their own conclusions,” said Tabuns.
“The Liberals are going to get a lot of criticism for secret deals as long as they keep these kinds of details hidden, and rightly so.”
One thing that is clear from the Samsung deal: no other green energy producers will be paid more for wind and solar power.
“The government of Ontario agrees that it shall not provide, or permit to be provided by its agencies, to any other renewable energy project or developer, the benefit of an economic development adder or similar incentive which is greater than the economic development adder” given to Samsung, states the agreement.
The deal calls on Samsung to build four new manufacturing plants in Ontario for solar and wind farms as well as green energy projects, with specific targets of 400 megawatts of new wind power and 100 new megawatts of solar power for each of five phases of the deal.
Samsung is expected to create about 16,000 thousand new jobs in Ontario and help the province create a hub of green energy companies and expertise that can export its products around the world.
In return, Ontario guarantees the Korean company space on the province’s limited transmission grid, plus premium rates for the electricity it generates.
The Progressive Conservatives say Ontario can’t afford the Liberal’s green energy policies, which even the government admits will help drive up electricity prices by 46 per cent over five years.
“Although Ontario families were stuck with the bill, they’re still not allowed to see what’s inside Dalton McGuinty’s sweetheart Samsung deal,” said Tory energy critic John Yakabuski.
“Ontario families deserve to know the details of the Liberal government’s expensive energy experiments and massive subsidies.”
The Ministry of Energy said Monday that some details of the Samsung contract must remain confidential because of competitive concerns.
However, the ministry said it released a briefing paper last year that stated Samsung would be paid $437 million in economic adders over the 25 years of the contract, provided it builds the four new manufacturing plants.
That $437 million would be on top of Ontario’s regular feed-in-tariff of 13.5 cents a kilowatt hour for wind power and 44.3 cents per kilowatt hour for solar projects.
Ontario homeowners and small businesses currently pay between five and 10 cents per kwh for electricity, depending on the time of use.
The Opposition says ratepayers shouldn’t be on the hook for that big difference between the retail price of electricity and the guaranteed rates paid to green energy producers.
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