Ontario’s Green Energy Act has done little but take the control away from municipalities when it comes to proposed wind energy projects said Progressive Conservative Energy Critic Vic Fedeli.
The newly elected MPP for Nippising told a group of about 50 businesspeople at a Leamington and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Tuesday at the Roma Club that Ontario is being ‘led down the green garden path’.
Fedeli said the PC party has been accused of being ‘anti-green’ – “we’re anything but that,” he said.
The former Mayor of North Bay and former chamber of commerce president said the province was misled by the Green Energy Act. He said because it was labeled ‘green’ – it “minimized opposition” – “you’ve got a perfect storm for procedural abuses, failed fiscal oversight and gross misuse of taxpayer dollars”
“Believe me,” Fedeli added, “there’s nothing green about this energy plan.”
He said by stripping the municipalities of power, they took away the peoples’ only opportunity to express their concern or object to any wind or solar projects at public meetings or information sessions which would have been required prior to the Green Energy Act.
The PC Energy Critic said he has spent the past four months meeting with industry stakeholders from all sides and assessing Ontario’s energy sector.
And, the MPP said, his findings – the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Program pays out massive subsidies for winds and solar contracts to produce power that is not needed.
Instead of reducing energy costs, Fedeli said the province pays Quebec and the United States to take the power ‘off our hands’ – allowing them to use the cheap power to lure manufacturers out of Ontario.
Fedeli warned the group that unless the FIT program is cancelled – energy costs will continue to increase, along with the unemployment rate.
“How do you fix the problem?” said Fedeli.
“Well, when you’re in a hole – you stop digging,” he said. “You need to eliminate the FIT program immediately.”
Local greenhouse grower Peter Quiring questioned why he can see the windmills from his property – but is unable to get enough power.
Fedeli assured him that Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls has brought the problem to the attention of those in Queen’s Park and is working like a dog to have it resolved.
Leamington Mayor John Paterson wanted an answer to who will be responsible for the maintenance of the windmills when they are decommissioned in 20 years.
Fedeli admits he has not seen a contract but said there is no such fund in the budget that he is aware of.
As to the mayor’s question about whether it’s legal for a municipality to charge a large deposit per wind turbine – Fedeli laughed.
“A good mayor wants to know, what’s in it for me?” he joked.
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