TORONTO – The province is “distracted” with renewable energy generation when it should focus more on conserving energy, Environment Commissioner Gord Miller said Tuesday.
“Conservation is the cheapest form of new energy,” Miller said, releasing a report into how well Ontario has met it’s conservation goals in the Green Energy Act. “We have the technology to make substantial savings. We’ve done quite a bit but we have huge potential going forward.
“That’s why the emphasis in this report is to get the focus back on conservation.”
The report says Ontario has made some progress in getting energy efficiency embedded in the building code and in greening the public service.
But a goal in the three-year-old GEA to be a North American leader in home appliance energy efficiency has been “quietly abandoned” and a promise to make home energy audits mandatory before selling is “completely outstanding,” Miller said.
The report shows the government isn’t really committed to conserving energy, New Democratic Party MPP Peter Tabuns said.
“I don’t think they are interested in conservation because I think they want an increased demand for electricity and they want that to ensure that there is a market for the nuclear building plans that they have,” Tabuns said.
Energy Minister Chris Bentley dismissed that suggestion.
“Nothing of the sort,” Bentley said. “In fact the conservation initiatives in the province of Ontario are as aggressive and as extensive as you will find anywhere.”
Ontario is still working on setting regulations for energy efficiency on appliances and made a decision to scrap mandatory home audits in favour of voluntary ones to keep home prices down, he said.
“It’s always open to the seller to provide or the buyer to require,” Bentley said.
It’s baffling the Liberals would stop pushing on conservation as it could help trim constantly rising energy bills, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said.
“It’s clear the Liberals love to spend money and not save money,” Schreiner said.
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