As P.E.I. taxpayers grapple with its staggering $2.4-billion debt, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute points out that the province pays the highest bond rates in the country, and it is the most likely province to default on its loans.
Meanwhile, Wes Sheridan and Energy Corporation chief Wayne MacQuarrie have the province poised to borrow another $60 million to construct a second wind turbine facility in north-eastern P.E.I. All in the interest, we are promised, of keeping electricity costs down – costs that are already the highest in the country.
Keep in mind that in October 2008, Robert Ghiz promised to make the province a wind energy powerhouse that would export electricity to New England. The $1-billion investment would be the biggest project since the Confederation Bridge.
Alas, between the dream and the reality lay the true costs.
Energy companies came, looked at the economics, and quickly left. No problem, said Mr. Ghiz and cabinet, we have our own in-house renewable energy experts, and we’ll go italone. On borrowed money. Hence the East Point development. And now a second one is in the works, moved out of East Point because the community did not want it.
Legislators and taxpayers must demand a full accounting from Messrs. Sheridan and MacQuarrie of the true costs of each kilowatt produced at East Point. And ask hard questions about the debt-servicing costs, the much-lower-than-promised output, and the high equipment failure rate. Is this good value for [borrowed] money?
Then they can compare the true costs with the lofty pre-construction promises before asking “Why the huge difference? And why would we borrow even more money to do this again?”
P.E.I. simply cannot afford this new proposal, which will saddle beleaguered taxpayers for generations to come.
Taxpayers and MLAs need to get on this file – and soon – for the sake of our kids and grandchildren.
Big Pond, P.E.I. (summer)
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