Blowing away subsidies for wind farms could help rein in skyrocketing energy costs, says Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak.
In a visit to a Smithville plant Wednesday, Hudak said his Progressive Conservatives are bringing legislation to Queen’s Park Thursday to axe the subsidies and hand wind farm planning back to cities. Hudak predicted those subsidies could contribute to energy costs spiking by 60% in the next few years.
But with the slashing of two gas plants in the greater Toronto area leaving taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, Hudak said it’s critical to cut wind subsidies before the cancellation fees mount.
“That’s why we’ve got to stop now,” he said. “We’ve got to turn off the tap. Otherwise the costs are going to be even higher down the road.
“Our energy rates have gone from being some of the most attractive in North America to being some of the most expensive,” he said. Reducing those rates, he said, is key to creating more jobs.
“That means, quite frankly, that we can’t add on more expensive wind turbine projects, and we can’t have the kinds of waste of taxpayer dollars” like the cancelled gas plants, he said.
Scrapping the Mississauga plant alone came with a $275-million price tag.
The Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP’s comments came as he toured the Stanpac plant in Smithville.
Slashing wind subsidies wouldn’t necessarily mean an energy shortfall, he said. “In reality, we have too much supply right now. We’re paying Quebec and New York to take excess energy off our hands.
“If you’re in a hole, you drop the shovel and stop digging.”
Hudak said the party’s Ensuring Affordable Energy Act is up for a vote Thursday. He portrayed the vote as a matter of jobs.
“We’ll see where the Liberals and NDP stand,” he said.
He also praised the Township of Wainfleet for fighting wind turbines. The township recently lost a court fight when its bylaw calling for greater distances between wind turbines and homes was deemed illegal.
“Congratulations to Mayor (April) Jeffs for taking the battle as far as she can, but they’ve got a government that’s working against them,” he said.
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