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Thompson’s bill to change the wind energy industry defeated

A private member’s bill that would have terminated the controversial Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program and bring changes to legislation over wind energy development was defeated in the Ontario legislature today.

Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson’s Ensuring Affordable Energy Act was voted down, 40-33, in its second reading, which was the last order of business for the day.

Thompson said in part her bill would have returned planning powers to local municipalities and eliminated the FIT program, which was introduced in the Green Energy Act in 2009. The program offers guaranteed pricing in 20-year contracts to renewable energy projects in Ontario.

She said 91 of the province’s 444 municipalities have signed resolutions asking for their municipal planning power to be returned.

During her allotted 12-minute presentation, she said the majority of calls to her constituency offices in Kincardine and Blyth are from people concerned about the high cost of energy.

“We know we need renewable energy as part of our energy mix going forward, but we need to do it in a way that is respectful to communities and makes economic sense,” she said.

At the end of Thompson’s presentation to the legislature, Deputy Speaker Bas Balkissoon warned observers in the gallery that they were welcomed to be there, but clapping and cheering is not allowed.

Toronto-Danforth NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said the bill ignores other energy costs to taxpayers as a result of “a mess in the electricity system” that was privatized under a Conservative government. He said 70 per cent of subsidies are given to nuclear and gas generation, and five per cent to wind and solar generation.

In a press release, Thompson said, “By not supporting this bill the Liberals and NDP together showed that even though in rural communities they say they support municipal autonomy and affordable energy—in fact they don’t.”

“It is simple—their words do not match their actions. It’s time—since we have an excess energy supply, that we sit down at the table and take a serious look at energy policy,” she said.

She was disappointed the NDPs and Liberals didn’t allow the bill to be debated in committee.