The County’s North Marysburgh councillor Robert Quaiff spoke to media at Queen’s Park in Toronto Thursday in support of Bill 39, the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act – a measure that sought to limit provincial wind development, eliminate the feed-in tariff and give municipalities a greater voice in planning renewable energy projects. The Bill was defeated in the Legislature Thursday.
The bill, introduced by PC Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, aimed to ensure municipalities were given back the planning power and control for renewable energy projects; that the cost per kilowatt hour of wind energy would line up with other sources of generation and the feed-in tariff (FIT) program would be eliminated
Quaiff says right now, municipalities have no say when it comes to where those projects, like wind turbines, can be constructed, that’s currently up to the Ontario Power Authority. And that “no say” will continue as the bill was defeated in the Legislature on Thursday.
Quaiff says there could be a meeting at the end of this month about changes to the Green Energy Act.
Brandy Giannetta, Ontario regional director at the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), says the Bill’s claims are misinformed.
“The PC Party continues to ignore a number of studies that have conclusively demonstrated that wind energy has made only a minor contribution to rising electricity costs in Ontario in recent years,” she says, citing a CanWEA-commissioned Power Advisory LLC study that shows wind energy is responsible for about 5 per cent of the total rise in provincial electricity costs.
The ruling Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the PC party – are all trying to navigate around a perfect storm of low demand, surplus generation and rising power prices.
Following the legislature’s vote, Thompson issued a statement that expressed her disappointment for a defeat she suspects was politically motivated.
“The NDP and Liberals could have supported the bill to at least get it into committee, where all three parties could have put their political stripes aside and worked together on a thoughtful affordable energy plan where municipalities could have their say,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s Bill was to restore municipal powers on turbine issues like setback distances. She says more than 90 Ontario municipalities – including Prince Edward County – have declared themselves unwilling hosts to wind developments.
“The Ensuring Affordable Energy Act would have enshrined that choice in law,” she said.
According to the Fraser Institute Report released last week, the planned expansion of wind energy under the Green Energy Act is highly cost-inefficient and will, if pursued, raise the costs to provincial households another 40-50 per cent.
“Ontario families and businesses cannot wait any longer for this government to move on an affordable energy strategy,” said Thompson. “Just this week a business owner in Walkerton contacted me to ask when energy rate relief was coming—and that he cringes at opening his power bill every month. It is shameful that this Liberal-NDP coalition worked together to hinder business development and success.”
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