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Hudak would pull plug on wind power

It’s time to blow off expensive subsidies to wind and solar power, PC Leader Tim Hudak says.

The Progressive Conservatives would, if elected to govern, refuse to sign any more renewable energy deals at high rates of return and focus on creating an electricity system reliant on gas, hydro operations and nuclear power.

A Tory government would also give more control to local municipalities over the siting of wind projects, he said.

“If people can have a say about a hot dog stand going in for a Canada Day celebration, shouldn’t they have a say about massive industrial wind turbines in their backyard?” Hudak said.

The PCs say they will not proceed with any wind or solar applications that have not been already approved.

Those projects that have been approved but not yet connected to the grid would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Such a move would save $20 billion and help businesses create 40,000 jobs through more affordable electricity – numbers confirmed by an independent economist brought in by the PCs, Hudak said.

The election campaign brought Hudak to Stanpac Inc. Monday, a food, dairy and beverage packaging manufacturer located in Smithville which is in the Niagara Region.

Murray Bain, Stanpac’s vice president of marketing, said the company would like to expand its Ontario operations but the rising cost of electricity in the province makes it more likely that those jobs will be added to its Texas plant.

“Every dollar we spend on energy could be a dollar that we would use for new jobs and higher pay cheques in Ontario,” Bain said. “We need to remember that government experiments that drive up energy costs will also end up taking jobs away. High energy prices are a self-inflicted wound on Ontario’s economy. It’s time to heal that.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday that her government has renegotiated a renewable energy deal with Samsung to find savings, but remains committed to its overall plan for renewable energy, including wind power.

Ontario’s green electricity initiatives had created 42,000 jobs by the end of 2013 in construction, installation, energy auditing, operations and maintenance, engineering, consulting, manufacturing, finance, information technology and software, the Liberals say.

Northern Ontario companies and lower income families benefit from government programs to keep their hydro costs manageable, Wynne added.

Hudak said the cost of hydro has gone up $630 a year for the average family under the Ontario Liberals.