How do we ensure that when one government abuses its power, we don’t have to live with the consequences for a generation? Through the supremacy of our democratically elected legislative assembly in Ontario.
In 2009, the Ontario Liberals misused their majority when they stripped municipalities of their long-standing land planning rights in order to impose the wind turbine experiment.
They then used executive orders to hand out sole-sourced deals to line the pockets of their wind developer friends.
These 20-year deals provide guaranteed pricing to developers for wind power that is above market rates – because wind power cannot be produced in Ontario at reasonable market rates. The deals also guarantee revenue even when turbines are asked not to produce wind power.
The Ontario Liberals deliberately ignored the interests and wishes of rural Ontario and made all ratepayers, both urban and rural, pay for it, to the tune of $1 billion to $3 billion annually, with increases projected every year. That’s $20 billion to $60 billion over the next two decades.
In 2013, Ontario ratepayers paid more than $600 million for a mere 5.2TWh of power. This accounted for only 3.4 per cent of Ontario’s electricity-generating capacity, but represented 20 per cent of the total commodity cost of electricity in the province.
In 2015, it is projected that Ontario ratepayers will be forced to pay a startling $1 billion on their hydro bills for a mere 9TWh of expensive wind power at over 12 cents a KWh. This figure is expected to continue to rise year after year.
And the bad news doesn’t end there. For the last two years, our electricity system has been forced to dump more than double the amount of power generated by wind turbines into other jurisdictions, and at a 75-prt-cent discount on what we paid to produce it. In 2014,13.1TWh of excess electricity capacity was dumped, at less than 3 cents a KWh, all paid for by Ontario ratepayers.
Why? Because we are producing more electricity than we need, and because the wind turbines in Ontario produce most of their power during off-peak hours, when we don’t need it all.
And how are the turbines helping the environment? Since wind power is unreliable it requires additional backup power from other generation sources, such as gas-fired generation, which – you guessed it —i ncreases air emissions.
France, Belgium, Italy and Spain have all had to reverse course on wind power. The reason – the exorbitant costs on ratepayers with no benefit.
A moratorium on wind turbines is not enough to protect ratepayers from being gouged billions of dollars a year over the next 20 years for electricity we don’t need or use.
So how do we get out of this mess? If a future government issued another executive order to terminate the McGuinty-Wynne wind power scheme and keep it out of public view, then taxpayers would be on the hook for the entirety of the commitments, as was done by Dalton McGuinty in 2010 with the proposed power plants.
If, however, the democratically elected legislature passed an explicit statute to end the wind power ripoff, Ontario could determine what compensation, if any, would be paid, and to whom, saving ratepayers on their bills over the next 20 years.
Enacting legislation to repeal the Liberal wind power boondoggle is the right way forward. As premier I will do just that and introduce measures in the legislature to correct this abuse of power by the Ontario Liberals.
Monte McNaughton is the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and a candidate for the leadership of the PC Party of Ontario.
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