Cold feet on Ontario’s green energy mania – by Tom Adams (National Post – March 12, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Ontario has quietly slowed its green juggernaut

As Ontario’s new premier, Kathleen Wynne, zigzags on the province’s electricity future — at once aligning herself with former premier Dalton McGuinty’s green stance and calling for stronger conservation efforts but also promising to backtrack on developer-friendly rules that cut municipalities out of power plant siting decisions — a shift has quietly been underway in the Liberal government’s energy objectives. Since their last electoral victory in 2011, the Liberals have started throttling back their green-at-any-cost energy vision.

Leading up to the 2011 election, McGuinty’s team published its “Long Term Energy Plan.” That plan embodied a radical shift away from a widespread consensus that had prevailed for over a hundred years that the purpose of Ontario’s power system was to serve consumers.

McGuinty’s new purpose for the power system was to deliver a green-at-any-cost social and economic transformation. The plan anticipated steeply escalating electricity rates. The worst increases — compound annual growth of 7.9% for household consumers — were projected over the period 2011 through 2015.

McGuinty’s last energy minister, Chris Bentley, vigorously promoted the government’s green electricity plan. Last April, for example, he gave a speech at a conference in Toronto for wind and solar power developers. Bentley recited the usual supernatural incantations developed by his predecessor energy ministers George Smitherman and Brad Duguid. Green energy was getting us off coal and creating jobs.

Ontario was a world leader. Green energy protectionism would remain while Ontario continued its industrial strategy of exporting green energy products to the rest of the world. After the minister spoke, Kerry Adler, CEO of solar developer SkyPower, thanked him “on behalf of ratepayers.”

Rhetoric aside and without announcements, the government was slowing its green juggernaut. Soon after the 2011 election, the government initiated a review of its program to buy wind and solar power on terms so generous that Ontario had become overnight a global magnet for developers looking to cash in on green energy mania.

For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/03/12/cold-feet-on-ontarios-green-energy-mania/

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