One should never underestimate the ability of politicians to convert massive policy failure into a dazzling display of green concern for the welfare of voters. That’s the trick now being attempted by the Liberal government of Ontario as it begins to unravel parts of its financially disastrous green energy program.
Glenn Thibeault, the province’s latest energy minister on Tuesday read through the script provided by the spin-meisters within Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government. The province, he said in a speech to the Ontario Energy Association, had decided to “suspend procurement” of 1,000 additional megawatts of unneeded wind and solar power.
The cancellation is “expected to save $3.8 billion in electricity system costs,” thereby saving a typical residential consumer “an average of approximately $2.45 per month.” Only a government can get away with declaring a saving for consumers by not spending on projects that are not needed.
It’s the latest defensive electricity market move by the Wynne Liberals, who are down in the polls and facing a crisis over electricity prices. An eight per cent provincial sales tax recently imposed on power was suddenly eliminated and rural Ontarians will receive rebates on part of their soaring electricity costs.
But there’s more to the decision to suspended 1,000 MW of wind and solar projects than attempting to mollify unhappy consumers. The real objective is to keep consumers and the public in the dark over the electricity mess that exists after a decade of Liberal policy based on the slogan “Renewable is doable.” In the rush to green, Ontario’s electricity sector has become an overbuilt collection of electricity-producing assets selling power at high prices into a declining market.
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