Ontario to Scrap Green Energy Act

Update September 21, 2018 at bottom

Global News reports on today;s proposed legislation: Ontario PCs introduce legislation to scrap Green Energy Act.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Doug Ford‘s Progressive Conservative government has introduced legislation to put an end to the province’s Green Energy Act.

The legislation was tabled just before 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday. A formal announcement was made by energy minister, Greg Rickford, and infrastructure minister, Monte McNaughton.

“The Green Energy Act represents the largest transfer of money from the poor and middle class to the rich in Ontario’s history,” Rickford said.

Killing the former Liberal government’s Green Energy Act — passed in 2009 when Dalton McGuinty was premier — was a major campaign promise for Ford.

He said that the GEA had resulted in fewer manufacturing jobs in Ontario and that regulations around renewable energy projects had led to higher electricity prices for consumers.

The move comes after the PC government had already introduced legislation cancelling hundreds of wind energy projects approved under the act.

Scrapping the GEA will likely mean major changes for the province’s energy sector.

For example, under the GEA, municipalities were essentially barred from disallowing renewable energy projects – such as wind farms – from being built within their territory. Many people opposed to these projects criticized this section of the GEA, saying it prohibited local communities from deciding their own futures.

The GEA also gave special powers to the minister of energy to green light certain projects, such as transmission lines, without conducting a full economic review prior to approval.

But proponents of the GEA, including former energy minister George Smitherman, who helped pass the legislation, have called the GEA and renewable energy projects in the province a big success.

Meanwhile, Liberal interim leader, John Fraser, says cancellation of the GEA could see Ontario move backward on renewable energy when compared to the rest of the world. He also fears scrapping the act could mean job losses

“My biggest concern this afternoon is jobs. What’s going to happen to people’s jobs in this industry that we’ve built up – tens of thousands of jobs,” Fraser said.

But the PCs say this isn’t true.

They say that the GEA was responsible for the “disastrous” feed-in-tariff program that contributed significantly toward skyrocketing electricity prices and that the bill’s repeal is necessary to prevent “unneeded” renewable energy projects being approved in the future.

“We believe the people of Ontario should have the final say about what gets built in their communities,” McNaughton said.

Update September 21, 2018

Some news reports have given more air time to reaction from greens.  Lorrie Goldstein at Toronto Sun instead goes into more detail why the Ontario Green Act is a failure: Good riddance to toxic Green Energy Act  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

By scrapping the Green Energy Act, passed by former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty in 2009, Premier Doug Ford is ending one of the worst legislative disasters ever inflicted on the people of Ontario.

The GEA is largely responsible for Ontario’s skyrocketing electricity prices.

It’s the reason we’re paying outrageously high prices for green energy the Liberals didn’t need in order to eliminate coal power, which was actually done using nuclear power and natural gas.

The jobs the Liberals promised under the GEA never materialized, according to former Ontario auditor general Jim McCarter in his 2011 annual report.

The GEA made Ontario’s energy grid less efficient because it required the province to buy expensive and unreliable wind and solar power from green energy developers under 20-year contracts, before purchasing other forms of energy.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk reported in 2016 that Ontario electricity consumers had overpaid $9.2 billion for green energy, because the Liberals ignored the advice of their own experts on how to price it.

Under the GEA, the Liberals abdicated from the proper role of government, which is to balance public and private interests.

Instead, they became cheerleaders for the wealthy green energy lobby.

Citizens opposed to green energy projects imposed on their communities faced the impossible task of fighting the industry and the Liberal government.

Ford is right to scrap the GEA.

The tragedy is that the economic damage it caused under the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals will be felt for decades to come.

 

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