Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government had us pay $1 billion more for electricity than the market value of that power in October alone, part of our annual, multibillion-dollar, so-called “Global Adjustment” charge.
In 2013 alone, Ontario paid $1.2 billion to other jurisdictions to take our excess electricity, part of an increasingly costly problem managing the intermittency and unreliability of subsidized green energy.
The environmental and other benefits from shutting coal power plants and subsidizing green energy have not materialized; rather the policies are becoming gigantic economic and environmental losers.
In Ontario, we now have long-term contracts for natural gas back-up plants, some that run as little as a few days a year, combined with green energy subsidies for select technologies, primarily owned or promoted by government insiders and a foreign corporation.
Industry is circumventing power generation, delivery, debt and Global Adjustment charges by doubling self-generated diesel power from 5%-10%.
The now-closed coal plants could have been retrofitted to existing, lower-cost ammonia and urea-based emission reduction technologies that reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) and NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions to levels lower than gas plants.
The billions of dollars wasted could have paid for NH3 electrolysis plants, the electricity we give away converted into billions of dollars worth of locally produced NH3 that our farmers could use to replace imported fertilizer and diesel fuel.
This would create high-paying jobs and turn a growing loss into savings and profits.
The Harper government endorsed NH3 for use as an energy currency for renewable energy storage and regeneration, and for carbon conversion, in October, 2013.
It funded research into making green ammonia and fuel cells for a decade, and gave the University of Ontario Institute of Technology a grant for a comparative study of 12 ammonia-based clean rail transportation systems for the Greater Toronto Area.
That found fuel cost savings and emissions reductions of at least 50% using ammonia blended with diesel fuel, and a 100% ammonia fuel system that would eliminate all CO2 and NOx emissions.
Globally, countries, universities and companies have been involved in 11 annual Ammonia Fuel Association conferences, vehicles have been converted in Canada, the US, Italy and South Korea. NH3 fuel cells power cell towers in Africa.
Japan’s extensive research on 200 kinds of hydrogen storage materials between 1990 and 2014 concluded the only one that worked was ammonia.
It’s building a hydrogen economy based on NH3 and just put $100 million (US) of a $300 million budget towards renewable energy production and utilization into ammonia.
Ontario doesn’t classify NH3 as an alternative energy or fuel to qualify for any subsidies, incentives or funding of any kind.
Ontario’s Environment Commissioner noted even the IPCC recognized in its recent Fourth Annual Assessment Report the opportunity to safely and economically convert hydrocarbons into ammonia and urea.
This is not only about which fertilizer, fuel or energy source is greener or causes less harm.
It is also about the local and economic costs of production and consumption.
We need a level playing field for all clean-tech and new and emerging technologies in Ontario.
Most of all, we need governments to stop picking winners and losers.
Let consumers vote with their wallets, instead of having them picked by politicians, corporate insiders and special interests.
– Vezina is an author, analyst and chairman of Hydrofuel Inc.