Cap-and-trade and selling Hydro One are even bigger mistakes than the Liberals’ disastrous green energy plan

Premier Kathleen Wynne can’t stop rising energy costs in Ontario because of her refusal to buy hydro power from Quebec for as little as three cents per kilowatt-hour.

This instead of paying six cents and rising for power from refurbished nuclear power plants, similar amounts for imported natural gas-fueled peaking power, and twelve cents or more for 20-year green energy subsidies.

Many of the environmental and health benefits from shutting coal power plants have not materialized; rather we now have long-term contracts for natural gas back-up plants, also causing significant environmental and health consequences, combined with industry doubling its self-generated supply of diesel electric power.

The Liberals gave $2 billion in 20-year green energy subsides to a few select technologies, some owned or promoted by companies with Liberal party insiders, and $6 billion to South Korea’s Samsung, all of which got preferential grid connections.

The 2011 Auditor General’s annual report stated: “No independent, objective, expert investigation had been done to examine the potential effects of renewable energy policies on prices … no long-term energy plan was in place”, and the energy ministry did not estimate potential job losses and the cost per renewable, energy-related job in Ontario.

To supply electricity used in the Toronto Zone (GTA) alone, an area the size of Prince Edward Island would need to become a wind farm operating around the clock, within a limited wind speed range of 43-90 kph.

Billionaire Bill Gates says green subsidy costs are “beyond astronomical”, that “renewable energy can’t do the job”, that “governments should switch green subsidies into R&D (research and development”, and the “only way to a positive scenario is innovation”.

If we continue to populate our grid with expensive natural gas and nuclear facilities we leave no room for energy efficiency gains or lower cost cleaner, renewable and new energy sources as they become viable.

Wynne’s intended 2017 cap-and-trade scheme and the sale of 60% of Hydro One are even bigger mistakes than the Liberals’ disastrous green energy plan implementation.

The “national energy strategy” agreement from the recent premiers’ annual meeting contained 50 “actions” most of which are common practice, fond intentions, or hopes to “maximize access to energy savings by all energy consumers,” plus pledges to “identify gaps in existing research” related to “transformational technologies”.

But it excludes targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Former Alberta PC premier Alison Redford says a national energy strategy should see each province continue to play to its respective strengths: hydroelectric development in Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador; wind, solar and natural gas development in Ontario; LNG infrastructure in British Columbia; and the “continued responsible” production of Alberta’s oil sands resource.

Ontario will become a huge cash cow for most of the other provinces, buying natural gas for the 30-35 year lifecycle of our new gas plants and hydro to manage our grid, while simultaneously keeping our expensive nuclear power and select green power subsidies.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says Ontario needs to import “clean” power from Newfoundland for the dozen years refurbishing 10 nuclear reactors will take, in effect admitting that due to GHG emissions, the Liberal government would rather not burn natural gas to generate electricity when the reactors are taken off line.

Nova Scotia partnered with Newfoundland by putting up 20% of the cost to build the Muskrat Falls hydro project and a transmission line, and got 20% of the plant’s lifetime output of low fixed cost electrical power.

Nova Scotia and B.C. are partnering to develop tidal energy on Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Ontario should work with Ottawa and other provinces where possible, to agree to eliminate subsidies and begin to use a sales tax-based, full-cost accounting approach to economic policy, to begin to level the playing field and costs for all competing brown and green energy products and services across Canada.