Last month’s announcement by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne that her province would link up with the existing Quebec and California carbon dioxide cap-and-trade systems prompted an editorial in this newspaper headlined, “Is this Green Energy Act Round Two?”
Ontario’s Green Energy Act offered so-called “feed-in rates” almost four times existing electricity rates for wind and more than 10 times for solar power. Like bees to honey, wind and solar companies rushed in. By the time the government realized that these subsidies were driving Ontario from one of the lowest to one of the highest power cost jurisdictions in North America, the province had signed myriad 20-year-locked-in-rate-guaranteed contracts that will drive power rates up a further 40 per cent to 50 per cent in coming years. Adding salt to this self-inflicted wound is the reality that much of the green power comes on stream when it isn’t needed. This unneeded electricity is dumped into the United States at bargain-basement prices that Ontario’s Auditor-General found has already cost Ontario power consumers billions of dollars, with much bigger losses yet to come before those 20-year contracts expire.