Projects ‘a disaster’
PLEVNA — A Brule Lake resident is challenging some of the arguments the Ontario government is using to support its push to build more renewable energy projects.
Chris Albinson responded to Tuesday’s announcement by the Ontario government that it was launching the second phase of its Large Renewable Procurement.
Phase 2 of the Large Renewable Procurement program announced Tuesday called for up to 930 megawatts of green energy to be added to the province.
Contracts for Phase 1 of the program were offered in March and amounted to about 455 megawatts.
In the announcement, the government said green energy projects had created 42,000 jobs since 2003 and reduced carbon dioxide emissions.
Albinson said neither statements are true and the Liberal government’s Green Energy Act has hurt the province’s economy and increased the cost of electricity for residents and businesses.
“The Green Energy Act was a nice idea that has turned into an economic catastrophe through gross mismanagement and corruption,” he wrote in an email to The Whig-Standard.
Albinson said reports from the province’s auditor general show the expectations about the job creation, environmental benefit and economic value of the renewable energy projects in Ontario are greatly overestimated by the Liberal government.
“Any rational government would look at the facts and the auditor general report and stop the program,” he wrote. “In the bizarre thinking of this government, they are doubling the size of the disaster.”
In 2011, then Ontario auditor general Jim McCarter pointed out that while the Green Energy Act promised 40,000 jobs would be created by renewable energy products, most were short term and that estimate did not account for job losses in other sectors.
“However, about 30,000, or 75 per cent, of these jobs were expected to be construction jobs lasting only from one to three years,” McCarter wrote in his 2011 report.
Government estimates of green energy job creation also did not factor in job losses from other sectors of the economy because of higher electricity prices.
“A 2009 study conducted in Spain found that for each job created through renewable energy programs, about two jobs were lost in other sectors of the economy,” McCarter’s report stated.
Another 2009 study from Denmark noted “that a job created in the renewable sector does not amount to a new job but, rather, usually comes at the expense of a job lost in another sector.” The renewable energy job is often heavily subsidized, the study showed.
Albinson also questioned the government’s assertion that the additional renewable energy will reduce the province’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Again, he referred to reports from the auditor general that showed renewable energy sources — mainly wind and solar — rely on unpredictable weather and must bebacked up by electricity from gas-powered generation stations and nuclear power plants.
In her 2015 report, Ontario auditor general Bonnie Lysyk pointed out that the electricity sector in 2012 produced 14.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide, about nine per cent of the province’s total emissions. Transportation and industry produce 34 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.
“According to the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, emission reduction is important, but the cost of reducing emissions from the electricity sector should be evaluated against initiatives taken to reduce emissions from other, higher-emitting sectors such as the transportation industry,” Lysyk wrote.
“Reducing emissions from cars and trucks could very well be more cost-effective than reducing emissions through phasing out coal plants and procuring renewable energy at expensive prices.”
“It is almost as if the Ontario Liberal government has adopted a Donald Trump approach — even if you are lying and everyone knows you are lying, you just have to keep saying it long enough and loud enough that people believe you,” Albinson wrote.