The people always lose with green scheme energy deals

lorne gunter

BY LORNE GUNTER , EDMONTON SUN

FIRST POSTED: SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2017 05:14 PM EDT | UPDATED: SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2017 05:20 PM EDT

wind turbines
Wind powered turbines spin on a wind farm in Port Burwell, a town near London, Ont. (Derek Ruttan/Postmedia files)

Call it whatever you like — “green” or alternate or renewable energy. Wherever governments interfere in power markets to reduce greenhouse emissions, the results are always higher taxes and skyrocketing power bills, with few environmental benefits.

The latest proof came Thursday when Ontario’s provincial Tories released secret documents showing that despite efforts by the governing Liberals to bring down Ontarians’ electricity bills this summer, Premier Kathleen Wynne and her cabinet already know that after next year’s election, power bills will have to go up – way up – until they almost double by 2028.

In their obsession with closing coal-fired power plants and replacing the electricity produced at them with wind, solar and biomass (a blind fixation shared by Alberta’s NDP), Ontario’s Liberals have made a series of awful deals with wind turbine operators and solar farm owners.

They have signed numerous long-term contracts to buy “green” power at well over the market value. And they often dump excess electricity at deep discounts into neighbouring states, losses they then pass on to Ontario homeowners and businesses on their power bills.

Perhaps the dumbest of these deals was the Liberals’ decision to convert a coal-fired plant in Thunder Bay to burn wood chips. They made the deal before they checked whether plentiful Northern Ontario chips were suitable to fire the furnaces they had bought.

They weren’t. So instead of using local chips, Norwegian chips must be shipped in. Power from the Thunder Bay plant costs $1,600 per megawatt-hour – 25 times more than other Ontario wood chip power plants and nearly 100 times more than coal.

The same is beginning to happen in Alberta where the NDP government is paying big-time to shut down useful coal plants and ban construction of new ones.

To help cover the cost, the government of Premier Rachel Notley has implemented a $3-billion-a-year carbon tax that has added over a third to the cost of natural gas used to heat homes during long, cold prairie winters.

It miscalculated the cost of cancelled long-term power contracts with large-scale electricity users by about $2 billion. And it will be paying billions in subsidies to utilities over the next decade and a half to cover the cost of shutting generators early. There will also be payouts to coal towns losing mining jobs and businesses.

Alberta isn’t up near the $40 billion Ontario has wasted, but give us a few years.

The documents uncovered by the Ontario Tories on Thursday show that while the Wynne government may be able to bring power bills down now by 25% (through restructuring the long-term costs of “green” power), it won’t be able to avoid fiscal reality for long.

While average monthly power bills in Ontario may come down to around $123 a month this summer, by 2028 they will have spiked again to $215.

Another issue is that all this suffering and sacrifice (rising power costs will eliminate tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs) is doing nothing environmentally.

All these billions are being spent to eliminate about 7 megawatts of “installed capacity” in Ontario and about 6.5 megawatts of coal in Alberta.

That sounds like a lot, but consider that China has installed coal-fired capacity of 940,000 megawatts according to its National Energy Agency. And by 2030, that amount will have risen to 1.3 million megawatts.

It’s true China has recently announced it will scale back its coal-plant building plans, but it will still be adding over 500 megawatts a week for the next 13 years, while Ontario and Alberta are beggaring their economies and future generations over a mere 13.5 megawatts.

Does anyone, other than environmentalists (and Liberal and NDP premiers), think all that money and pain will save the planet?

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Corruption in the Wind Industry….

Dozens of energy projects referred to DOJ

Credit:  Written by Claire Withycombe/Capital Bureau | Portland Tribune | 31 October 2016 | portlandtribune.com ~~

SALEM – Wind, solar and ethanol projects were among the dozens of renewable energy projects referred for investigation to the Oregon Department of Justice by auditors of a discontinued state tax credit program, according to a list released Friday.

The list was compiled by Marsh Minick, P.C., a private firm that conducted an audit of the Department of Energy’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program under contract with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.

That audit was released in early September.

Auditors didn’t find “direct evidence” of fraud, they wrote in their audit report, but said they found “circumstantial evidence” suggesting suspicious activity in a number of BETC projects.

According to the documents listing those projects, there were several projects that exceeded limits on eligible costs.

Oregon statutes limited eligible costs to $20 million per renewable energy facility per year.

Representatives of two groups identified as having projects exceeding eligible costs in the report, Klondike Wind Power and Pacific Ethanol, on Friday defended the projects that received the tax credits.

Klondike Wind Power, known as PPM Energy, Inc., later becoming Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., which then was renamed Avangrid Renewables, had four projects. According to the report, each of them were treated as distinct facilities, qualifying them to receive four times the eligible costs.

Art Sasse, a spokesman for Avangrid Renewables, said the following about the Klondike Wind Power projects in a statement late Friday:

“We’re happy to work with the DOJ to show that we followed both the letter and spirit of the law whenever we utilized the BETC. We built four distinctively different wind farms at our Klondike complex, with each phase of construction representing a different time frame, with placed in service dates that are years apart, with various models of turbines and different customers for each wind farm.”

Pacific Ethanol had two project files in Boardman, Ore., one for ethanol production, and another for ethanol distribution, according to the report.

The auditors noted that the two projects had “similar yet different names,” were located at the same site address and had the same applicant. Those factors raised “red flags” under state administrative rules.

Together the projects had eligible costs totaling $29 million, according to the auditors’ report, exceeding the $20 million limit.

Paul Koehler, a spokesman for Pacific Ethanol, said that the Boardman plants continue to operate.

“I think the Boardman, Ore., ethanol project is a very good example of the use of the Business Energy Tax Credit,” Koehler said.

Cascade Grain Products, Willow Creek Energy and the Portland General Electric Company were also identified as companies with a project or projects that exceeded eligible costs.

Media representatives of these three companies – or companies that subsequently acquired them – could not be immediately reached for comment late Friday.

Cascade Grain Products had two projects: an ethanol production facility and an ethanol distribution facility.

Willow Creek Energy, a subsidiary of Invenergy LLC, had a project that was approved for a tax credit with eligible costs of $22 million, as did Portland General Electric. The specific nature of these projects was not identified in the auditors’ report.

Solar World AG had two projects that exceeded eligible costs. Those two projects had originated as five projects, according to the report. The five original projects were merged into two.

A spokesman, Ben Santarris, said that his company operates according to the “highest ethical and legal standards.”

Auditors stated that in emails, state officials agreed to approve eligible costs that differed from what was permitted under state statute.

The auditors also identified several “projects of concern” in the list released Friday by DOJ, but noted that its list of “concerning” projects was not comprehensive.

“Due to the volume of projects where red-flag activity was observed, investigative efforts were motivated by perceived risks,” the auditors wrote. “This should not be considered a comprehensive list or a complete investigation.”

There are 15 headings in that section of the report, which list individuals or companies, some of which had multiple projects.

A joint legislative committee has been tasked with making recommendations for the future of the department. Their next public meeting is Nov. 4.

“We’re committed to working with the DOJ on any next steps they take,” Oregon Department of Energy Spokeswoman Rachel Wray said in a statement Friday.