Wind Fiasco Promises to be the “Liberal’s Undoing”!

Grits’ failed wind energy to face tough test in 2018

By Jim Merriam

Monday, October 3, 2016 

Premier Kathleen Wynne

Premier Kathleen WynneBookmark and Share

You have to wonder how bad the Ontario Liberal party’s internal polls are to force the government to fold on its signature green energy policies.

Published polls show both Premier Kathleen Wynne and party have found a basement under rock bottom and it’s likely private polls show the same or worse.

The fact wind factories were destroying communities and tearing families apart in rural Ontario meant nothing at Queen’s Park.

Likewise, the Grits ignored endless pleas and protests from municipal leaders and wind opponents. They dismissed as meaningless complaints about wind turbines driving families from their homes.

Even the mounting evidence giant turbines are contaminating nearby wells didn’t move Wynne and company.

Plus, the Liberals were experts at ignoring the media, who repeatedly pointed out green energy problems that were leading Ontario into power poverty, particularly in rural areas.

As the old joke about always being ignored until you pass gas in an elevator goes, it only took one Scarborough byelection loss to change the landscape.

The Grits’ first response was the throne speech fiasco to “reset” the agenda. That brought the eight per cent tax rebate on energy bills, a give that went over like a lead balloon.

Now future renewable energy projects valued at over $3 billion are gone because experts said Ontario has excess power.

It’s too bad bureaucrats couldn’t have figured that out for themselves months ago when they started delivering extra power across neighbours’ borders at huge losses to Ontario.

The big question is, now what? Cancellation of future projects will keep power bills from rising by a measly $2.45 per month in the future. But that does nothing about the current power crisis.

Obviously there’ll be more goodies to come on the power front as the government gets ready to face the people in 2018 but with a provincial debt of $300 billion and counting, how significant can they be?

Besides all the ways in which the people of Ontario have been victimized by green energy initiatives, the biggest crime is the bad rap the experiment has given to renewable energy.

Former premier Dalton McGuinty and his energy minister George Smitherman got in bed with international companies to bring green energy to Ontario at the highest possible cost.

Had these two done their homework and paid even scant attention to the people of the province, they would have found all kinds of ways to introduce renewable energy on a smaller scale with Ontario residents, not offshore companies, reaping most of the benefits.

Instead McGuinty set the stage for all that was to come by prejudging most criticism of green energy projects as nothing but NIMBYism, (Not in My Back Yard).

From that moment of insult to the intelligence of rural Ontario residents, the entire green energy plan became more farce than future.

Wynne, of course, doubled down on all that was wrong with the program and has brought Ontario to the financial disaster in which it finds itself today. The antipathy is massive towards Wynne in rural Ontario because of the energy mess and other fumbled files from health care to the environment to trail development. Her government is unlikely to recover in the boondocks.

The interesting question for 2018 is how many urban folks can be convinced that the Liberals have learned their lesson and suddenly will become good stewards of Ontario’s money and interests.

Even that seems to be an insurmountable hill to climb.

jmerriam@bmts.com

“Letter to the Editor”, regarding Cancellation of Renewable Energy Agreements…

 

Dear Editor

Electricity is back in the news again and some are expressing that green jobs might be lost if the province doesn’t enter into any new agreements for renewable energy.  This will save Ontarians a whopping $2.45 per month on their electricity bills.

Ontarians need to know about the original contract between Ontario and Samsung/Korea Consortium, where there was to be approx. 16,000 jobs created.  This was challenged in the World Trade Organization Court and Canada lost.  Because of the amended trade agreement in 2013 Samsung/Korea could “develop, construct and operate wind and solar generation projects” totaling “up to 1,369 MW of capacity (Phases 1 and 2 and 300 MW for Phase 3).  It could also “establish and operate facilities” to “manufacture wind and solar generation equipment” which might create approximately 900 jobs.

With how much Ontarians have spent on this monopoly there would be 900 jobs created – think about that.  And it would be the same deal even if it were the PCs or the NDP.  They are all getting the same failed advice from the same back-room boys.

We also must remember that there is 3 phases to the Samsung/Korea monopoly and only new agreements, with others, won’t be entered into.  This leaves Ontarians on the hook for the next umpteen years, according to the press, and what about the turbines that are already expropriating people’s use, enjoyment and operation of their land with 500 meter plus set-backs, that go over property lines.  According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, a noise receptor is the inner ear, not the government’s definition that it is a house.  This expropriation/violation should not be tolerated by any Ontarian because if it can happen to one person it can happen to any person.  And one merely has to look at the “big 3” parties to see why this is continuing.

Bill Davis’ PCs (1985) was one of the first to have a government agreement with Suncor (TransCanada), which neither, the Liberals or NDP seem to cancel.  This might explain why none of the parties are not saying anything about the breach of trust involved with the cancellation of the gas-plants.  Wynne even admitted her government had committed breach of trust against Ontarians – silence from the other parties.  As for the Attorney General’s office, why isn’t it upholding the law?  Isn’t that its job?

When Ontarians find out what is really happening they might look to someone else to represent them in Queen’s Park and not merely the “big 3” representing the “back-room boy’s.” These costly agreements will be back, no matter which party is in power.  So don’t be fooled.  We have 18 months to find someone new – let’s do it.

 

Elizabeth F. Marshall,

Director of Research Ontario Landowners Association

Author – Property Rights 101:  An Introduction”

Secretary – Canadian Justice Review Board

Legal Research – Green and Associates Law Offices, etc

Legislative Researcher – MPs, MPPs, Mun. Councillors, etc.

President All Rights Research Ltd.,

Steering Committee – International Property Rights Association

I am not a lawyer and do not give legal advice.  Any information relayed is for informational purposes only.  Please contact a lawyer.

1-705-607-0587Collingwood, ON

 

Corrupt Liberal Gov’t Denies Tampering With Witness List….

Liberal government denies tampering with witness list for wind turbine hearing…

THE CANADIAN PRESS

FIRST POSTED: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 

Glen Murray
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch)

Ontario’s Liberal government denies Opposition charges that it interfered with the witness list for a hearing into a plan to install at least six, 152-metre-high wind turbines near the Collingwood airport.

Progressive Conservative house leader Jim Wilson says the province decided at the last minute to call a witness from NAVCanada instead of an expert from Transport Canada at an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing.

NAVCanada is a private corporation that owns and operates the country’s civil air navigation service, while Transport Canada is the federal government department responsible for transportation policies and programs.

Wilson says the witnesses were changed because Transport Canada has concerns about putting industrial wind turbines between the Collingwood Regional Airport and the Stayner aerodrome.

He says the Ontario government refuses to acknowledge that putting giant turbines so close to the small airports pose a hazard to aircraft operations.

But Environment Minister Glen Murray says it would be against the law for him to play any role in determining witnesses or influencing the environmental tribunal.

“I will keep it as a non-political process and let the experts choose the witnesses,” Murray told the legislature.

“I wish the member opposite would not be politicizing it in the way he’s trying to, because neither he nor I should be involved in this process.”

Wilson said a witness from Transport Canada “would have made much more sense” since it is the agency tasked with ensuring aviation safety.

“Minister, you can spin this all you want, but my people believe, and we have reason to believe — good reason to believe — that somebody in your ministry tampered with the witnesses,” he said.

Wilson said the Liberal government has agreed it could no longer support two of the eight proposed turbine locations near the airport because they pose a serious safety risk, and asked why officials “refuse to act on the serious risk posed by the other six turbines” when experts say they are also dangerous.

But again, Murray said he would stay out of the process.

“I had nothing to do with the decision to change the configuration of turbines,” he said. “Experts did that. I had no role, nor did any politician on this side or any other influencer, in who witnesses are.” 

Nobody signed Up for This, When the Decided to Live in the Country!

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/k8mfojy3tcdqpd5/AADYUon4071P3nQ3CKwS3oNra?oref=e&n=486001235

My son and I went for a drive into town.  He took some pics along the way.  At one time, these would have been beautiful shots of a rural, peaceful countryside.  Today, they are documenting the ongoing destruction of rural Ontario, by the Liberal Party, and their Green/greed Energy Act!

 

When the wind turbines do start up, it will be more than visual assaults, they will be emitting noise/infrasound.

How Green Energy Hurts the Poor…

Commentary

How Green Energy Hurts the Poor


     Print

The clean energy mantra is so loud that it often drowns out the feeble cry of energy poverty. Many Americans are finding it more and more difficult to pay their utility bills, yet this important issue is nearly absent from the debate about America’s energy future.

Modern progressives, who have long fancied themselves as champions of the poor, now see energy policy only through the lens of climate change. Their call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, at any cost, drives public policy. Consequently, the sources of our most reliable and affordable electricity, existing coal power plants, are being shut down across the country as overzealous federal and state regulatory mandates force utilities to use less reliable, and more expensive sources such as wind and solar power.

For those on fixed incomes, increasing energy prices mean that the gap between what they can afford to pay and what they are paying for electricity is widening. If we continue to push aside cheap coal-generated electricity for more expensive alternatives, many more of the nation’s poor will fall into that gap as they struggle to keep their lights on and their refrigerators running.

To be considered affordable, utility bills should be no more than 6 percent of one’s income. But according to new research, energy costs now represent 20 percent or more of income for many of the poorest Americans. That affordability gap of 14 percentage points translates into an extra $40 billion per year.

Only about 1 in 5 families eligible for the federal government’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program actually received funding last year. While climate change evangelists might suggest the answer to this affordability crisis is more funding for energy assistance programs, that’s only a Band-Aid solution that ignores the critical issue of why energy costs are rising.

While low-cost natural gas—thanks to the shale revolution—has moderated rises in energy prices, we cannot assume that natural gas will stay cheap forever. Today, natural gas is the largest source for generating the nation’s electricity. It also heats half of American homes and is being exported in ever-growing volumes.

In the past, when natural gas prices spiked (which they have a history of doing), utilities could turn to abundant, reliable and low-cost coal power to hold down energy costs. But many of those coal plants, once the backbone of our electricity sector, are now gone or are threatened with regulation-induced death. While coal is still used to generate a third of the nation’s electricity, an ever-lengthening list of EPA regulations continues to push critically important coal plants into early retirement.

But renewable energy can’t fill that void any time soon. Despite receiving tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, wind and solar still generate less than 6 percent of the nation’s electricity and remain undependable sources of electricity generation.

Improving the environmental performance of our energy sector is a worthy goal. But doing so by regulatory fiat, while trading reliable and low-cost energy for more expensive and less reliable alternatives, is not the right path forward.

Purposefully driving up the cost of energy, while millions of Americans already struggle to pay their utility bills, is irresponsible. We cannot cut the world’s carbon emissions alone, but we can certainly make U.S. energy poverty a full-blown crisis if we continue on our current course.

Innovation and competition, not heavy-handed regulation, are the keys to keeping the cost of energy from breaking household budgets. Maintaining, or even lowering, energy costs must be as important a consideration in U.S. energy policy as any efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


William F. Shughart II is Research Director and Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, and editor of the Independent Institute book, Taxing Choice: The Predatory Politics of Fiscal Discrimination.

Wind Turbines Near Great Lakes….Hazardous to Birds!

Study calls for 18-km turbine setback

By John Miner, The London Free Press

It’s a standard that would eliminate almost all of Ontario’s current wind farms and the ones recently approved.

In the wake of the release of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service migratory bird study, the American Bird Conservancy is calling for an 18-kilometre buffer around the Great Lakes for wind farms.

“It is highly problematic to build anywhere near the Great Lakes,” Michael Hutchins, director of the American Bird Conservancy’s bird-smart wind energy program, said Monday. “These losses are just not sustainable.”

Using radar designed to detect birds and bats, the Fish and Wildlife Service monitored four sites along the south shore of Lake Ontario in 2013. The results were released last month.

Hutchins called the findings of a high level of bird and bat activity in the zone swept by wind turbine blades “a smoking gun” that proves the turbines should not be located close to the lakeshore.

The results from the U.S. study would apply to the Canadian side of the Great Lakes as well, Hutchins said.

“There is no reason to assume it wouldn’t be as bad on the (other) side as well because these birds are making their way up to the boreal forest in Canada to breed.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a standard that wind farms not be located within five kilometres of the shoreline. The Nature Conservancy recommends eight kilometres. The new evidence points to an 18-kilometre zone as appropriate, Hutchins said.

“These birds don’t just belong to Canada and the United States, they are a shared resource and they are worth billions of dollars,” Hutchins said, pointing to their role in controlling pests, pollinating crops and dispersing seed. “We can’t afford to lose these animals,” he said.

Ontario doesn’t restrict the proximity of wind turbines in relation to the Great Lakes, but does require wind farm developers to monitor bird and bat deaths for three years. For bats the acceptable mortality level is 10 per wind turbine each year, while the limit for birds is 14 birds annually per turbine.

Beyond those levels, the wind farm company may be required to take mitigating action.

Data released last month indicated wind turbines in Ontario in 2015 killed 14,140 birds, mainly songbirds, and 42,656 bats, including several species on Ontario’s endangered species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife radar study found that migrating birds concentrate along the shorelines to refuel and rest before crossing the lakes. The researchers also found the birds make broad-scale flights along the shorelines to explore wind conditions and orient themselves for migration.

Brandy Giannetta, Ontario regional director for the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said wind farm developers are attracted to the areas close to the Great Lakes because they provide the most consistent winds.

The industry recognizes bird mortalities from wind farms can be a problem and is committed to the proper siting of turbines, she said. But Giannetta said the issue has to be looked at in context.

Wind energy is designed to respond to global warming, the biggest threat to birds and other wildlife. Far more birds are killed by cats and collisions with buildings and cars, she said.

Hutchins agreed cats are bigger bird killers than wind turbines, along with pesticides and building and vehicle collisions. But that isn’t a reason not to deal with the turbine issue.

“They all need to be addressed,” he said.

Despite that, the Ontario government just approved another project a few kilometres away on Amherst Island.

jminer@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JohnatLFPress 

Government Agenda Won’t Stop at Wind Turbines! Next…Private Property!

Gilmor vs. Goliath: Conservation groups seek to overturn precedent-setting court decision allowing family to build home

Buttrey Ditch

Graeme Frisque — The Banner

Buttrey drain, a drainage ditch located on the Gilmor’s property is the reason the lot was deemed part of a floodplain in the first place. It is also the source of safety concerns alleged by the Nottawasaga Conservation Authority.

Orangeville Banner

By Graeme Frisque

A precedent-setting court decision that could affect anyone in the province owning property in environmentally protected areas is currently making its way through the Ontario Court of Appeals.

It all started in 2009 when Alex and Tania Gilmor began the permit process to build a home on their property in Amaranth, a small community of roughly 4,000 residents about 15 minutes northwest of Orangeville.

The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority denied that application and a proceeding appeal, and for the last seven years the Gilmors have been fighting for permission to build on their land.

After another appeal to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) was denied via tribunal in July 2013, the Gilmors appealed that decision in Ontario Superior Court, finally winning the right to build their home in September 2015.

But the story doesn’t end there. The respondents — NVCA and the Township of Amaranth — have decided to appeal the court’s decision through an intervener.

Conservation Ontario, a not-for-profit lobby group that represents all 36 of Ontario’s conservation authorities, was approved as intervener by the court and a leave for appeal from the NVCA and Conservation Ontario was granted in February 2016, sending the matter back to the courts.

A portion of the Gilmor’s lot, located at 555106 Mono-Amaranth Townline Road, is part of a designated floodplain and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of the NVCA.

According to court records, the area was designated an environmentally protected area many years after it was originally subdivided into 10-acre lots in the 1960s, and very few lots in the area remain vacant. There are existing houses on either side of the Gilmor’s property and across the road.

The area was deemed an environmentally protected area due to a small drainage ditch called “Buttrey Drain”, which crosses the Gilmor’s lot behind the proposed build site.

The drainage ditch also passes through a neighbour’s property — where a house already exists — and then proceeds to a culvert under the public road, eventually connecting to a creek, part of the Nottawasaga River system.

When they first purchased the land there was an existing driveway, shed and garden on the property and neighbours had been allowed to build houses prior to their application to do so.

Despite the proposed house being in an area on the property where flooding poses no risk, the Gilmor’s application to build was denied on the basis of flooding and safety concerns.

“Unfortunately, we cannot provide any detail about the NVCA’s position as this matter is before the courts, other than we are confident the NVCA has upheld its responsibilities as required by the Conservation Authorities Act,” said Doug Lougheed, NVCA Chair and Innisfil town councillor.

Justice Sean F. Dunphy disagreed after hearing the Gilmor’s appeal, overturning the NVCA and tribunal decisions on the matter to refuse the appropriate permits.

In his decision, Justice Dunphy pointed out an expert analysis undertaken as part of the permit process showed little-to-no flood or safety risk, even in the event of a “hypothetical extreme event” such as the “Timmins Storm” — a standard comparable used by the NVCA when assessing risk in the event of a worst-case scenario regional storm.

“(The Gilmors) provided extensive expert evidence establishing the lack of any adverse effects impact (on) their proposed building on flood control,” said Justice Dunphy.

“The methodology and quality of their expert evidence has not been challenged. Indeed, the NVCA utilized the data produced by the Gilmors’ experts in preparing their own studies,” he added.

Furthermore, the judge ruled the tribunal who originally upheld the NVCA’s decision erred by judging the case on the basis of a general ban on development in environmentally protected areas, which is not the case.

Conservation authorities routinely allow construction and development in floodplains and other environmentally sensitive areas they oversee, as long as additional mandated steps are taken to address any environmental concerns.

However, the concerns the NVCA had with Gilmor’s application is not of an environmental nature, but of public safety — namely, flood safety — and the judge found those concerns to be baseless.

The NVCA appears to have no problem with construction on the site, as their proposed resolution was to have the Gilmors build a 600-metre driveway to the back of the property outside of the flood plain. Something Justice Dunphy called “ironic”.

“The proposed driveway would be approximately 600 metres long and proceed over the existing drainage ditch and across wetlands to the rear of the Gilmor’s property to higher land,” he said.

“Further, the fill necessary to build up the required road that distance would have a much more significant impact on the ability of the land to handle a flood and thus create still more regulatory approval challenges,” added Justice Dunphy.

Justice Dunphy concluded the NVCA acted outside of its legislated powers by denying the Gilmor’s permit application and interpreted its own internal standards as matters of law.

“A general prohibition on developments without consideration of the impact, if any, of such developments on flood control in the particular circumstances of each case, would have been beyond the jurisdiction of the NVCA to enact … and it cannot acquire such jurisdiction by misinterpreting its own regulation,” he said.

And it appears it is on this basis — and not the Gilmor’s safety or right to build on their land — that the NVCA and the now intervening Conservation Ontario have chosen to so vigorously oppose the court’s decision.

“As this matter deals with a provincial priority for flood protection, NVCA has vigorously pursued leave to appeal before the Ontario Court of Appeal,” said NCVA Chair Lougheed.

“Conservation Ontario has sought intervener status as this appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal has implications for all of Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities, as it may affect how certain provisions of the Conservation Authorities Act are interpreted,” added Lougheed.

As for the Gilmors, according to Elizabeth Marshall of the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA), after seven years of wrangling and legal fees, the family is giving up the fight.

“They aren’t speaking to anyone anymore. They have chosen not to get a lawyer for the appeal. They are at the point where they are ready to throw themselves at the mercy of the court,” she said.

As a result, OLA president Tom Black said the group sought intervener status on the Gilmors’ behalf in order to keep up the fight — which was denied.

“The win was rather historic and we thought it should be defended,” said Black, who added the group continues to seek an intervener they would support willing to pick up the mantle.

In the meantime — at least in the opinion of one Ontario Superior Court Justice — the Gilmors continue to have their rights trampled.

West Lincoln Resident Asks for Help from Prov. to Correct Wind Turbine Transmission Pole Dangers

Honourable Steven Del Duca :
We are residents of West Niagara. Over the past few years, despite a constant battle against the project, we have been inundated with 77 industrial wind turbines.
They are so massive that they loom on the once pastoral horizon….taller than the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls.
To date the turbines have not started running because the infrastructure necessary for the transmission of power in still in progress.
The infrastructure is what concerns me. Perhaps you can assure me that the system has been checked for safety under the MTO guidelines.
Our community is predominantly rural. Our roads are narrow and must allow for the passage of cars, trucks, school buses and immense farm equipment.
The roads are now lined with huge transmission poles, very close to the road.  Along the roads, guardrails have been installed between the poles and the roads.
Now there is virtually no soft shoulder to cushion the traffic. Farm equipment will block the roads, with no opportunity for vehicles to pass.
In winter there will be no place for snow to be piled at the side of the roads.
Hence the roads will be virtually impassable in the summer due to farm traffic and in the winter with piles of snow. (And we get a lot of snow!!!)
Snowplows will find it impossible to clear the roads safely. There will be no room.
If a driver has a mishap and hits the guardrails or transmission poles…there will be no mercy…there will be a fatality.
The structures are so close to the roads.
My entire family lives in this rural community. My grandchildren ride the school buses who use these roads.
My children use these roads daily to access Highway 20.
I know driving will be unsafe to the point of critically dangerous.
I believe this is your area of expertise.
Can you please come out and inspect this project in West Lincoln???  I know the provincial government is responsible for the welfare and safety of residents.
These roads will be a nightmare with the potential for death.
We await your response,
Susan and Ross Smith
RR 2 Smithville, Ontario
L0R2A0

A Breakdown on How Badly the Wind Fiasco is Hurting us…Financially.

Ontario electricity has never been cheaper, but bills have never been higher

The province signed long-term contracts with a handful of lucky firms, guaranteeing them 13.5 cents per kWh for electricity produced from wind, and even more from solar.

Tyler Brownbridge / Postmedia News files
 
The province signed long-term contracts with a handful of lucky firms, guaranteeing them 13.5 cents per kWh for electricity produced from wind, and even more from solar.  The more the wind blows, the bigger the losses and the higher the hit to consumers.

You may be surprised to learn that electricity is now cheaper to generate in Ontario than it has been for decades. The wholesale price, called the Hourly Ontario Electricity Price or HOEP, used to bounce around between five and eight cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), but over the last decade, thanks in large part to the shale gas revolution, it has trended down to below three cents, and on a typical day is now as low as two cents per kWh. Good news, right?

It would be, except that this is Ontario. A hidden tax on Ontario’s electricity has pushed the actual purchase price in the opposite direction, to the highest it’s ever been. The tax, called the Global Adjustment (GA), is levied on electricity purchases to cover a massive provincial slush fund for green energy, conservation programs, nuclear plant repairs and other central planning boondoggles. As these spending commitments soar, so does the GA.

In the latter part of the last decade when the HOEP was around five cents per kWh and the government had not yet begun tinkering, the GA was negligible, so it hardly affected the price. In 2009, when the Green Energy Act kicked in with massive revenue guarantees for wind and solar generators, the GA jumped to about 3.5 cents per kWh, and has been trending up since — now it is regularly above 9.5 cents. In April it even topped 11 cents, triple the average HOEP.

So while the marginal production cost for generation is the lowest in decades, electricity bills have never been higher. And the way the system is structured, costs will keep rising.

The province signed long-term contracts with a handful of lucky firms, guaranteeing them 13.5 cents per kWh for electricity produced from wind, and even more from solar. Obviously, if the wholesale price is around 2.5 cents, and the wind turbines are guaranteed 13.5 cents, someone has to kick in 11 cents to make up the difference. That’s where the GA comes in. The more the wind blows, and the more turbines get built, the bigger the losses and the higher the GA.

Just to make the story more exquisitely painful, if the HOEP goes down further, for instance through technological innovation, power rates won’t go down. A drop in the HOEP widens the gap between the market price and the wind farm’s guaranteed price, which means the GA has to go up to cover the losses.

Ontario’s policy disaster goes many layers further. If people conserve power and demand drops, the GA per kWh goes up, so if everyone tries to save money by cutting usage, the price will just increase, defeating the effort. Nor do Ontarians benefit through exports. Because the renewables sector is guaranteed the sale, Ontario often ends up exporting surplus power at a loss.

The story only gets worse if you try to find any benefits from all this spending. Ontario doesn’t get more electricity than before, it gets less.

Despite the hype, all this tinkering produced no special environmental benefits. The province said it needed to close its coal-fired power plants to reduce air pollution. But prior to 2005, these plants were responsible for less than two per cent of annual fine particulate emissions in Ontario, about the same as meat packing plants, and far less than construction or agriculture. Moreover, engineering studies showed that improvements in air quality equivalent to shutting the plants down could be obtained by simply completing the pollution control retrofit then underway, and at a fraction of the cost. Greenhouse gas emissions could have been netted to zero by purchasing carbon credits on the open market, again at a fraction of the cost. The environmental benefits exist only in provincial propaganda.

And on the subject of environmental protection, mention must be made of the ruin of so many scenic vistas in the province, especially long stretches of the Great Lakes shores, the once-pristine recreational areas of the central highlands, and the formerly pastoral landscapes of the southwestern farmlands; and we have not even mentioned yet the well-documented ordeal for people living with the noise and disturbance of wind turbines in their backyards. We will look in vain for benefits in Ontario even remotely commensurate to the damage that has been done.

The province likes to defend its disastrous electricity policy by saying it did it for the children. These are the same children who are now watching their parents struggle with unaffordable utility bills. And who in a few years will enter the workforce and discover how hard it has become to get full time jobs amid a shrinking industrial job market.

Electricity is cheaper to make than it’s been for a generation, yet Ontarians are paying more than ever. About the only upside is that nine other provinces now have a handbook on what not to do with their electricity sector.

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics at University of Guelph, is Research Chair, Frontier Centre for Public Policy.