Frank Klees

FRANKLY SPEAKING

Frankly Speaking
By Frank Klees, MPP
August 11, 2011

YES to Green Energy......

NO to Dalton McGuinty's Expensive Energy Experiments

A PC Government will encourage the development of solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy through a competitive and transparent procurement process that will ensure Ontario families and businesses get the best value for their money.

Rather than driving up energy costs through costly subsidies, we will cancel the McGuinty government's expensive Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, which is unsustainable and has undermined Ontario's reputation internationally on two fronts.

1) The feed-in-tariff rates being offered under the McGuinty government’s microFIT and FIT program are unsustainable. Every knowledgeable energy stakeholder in Ontario and internationally agrees with this, and the Minister of Energy has acknowledged this as well. That’s why he has reluctantly agreed to conduct a review of the program.

While we support the need for incentives to industry to ensure a robust development of alternative energy generation, we must keep in mind that the cost of these incentives will be passed on to the consumer. Based on the cost of the current program, electricity rates are predicted to increase by some 46 % over the next 5 years and much of that increase can be attributed to the high subsidies payable under the FIT program. This is in addition to the 84% increase in electricity rates already being absorbed by consumers since 2003. According to the Ontario Energy Board, the increase can be as high as 150% for families and small businesses where a smart meter has been activated.

In a report released by the C.D. Howe Institute, even the former CEO of the Ontario Power Authority, Jan Carr states that the current FIT Program should immediately be terminated and replaced with a more cost-effective program. The report, The High Cost of Ontario Renewable Electricity Subsidies, can be accessed at http://cdhowe.org/pdf/ebrief_117.pdf

In our opinion, while well-intentioned, the McGuinty government has it wrong when it comes to this program. The cost is unsustainable and will impose unnecessary hardship on Ontario families and businesses.

For that reason, we can not support the McGuinty government's microFIT and FIT program. As announced, we will put an end to this ill-conceived program.

2) By signing a multi-billion dollar energy deal with Samsung without public tender, the McGuinty government has undermined Ontario's integrity with international and domestic energy stakeholders who were excluded from bidding for the business.

After defending the secret Samsung deal for 19 months, the McGuinty government finally relented and released the details of the deal.  According to energy expert Tom Adams, the untendered deal negotiated behind closed doors, still hands Samsung more than a billion dollars in subsidies each year for the next 25 years.

That's why a PC Government will take every measure necessary to protect Ontario families and businesses against these irresponsible subsidies.

Cancelling the McGuinty government's expensive FIT program and untendered Samsung deal does not mean that we are opposed to green energy. It does mean that we will take our role as stewards of your tax dollars seriously. It also means that we will ensure that Ontario's renewable energy policy is sustainable, reliable and affordable