Ontario cancels 1,000 megawatts of new wind and solar projects
The decision is designed to help keep rising consumer hydro rates in check.
In a bid to help offset rising electricity rates in the province, Ontario’s Liberal government is cancelling plans to sign contracts for up to 1,000 megawatts of power from solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources.
As reported by The Canadian Press, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said the move will save up to $3.8 billion of the costs projected in the 2013 long-term energy plan, and will keep about $2.45 a month from being added to hydro bills for homeowners and small businesses.
“[Ontario] has a strong supply of clean power for the next decade – power that we don’t need right now, “Thibeault said. “Looking at this prudently and finding ways to continue to have downward pressure on rates, because that’s one of the mandates that I’ve been given by the premier, I acted on it.”
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party has been demanding the Liberals stop signing long-term contracts for renewable energy projects, and said Ontario’s high electricity rates are driving businesses out of the province. “This government has plowed ahead for years signing contracts for energy we simply do not need,” said Opposition Leader Patrick Brown. “The premier has become the best minister of economic development that Pennsylvania and New York has ever seen.”
The Liberals also eliminated the debt retirement charge for household hydro bills and deferred construction of two new nuclear reactors at Darlington, in a move to avoid up to $15 billion in new construction costs. “We will also be looking for ways to reduce costs in the next long-term energy plan to be released in 2017,” Thibeault said.
Despite this policy retreat, Ontario still has long-term contracts, most for 20 years, for 18,000 megawatts of power from wind, solar bio-energy, and energy-from-waste projects. “[We’re] not backing away from [our] green energy policies,” Thibeault said.