Ontario plans Green Energy Act repeal

CANADA: Ontario's government has introduced legislation to repeal the state's Green Energy Act (GEA), the key policy behind the state's feed-in tariff for wind power projects.

The legislation would allow municipal authorities to stop project approvals
The legislation would allow municipal authorities to stop project approvals

The GEA, passed in May 2009, provided project operators with a guaranteed purchase price through a feed-in tariff and a simplified regulatory structure, and removed limits on project size or on how much capacity can be brought online.

But the new conservative Ontario government, elected in early June, has vowed to repeal the GEA, claiming it tripled electricity bills under the last government, prevented municipal authorities from rejecting projects, and had "driven manufacturing jobs out of Ontario".

The Canadian Wind Energy Association, (CanWEA), however, has described these claims as "inaccurate" and "misleading".

Infrastructure minister Monte McNaughton said: "Well-connected energy insiders made fortunes putting up wind farms and solar panels that gouge hydro consumers in order to generate electricity that Ontario doesn’t need.

"Today, we are proud to say that the party with taxpayers’ money is over."

Wind and solar represent 11% of Ontario’s total generation, the government stated.

The two energy sources represent 30% of Global Adjustment costs — the difference between the hourly spot price and the contracted price the grid operator pays for generation — passed on to consumers, the government claimed.

However, CanWEA rejected the government’s suggestions that renewable energy investments had increased electricity bills for consumers and restricted job creation.

"Ontario’s electricity bills have increased because the province made significant investments in multiple forms of new electricity generation and new electricity infrastructure in conjunction with the phase-out of coal-fired generation," CanWEA president, Robert Hornung, said.

He added that Ontario’s wind farms were providing "long-term, stable pricing" for taxpayers and were creating green jobs in the province.

CanWEA stated that it would review and assess the legislation further.

One of the first acts by premier Doug Ford was to abandon the ‘cap-and-trade’ carbon tax programme.

Earlier this month, the government challenged the constitutionality of the federal government’s carbon tax plans in Canada’s Court of Appeal.

In July, the Ontario government cancelled contracts for hundreds of renewable energy projects, including four large wind farms, because they had "missed key development milestones".

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