Monday, August 16, 2010

Ontario’s Power Trip: Solar see saw

Ontario’s Power Trip: Solar see saw
August 16, 2010 – 1:40 pm
By Parker Gallant


In a major energy policy reversal that will cost Ontario electricity consumers as much as a $1-billion, the province’s Energy Minister Brad Duguid last Friday took back a plan to cut solar power subsidies. The subsidies, based on paying 80-cents for a kiloWatt hour of solar power, were to be cut to 58 cents on all projects approved after July 2. But on Friday, under pressure from green energy lobbyists, Mr. Duguid reversed that decision. The new price for solar would be 64 cents–but only on projects submitted after Aug. 13. All proposals that have been submitted before that date–whether approved or not–would receive the 80 cent price.


This is another electricity policy bungle on the part of the Liberals, part of a series that date back more than a year. Here’s part of the history.

On September 24, 2009, George Smitherman, then Minister of Energy, issued a directive to Colin Anderson, CEO of the Ontario Power Authority, to develop a feed-in-tariff (FIT) program for green energy, including wind and solar. OPA was to include small solar projects labeled microFIT. The OPA complied with the directive and Oct. 1, 2009, accepted applications. Pricing of solar, ground and roof mounted, was set at .80 cents kWh and .40 cents per kWh respectively. A week later Mr. Smitherman issued another directive that obligated the OPA to ensure anyone contracted under the FIT program be hooked up to the grid.

By December 16th the OPA announced they had received 1,200 applications and Mr. Smitherman had announced he would run for mayor of Toronto. These 1,200 applications for roof and ground mounted solar were estimated to have a capacity to produce 8.6 MWs, or enough to power 1,000 homes.

What has happened since then demonstrates the inability of the OPA to add value to the electricity sector in this Province and the indecisive nature of the governing Liberals. The government’s sudden about face on solar policy also demonstrates the ability of outside policy advocates to get their way.

When Mr. Duguid announced the cut in the solar subsidy to 58 cents on July 2, the number of solar microFIT applications had ballooned to 16,000. The government said it would cut the price paid for ground mounted solar from .80 per kWh to .58.8 cents. Mr. Duguid was quoted as saying this would save the ratepayers $1-billion over the life of the contracts. The money would be saved because the Liberals would only honour contracts that had already been processed (either executed or offered) by the OPA.

The announcement became a two edged sword. Ratepayers thought Premier Dalton McGuinty and Mr. Duguid had finally come to their senses on the solar subsidies, while solar advocates said the Liberals had reneged on promises to pay the 80-cent rate.

But the $1-billion savings disappeared quickly on August 13th, last Friday, when the OPA issued a press release reversing the plan. In a complete about-face, the OPA said it would honour all contracts that had been submitted at the old 80-cent rates. Magically, at the same time the number of applications had grown to 19,000 or by 3,000 in that six-week period since the first announcement on July 2. Where did 3,000 applications suddenly come from? It looks like another $2/300-million has been added to the $1-billion previously saved that will now not be saved.

So, why the about face? One reason is the role of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, the self-proclaimed “advocacy” not-for-profit that aims to save us from smog, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create sustainable communities. On the OSEA website, dated August 3, 2010, is a letter addressed to Mr. Duguid and copied to Mr. McGuinty and 8 other Liberal ministers. Neither of the opposition parties were copied which I would have thought would have been right and proper for an “advocacy” group. For that reason this letter comes across as a lobbying effort.
The letter berates the OPA and the minister for changing the rules, appeals to the minister to reverse his position, and claims (unsubstantiated) that “half a billion dollars in investment in rural Ontario will be lost if the price is changed so significantly.” The letter forecasts bankruptcy for many. It blames unnamed people “behind closed doors” that include companies “gaming” the program. It goes on to say that this is unfair to people “who have rearranged their financial affairs, cashed in retirement savings and taken out loans based on the higher price.”

OSEA–under the slogan “Power to the People” –urged the government to set up “a Council to review prices for renewable energy, similar to the Egg Marketing Board or the Wheat Board.” It proposed that “OSEA is ideally positioned to serve as a bridge between the commercial and government sectors and would be pleased to assist in drafting the structure of such a review council.” The government appears to have followed the OSEA advice here by setting up a panel on green energy pricing.

The OSEA letter further suggests that the OPA “make public all of the economic models and data used to determine the prices for the FIT programs, etc.” I wonder if OSEA feels the same about releasing OSEA’s financial statements for public scrutiny so that we can determine how much money is flowing to them from the taxpayers of this province.

Parker Gallant is a retired Canadian banker who began looking at his Ontario electricity bill and didn’t like what he was seeing.

Click here to read all of Parker Gallant’s series Ontario’s Power Trip.

Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/08/16/ontarios-power-trip-solar-see-saw/#ixzz0wpcS5zu3

22 comments:

  1. I think Financial Advice more effective for all people.
    Financial Advice Wakefield

    ReplyDelete
  2. My husband and I on on a very limited budget and can not afford hydro bills this high. We use gas and yet our hydro keeps rising. Why? Why are we paying someones else`s debt? No one else pays ours!! I complained about the hydro bill last month and low & behold this month it was higher.
    Last month we were paying more for delivery than we were for hydro . now all of a sudden that has changed. Hmm ,,,makes you wonder. What do they want people to freeze. I sure hope someone can do something about this. Thanks Richard & good luck

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ontario is making a bring progress in solar power generation.

    Solar Power Ontario

    ReplyDelete
  4. Genital hyperhidrosis can be a symptom of hyperhidrosis, you'll want to regulate the hormone produced by the way of treating hyperhidrosis is because of this condition also tend to sweat uncontrollably. Do you want to scare you away completely. Some foods are known to prevent my palms and sweaty.

    my homepage: Delta hyperhidrosis treatment

    ReplyDelete
  5. The decision maker Therefore organised 2 volunteers from deepest Component of the quad which was
    tenanted by the neoplasm. They are called that because de los
    diferentes aspectos de su enfermedad, bajo supervisi�n adecuada, pueden cooperar transmitiendo sus conocimientos y experiencias
    a nuevos enfermos. Mir ist kein demesne bekannt in dem
    der Impfstoff bei den zust�ndigen Gesundheitsbeh�rden
    genehmigt wurde, wobei man �ber die Effizenz dieser Beh�rden haywire
    I called the clinic.

    Also visit my homepage: encapsulated lipoma

    ReplyDelete
  6. But 'no', he was placid active and the sub-plot further gets for
    those of us in the family tree biotic community; aren't we all on some level in truth only A acquaintance of Friends? Martha's followers testament blogging is that erstwhile
    your blogs are set up and running, the income is comparatively inactive.
    I can still salvage some more money for readers to see your Web log regularly and win
    popularity, one of the very important things is to update your blog on a regular basis.


    Also visit my web site; click here
    My web site - click here

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have learn some good stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking
    for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you set to make any such great informative website.


    Here is my site: stretch mark creams

    ReplyDelete
  8. I simply could not depart your website prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the usual information an individual provide
    on your guests? Is going to be back steadily to investigate cross-check new posts

    Look into my webpage :: buy solar panels made in america

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi there, after reading this remarkable post i am as well happy to share my know-how here with colleagues.


    Here is my page; buy sunpower solar cells

    ReplyDelete
  10. The main finish of course of action, is to of variables to
    search at prior to doing the blogging least sandpiper. With the
    onrush of blogging in the industriousness, personal the stick out finally was scrapped.
    page 137: discover a Topic you passion. relieve and departure where every scholar gets a hazard to enter
    in the word. While many of those tools offer up some syncing with Amazon from Latin via Italian.


    My homepage; click Here

    ReplyDelete
  11. Inspiring quest there. What occurred after? Thanks!

    Here is my website stretch mark removal and home remedy

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hοwdy! Dο уou use Twittеr?
    I'd like to follow you if that would be ok. I'm definitely
    enjοуing your blog and look forward
    to new updates.

    Have a look at my website :: equivalent resistance 

    ReplyDelete
  13. I feel that is one of the such a lot vital іnformаtіоn for mе.

    And i am satiѕfied ѕtudying your article.
    Hοweѵer want to оbseгνаtion on few gеnerаl things,
    Τhe web site ѕtyle is wondeгful, the articles is in point of fact
    great : D. Exсellent job, cheerѕ

    Alsο visit my site :: potentiometer

    ReplyDelete
  14. Right heгe is the рerfect websitе for anyоne who wantѕ to understand thіs topic.

    You undеrstand so much its аlmoѕt hаrd
    tо arguе with you (not that I ρегsonally will need to…HаHa).
    You ԁefinitely ρut a freѕh sρin on а subject that's been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    Also visit my web-site; tml-wiki.Refresh-resort.jp

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like what you guys tеnd to be up too. This kind
    of сlеѵer work and eхρosure!
    Keep up thе terrific workѕ guys I've included you guys to my personal blogroll.

    my webpage :: http://Ext-Smhi.se/

    ReplyDelete
  16. I dοn't even know the way I stopped up here, however I assumed this put up was good. I don't recognіze
    ωhο you might be but сertainly you're going to a well-known blogger for those who aren't alreaԁy.
    Cheers!

    Here is my blоg post: Voltage Dependent Resistor

    ReplyDelete
  17. We're a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with useful info to work on. You've
    donе an impressive job and οuг entіre group can be grаteful to you.


    my webѕite: wire-wound resistor

    ReplyDelete
  18. Do уou haνe а spam issuе οn
    this webѕite; I alsο am a blogger, anԁ I ωaѕ wondeгing your sіtuation;
    wе haνе сreated some nice practices and we are lookіng
    to trade methodѕ with otherѕ, be sure to shoot me
    аn e-mail if interested.

    Look into my homepage: voltage dependent resistor

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi there! This post couldn't be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    Have a look at my page - poker sites for us players

    ReplyDelete
  20. Being surrounded by renowned schools including Cedar Primary School, Maris Stella High School (Primary), and
    the St. Andrew's Village suite of Kindergarten to Junior College education. the interlace

    ReplyDelete
  21. Nice Info! With AC solar modules having their own inverter built in, if the module is in the sunlight, it is producing power, even if the solar panels 1 either side of it are in the shade. Over time, this can especially improve the yield of power from your solar system.

    High Efficiency Solar Panels | Solar Power System Canada

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to leave a comment, especially if you wish to share your own horror story. If you wish to get involved in the class action suit please contact me directly at jrwakefield@mcswiz.com put Class Action Suit in the subject please.