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Rocky Places

Surprise - surprise!! The “Green” Ontario Renewable Energy Plan Begins to Wither

 Toronto Star Feb 12, 2011 “Ontario solar projects put on hold”

It’s started to happen - the Smitherman concoction of green power and green dreams, nurtured with copious amounts of political hot air, political bull-**** and rate payer dollars, is starting to die even before it is transplanted from the protection of the government cold-frame to the harsh realities of  the full-sun solar-energy marketplace.

The Liberals are in full-scale retreat on the alternative energy front. Having taken at face value the self-serving recommendations of “experts” in the renewable energy field they charged full-bore into the renewable energy promotion business. Smitherman has long since departed to pursue other self-aggrandizing dreams (which also failed), leaving Duguid to try and cultivate a poorly planned garden now filled with thorns, pests and dying sunflowers & crippled whirligigs.

What the "powers that be" should have recognized is that Ontario is essentially “rocky ground” when it comes to growing a solar and wind power industry. Seeds cast upon it will quickly sprout, but will wither and die because there is no soil (market) to support sustained growth. Yes the sprouts may be kept alive with substantial effort with money spent from the public purse transfused directly into the roots, but there is no domestic marketplace to step in and grow the sprouts to maturity. Other markets outside of Ontario are busily tending their own “green” gardens (also sustained with with copious amounts of government (ratepayer) funding) and will give their “produce” preferential selection over “produce” grown elsewhere – just like Ontario does.

MicroFit application approvals are dragging, or are being told – even once approved & built – that they can’t be hooked into the grid. Hundreds if not thousands of people are out tens of thousands of dollars due to personal greed, business greed/incompetence and government incompetence/inaction. Offshore windfarms are also now blocked – which makes little to no sense. Offshore windfarms do not pose plausible threats to health or the environment (not that on-shore wind farms do) and won’t be close enough to bother the vibration-hypersensitive types.

The FIT program has been phenomenally popular – not phenomenally successful. It has already attracted over 15 Gigawatts of applications – where there is only room for 10.7 Gigawatts of additional capacity to be installed. Also, due to the intermittent, unpredictable and unreliable nature of wind and solar power, for every Gigawatt of green power installed, there has to be a Gigawatt of natural gas-fired power installed. Why do people wonder that our electrical rates are going to go up by almost 50% by 2015 – in 4 years?! Perhaps the perverse logic is that if we force conventional electrical costs up, we will be able to justify the high costs of “green” power. Now we are overbuilding our electrical grid at a premium cost that our children are going to despise us for burdening them with. They are going to be the ones who are paying for this drain on their energy dollars. It is incredible to think that people will be placated this year by receiving a 10% rebate on their hydro bill when that rebate is simply coming out of their other pocket through increased provincial taxes. How stupid do the politicians think we are??

This garden is in serious trouble. Instead of fantasizing about building a gigantic solar garden to feed the world, our politicians should be thinking much smaller, and growing a sustainable, energy-conserving garden suited to the "soils" here in Ontario. We don't need foreign mega-companies to swoop in and drop expensive and dated technology and then swoop out again with our cash. We can build a garden that suits our need ourselves - it just doesn’t sound as sexy or lucrative to conserve a dollar as it sounds to make one out of carbon-fiber or poly-crystalline silicon. Furthermore this conservation garden should not require massive infusions of “fertilizer” (ratepayer dollars) as the “produce” (actions and technologies) is already cost-effective – the taste for them just has to be cultivated among the population.