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Ontario’s Green Disaster — Pursuit of windpower particularly ill-considered

Ross R McKitrick and Kenneth P. Green – Financial Post — May 1, 2013

The province could soon top North America in electricity costs

In 2009 the Ontario government passed the Green Energy Act (GEA), with the aim of increasing the province’s use of renewable energy such as wind and solar power, biofuels, and small-scale hydro. The centerpiece of the Act is a schedule of subsidized electricity purchase contracts – called Feed-in-Tariffs – that provide long-term guarantees of above-market rates for power generated by those renewables.

The GEA may have been well-intended but a recent Fraser Institute analysis, called The Environmental and Economic Consequences of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, demonstrates that it is driving up Ontario’s energy costs and poses a threat to economic competitiveness for the manufacturing and mining sectors. What little environmental benefit it is expected to generate could have been achieved at a fraction of the cost. Unless the province changes course, the GEA will saddle Ontarians with needlessly high energy costs for decades to come.

Ontario’s pursuit of windpower was particularly ill-considered because provincial demand tends to be out of phase with wind patterns. In Ontario, 80% of wind-power generation occurs when demand is so low that the entire output is surplus and must be dumped on the export market at a substantial loss.

The province’s Auditor General estimates that Ontario has already lost close to $2-billion on surplus wind exports: Figures from the electricity grid operator also show the ongoing losses are $200-million annually. The wind grid is also inherently inefficient due to seasonal variability. Seven megawatts of installed wind energy capacity are needed to provide a year-round replacement for one megawatt of conventional power.  Read full article, here….

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