Wynne’s green power blues – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – July 21, 2013)


Liberals have gone too far to admit the obvious — their renewable energy program is a disaster

Considering the albatross it has become around their necks, Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals must be wondering exactly when their green energy program turned into a political disaster.

No doubt they long for the good old days — specifically, Nov. 24, 2009 — when global warming guru Al Gore, speaking in Toronto at a gala dinner, bestowed his blessing on their former leader, Dalton McGuinty.

With McGuinty and his Canadian cheerleader, David Suzuki, looking on, Gore declared the premier’s Green Energy Act (GEA) was “widely recognized now as the single best green energy program on the North American continent.” But that was then and this is now. Today, McGuinty is long gone and the GEA sits like a dead weight on the Liberals.

Last week angry demonstrators — furious the GEA took away their right to any say in the location of huge, industrial wind turbines in their communities — showed up to protest while Wynne was trying to jump-start the by-election campaign of London West Liberal candidate Ken Coran.

Last month, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced the Liberals were slashing almost in half the crown jewel of their green energy strategy, their 2010 deal with Samsung to produce 2,500 megawatts of wind and solar power.

That was a tacit admission their program has been a failure, loading up the province with expensive, unreliable and inefficient power we don’t need because we have an energy surplus.

Last week, in a desperate bid to change the channel, Chiarelli announced the Liberals are going to invest in energy conservation, as if this is a new idea.

In his 2011 report on the Liberals’ renewable energy program, former auditor general Jim McCarter concluded they were wasting billions of dollars — paid by taxpayers and hydro consumers — because they implemented it without any business plan, even ignoring the advice of their own experts.

The Liberals’ boast the GEA would create 50,000 jobs by the end of 2012 is in ruins. There are only 31,000, most temporary construction jobs.

Worse, McCarter noted that if Ontario’s experience is consistent with other jurisdictions, two to four jobs will be lost in other sectors of the economy for every green job created, because of higher electricity costs.

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