Buying Quebec hydro power a dim prospect for Ontarians – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – January 13, 2017)

The Green Energy Act was written by Liberal-friendly renewable energy
lobbyists who managed to persuade the former Dalton McGuinty government
that there were big political dividends in making Ontario a wind and
solar powerhouse….As long as this madness goes on, instead of common-
sense energy planning, it’ll be one (price) shock after another for Ontarians.

U.S. wholesale electricity prices hit record lows in 2016 to the delight of millions of residential and industrial power customers who pay rates tied to the spot market. Cheap natural gas, which displaced coal as the main source of U.S. power generation last year, boosted the competitiveness of U.S. industrial power users and even led to a drop in residential electricity rates.

In October, U.S. residential electricity prices averaged 12.5 cents (U.S.) per kilowatt-hour, or about 16.5 cents (Canadian), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That may not sound like a bargain compared to Ontario, until you consider it is an all-in price that includes distribution and transmission costs, as well as taxes. It also marks a 2.1-per-cent price drop from 2015.

Cheap and abundant shale gas, which has half the carbon footprint of coal, has meant that average U.S. residential electricity prices have risen only 18 per cent in the past decade. It’s been unambiguously positive for the U.S. economy and environment.

Ontario could be enjoying the fruits of this cheap energy bonanza, too, had it not been for its stubborn and ideological decision to continue to procure vast and mostly surplus amounts of wind and solar power even as it became clear this would send consumer electricity rates through the roof. Thousands of Ontario residential consumers are now paying all-in average prices of as much as 25 cents per kWh to keep the lights on, in many cases double or triple what they paid a decade ago.

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