Not every province gets the chance to live through the kind of white-knuckle excitement in its electricity sector that Ontario has enjoyed over the last decade: soaring power bills, fleeing industries and endless boondoggles in provincial contracts for solar and wind energy.
The dramatic climax arrived last week as David Livingston, the one-time chief of staff to Dalton McGuinty, the premier who imposed on Ontario the entire electricity fiasco, was sentenced to prison over a scheme to destroy evidence of the Liberal government’s political mischief in the power market.
But get ready, Alberta, because all the thrills and spills that inevitably follow when politicians start meddling in a boring but perfectly well-functioning electricity market in the name of pointless political symbolism are coming your way, next.
A report released Thursday by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy gives a sneak peek of how the Alberta script could play out. It begins once again with a “progressive” government convinced that its legacy lies in climate activism, out to redesign an electricity grid from something meant to provide affordable, reliable power into a showpiece of uncompetitive solar and wind power.
And like Ontario, the Alberta NDP is determined to turn its provincial electricity grid into not just a green project that ignores economics, but an affirmative-action diversity project that sets aside certain renewable deals for producers owned by First Nations.