Ontario Election 2011 - Energy Resources

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FACT: Grandmothers do not have to do their laundry at 2 a.m. because of smart meters

Despite what some politicians are saying, smart power meters do not create an unfair burden by increasing electricity prices. Off-peak hours in Ontario begin at 7 p.m. on weekdays, while mid-peak pricing starts at 5 p.m. and any electricity used over the weekend gets charged at off-peak rates. It’s good to consider how changes to Ontario’s electricity pricing system will affect lower-income and fixed-income Ontarians, but there’s little evidence that time-of-use pricing presents additional cost burden on those households.

A case study in Milton, Ontario, looked at the effect of moving to time-of-use pricing, from flat rates for electricity, based on data from1020 households. They found that for 98.2 per cent of customers, the move to time-of-use billing amounted to less than a five per cent change (either up or down) in their electricity expenses. On average, the switch to time-of-use billing resulted in a 0.233 per cent increase. In another study, a master’s student at the University of Guelph looked more specifically at low- and fixed-income households. She found that they were slightly worse off with time-of-use rates in the summer and slightly better off with time-of-use rates in the winter. In both cases, the differences were reasonably small.

Eliminating the harmonized sales tax (HST) from electricity bills is not the solution to high electricity bills, because doing so would increase consumption at a time when we’re facing a critical need to reduce and electricity demand overall. Implementing better energy conservation programs would reduce energy use while saving consumers money. In comparison, removing the HST from energy bills would increase consumption and cost us all more in the end because of the need for additional power sources and expensive infrastructure.

Filed under smart meter election pembina green energy hst coffee muffin grandmothers 2am laundry

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FACT: Green energy has existed for decades without harmful side effects

In June, I toured parts of Ontario with a German farmer, Hans Feddersen, who has been living with more than 60 turbines in the fields of his local community for 20 years. After a few media interviews, the farmer expressed confusion and frustration because the questions were so focused on health issues — rather than the tremendous benefits of renewable energy.

According to Feddersen, Germany addressed those issues years ago; Feddersen said health concerns associated with wind energy “isn’t a topic anymore” in his country, which is leading the world in wind power production.

The first policies to form the German equivalent of Ontario’s Green Energy Act were instituted 20 years ago in Germany. Those policies have been updated and improved over time by successive governments on both ends of the German political spectrum. Similarly, Ontario’s Green Energy Act has room for improvement, and we can learn from Germany, where strong community involvement in the program has led to both profits for rural residence along with strong support.

While we recognize that renewable energy technologies — ranging from hydro, to biomass, to wind turbines — do have local impacts that need to be minimized and addressed through effective, local public consultations, fossil fuels pose a more serious threat to human health and the environment.

Filed under Green Energy Act GEA FIT PEmbina renewables election

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Frequently Asked Questions about Green Energy in Ontario

Ontario has taken the laudable step of closing down its entire fleet of coal-fired power plants — a move supported across partisan lines. This, however, is but one of the many changes that is coming to Ontario’s electricity system.  Tim Weis Director of renewable energy & energy efficiency, answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the role that renewable energy could play in the future of electricity generation in Ontario.

Filed under Ontario election Pembina Nuclear coal gas hydro wind biomass biogas solar Pembina Tim Weis FAQ Facts Frequently asked questions

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Pembina Analysis of Ontario political platforms

The Pembina Institute’s detailed platform analysis compares the commitments the Ontario Liberal, NDP and Progressive Conservative parties have made on a range of sustainable energy priorities.

The analysis looks at where the parties stand on issues such as investing in renewable power generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating incentives for energy conservation and expanding transit systems. The results identify clear leaders in building the province’s clean energy economy.

Filed under Pembina election Green Energy and Green Economy Act Green Energy Act Election Analysis climate change solar wind biogas biomass hydro nuclear coal gas transportation urban planning electricity energy efficiency economics Tim Weis Cherise Burda

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Conservation Trends to Inform Election 2011

The Conservation Council of Ontario’s polling shows that:

  • conservation is important to you (87%)
  • you think conservation is good for the environment (86%), the economy and jobs (78%), public health and reduced health care costs (69%) and lowering the cost of living (67%)
  • you practice conservation regularly (91%)
  • you want to see government leadership for a healthy future. Only 12% want smaller government, and only 14% want lower taxes.

Filed under conservation green energy act environment election conservative liberal NDP Green Ontario Conservation Council of Ontario Oracle

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Ortech's President provides an insightful perspective on the upcoming election and Ontario's FIT program

In the lead up to Ontario’s provincial election in October, the renewable energy industry has become a political football with rapidly growing investment risk.  Campaign policy platforms range widely including the removal of the private sector from the electricity market, the early termination of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for projects under construction and staying the course on a rapidly growing renewable industry.  Risk management, rather than investment planning has become the new focus for the industry.

Filed under Conservatives Election FIT Investment planning Liberals OSEA Ortech PPA Risk Management

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Why Green Energy makes sense - Ontario's stranded nuclear debt

No nuclear project in Ontario’s history has ever been com- pleted on time or on budget. Currently, retrofit projects at the Point LePreau Nuclear Station in New Brunswick and

the Bruce Power Station in Ontario are running years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Ontario ratepayers and taxpayers, who are still facing a mountain of debt from previous nuclear projects, deserve no less than a firm guarantee that they will not be left once again with a vast pile of stranded debt from a Darlington Rebuild Project, particularly when less risky and more financially viable alternatives are readily available to meet our power needs. 

Filed under Nuclear debt dirty energy expensive election Green Energy Act renewable energy conservation expensive experiment conservative liberal ndp green party

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Minister Duguid's interview: "Green Energy is good for Ontarians and for Ontario"

Yesterday, Brad Duguid Ontario Minister of Energy did more than defend the Green Energy Act. Interviewed by Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Minister Duguid drew a future of Ontario with four healths that matter:

  • A healthy environment for our children as coal burning power stations are phased out;
  • A healthy electricity system that has not suffered brownouts nor blackouts nor needed large imports of high priced power this year - despite the record heat wave;
  • A healthy jobs market that has already bounced back from the recession, thanks in large part to 20,000 new jobs in clean energy - the rest of the economy remains fragile;
  • A healthy climate for investment - . Twenty billion dollars have already been invested in the new green economy in Ontario.

Filed under Brad Duguid Liberal Green Energy Act GEA Conservation storage wind solar biogas biomas hydro election Yakabuski Tabuns

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OSEA Green Party interview on conservation and renewable energy

To Ontarians in general, Mike Schreiner says: “Be wary of false choices. The Progressive Conservatives want to scrap the Green Energy Act. The Liberals support corporate “big wind” projects. The Green Party want people in communities to lead the way. Develop in ways that benefit your community. Capture the benefits of clean green power in community and hybrid projects.”

Filed under FIT Green Party OSEA Ontario Sustainable Energy Association Election Conservation community power