The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) is urging the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Party to reassess its energy policy platform and to acknowledge that affordable energy for the province should include wind power.
The association is making its case in advance of an upcoming election in Ontario on June 12. The PC Party and New Democratic Party are vying to unseat the Liberal Party, which rules as a minority government. CanWEA says its is actively trying to address concerns that the PC Party has about wind energy.
For example, CanWEA President Robert Hornung says the PC Party is ‘mistaken when claiming renewable sources like wind energy are the key driver of rising electricity bills.’
"Independent analyses by the energy consulting firm Power Advisory LLC show that wind energy was responsible for only five percent of the increase in electricity bills between 2009 and 2012," he explains. "The bulk of rising electricity prices comes from expensive upgrades to decades-old power plants and transmission systems."
Hornung adds that the PC Party is confusing facts and logic by declaring wind energy is subsidized.
"Wind energy can provide electricity more cheaply than new nuclear power and is cost-competitive with new hydro developments," he says. "Wind energy developers absorb almost all of the upfront costs in developing their projects, which means no front-end or long-term risks to taxpayers and ratepayers. New wind-driven electricity is being secured through long-term, pre-set contracts that contribute to price certainty and to keeping Ontario electricity rates stable and competitive across North America."
According to CanWEA, wind projects continue to see falling costs as new turbine technology boosts output and as economies of scale reduce production and supply costs. Requiring no fuel costs to maintain the flow of electricity, wind energy is not subject to variable market pricing for fuel supplies bought outside Ontario, the group adds.
CanWEA says wind energy companies have spent over $5 billion since 2009 to develop Ontario's wind industry. Every megawatt of new wind energy represents an investment of approximately $2 million, a large portion of which is spent in the local community. Largely through these efforts, CanWEA says Ontario wind energy today has supported new manufacturing facilities and new jobs for graduates. Wind power also now meets over 3% of the province's electricity demand, doubling over the past four years to 5.2 TWh.
Hornung says any energy platform should be more in step with how modern electricity systems are evolving around the world. "Progressive governments are seeing how wind energy reduces carbon emissions, improve grid reliability, and leads to more predictable and stable electricity prices."
CanWEA says it is urging the PC Party to recognize that a key future economic driver for Ontario is a responsive, cost-competitive electricity system that respects the environment.
"Procuring a stable stream of wind energy complements Ontario's new energy conservation measures and provides the province with unprecedented flexibility to align electricity supply needs to meet changing economic and environmental circumstances," Hornung concludes.