The Ontario legislature has voted down Bill 39, the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act – a measure that sought to limit provincial wind development, eliminate the feed-in tariff and give municipalities a greater voice in planning renewable energy projects.
The bill, which was introduced by Progressive Conservative (PC) party member Lisa M. Thompson, is founded on the proposed notion that wind energy is a leading culprit for rising electricity prices in Ontario.
However, Brandy Giannetta, Ontario regional director at the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), says such claims are misinformed.
‘The PC Party continues to ignore a number of studies that have conclusively demonstrated that wind energy has made only a minor contribution to rising electricity costs in Ontario in recent years,’ she says, citing a CanWEA-commissioned Power Advisory LLC study that shows wind energy is responsible for about 5% of the total rise in provincial electricity costs.
Ontario's leading political parties – the ruling Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the PC party – are all trying to navigate around a perfect storm of low demand, surplus generation and rising power prices.
Following the legislature's vote, Thompson issued a statement that expressed her disappointment for a defeat she suspects was politically motivated.
‘The NDP and Liberals could have supported the bill to at least get it into committee, where all three parties could have put their political stripes aside and worked together on a thoughtful affordable energy plan where municipalities could have their say,’ Thompson said.
The PC party has repeatedly cited wind energy as Exhibit A in what they view as wasteful government spending. In the recent past, PC party leader Tim Hudak, who was unsuccessful in his attempt to unseat then-Premiere Dalton McGuinty of the Liberal Party in 2011, has called for the abolishment of the province's Green Energy Act and the dismantling of the Ontario Power Authority.