September 12, 2013
The Globe and Mail
444 Front St.
While Ontario electricity ratepayers may have much to weap about in terms of the consequences of energy policy decisions made by a succession of governments representing all three major parties in the Legislature, it is simply incorrect to lay blame for increases in the "Global Adjustment" portion of customers' bill at the feet of the province's renewable energy initiatives ("In Ontario, electricity bills are reason to weap" September 12, 2013). Indeed an analysis of the costs of the "Global Adjustment" last year concluded that costs related to nuclear energy accounted for 42% of the total, natural gas-fired generation 26%, and coal-fired generation 15%. Renewable energy sources, including not just wind and solar projects developed under the Green Energy Act and earlier initiatives, but also a number of major hydro-electric projects pursued by Ontario Power Generation, accounted for 17%. However fashionable it has become to blame green energy initiatives for rising energy costs, these figures suggest that it does little to inform the debate about the real drivers of rising energy costs, or to help in making better decisions for the future that advance the environmental and economic sustainability of energy systems.
Mark S. Winfield, Ph.D.
Chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative
Faculty of Environmental Studies
See my new book Blue-Green Province: The Environment and the Political Economy of Ontario at http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=299173584