Green Energy, or a Spare Cup of Coffee in Every Household?
by AsimSayMo on October 7, 2016 - 9:11pm
Article Title: Ontario government scraps plan for $3.8 billion in renewable energy projects
Ever since the sale of Hydro One was commenced by the Liberal government in Ontario, household electricity bills have skyrocketed. But are we, the residents of the province of Ontario, really that unlucky? Premier Kathleen Wynne’s actions have been the subject of much criticism in recent months. In an effort to make Ontario play its part in fighting climate change, the Government of Ontario has also expressed support for the Federal Government’s carbon pricing plan. This did not sit well with many residents in the province. With already increasing power costs, it’s hard to imagine anyone would be in favour of adding another cost to their monthly bills. After so much pressure from the people of Ontario, the Liberal Party, as reported by Rob Ferguson to the Toronto Star, has decided that green energy is not viable for Ontario’s future. The move, which would scrap a $3.8 billion investment in renewable energy, will prevent Ontario households from adding an underwhelming $2.45 per month on their bills. In other words, Ontario has decided to scrap its plans to move into the future so that households across the province won’t spend the price of an extra cup of coffee every month. Of course, every penny counts, however what isn’t accounted for in terms of energy production are the costs of land contamination, water pollutants, and of course the roughly 3,000 people that are hospitalized every year due to air pollution, in just Toronto itself. All this to keep residents happy by slowing down the increasing costs of electricity, but does Ontario even pay that much?
I read a survey of major cities across Canada and the United States showing that homes in Toronto don’t even pay the highest bills in Canada, and certainly not North America, despite many claims from the politically right-winged. The 2015 report by Hydro-Québec shows that Torontonians pay roughly $0.1431 per kWh, similarly to Regina, Saskatchewan ($0.1437), and Nashville, Tennessee ($0.1445). This becomes even more startling when looking at cities with even higher costs, such as New York City, New York at $0.2890/kWh, Halifax, Nova Scotia at $0.1603/kWh, Chicago, Illinois (often compared to Toronto as an American twin) at $0.1679/kWh, San Francisco, California at $0.2769/kWh, and Boston, Massachusetts at a staggering $0.3003/kWh. In fact, the report even shows that Ontario cities pay less than some small towns in other provinces in Canada, with Ottawa and Toronto paying less than Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. This is clear evidence of a cognitive conflict, it seems to me Ontario’s bills are hyped up.
I criticize the government for poor management of the energy sector. Unsurprisingly, the public isn’t very satisfied with this plan to prevent rising costs, as it does little to help. Decisions appear to be made in a rushed manner simply to gather votes. Wynne is falling short in the polls, and Patrick Brown, the current Conservative candidate, has been taking every opportunity to find the flaws in the current government’s management. But I also criticize Ontarians. We need to stop pretending that we’re going to remain an affordable province. The media is fueling this cognitive conflict, one of statistical misunderstandings, by misleading the public about our monthly bills. With growth comes rising costs. Ontario hosts over a third of all Canadians, and Toronto is now the fourth largest city in North America with one of the most expensive housing markets, beating out New York and Los Angeles, yet the numbers show we aren’t even in the top ten for electricity costs. Nevertheless, the green energy plans are being scrapped, so what will Ontarians do with their spare $2.45?
(2015). Comparison of electricity prices in major North American cities. Hydro Quebec. Retrieved from http://www.hydroquebec.com/publications/en/docs/comparaison-electricity-prices/comp_2015_en.pdf
Ferguson. R. (2016). Ontario government scraps plan for $3.8 billion in renewable energy projects. Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2016/09/27/ontario-liberals-scrap-plans-for-38-billion-in-renewable-energy-projects.html
Gower. S., Macfarlane. R., Belmont. M., Bassil. K., Campbell. M. (2014). Path to healthier air: Toronto air pollution burden of illness update. Toronto Public Health.