Ontario Government cancels $3.8 billion in Green Energy; Understandable for Environmentalists?

by aderoos on October 7, 2016 - 6:00pm

The Ontario Government has canceled 3.8 billion dollars in their plan to further its investments in green energy, including solar, wind, and biofuel energy. The main argument to cancel the plan has to do with the rising hydro prices in Ontario, which has been paying for green energy investments, creating a surplus of energy in Ontario. The leader of the opposition Patrick Brown argues that this move is too little too late, that the majority of green energy contracts signed by the Liberals were unnecessary hydro hikes. The majority of liberal green energy contacts that they were 20 year contracts, meaning they will not able to ‘back out’ on those contracts like they did in this case.

Usually any headline that has to do with the cancelation of green energy funds is an unfriendly sight for environmentalists, but in this case I think it could be a breath of fresh air for environmentalists to appreciate the big picture before declaring this a catastrophic decision for the green energy. There is no doubt that an eventual shift to 100% green energy in inevitable and necessary, but this move is not the ‘be all end all’ of the switch; in fact it could progress the transition in a way. Ontarians pay double the amount for hydro that they do in neighboring provinces of Quebec and Manitoba. For private companies looking for business, why would they choose to work in a province that they would have to spend so much of their budget on hydro? This includes green energy companies and green innovators. Ontario is already home to 42% of Canada’s green investments, and is said by cleanenergycanada.org to be “way out in front of its peers”. This cancelation is no way is an abandonment of green energy by the Ontario Government, but merely a balancing of interests for Ontarians. The investments are in place for the eventual transition to a clean energy sector, but the government realized that they may have forced this transition too quickly, with an unnecessary energy surplus. Environmentalists argue that the interest of the environment be held ahead of economic and other issues, but not abandon all other concerns. Ontario had realized that the energy surplus is hurting the economy, and chose to act accordingly to lower hydro rates, AFTER the fact that they had signed numerous 20 year contracts. The Ontario Government is representing a decision making ideology that environmentalists should all get behind, even when they cancel a fraction of their green energy investments. 

 

Sources: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/ontario-liberals-cancel-plans-t...

http://www.torontosun.com/2016/09/27/wynnes-axing-of-future-green-energy...

http://cleanenergycanada.org/trackingtherevolution-canada/2015/assets/pd...

Comments

Host: Joshua Farnsworth
Class: CMC.243 – SUNY Brockport
Show: Electric Topics.
Topic: Green Energy
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0:00 -Enter Music-
0:05 – SFX/ thunder and electric sounds.
0:10 - From Brockport, New York I am your host Joshua Farnsworth, and this is “Electric Topics.”
0:15 – End Music –
Farns: Just a little background on who I am before we get started. I am a senior at SUNY Brockport Majoring in Broadcast and Journalism with a Media Concentration Minoring in Graphic Design. I was asked to do a collaborative project in one of my classes and this is where we begin.
0:30 - SFX/ swoosh noise
Farns: Ok, so this is what we have in store for you today. The topic for this episode of “Electric topics” is Green Energy.
Farns: Lets Dig into it!!!!
Farns: For those of you out there that have no idea what Green energy is, here is a nice definition! As Defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency on the epa.gov website “Green power is a subset of renewable energy and represents those renewable energy resources and technologies that provide the highest environmental benefit.”
Farns: This being said Green Energy is in its own category differing from the traditional non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels. Fossil fuels and any non-renewable energy sources have been described as toxic, giving off pollutants slowly killing the planet from which we live.
Farns: So, this brings us to some major questions on Green Energy. What exactly is the benefit of using Green Energy? What are some examples of Green Energy? And how could we utilize Green energy to be beneficial to the environment?
Farns: These are some questions I presented a few Students who attend the University of Guelph in Canada.
Farns: One student that I interviewed was Adam De Roos. Adam has some background on the Green Energy topic through his research concluding with an article titled, “Ontario Government cancels $3.8 billion in Green Energy; Understandable for Environmentalists?” The article describes a cancelation of $3.8 billion toward green energy investments in favor of lowering hydro rates. The article also goes over some major economic issues that Ontario was foreseeing as an issue. After reading the article, I thought it would be great to interview Adam and ask him a few questions on Green Energy.
Farns: To begin with, I asked Adam what is the benefit of Green Energy? He replied with,
Adam: “Green Energy is not a scarce resource (it can never run out of solar power, tidal energy for hydro, or wind), so when calculating the costs of resource extraction, there is no scarcity cost. Another benefit to Green Energy is that it does not contribute to global warming, there is less GHG emissions compared to other energy forms (oil, coal).”
Farns: When asked about what Green Energy he supported or thought was the most beneficial, he stated,
Adam: “I support a diverse expansion of all green energy, no need to commit to one specific form. Depends on the geographic area (for example, hydro energy makes sense in Niagara Falls)”
Farns: This brought me to my next question, where I asked Adam “How will the future look with cleaner energy?”
Adam: “the future will have less uncertainty in our climate. The more we rely on energy that emits large amounts of GHG, the higher our global temperature will rise (currently at around 1 degree Celsius higher than pre-industrial era), the UNFCC has said a rise of 2 degrees is a dangerous threshold. A future with green energy will help limit that global rise in temperature, and help preserve some certainty in environmental change.”
Farns: And while on the topic of the future, it raised a question on, “How can the population help move towards green energy for a better future?”
Adam: “the population can affect the demand of other forms of energy by decreasing their purchases of said energy. By spending money on fuel efficient products (for example, buying an electric cars vs a gas guzzler). Consuming less oil and gas, and consuming more green energy is ways to help change the demand, which will in turn change the supply of these different energies.”
Farns: Adam in the interview raised some great points and I know a lot of you out there are asking, what exactly is GHG? GHG is actually the abbreviation of Greenhouse Gasses.
Farns: As described by the US Environmental Protection Agency on the epa.gov website “Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, which makes the Earth warmer. People are adding several types of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.” The Gases that epa.gov list as Greenhouse Gases include “Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Fluorinated Gas, and a mixture of other gases.”
Farns: During my visit to www.epa.gov, I came across a really cool feature that they provide to find out how much Carbon Dioxide you help produce a year. If you are interested in finding out how much you help produce. It is called the Carbon Footprint (located at https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator). To my surprise my household produces half the amount of the U.S. Average.
3:50 -Enter Music in background-
Farns: That is all of the time we have for today. Thanks to Adam De Roos for his contributions. Some of the information that was brought to this podcast was through the information provided on www.epa.gov. For more information on Green Energy Visit www.epa.gov.Thanks again for tuning in to “Electric Topics” for today’s topic on green energy! Have a FANTASTIC DAY!
3:55 – SFX/ thunder and electric sounds.
4:00– End Music –

References
Agency, E. P. ( March 29, 2016). What is Green Power? Green Power Partnership, https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/what-green-power.
Roos, A. D. (October 7, 2016). Ontario Government cancels $3.8 billion in Green Energy; Understandable for Environmentalists? Management of the Biophysical Environment - 2016, http://newsactivist.com/en/articles/management-biophysical-environment-2....

Hi Joshua,

I like how you presented your information in your work here. Specifically, I like how well the conversation flows and how this makes it easy to comprehend and follow without jargon and stumbling grammar. I also like the background information that you presented, such as the definitions and why green energy is considered to be important. You also use science to back up the claims and to help with explanations, which is always good to see. It was a good example of presenting the who, what, why, where, and how about certain facets of your topic. However, what I don't like about your transcript is how the dialogue is structured. For instance, I feel that an actual back and forth conversation would not be as exhaustive as a dialogue where you say what you said, and then air the clip of Adam's response. I realise the amount of effort and time that was put into this assignment and I credit you for it. Good job!

Thanks Joshua for delving a little deeper into this issue. I think you did a great job at highlighting exactly what clean energy is, what it means in a climate context and why this is important on a global scale. Clean and green energy really seems like a commonsense solution. However, there is some things that I think are important for you and others to understand so that you can come to a comprehension of the situation. Firstly, green energy is expensive, although it has been shown that the upfront costs are nothing compared to the long term benefits that can be gained from these technologies. However, this is one of the biggest deterrents to implementing these energies, and thus it makes it very difficult for governments to not be blinded by the immediacy of economics to take meaningful steps towards climate change.

Secondly, it is important to understand that even when some of these energies are put in place they might replicate processes that disenfranchise Indigenous populations to a similar extent that traditional energy/resource extraction ventures have. For example, hydroelectric dams such as Muskrat Falls in Labrador has pushed people off of their lands and has created a number of interest based conflicts. It has also made it increasingly difficult for Indigenous peoples to trust the government of Canada.

I think that within this process of implementing new technologies we cannot forget about the social dynamics and rights that are entangled in this process. We can not truly address climate change if we are not centering the needs of vulnerable populations that are the most affected by the changing climate. The is a nuanced discussion that needs to occur to ensure that both of these issues are addressed.

Hey there!!! Thank you so much for your input on the Pod cast script! I appreciate the information! I could definitely add some of your points that you just posted! The information about the way that the government pushed people off their lands is really awful. I like the comment about the expenses being costly upfront but beneficial for the long run is a really interesting point! I never really looked at it that way, I always just looked at the long term effects but never the real issue being the funding for the initial costs of implementing the green energy! I'm definitely going to look deeper into that aspect of it!
Thanks again for your perspective and information!!!!
jfarn3_Bport

Joshua,

Although I read the transcribed version, I thoroughly enjoyed your choice of dialect, flow and presentation. I read it as though I was listening and following along via radio. One thing that I noted was Adam's refusal to support one specific avenue of green energy and I full heartedly agree with his stance. Just within the province of Ontario, and within the community of Guelph specifically we have multiple types of green energy projects because we have the diversity of flowing water, heavy winds and somewhat constant sun. Although all regions aren't lucky enough to share the same diversity, the chances are they have one of the three available. When talking about climate change, often the term stationarity is thrown in the mix. This is the realization that the past can no longer be a measure of the future in terms of access to environmental resources; so one thing that is alarming to Guelph natives and environmentalists is the provincial and federal governments allowing access to our bodies of water. Between climate change and commodification, is there going to be enough water down the road to convert energy and make these projects and installations worth while? This is the reason funding and education should be directed at green energy and there should not be one single method or approach taken, because each region is different and although we see water as a flow resource that may not always be the case (fish were once a flow resource too).

In terms of population contribution I believe there should be stronger tax incentives for people to go green energy. The simplest way to see how backwards government pricing is comes in the example of electric cars. There should be incentives and opportunities for people to swap in cars and upgrade to something that does not pollute our planet since the transportation industry is the second biggest polluter world wide. However, it seems that electric cars are far more expensive than most gas cars so even if peoples morals fall in line with this new wave of green energy, the opportunity cost is just too high.

Do you have any green projects in your community or state? If it were cost efficient, could you think of any reasons not to switch to a more environmentally friendly system?

Thanks for your post!

Hi Joshua,

Great job on your podcast! While I was reading it felt like I was listening to an actual podcast. I think you did an excellent job because you were able to provide information that is valuable for people who necessarily do not know what green energy or greenhouse gas emissions are. I also think that the flow of your podcast was great because it was easy to read and was intriguing. Adding links to websites to provide additional information was nice to so that people who wanted to learn more was able to directly go to the website.

Overall great podcast!

Hello Joshua, I'd like to say that this was a superb podcast/transcript. I believe that the main point of a podcast is to inform the masses, those who are not particularly experts in the field that is being discussed, this podcast does a marvelous job in introducing the topic of green energy by giving concrete and simple definitions of what is actually is. Furthermore it is essential for a podcast to keep the attention of the audience, you have accomplished this adding character into the way you summarized the points that "Adam" was trying to get across, and with the subtle humor/sound effects that were included into the transcript. One thing I may suggest is based off of podcasts that I've personally heard in the past, the narrator/host isn't simply delivering information, they are an active part of the discussion and will on occasion even present their personal view on the topic. Host participation is evident when you talk about your personal carbon dioxide emission but possibly adding something a little more personal could really help the audience connect with you, for example what are steps that you've taken to have half the carbon dioxide emission as the average U.S household? or what options have you considered or would be willing to consider in terms of green energy in your own household. I'd even suggest going political on the subject, what are the current governments doing or not doing to create a demand for green energy?
Again this was a fantastic podcast/ transcript that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, I hope my comments can be of some help for future podcasts.

Hi Joshua,

I like how you involved the audience and made the content relatable to them. Instead of just reporting on the issue, you included information on how they can get involved as a part of the solution to less GHG emission. You also addressed questions that a less-informed listener may have about the topic. The flow of the interview was excellent, and the questions you asked Adam were well thought out. One thing I would comment on is that maybe you could have included more questions to Adam about the economical impacts of green energy, and why the public must seriously consider switching over despite the higher costs. The Ontarian government seems to have poorly planned the hydro budget, but is still working on transitioning towards greener energy. The podcast could also discuss how states in the U.S. have or can transition to green energy as well. Overall, it was a great podcast! I especially liked the thunder sound effects that you included :) Good job!

Hi Joshua,

I really like how you introduced / presented information in your podcast. It was interactive, and you went out of your way to define terms that the listener may not have understood. I think it would be very helpful to anyone who is unaware of the benefits of green energy, and how greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming. Your article captured my attention because I was unaware that Ontario had cut so much funding towards green energy, and the motivation for this interested me.

Normally, I would completely disagree with cut to any funding of green projects, but I completely agree with your view on the topic. I have always known that energy prices are high in Ontario, but I never knew the reason. This post provoked me to do a little more research on this, and I read the article “Ontario won’t be able to reduce soaring hydro costs anytime soon, say experts” by Global News, the link is listed below.

From the article I have read and the article your podcast is based on, it is my understanding that unfortunately the cut to green energy hasn’t really helped decrease prices, but has just stopped the inevitable climb. It seems as though the Liberal party has dug a huge hole for Ontarians, and our hydro prices will not decrease until the multiple contracts they have signed will expire.

Again, great post !

http://globalnews.ca/news/2928324/ontario-wont-be-able-to-reduce-soaring...

Hey Joshua, this was a very intriguing article and a great reflection of the material through your podcast! The title was very catchy, especially with all of the decisions our government has been making lately in regards to pipelines and liquid natural gas projects. Without reading into the article and your podcast I would have thought that our government was making yet another questionable environmental decision in comparison to their original plans to create a greener and more sustainable Canada. Your analysis of the article revealed some interesting information on possibilities of why it may have been smart for the Ontario government to cut back on some of their green energy projects. You presented this information in a very entertaining and clean manner. Developing green energy is putting us in the right position to fight climate change but it would be interesting to find out where these green energy projects would have been located and whether or not they would have created any issues with Aboriginal communities or other small neighbouring towns. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed your podcast but the one recommendation I could make is to make the podcast more of a discussion between the guest instead of just straight questions. Great podcast!

Hello Joshua, I like how your blog post gives the reader background information on green energy, specifically in Ontario. I think it is important not to paint a picture of disaster, when there are other sides to the story. You did a good job of outlining these other points of view before the interview began and I believe that is important, making your blog post stronger. I decided to read your blog because I did my blog about this same topic, and wanted to compare our conclusions from the same topic. One piece of advice I may give you to improve your post would be to give a little more background information on Ontario's current energy. For example, cole energy is no longer used in Ontario, and nuclear energy is the main source of nonrenewable energy in Ontario. I think that this information may be useful for your listeners as it may help them to draw a clearer picture of the energy situation in Ontario. Overall, you did a great job, good luck in your future podcasts.