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.