FINCH — The province’s most prominent wind turbine opposition group says it welcomes Premier Kathleen Wynne’s recent acknowledgment of financial hardship imposed by her government’s energy policies.
Wynne described rising hydro costs as her “mistake,” during an address delivered Nov. 19 at the Ontario Liberals’ annual general meeting in Ottawa — an error the premier now hopes to correct.
In light of the premier’s admission, Wind Concerns Ontario is eagerly offering advice to the governing party on how to lower electricity rates. WCO’s suggested list of fixes includes kiboshing five wind project contracts awarded under the first round of the Large Renewable Procurement initiative (LRP I). Among those 299 megawatts of planned capacity is EDP Renewables 100-megawatt Nation Rise Wind Farm; WCO says the government could cancel that North Stormont Township-based project at an approximately $600,000 fee, under the approved contract with developer EDP Renewables.
“We know that energy poverty in Ontario is real and worsening under this government,” says WCO president Jane Wilson in a Nov. 21 press release issued by the group. “Hundreds of thousands of people are having difficulty paying their electricity bills, and many are having to choose between ‘heat and eat.’ Meanwhile, corporate power developers are getting paid huge profits in Ontario – this has to change, now.”
Nation Rise Wind Farm is due to break ground in 2019. WCO maintains that pulling the plug on that contract and four others in the same category would cost “a small fraction” of the $1.3-billion Ontario ratepayers would otherwise collectively pay on their hydro bills, over the next 20 years, if those projects are built.
WCO is also calling on the Wynne government to:
- Go beyond the recent suspension of the successor “LRP II” wind program and officially cancel those potential 1,000 megawatts entirely;
- Cancel annual conservation spending of $400-million;
- Take the Ontario Electricity Support Program off the backs of hydro ratepayers and instead move the OESP to the Ministry of Community and Social Services, with a special $10 per megawatt tax levy imposed on solar and wind producers to pay for the program;
- Immediately reduce the Time of Use (TOU) off-peak rate from 8.7 cents/kWh to 7.4 cents/kWh to encourage a shift of power consumption from peak to off-peak time in order to flatten daily demand.
“Poverty is a major factor in population health,” says Wilson, a Registered Nurse. “It is time Ontario takes action to help people now, and not cause further hardship for Ontario families.”
The Nation Rise Wind Farm developer is slated to hold another public information session in North Stormont on December 13.