Nearly a year ago, some high profile political careers ignominiously ended in Ontario. The province’s headlong embrace of “green” energy policies drove the former premier, Dalton McGuinty, from office. A couple of his ministers, including the energy minister, quit soon thereafter. Green energy laid these politicians low because green energy—mainly wind and solar—is simply unreliable and not capable of powering an electricity grid. It therefore requires a backup source that can power a grid. In Ontario, the backup source preferred by the “environmental” lobby is natural gas.
Running an electricity system is no small thing. Everything in Ontario—everything—depends on electricity. Our province literally does not exist without electricity. So the drive for “green” energy involved not just forcing the construction of huge inefficient wind turbines. It also involved forcing, quickly, the construction of new gas plants. This was a radical, and enormously expensive and disruptive, move. The former premier, and former energy minister, and several other now-former cabinet ministers, know from hard personal experience just how disruptive it was. They lost their careers because they went full-bore for “green” energy as conceived by the “environmental” lobby. Their legacies are now in tatters.
And for what? The drive to force wind and gas into unwilling Ontario communities was totally unnecessary. It was, let us remember, part of the Brave New Clean Electricity World. Well, Ontario has for the better part of a century been a leader in clean electricity: our system was originally built around hydroelectric dams. More recently, Ontario dramatically expanded its generating capacity, by investing heavily in the most efficient electricity generating source the world has ever known: nuclear energy. Neither hydro nor nuclear involve fossil fuel combustion. Both are far cleaner, and far less expensive, than the wind and gas combination. For an idea of how less expensive, have a look at what the “green” energy part of the provincial Global Adjustment cost Ontario rate payers in 2012. The “green” energy part is represented by the GA-OPA row in the 2012 figures. Add the monthly figures up, and you get more than $3.5 billion. From a single year. (A big part of that was for Bruce Power, which in my view is a worthwhile charge since that plant provides about a third of Ontario’s power. But the bulk of it, i.e. more than $1.1 billion, is for “green” energy: wind, solar, and natural gas.)
Remember that most of Ontario’s electricity comes from three tiny patches of land: the Pickering, Darlington, and Bruce nuclear plants. All three of these stations could physically fit, easily, into the territory occupied by the Wolfe Island wind farm. And they produce many, many times as much power as Wolfe Island does. And do so reliably: hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after year.
None of this was unknown by the aforementioned politicians. Which begs the question: why did they so enthusiastically embrace “green” energy, which, it was obvious from the beginning, is so inefficient and problematic and utterly unnecessary?
The answer to this question is fascinating. The aforementioned politicians appear to have fallen for the pop culture notion that “green” energy is actually good for the planet.
They fell for the “green” energy phantasm, then fell on their swords. And for what.