Ontario government cancels 758 renewable energy contracts, says it will save millions
Cancellations 'expose Ontario to significant financial risk,' Green MPP says
Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government is cancelling 758 renewable energy contracts, in what it says is an effort to reduce electricity bills in the province.
"For 15 years, Ontario families and businesses have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices so the government could spend on unnecessary and expensive energy schemes," Rickford said. "Those days are over."
The government announcement does not indicate which specific projects are being cancelled.
Rickford said the move is part of a campaign pledge the Progressive Conservatives made during the spring election to end the projects.
"We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 per cent for families, farmers and small businesses," Rickford said.
"In the past few weeks, we have taken significant steps toward keeping that promise."
John Gorman, president of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, called the government decision to cancel the projects "rash." Gorman said the move will hurt small investors who have put solar panels on their rooftops or properties.
Cancellations affect 'the little guys'
"This is not about big business," he said. "This is about small rooftop projects that are owned by farmers and school boards and municipalities and First Nations groups. The folks that will be hurt are the installers and contractors and the engineers: the local guys, the little guys who have built up experience in building solar over the last few years."
"It's preposterous to try to tie the cancellation of these small rooftop projects to any savings on people's electricity bills," he said.
NDP Energy critic Peter Tabuns said the decision to cancel the renewable energy contracts will hurt thousands of jobs across the province and damage air and water quality. The party called on Ford to stop cancelling contracts until the impact can be determined.
"Mr. Ford's war on science and the environment may be pleasing his friends in back rooms and fulfilling promises he made to social conservatives that supported his election bid," Tabuns said in a statement. "But for the rest of us, it's going to means lost jobs, billions of dollars wasted, and tangible environmental damage."
Province 'turning its back' on renewable industry, Schreiner says
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the cancellation means the province is turning its back on the global renewable industry, which he said is worth billions and is a proven job creator. Schreiner added the decision also sends a number of negative signals about the province to business.
Earlier this week, the Tory government said it would introduce legislation next week to cancel a wind project in eastern Ontario that is just weeks away from completion.
WPD Canada, the company behind the green energy project that has been under development for nearly a decade, said the cancellation could cost more than $100 million and warned that the dispute could be headed to the courts.