Renewables offer most affordable path to decarbonized economy
December 4, 2015
The 2015 Ontario Auditor General’s Annual Report makes a number of recommendations on electricity power system planning in Ontario, including clarifying the roles of the Ministry of Energy and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Efforts to improve electricity planning in Ontario are welcomed by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
The Report also highlights the need for more public information for electricity consumers about the cost drivers of increasing electricity rates. CanWEA supports increased transparency for ratepayers to better understand cost drivers, such as the Global Adjustment and the role renewable energy plays, particularly on how it impacts customers on their bill.
Electricity prices are increasing because Ontario is transitioning to a modern, agile and cost-competitive electricity system, which benefits all Ontarians. When you have a long-term vision with clear goals, you create a climate that attracts investors and drives economic growth. Ontario’s wind procurements have helped to create a sophisticated home grown supply chain, including component manufacturing and professional services, employing thousands of Ontarians. As a result of the government’s vision, Ontario now has a low carbon and diverse electricity generation system that outpaces all other renewable energy growth across Canada.
This transition must continue as Ontario consumers would see virtually no relief from high electricity prices if the province cancelled its support for renewable energy and chose instead to increase reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation to complement the nuclear energy it just locked into until 2060, with the deal to refurbish six reactors in Bruce County. Over the long term, the cost of wind energy is projected to continue to decline while the costs of other technologies are projected to grow in response to locked-in contracts, increased fuel costs, or environmental regulations like carbon pricing and protection of precious water sources. Continuing to develop renewables ensures that the significant environmental and health gains made by phasing out coal will continue to be realized, and at costs that will continue to decline relative to the costs of other sources of generation.
Ontarians understand the benefits that renewable energy brings. The Auditor General’s report does not consider this broader context. The true value renewable energy investments have brought since 2003 is their contribution to the 90 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from Ontario’s electricity sector – which remains a leader in Ontario’s fight against climate change.
Featured Photo ©Siemens Canada Limited
Ontario Regional Director at the Canadian Wind Energy Association