by Parker Gallant
The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association’s Executive Director, Kristopher Stevens on Monday morning will launch OSEA’s 3rd Annual Community Power Conference and glancing at the program one can detect a sense of concern. This is reflected in Steven’s message in the programme brochurewhich contains this reflective bon mot; “The green energy sector in Ontario has been threatened by uncertainty in recent months due to the provincial election and the highly anticipated Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) review. Developers, manufactures, government and investors are concerned about what may happen to the industry, their projects and businesses. Residents and communities are concerned whether clean air and water, newfound well paying jobs, local project ownership and hope, will be yanked from underneath them. Ontario’s green energy sector is entering its next phase and it is yet unknown what this new chapter will look like and how industry participants and communities will operate in the new climate.”
There is lots in this claim by Stevens to take issue with, particular with the claim about the “residents and communities” concerns. How a change in the FIT program would affect our air or water or those reputed “well paying jobs and hope” is an incredible stretch of imagination on his behalf. Those “residents and communities” are concerned that their quickly growing electricity bills will drive them into energy poverty in order to support the visions expounded on by Stevens and his groupies.
It is noteworthy that some of the Conference’s previous sponsors have not reappeared this year however we can still find many taxpayer or ratepayer funded institutions that are front and centre as well as those institutions and companies benefiting from the Green Energy Act. Among the sponsors one finds, the Ontario Power Authority, the City of Toronto, York University, CMHC, the Community Power Fund, TREC (Exhibition wind turbine and recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the taxpayer owned Toronto Atmospheric Fund ), the World Wind Energy Association (who awarded former Energy Minister, George Smitherman with the “World Wind Energy” award in 2009) and Toronto Hydro. In the latter case we find this testimonal from Joyce McLean, Director, Strategic Issues on the Conference site; “As one of the early supporters of community power in Canada through our relationship with TREC/WindShare, Toronto Hydro appreciates the enthusiasm and energy needed to grow the community power sector in Ontario. We support OSEA’s efforts in leading the way.” Ms. McLean spent time with Greenpeace, as Chairperson and Director of CanWEA and was the founding Chair of the Community Power Fund (which dispenses grants provided by the OPA and paid for by ratepayers-they recently granted OSEA $125,000).
The “Keynote” sponsor of this conference is listed as the Ontario Power Authority and Colin Andersen, the CEO, is down as a “Keynote speaker” along with the newly appointed Minister of Energy, Chris Bentley. The ratepayer ultimately pays for the privilege of putting Mr. Andersen in this position as the sponsorship is part of the OPA’s budget.
The taxpayer is also paying for the sponsorship of CMHC and YorkUniversity, the latter a hotbed of environmentalists with a Faculty of Environmental Studies that numbers 41 Professors, Assistants and Associate Professors. Graduates of Yorkinclude Kristopher Stevens and Brent Kopperson both of whom claim involvement in the creation of the Green Energy Act (Act). Kopperson is listed as a presenter/speaker at the conference as is Marion Fraser, yet another who also jointly claims responsibility for the Act’s creation. These speakers and more then half of the others scheduled as presenters/speakers are dependent on the largesse of the ratepayers and taxpayers of this province to ensure they maintain their jobs. Those jobs are designed to raise the price of electricity by pushing wind and solar generation.
The Conference program devotes most of the first day to pontificating on the election results and the potential impact on sustainable energy as well as the upcoming review of the FIT program.
The following excerpt from the program is an indication of the hand wringing going on; “ Election uncertainty has left champions of conservation and renewable energy, community and commercial developers, manufacturers, suppliers and investors wondering what’s next for Ontario?”
Looking at this from the perspective of a ratepayer; the “champions” in this session may now know what the 4.5 million ratepayers in the province have been going through since the Act was passed.
Who was our champion while the Conference attendees were using taxpayer and ratepayer funds to push their agenda forward while IWTs were springing up throughout the province damaging our health, killing wildlife and causing our electricity rates to jump by over 100%?
Perhaps it is now the ratepayers who have some hope, hope that the insanity of the Act will be discovered for what it is.
November 11, 2011