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Wilson: Liberals Energy Announcement Nothing But Hot Air

(June 7, 2013) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson dismisses the Liberals so-called recent energy announcement that cancels the costly feed-in tariff program and supposedly gives municipalities more say over expensive renewable energy projects as more hot air from this Liberal government. Wilson and his PC Party colleagues have been calling for the dissolution of this program and to restore municipal controls since the Green Energy Act was introduced in 2009.

"I question just how much authority over green energy projects will be restored to municipalities,” said Wilson. “If the Liberals were actually serious about this they would have supported legislation that I introduced months ago with my Restoring Planning Powers to Municipalities Act.”

Wilson’s legislation would have amended the Planning Act reversing previous amendments made by the Green Energy Act that have exempt renewable energy undertakings from the municipal process. The PCs have also committed to scrapping the non-competitive feed-in tariff program. Both initiatives can be found in the first in a series of PC Party whitepapers entitled Paths to Prosperity: Affordable Energy.

“The devil will be in the details,” said Wilson. “There are still many questions to be answered, but the Energy Minister has already admitted that the changes are not retroactive. The projects already planned, like the one on the flight path of the Collingwood Regional Airport in my riding, may still go ahead.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne reiterated this point in a recent interview when she said that unwilling host municipalities are “out-of-luck” when it comes to wind developments that are already in the consideration stage of approvals. She made it clear that the announcement only applies to wind farms yet to enter the approvals process.

“It’s completely ridiculous that the Liberals keep coming out with these Mickey-Mouse announcements that do nothing,” said Wilson. “The Premier and her Liberal government obviously think they can fool rural Ontarians by making announcements seem more than they are. It’s all a bunch of baloney.”

Wilson concluded by pointing out that Ontario lost $1.8 billion between 2005 and 2011 paying other jurisdictions to take our surplus power. The Independent Electricity System Operator notes that this computes to loss of $24,000 per operating hour of renewable energy.

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