Can­celling re­new­able en­ergy con­tracts called ‘rash’

Windsor Star - - CITY+REGION -

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. En­ergy Min­is­ter Greg Rick­ford said the move will save pro­vin­cial ratepay­ers $790 mil­lion — a fig­ure in­dus­try of­fi­cials dis­pute, say­ing the can­cel­la­tions will just mean job losses for small busi­ness.

In a state­ment Fri­day, Rick­ford said the govern­ment plans to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion dur­ing its sum­mer sit­ting that would pro­tect hy­dro con­sumers from any costs in­curred from the con­tract can­cel­la­tions. “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. John Gor­man, pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian So­lar In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­tion, called the de­ci­sion “rash.” “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.”

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