Tim Hudak Takes His Stand on Ontario Energy Policy

hudak 300x255 Tim Hudak Takes His Stand on Ontario Energy Policy

Tim Hudak

Last Friday, in an article in the Toronto Star, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak finally outlined what he would do with regards to energy policy if he were to win the 2011 Ontario election.

Hudak began his article with a critique of Premier Dalton McGuinty‘s current energy policies, echoing many of the concerns articulated over past several months.

“From smart meters, to the Green Energy Act, to the Samsung subsidy, electricity bills are skyrocketing. When you add in the impact of the HST and other rate increases, the annual cost of electricity bills for Ontario families is set to increase by another $732 per year by 2015, according to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters…”
“Premier McGuinty is running Ontario’s hydro system in a way that is unsustainable. He’s handing out massive subsidies to preferential energy developers that are well above the market price for power. In the end, it’s you who pays the price on your hydro bills.”

He continued by pointing out the failings of other jurisdiction’s attempts at implementing similar policies, all of which served as inspiration for Mcguinty’s Green Energy Act,

“Spain, for example, found that 2.2 jobs were lost in its broader economy for every one job that was created by the subsidies. The Bruno Leoni Institute found Italy’s similar approach cost 4.8 jobs in the broader economy for every subsidized job created; or for every new manufacturing job created, this approach cost 6.9 other manufacturing jobs.”

These criticisms of McGuinty’s energy policies have been made countless times before by Hudak, the NDP, and the people of Ontario.  What Hudak had been very ambiguous about, until now, was his own plans for energy policy as the Premier of Ontario.

“Nuclear facilities are an affordable, reliable and emissions-free source of electricity that supplied more than 50 per cent of our electricity last year. Given the 10-year lead time for a new nuclear facility, an Ontario PC government will make immediate decisions on investing in nuclear power facilities, new and refurbished.
We also recognize how important hydro electricity has been to Ontario’s economic development and it should continue to be a part of our future supply mix. And let me be clear, renewable energy should be a part of Ontario’s supply mix, but it must be at prices we can afford.”

At its core, Hudak’s energy plan for Ontario essentially intends to turn back the clock to the pre-GEA era and focus on pouring money into Ontario’s already-established Nuclear and Hydro power plants, while keeping the door open to renewable energy technologies if they can come at a price that doesn’t empty the public’s wallets.

Hudak’s plan will likely be greeted with a sigh of relief for anyone focusing on keeping their balance book out of the red, but may concern those who disregard cost for the sake of Ontario’s greenification.  Their concerns however, may not necessarily be entirely valid. Say what you want about Nuclear power, but it can and should be considered a source of clean energy, and it should be considered the world’s segue away from traditional sources of energy into renewable sources of energy.

A more concerning issue with Hudak’s statements, however, is his lack of urgency regarding curbing climate change. Climate change is never mentioned in his response, and no suggestion of it being a real issue is made. Yes, the Green Energy Act can be considered a failure, but that doesn’t mean its goals (combating climate change) are not important.  Tim Hudak needs to lay the groundwork to finding a more pragmatic, economic, and realistic means to those ends.  His plan does suggest he will do the former, but is rather ambiguous about the latter.

Other than this lack of urgency for curbing climate change, Hudak’s plan, if he is elected, will hopefully clean the slate and reboot the difficult process of creating a environmentally sustainable Ontario energy portfolio.
 Tim Hudak Takes His Stand on Ontario Energy Policy
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