We were relieved after all our supplications, to observe that your 2011 Report gave the Ontario renewable energy scheme some of the attention it so deserves. The fact that the Ministry of Energy as you pointed out,” had not recently conducted any audit work on renewable energy initiatives” served to validate our concerns.
It was most gratifying to read the unequivocal admission that the renewable energy policy had NO proper cost/benefit analysis,did NOT consider saner alternatives and has not followed reasonable accountability procedures which would give it any legitimacy. You discovered, we hope to your horror, those truths which we have been long lamenting. While you accounted for some billions which have been wasted on greed-promoted “green” energy which has nowhere defied the laws of physics on this planet to prove itself to be economically sustainable, that is really only the most obvious departure from reason which pervades every part of the Ontario government.
An open letter by Pete Lomath(1) entitled, “An apology to children living on properties leased for wind generation” addresses a lengthy list of tax payer financed government entities which have failed to function in a manner which affords any protection to hapless rural children. Included are the MOE for a multitude of sins, including allowing projects to proceed knowing that they had no protocols or test procedures to enforce the noise standards; The MOH where shoddy cherry-picking antics with literature and statistics were exposed as such by the Environmental Review Tribunal, yet remains unprepared to do anything but more of the same denial of adverse effects of turbines; The Speaker for the Ontario Legislature who has failed to require that only TRUTH be spoken there.
Your own audit of renewable energy easily refutes much of the propaganda laced about the Ministry of Energy FIT Survey which is supposed to be an opportunity for public input. Apart from those blatant attempts to mis-inform the respondents, there were also efforts by government lobby groups such as OSEA to skew the results of that exercise. This serves to illustrate how even public consultation has become just another waste of money under this regime.
We are also paying for a Renewable Energy Facilitation Office which has tendrils sapping their original value from the MNR, MOE, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, MTO, Ministry of Agriculture,Food and Rural Affairs. Since Orwellian “newspeak” emanates from the Ministry of Education and even egregious departure from demonstrable fact is unquestioningly reported by mainstream media we must conclude that they too have received the “memo” from big brother. Two of our most important defences against tyranny are dysfunctional.
INSANE is the word which comes most readily to mind to describe the practices you have reported. These include, ignoring established protocols for analysis before embarking on a policy, this despite existing evidence of potential social,economic and environmental harm; entering into contracts again contrary to best business practices and attempts to tie the hands of successive governments, consistently paying more than necessary to achieve unnecessary objectives, and above all stubborn disrespect for truth.
The official responses to your recommendations make plain both that propensity for misrepresentation and lack of common sense will persist. There is no contrition, no awareness of wrong-doing just missing-the-whole-point-inane agreement and double-speak.
The Ministry of Energy response that it, “… remains committed to providing quality policy advice and implementing the government’s decisions in a manner that is cost-effective and promotes system reliability.”, in the face of glaringly bad policy decisions which have been made and acted upon and the growing instability of both the grid and the economy, indicates an inability to accept reality, or correction, but probably both!
“The Ministry will seek to build on its extensive public education and awareness actions to date.”, prefaces a couple of items, one of which is the “Ontario Clean Energy Benefit” insert in the electricity bills which were mailed just prior to the election and as such were singled out as cause for concern in the Review of Government Advertising chapter. The government seems unfazed by the fact that they are seen by the Office of the Auditor, and many members of the public, as exploiting a limitation of the law which clearly should cover “mail inserts” and Internet advertising due to their similarity to print and television formats. Can anyone honestly believe the government is acting in good faith?
“The Ministry will continue to take into consideration the experiences of other jurisdictions while ensuring that the program remains stable and sustainable.” So we are still going to pretend that industrial-scale renewable energy will work. This must mean that we are going to consider but ignore the experience of others where it does not agree with policy..like Germany where they are now madly building coal plants to balance highly variable renewable energy and also face rapid expansion of transmission infrastructure to its domestic markets since Poland(3), afraid of the blackout risks from unwanted surpluses, has said it will install cut-off switches at their border.
When the Ministry reply to a recommendation about system reliability and stability wanders from Ontario’s agreed-to level of reliability monitored by the North American Reliability Corporation to the observation, “We note that the increases in renewable energy generation do not increase greenhouse gas emissions. Without renewable energy generation, the gas-fired generation would have to run more frequently, resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions.”, which is both non-sequitur and pure misinformation, it is impossible not to think that this is lunacy amok in Ontario.
There is definitely something rotten in the state of Denmark where turbine giant Vestas complained(2) about new low frequency noise regulations which would, “include a significant and severe tightening of the previous regulations”; CEO Ditlev Engel’s concern for the company over the well being of Danes was obvious in his statement, “Denmark has a role as a forerunner country and a full scale laboratory for conversion to renewable energy.”. Rural voters of Ontario have rejected the Liberal energy experiment which makes us NON-CONSENTING human subjects. If the law counted for anything…but then there is another service for which we pay but which has not prevented policy which discriminates against rural residents and particularly those who cherish the beauty of nature.
Call it what you will, “herding” a term coined for the sort of behaviour which resulted in a previous market bubble, plain old madness or even groupthink but it is definitely NOT good government that we are experiencing in Ontario. As rural families have been cruelly made aware, none of the agencies where they might reasonably expect to find aid have responded. Apparently not even, as Pete Lomath found, the Ombudsman!
So while we heartily thank you for your honest service and the truths you have stated we must ask where now are we to turn? Dystopia this is not! Your report is not the work of over-active imaginations, it is the result of conscientious minds examining reality. That reality is clearly causing social, economic and environmental harm. It is completely illogical to permit this state of affairs to continue, as it gives every indication of doing. How do we put a stop to this worsening madness which will inevitably lead to violence and further repression?
1 An open letter to the children of Ontario by Pete Lomath: http://www.lsarc.ca/lsarcaa1.htm#apology
2 Danish Government treats Danes as Guinea Pigs: http://www.lsarc.ca/lsarcaa1.htm#Danish_Guinea_Pigs
3 Poland blocks imports of German Wind & Solar energy: http://www.lsarc.ca/lsarcaa1.htm#Poland_blocks_imports_of_German_wind_and_solar_energy