Auditor General should consider true value of Ontario's Green Energy Act

Media Release, December, 2011

OTTAWA - The Ontario Auditor General should consider the multi-billion dollar cost overruns at the Pickering, Bruce and Darlington nuclear reactor stations before determining the true value of Ontario's Green Energy Act (GEA), says Sierra Club Canada.

“Cancelling the GEA would not only be an environmental disaster, it would lead to higher electricity bills and create more risk in the long-run,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.

Current renewable energy plans will undoubtedly have less of an impact on electricity bills than the continuing uncertainty of nuclear energy and natural gas prices. High electricity bills are inevitable over the short-term, but renewable energy will actually cost less over the next 15 years than continuing to depend on coal and nuclear energy.

The feed-in tariff for renewable energy has proven to be the most effective means of creating a new energy industry. It’s been a huge success in Germany and Ontario in creating power and jobs - even in these challenging economic times.

“The price of electricity is high and is going to get higher – this is fact and has nothing to do with the GEA,” said Dan McDermott, Director of Sierra Club Ontario “The reality is the GEA will help us reverse this trend by setting a stable and long-term price while at the same time give us cleaner air and reduce health care and environment costs.”

A recent report shows that over the next 8 years in Ontario, wind energy will alone create more than 80,000 jobs and attract $16 billion in private sector investment - $8.5 billion of which will be invested locally contributing over $1 billion in revenues to landowners and local municipalities. The move to clear energy is also estimated to save Ontario over $4 billion annually in health care, environmental and other costs over the next 8 years.

Sierra Club Canada supports the GEA because it will not only help Canada be part of the new, clean energy revolution, but because it has already helped shutdown 1000 megawatts of dirty coal-fired power plants leading to significant reductions in air pollution and climate changing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Ontario is taking the most aggressive action on climate change in Canada. It has been a true leader in green energy,” said Mr. Bennett. “While the federal government is backing-out of Kyoto and promoting short-sighted Tar Sands development, Ontario is shutting down coal plants. We should all be proud."

Ontario is the only jurisdiction in the world to replace coal with sustainable alternatives – in term of greenhouse gas emissions, a move equivalent to taking 7 million cars off the road.

As history has shown us, technological and industrial revolutions are never perfect and mistakes are made.

“When the going got tough, the Dalton McGuinty government showed leadership on climate change and green energy – it become a respected world leader, “said Mr. Bennett. “However, as we saw with Kyoto and are seeing in Durban, when the going gets tough, it appears the Harper government just goes home.”


John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada


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