Bloomberg news reports sales of offshore wind turbines in Europe collapsed in the first half of 2012, a sign the power industry and its financiers are struggling to meet the ambitions of leaders from Angela Merkel in Germany to Britain’s David Cameron. For instance, Siemens, with the most offshore wind turbines installed last year, announced its last offshore wind order in December 2011,The same can be said for Ontario where in Windsor alone, three wind energy projects have been shut down in the past eight months alone dashing hopes of 480 jobs in a city with one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada. The Globe and Mail reported in February that 10 wind- and solar-equipment makers in China, India, Europe and the U.S. have seen their share prices collapse by between price of their shares collapse by between 85 per cent and 98 per cent since 2008.The government announced its renewable energy program three years ago amid fanfare that claimed the wind and solar projects would provide many new jobs and decrease Ontario’s reliance of fossil and nuclear fuel for power generation. To make the program work producers of renewable power were offered attractive prices .
A small rooftop solar installation earn 55 cents cents per Kilowatt hour. An on-shore wind turbine gets nearly 12 cents cents per kilowatt hour. Compare those prices to the 2.33 cents, representing the average price for power from all sources Ontario paid since the beginning of 2012. These green power prices were a reduced from the 71 cents for solar and 13.5 cents for wind that the government was paying until a price review took place earlier this year. The price reduction has triggered a $100 Million plus lawsuit by one of the largest solar panel companies who argues that the government has reneged on its promises to the industry.
Parker Gallant and Scott Luft recently wrote in the National Post that Ontario taxpayers have paid out $900 million more than they would have had to pay had they been purchasing conventional power. Worse, the wind power that we are paying 12 cents a kilowatt hour is being exported to the US at a huge loss because the wind blows at night when we don’t need the power. In other words most of our green energy is being used by Americans who are getting it for a fraction of the price Ontario pays to generate it. The value of these subsidized exports since 2006 was estimated by the Toronto Star to be about $1 Billion.
The Conservatives have seized on the energy issue, but so far their efforts do not appear to be stirring the public. Ontario PC Energy Critic Vic Fedeli said green energy subsidies are hurting the Ontario economy, not helping it as the government promised. “Even when they’re up and running, these projects are kept afloat by massive subsidies which pay producers between double and 10 times the going rate for electricity,” Fedeli said. “They are driving energy costs to among the highest in North America, pushing manufacturers out of Ontario and leading to power surpluses that we must export at huge losses.” Fedeli cited recent reports on multiple failures by Samsung to deliver on the promise of 900 new jobs, $7 billion in investment and four new Ontario factories.