Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Government Cancels 758 Renewable Energy Deals, Says It Saves Millions

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Government Cancels 758 Renewable Energy Deals, Says It Saves Millions

Article excerpt

Ontario cancels 758 renewable energy deals


TORONTO - 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.

"We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 per cent for families, farmers and small businesses," he said. "In the past few weeks, we have taken significant steps toward keeping that promise."

John Gorman, president of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, called the government decision to cancel the projects "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."

Gorman said the decision will likely lead to lawsuits, and said cancelling the contracts will not bring hydro prices down. …

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