Brad Duguid


I’d put my money on the “self-appointed guru“.

Parker Gallant writes some of the most lucid commentary on Ontario energy policy. On the other hand, Brad Duguid has had extensive experience with energy issues since, well, his appointment as Minister of Energy earlier this year.

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The Globe and Mail suggests that, with Ontario’s aging transmission grid, we can expect more blackouts like the four-hour outage in Toronto on Monday. Ontario’s Energy Minister, however, seems unconcerned:

Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said it would be difficult for the government to invest more aggressively in upgrading the transmission system because consumers are already facing higher power prices from investments the province is making in new sources of electricity generation.

That the McGuinty government would put the construction of expensive, renewable energy projects ahead of reliability is perhaps not surprising. With temperatures today again heading up  to near-record levels, Ontario’s total installed wind capacity of 1,100 MW is presently churning out a total of 11 MW. The reliability of our electricity supply is obviously of secondary importance.

If reliability is what you want, maybe it’s time to buy your own generator.

Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Energy dictator (aka the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure), has decreed that the Ontario Energy Board must “establish electricity conservation and demand management (“CDM”) targets to be met by licensed electricity distributors” to reduce overall provincial peak electricity demand through such measures by 1330 MW by the end of 2014.

This reduction is apparently in addition to reductions the Green Energy Act will achieve by driving energy prices through the roof.

Markets simply don’t matter when you are dictator. Unfortunately, this dictator is far from benign.

The recent announcement that Loblaws will be installing solar photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of more than 100 of its stores is not cause for celebration by Ontarians. Despite the green spin the company puts on it, Ontario ratepayers will see their electricity costs go up as a result.

“This initiative is part of Loblaw’s overall effort, through the use of renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Bob Chant, vice president, corporate affairs, Loblaw Companies Limited. “We believe green energy production using innovative technologies such as these pilot projects, supports our commitment to the environment.”

[…]

Based on the success of the initial four pilot projects, Loblaw will then evaluate the next phase of roll outs.”These projects will create a new source of income for businesses while providing new clean and green electricity in Ontario — particularly on hot, sunny summer days when demand soars,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. “With our new domestic content rules, these projects will also help create new green collar jobs here in Ontario as well as major economic investments in equipment and services here at home.”

Ostensibly, Loblaws is doing this to be “green.” Yet while Ontario households typically pay on average 5.7¢ a kilowatt hour for their electricity (current wholesale rates are a little over half that), Loblaws will be receiving 44¢ a kilowatt hour for any power it produces, the cost of which gets fed back into your electricity bill. (I guess that’s why they call it a “feed-in tariff.”)  So, the more power Loblaws and the other 509 fortunate companies produce, the more our electricity costs go up.

For Loblaws, this is just their latest greenwashing scheme. The company has a long history of involvement with WWF Canada, which their clients unwittingly support every time they shop there.

It’s long past time to find a new grocery store.