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Dirty Energy & Fuel

Should Going Green Come With Big Monetary Costs? Ontario's Electricity Hike

$8 billion is to be spent on approved green energy projects, like wind farms, in Ontario. This will increase energy costs and has the public in an uproar.

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Green initiatives typically aren’t cheap, meaning that some individuals are able to afford to dive all in to the green movement and others have to pick and choose due to financial constraints. In some cases, the big monetary costs don’t seem justified. In others, it makes sense that new innovations might be a bit more pricey particularly when there is a measurable benefit or even a long-term savings for the user. The latest green controversy surrounds a major hike in electricity prices set to take place in Ontario, Canada.

By 2012, a mere two years away, Ontario homeowners will be paying an estimated additional $300 each year, a substantial increase. Some of the increased cost of electricity is simply that — a cost increase with no specific reasoning. However, approximately half of that cost increase has been blamed on Ontario’s plans to increase their use of green power.

Ontario recently announced green energy projects like wind turbines and other technologies to convert solar and other natural electricity sources into usable energy that should generate enough to power 600,000 homes. These projects, which have already been approved, will total approximately $8 billion.

Ontario may become a front-runner when it comes to green initiatives in Canada with these changes, and that should bring a positive focus. But instead, the steep electricity rate hikes are stealing the thunder because people fear how they, who are indirectly footing the bill for these green projects, will be able to afford it.

There are a couple of issues with this – for one, the media isn’t focusing upon Ontario’s green energy plans; rather, it’s the electricity bills that have found their way to the front. So, like many other green initiatives, money matters more than environmental progress, which is a shame. Secondly, of course, there’s the question as to whether or not it’s a justified expense, since it’s being forcefully applied to all Ontario residents without them having any choice.  Some believe green change should be personal, that instead that $300 a year could be applied to a new energy-efficient home appliance or something else that would help an individual or family reduce their carbon footprint. Others believe these are necessary changes to make real environmental progress. The financial debate over green options won’t go anywhere anytime soon, and there are valid points on all sides of the argument; this is just one more example to fuel the fire.

What do you think about what’s happening in Ontario and, generally, where do you stand on the financial implications of going green?

Image Credit: Nualabugeye via flickr under a CC license




4 comments
  1. Gerry

    Simple solution is to use less electricity. Sorry to say but this is one of the least difficult aspects of embracing a sustainable future.

    Its not about "going green". Its about species survival. The great pity is that we are so disconnected to the consequences of environmental collapse that we all believe it's someone else's problem. I also don't believe people are quite ready yet to accept that all these measures taking place are being done to uphold the current standard of living. It's logical that standards of living have to come DOWN in order for us to continue existing on this planet.

    Adapt or perish. Evolve or become extinct. Some will live, most will die. Survival of the fittest from here on out. Good luck.

  2. Beth Graddon-Hodgson

    Thanks for the great comments and insight.

    Even with changes that have proven positive benefits, I have to agree with you M Anderson. I’m all for personal choice and especially with such large costs, believe we should have some rights to input.

  3. M Anderson

    Wind turbines DO NOT lower GHG emissions…ask Denmark. This entire scheme is absolutely ridiculous. I would be more than willing to pay for VIABLE green energy but wind aint’ it.

    What sickens me is the way the Green Energy Act, in one fell swoop, has stripped away civil rights from the citizens and made local government powerless. If that is not green fascism, than what is?

    I am ashamed to live in this province with people so willing to do this to their fellow citizens. It’s become a rural vs. urban issue.

  4. Scott

    Ontario already received 80% of its electricity production from nuclear and hydro. The ‘green’ question is how much oversupply does one need to do away with incrementally smaller amounts of coal with sources that can’t be matched to demand. It is the inefficiency that is expensive.

    The other half of the price hikes are for known reasons, and they are part of the same ‘green’ strategies – namely the installation of smart meters on all residences in the province, and the upgrading of the grid to allow the feed-in of small-scale producers.
    Once again, the law of declining returns being ignored is what escalates the price – putting smart meters on high-density, extremely efficient condominium towers with hundreds of units is just silly – for instance.

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