Who would have thought that rapidly giving out billions of dollars to projects that generate electricity at significantly higher cost than other sources would result in increased costs to the consumer. The only thing new, perhaps, is the exact cost which the Auditor General pegs at $220 million per year for the Feed In Tariff (FIT) program and $110 million per year for the Samsung deal.
There's more to it than just the dollars and cents though. Projects were approved without any cost-benefit analysis being performed, without business cases, due diligence or pretty much anything else. The OPA and OEB were not even consulted about certain plans. The promised jobs are not going to show up or are going to disappear soon.
A representative of the solar industry attempted to justify some of this claiming that their industry was saving lives through the closing of coal fired power plants. This is baloney. Not one coal fired power plant has been closed as a result of the wind and solar industry, they have been closed because of increases in natural gas fired power plants. According to the IESO, since 2003 there has been a decrease of over 3000MW in generating capacity by coal fired power plants (and the remaining 4000MW is used less and less), increases in nuclear generating capacity amount to over 2500MW, increases in generating capacity from natural gas fired power plants is over 5000MW. Increases in wind power amount to less than 1500MW (which only operates on a 33% capacity factor so its actually about 500MW) and "others" which include biogas and wood wastes only makes up 122 MW generating capacity in total.
But his response is telling at least; the solar industry is not a business. It exists solely because of government largess, whether it is here or in China. Which is why I'm proud of Oliver for standing up to the solar lobby and telling them that they need to start acting like businesses if they want to survive.
There's more in the Auditor General's report though, stay tuned.