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MPP lauds repeal of Green Energy Act

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The province recently introduced legislation that, if passed, will repeal the Green Energy Act entirely.

Introduced late last month, it is part of the province's plan to make good on a campaign promise of reducing hydro rates by 12 percent.

“It brings to an end a very dark and expensive chapter in Ontario's energy history,” Energy minister and local MPP Greg Rickford told the Times on Friday afternoon.

“It was the legislative basis for a lot of very high-priced electricity through wind and solar,” he noted.

Rickford said the Green Energy Act created feed-in-tariff programs that contractually forced the province to pay price per kilowatt/hour rates that were much higher than any other jurisdiction in the country.

It also created energy that was not needed by the province, Rickford argued.

“Most folks don't know that a lot of that energy was never used and we were still paying a high price for it,” he remarked.

The provincial government argues the Green Energy Act skyrocketed electricity bill for people living in Ontario and took powers away from municipalities to stop unneeded energy projects in their communities.

Moving forward, the government said future renewable energy projects must prove their need before being approved.

Rickford said the government is open to “green” energy investments if they are proven to be beneficial.

“If a renewable energy source is a solution to a local challenge for an energy supply, they'll still be considered,” he explained.

"I don't think it's an unreasonable proposition to say within NOHFC there may be some micro-grid projects that would qualify, particularly for more remote communities or rural communities in Kenora-Rainy River and . . . isolated communities up north.

“We're not suggesting at all that renewable projects don't offer a solution in some respects, but they came at a very expensive price, much of it was wasted,” Rickford stressed.

The legislation to repeal the Green Energy Act follows the cancellation of more than 750 energy projects in solar or wind that totalled a cost savings of $790 million.

Rickford is optimistic the cancellations and newly-introduced legislation will help the province eventually reach a 12-percent hydro reduction.

“There's a lot of moving parts to this right now and it's our hope that in the not-to-distant future, some of this will translate into real savings on people's hydro bills out in our neck of the woods,” he said.

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