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Wind costs slap-down in Canada

Industry group hits back over 'simplistic' report on Ontario

Wind costs slap-down in Canada image

The Canadian Wind Energy Association has come out swinging after the Fraser Institute released a report alleging Ontario's Green Energy Act and the province's heavy reliance on wind power will lead to massive increases in customers' bills.

In fact, CanWEA said, "wind energy has helped clean Ontario's electricity system and deliver hundreds of millions of dollars to rural communities with little additional cost passed on to ratepayers".

An analysis of consumer rate impacts by Power Advisory looked at the various components of a typical consumer electricity bill, including supply and delivery, and found that wind energy accounted for only about 5% of the increase to the total customer bill between 2009 and 2012.

"The Fraser Institute report takes a simplistic approach," CanWEA argued, adding that it relies excessively on the widely criticized 2011 annual report by the Auditor General of Ontario and also fails to take into consideration the fundamental fact that there is dramatic need to invest in new electricity generation and infrastructure after decades of under-investment.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, $347bn in investment in the nation's electricity system is required between now and 2030 and all of these costs will be passed on to consumers.

"While electricity prices have been increasing across North America as jurisdictions upgrade ancient electricity systems, wind energy has proven that it can deliver major benefits at a minimal cost to ratepayers here in Ontario," said Chris Forrest, CanWEA vice president.

"Wind energy is cost-competitive with virtually every potential new source of generation available in Ontario and it does not create hazardous waste or consume vast amounts of fresh water from our Great Lakes. Wind energy will continue to be a cost-effective choice as we build a clean and reliable electricity system in Ontario."

Building confidence: the 101MW Kruger wind farm in Ontario (Chatham Wind)

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