A group of Ottawa businesses specializing in renewable energy technology is calling on Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak to reconsider his opposition to the McGuinty government’s green energy law.
Twenty area firms signed onto the letter dated Monday saying that the green energy economy is invigorating the manufacturing industry and creating well-paying jobs for skilled workers. They say Hudak’s pledge to scrap the Liberals’ green energy law would be “rash, imprudent, and cost thousands of jobs.”
At issue for the smaller Ottawa firms is the Feed in Tariff (FIT) program that lets smaller energy producers get paid for pumping hydro, solar, wind and other renewable energy they generate into Ontario’s power grid, at rates above the current consumer price for electricity.
In the letter, released to the Citizen, the co-signers say the FIT program has proved to be both good job-creation policy and helps the province generate the electricity it will need in future. “The Green Energy and Green Economy Act generates economic activity, reduces pollution, and ensures that Ontarians will have power for the future,” the letter says. “It enables us to avoid the risk of blackouts.”
“Mr. Hudak, business seeks a stable economic climate for investment. Your Party’s decision has introduced uncertainty into Ontario’s economic future.”
Hudak has said the FIT program and a $7-billion deal with Samsung to generate renewable energy for Ontario will jack up the prices consumers pay for electricity. Were his party to form government after this fall’s provincial election, it would end the programs. But that would short-sighted and leave Ontario without the energy it needs, said Chris Henderson, president of Lumos Energy, who sent the letter to Hudak on behalf of the other Ottawa-area companies, mostly solar power firms.
“What’s Hudak going to replace it with? Where are you going to get your power?” he asks. “The provinces are not doing it for green energy alone. They’re doing because it they need electricity.”
In five years, clean energy generated through the FIT program is expected to account for 15 per cent of Ontario’s total electricity production, Henderson said.