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The new Ontario government is canceling or winding down 758 renewable energy contracts that will see more than 200 projects killed off in southwestern Ontario as the newly sworn-in government follows through with its pledge to bring hydro bills down by 12 percent.
Ontario ratepayers will benefit from US$601 million (C$790 million) in savings due to the decision to cancel and wind down the renewable energy contracts, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Greg Rickford, said on Friday.
“We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 per cent for families, farmers and small businesses,” Rickford said.
All of the cancelled projects have not reached project development milestones, according to the minister.
“And we are cancelling unnecessary renewable energy projects to help lower your electricity bills,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said earlier last week.
The cancellation of the contracts concerns 218 projects in southwestern Ontario, including a controversial wind farm imposed by the previous government on the community, although residents had overwhelmingly voted against it. The Dutton Dunwich wind farm project was awarded in 2016 by the Liberal government, but more than 80 percent of the residents in the community voted against it in a referendum. Nevertheless, the then government imposed the project on the community.
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The Canadian Solar Industries Association said that the killed contracts would hurt local jobs, “installers and contractors and the engineers: the local guys, the little guys who have built up experience in building solar over the last few years.”
Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner said that “Cancelling contracts puts a chill on any business wanting to invest and create jobs in Ontario.”
“During the election, Premier Ford promised to put up an open for business sign. Clearly the only sign out right now says – in big letters – that Ontario is closed for business when it comes to the $7 trillion clean tech economy,” Schreiner said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.