In broad strokes the Ontario Green Energy Act follows the German model, introduced in 1999, where solar energies (wind, photovoltaic, geothermal) with over 15 per cent of total energy production have surpassed the nuclear industry in megawatt production.
The four pillars in the Ontario Green Energy Act are:
Guaranteed feed-in access to the grid together with guaranteed feed-in tariffs.
No cap on program size, no cap on project size.
Investment priority for solar/renewable over conventional energies.
Establishment of a fast charge point infrastructure threshold to enable the use of electrical cars, trucks and buses everywhere.
With the Ontario Green Energy Act, the province has found a brilliant answer to the pressing energy crisis, killing six birds with one stone. Ontario is simultaneously improving energy security 1), while reducing the carbon footprint as well as reducing vast hidden or externalized fossil fuel costs generated by health-affecting emissions and inflated military spending 2), as well as bringing sound economic development with good jobs back to Ontario 3). Also, there’s a levelling of the playing field on the energy markets 4), as the oil and gas, coal and nuclear industries are heavily subsidized and favoured through every regulation and framework possible and ones that are hard to imagine.
These oil, gas and nuclear subsidies are very unhealthy because they don’t nurture a worthwhile fledgling industry in the way China supports infant industries, which is equal to economic development of the West in the 19th century and until after the Second World War. These subsidies exist on the down leg of the nuclear, oil and gas trajectory. No sustained growth prospects, no perspectives, hardly any new jobs come from there.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, proposed by Harper, possibly to be ratified in 2011, defines legislation that stimulates regional energy independence as an illegitimate investment obstacle for European investors; at this point Ontario has beat CETA to the punch 5).
Well-known trade lawyer Steven Shrybman came up with a legal opinion to that end based on a leaked CETA draft. ‘Free’ trade agreement enforcement action with justice asleep against democratic legislation becomes less and less feasible in a scenery of globalization in retreat. In a similar context in the fall of 2007 my Trade Investment Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) assessment was proven right. Soon after I published the precise argument that TILMA has no benefits and that it promotes frivolous litigation profiteering, that very point was used by the Yukon Party government in the rejection of TILMA.
More and more decentralized green energy generation, especially with a strong tie-in to transportation where currently oil-based fuels supply over 98 per cent of global transportation energy, takes the pressure out of the speculative Oil Futures exchange 6). Oil Futures derivatives trade had contributed significantly to the global financial meltdown by having sold oil that didn’t exist when the cash-out crunch came in 2008.
There is a seventh bonus for Yukon over the six Ontario benefits.
The already-proven entrepreneurial development stimulus of democratic, not corporatist driven, not conventional energy expert advised, green energy legislation will especially serve Yukon well on a path that will see smaller federal transfers down the road.
An economic weakness of Yukon, long transportation links, extreme dependence even by Canadian standards to world record levels of conventional energy supplies, can be overcome by the economic engine of renewable energies. Nothing works without energy, nowhere more true than here and it’s cold and remote enough for people to know it.
In aviation perhaps for a couple of generations, for some of the heavy equipment needs for many years still, oil-based liquid fuels will be indispensable. That means as much of liquid fuels as possible need to be freed up on the road, especially on the road where in China, for example, electrification brings the cost of doing business down, and in home heating and in diesel generator use. There is heavy industrial lifting involved; it can only be done with years of careful preparation ahead of coming fuel shortages which are already felt in the global crude market, crippling the developing countries.
Dirty tarsands mining, expensive deep-sea drilling without crude shortage? If anybody needs more proof for the tightening of oil supplies, check the OECD’s International Energy Agency data. As a growing trend and by an increasing number of crude exporting countries the US dollar is currently being de-linked from its universal petrodollar status. It started with Iran, which by the end of 2007 accepted mainly Euros for crude shipments but no dollars at all anymore, the exclusive petrodollar bonus evaporates quickly now. In extension, this also means that Canadian crude buying power is shrinking, which affects our midrange ability to continue with existing Canadian crude import levels, namely from Venezuela and the Middle East. Furthermore, Canada Ã different from all other OECD countries including the US Ã is the only country that has no energy security legislation and energy contingency planning; if in doubt, check with the internationally respected energy security experts in the Parkland Institute from the University of Alberta.