Parry Sound Mayor Jamie McGarvey wants towns to be responsible for their own green energy efforts.
He made that statement on Friday in his role as President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario when the provincial government announced it would be getting rid of The Green Energy Act.
The Green Energy Act was introduced to the legislature in 2009 and is geared toward expanding renewable energy, creating green jobs and taxing businesses that use a large amount of energy.
The Green Energy Act has been highly controversial within Ontario for the high initial tariff, up to 80.2 cents/kWh for small systems under the microFIT program, which was designed for projects generating over 10 kW of electricity. The program is part of the largest climate change initiative in North America. It has also been controversial outside Ontario due to its “Made in Ontario” clauses which demand a certain amount of Ontario labour and manufacturing input in order to receive the tariff rates. Changes to the program and rates, some of them applied retroactively, added confusion and complaints about the way the program is managed.
The act, since it came into effect, has also often been blamed for soaring hydro bills in Ontario.
The Green Energy Repeal Act gives the government the authority to stop approvals for what it calls wasteful energy projects where the need for electricity has not been clearly demonstrated. Along with repealing the Green Energy Act, the new legislation gives municipalities the final say over the siting of future energy projects in their communities.
Unwanted wind farms in some municipalities because of the Green Energy Act were another thing some people took issue with.
“AMO is pleased that by repealing measures of the Green Energy Act, Bill 34- Green Energy Repeal Act, restores local planning powers,” said McGarvey. “Renewable energy projects should be guided by the ambitions and visions of communities and the people who live there. They should not be imposed.”
The PC government says it is committed to lowering hydro bills in Ontario by 12 per cent and believes scrapping the Green Energy Act is a step towards that.