But all that may be in jeopardy. Conservative party leader Tim Hudak has vowed to cancel an agreement between the provincial government and Samsung, which would kill Sanaung’s planned $7 billion investment. He has also promised to dismantle portions of the Green Energy Act, claims CanWEA president Robert Hornung.
Hornung notes in The Windsor Star, “Uncertainty in the marketplace could be problematic because this is not Ontario in a bubble seeking these investments. The same people who are looking at locating these investments in Ontario are also looking elsewhere and the uncertainty around the future of the industry in this province could be a determining factor in where those investments go.”
Samsung presents a unique opportunity, says Hornung. “Very few, if any, companies are in the position to make major investments to service an industry that perhaps only has a two-year market opportunity. There are also new local content rules coming online and new supply chain investments will be required if those levels are to be met.”
The report prepared by Clear-Sky Advisors further states that wind energy developments will contribute more than $1.1 billion in revenues to local municipalities and landowners in the form of taxes and lease payments over the 20-year lifespan of the feed-in tariff agreements.
Dave Brister, Conservative candidate for Essex in this fall’s election, objects, saying jurisdictions that have paid subsidies for renewable energy production are walking away from any future agreements because the rates are not sustainable.
“Studies have shown that, in Texas and Spain, they’re spending $1 million for every renewable-energy related job but losing seven other jobs in the broader economy because businesses can no longer afford the rising costs of energy.”
Brister asserts that renewable energy will be part of any Conservative long-term energy plan “but it has to be affordable and it simply isn’t sustainable at the current rates covered by these 20-year contracts. If we get energy costs under control, that will help bring jobs back to this province.”