I just read an article written by Wildrose MLA Don MacIntyre regarding the NDP government’s plans for electricity production in Alberta.
This initiative by Rachel Notley needs the same response that she got over Bill 6 last fall, but I am sure there is no way to wake up the public until everyone is paying two or three times as much for electricity as they are now. By that time it will be too late.
It just seems that governments cannot resist tinkering with electricity rates. It is an easy way to make a huge impact on the economy, unfortunately the impact is always negative.
Bureaucrats and left wing politicians seem incapable of understanding that increasing electricity rates is a job killer.
Prior to 1995 Alberta had the lowest electricity rates on the North American continent. Some smart bureaucrats in Edmonton thought that they could improve on that situation. At that time the Alberta electric system had an advantage for two reasons. Except for two urban owned jurisdictions the electrical system in Alberta was investor-owned and had the business discipline that goes with the operation of any investor-owned business.
The other thing that contributed to low rates at that time was Alberta’s regulatory system. The Alberta Public Utilities Board was an arms length regulator that held very detailed hearings that examined all the costs before a utility company had a rate increase approved.
What the government in their wisdom decided at that time was that the system should be deregulated so that there would be competition between the generating companies. The theory was that the competition would reduce rates.
The electrical system by its nature is complicated. By trying to introduce competition into the system it became three times as complicated. I was a member of the steering committee and several of us told the bureaucrats that the end result would be higher, not lower rates. Our prediction was right, so we are paying rates now that are at least 40 per cent higher than they would have been.
Now we have an NDP government in Alberta that wants to impose a carbon tax on us costing three billion dollars, shut down the coal fired power plants and drastically increase wind generated electricity. Due to the high capital cost per megawatt of wind generators they cannot compete with large generating plants.
Wind generators are not financially viable without subsidization from government or receive payment from a carbon offset, like the Capital Power wind farm near Halkirk in east central Alberta.
If the government follows through with their plans Alberta will end up in a similar situation to that of Ontario. Ten years ago Ontario passed the Green Energy Act and proceeded to shut down their coal fired generators and had hundreds of wind generators constructed. They even passed legislation that prevented the municipalities from objecting to their construction. They now have the highest electricity rates on the North American continent and as a result thousands of manufacturing jobs have left the province. That has reduced the demand for electric power.
Now they are literally giving their surplus power away to the US while subsidizing the wind power.
Almost every government jurisdiction in the west have now racked up large debts by continuous deficit financing, much of it due to investment in climate change policy.
Our own situation in Canada is alarming. The federal government has a debt of over 600 billion, Ontario over 300 billion and even Alberta has a structural deficit now of over 10 billion dollars.
When the Alberta NDP government gets it’s climate change policy implemented it will get worse, much worse because this policy will not generate revenue it will consume revenue.
There is just no way that wasting billions of dollars on climate change policy in Canada can make any difference on the weather.