Conservation Con Benefactors: Part 1

Professor McKitrick and I document the economic absurdity of Ontario’s multi billion dollar conservation programs and absence of oversight contrasted against official Ontario’s claims justifying the expenditures here. I have appended to this post the full text of Minister Chiarelli’s response to our report and also linked to the original here. The Minister would have us believe that he is doing it all for consumers but he doesn’t even attempt to explain the absence of independent audits much less defend his assertion that conservation is saving money while he is simultaneously paying generators to not generate, subsidizing exports, and signing up more wind and solar with new long-term contracts.

But who benefits from the billions Chiarelli’s spills on conservation?

This post begins a series of occasional notes tracing where some of the conservation dollars are going.

One company hoping to cash in on a generous wave of the pen from Minister Chiarelli is Nest Labs. Nest Labs is owned by Google. As the company says, “Nest Cam keeps an eye on what matters most in your home.” Nest Labs has hired cabinet minister and Vaughan MPP Stephen Del Duca’s wife, Utilia Amaral (Ontario Lobbyist #CL3764). Ms. Amaral reports through the Lobbyist Registry that, on behalf of Nest Labs, she seeks to obtain beneficial policies and/or programs. She lobbies the following:

Members of Provincial Parliament – MPPs (except the MPP for Vaughan)
Ministry of Economic Development Employment and Infrastructure
Ministry of Energy
Ministry of Environment and Climate Change
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Office of the Premier and Cabinet Office
Treasury Board Secretariat
Independent Electricity System Operator
Ontario Energy Board

When Ms. Amaral was lobbying on behalf of OPG’s solar energy partner SunEdison, an engagement that ended last November, she was lobbying a similar list except that the list included her husband. SunEdison successfully won a large government contract. Ms. Amaral’s other currently registered lobbying assignment is to protect Ontario government tax credits for the film industry. She currently chairs the Canadian Solar Industries Association.


Energy minister responds to Fraser report


Hydro One Toronto-John transformer station in downtown Toronto. File pic. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)

Ontario’s energy system has much to be proud of.

Our government has modernized an electricity system that needed to be fixed, to ensure Ontarians have power when and where they need it.

Unfortunately, the Fraser Institute’s recent report, “Demand Side Mismanagement: How Conservation Became Waste,” has created a misleading story of misinformation.

It’s hard to take the criticism seriously when the authors have a demonstrated record of ideological opposition to any conservation or green energy investments.

I encourage the authors to consider that over the last 13 years, Ontario has taken a dirty system and made it clean.

We eliminated dirty, coal-fired electricity generation, the largest action to fight climate change in North America.

Building on this record, we’ve put a significant priority on conservation.

As the province plans for Ontario’s electricity needs for the next 20 years, conservation will be the first resource considered.

It is the cleanest and most cost-effective energy resource, offering multiple benefits to Ontarians.

First, it helps families and businesses save money on their energy bills.

Second, it reduces the strain on our electricity system and the need to build expensive energy infrastructure.

Third, it reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, contributing to a cleaner future.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Take a photo of Home Depot in Ontario, 161 outlets, all accessing various conservation programs and reducing consumption by 29 million kilowatt hours since 2012.

This has saved them millions off their electricity bill and taken the equivalent of 3,000 homes off the grid, thus reducing costs off the rate base.

Or a picture of Barrie, which replaced all street lighting with a LED light program.

This has saved taxpayers $2 million per year and further reduced costs to the system.

Or a restaurant in Kingston that is saving $2,500 per year using a refrigeration retrofit program, also contributing to a reduction in system costs.

Together, these and other programs benefit individual ratepayers, at the same time as reduced consumption benefits all consumers by reducing system costs.

The overall result is that from 2005 to 2014, Ontario’s electricity conservation efforts have achieved demand reductions equivalent to six, mid-sized natural gas generation plants, and contributed to Ontario’s coal shutdown.

From 2000 to 2014, Ontario’s natural gas conservation program efforts have achieved natural gas reductions equivalent to the amount used by 1.1 million homes in a year.

We have achieved significant results and a real return on investment that cannot be ignored.

Saving energy means saving money.

For every dollar invested in energy efficiency, Ontario has avoided about $2 in system costs.

The same is true for consumers “” energy you don’t use is energy you don’t pay for.

That’s why our government has made conservation a priority and conserved 8.7 TWh of electricity between 2005 and 2013 “” enough to power the cities of Mississauga and Oshawa in 2013.

Our long-term conservation target of 30 TWh in 2032 is equivalent to all the power used by Toronto in 2013.

In fact, we expect to offset most of the growth in electricity demand to 2032 by using conservation programs and improved codes and standards.

This is how we are saving money, by avoiding building new major energy infrastructure.

I encourage the critics to think of these demonstrated results and to think about the future.

Chiarelli is Ontario’s minister of Energy

One Comment

  1. silly Minister
    I recently compared the 2005 Ontario Power Authority projections for generating capacity in 2015 –
    Ontario has more firm capacity than planned at that time.
    The, to be blunt, negligent and accelerating conservation spending post 2009 hasn’t saved any capacity. At best, current conservation programs displace a little natural gas generation, which today means saving about 2 cents/kWh.

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