Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A fair take on the green energy issue in the Ontario election

Hey! A reasonable newspaper column on green energy I can get behind! For the first time this campaign: " Energy flashpoints and the politics of power."
The right wing insists we can’t afford to subsidize power in this province. Funny, but this country has been subsidizing energy production almost since the invention of the light bulb — with special tax credits and allowances for oil exploration, tar sands production, nuclear development, even loan guarantees for hydro megaprojects. Not to mention our failure to impose a price on carbon, giving fossil fuels a perpetual free ride.

Are we recklessly betting the farm on green energy? The private sector takes conventional risks and often guesses wrong; sometimes governments have to backstop the bigger risks.

Some say green energy sounds good, but government can’t be trusted to get the job done. Yet big business also has its share of teething pains when rolling out big projects, so it’s hardly surprising that the government can’t flick the switch on solar and wind without blowing a few fuses.

Free market purists will always choke on the incentives Ontario is offering, just as they opposed the bailout that saved the province’s auto industry. Until we stop subsidizing the rest of the energy sector, and most of the corporate world, it makes no sense to selectively pull the rug out from under Ontario’s green economy. Unless the goal is to unplug it.
Read the whole thing, of course, for more context on the parties' particular positions. Otherwise, nothing much to add to what is a fair take on the energy issue in this election.

Related:

The fun with green energy columns continues
Another flawed attack on green energy in Ontario
On green job schemes