Green Energy Act has benefitted Guelph

February 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Guelph Mercury

The decision this week by the Ontario Progressive Conservatives to reiterate their intention to kill the province’s Green Energy Act likely didn’t do the Tories any favours electorally in the Guelph riding.

It seemed clear that the reannouncement on Wednesday was made with an eye to winning support among rural Ontario voters — particularly those who have battled proposed green energy generation projects.

In the last provincial election, however, the party’s vow to scrap the Green Energy Act was called out by partisan and non-partisan Guelph stakeholders as being something that would be bad for the city.

Their argument was pretty simple: Guelph has been an economic winner over the act and its investments/subsidies — call them what you will — to spur increased green energy power generation and industry in Ontario.

Just as the Tories were again labelling the act a “disastrous plan,” a Guelph trade delegation to Germany was attracting favourable and wide attention this week over the city’s energy conservation efforts and its green energy success stories.

Media coverage of the Guelph story in this regard touted such things as the 400-job Canadian Solar plant that has come to the city, and the 150-job Würth Canada facility that is being developed here — a firm with an expanding solar energy portfolio.

So, at the same time that the PCs will be trying to sell in Guelph that killing the Green Energy Act is good, people such as Guelph’s mayor and the head of the chamber of commerce — who were both part of the trade mission — are likely to be touting how it has helped Guelph’s economy and aided the attraction of forward-looking manufacturing operations and jobs for the city.

That will be challenging politically here.

But so, too, should be advocating for a focusing on more affordable and more reliable power — as the Conservatives are also doing in the kill the Green Energy Act push. That’s because this will be regarded here as saying let’s keep using fossil fuel sources for power. And, at least in green-minded Guelph, that’s unlikely to be a widely marketable platform policy plank either.

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