Enmax president and CEO Gianna Manes says Ontario’s soaring electricity prices due to its piecemeal, speedy shift to renewable energy is a cautionary tale for Canadians.
“They got some things right, but I think when you add it all together the fact is Ontarians today are struggling to afford electricity. I think we should all look at that as a cautionary tale,” said Manes following her speech at a Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Black Knight Inn on Wednesday.
“They set a date they were going to retire all their coal. They were able to achieve that, but it came at a significant cost. It’s a lot more expensive to generate using wind then it was the old coal plants and so the costs of electricity when you add all the different pieces together that Ontario did, they all compounded and Ontarians today are paying a significant amount of money for their electricity compared to the rest of Canada.”
She said between 2010 and 2015, the price of electricity jumped 88 per cent in Ontario. The average household now pays $1,000 more a year than in 2003.
Alberta’s government is also phasing out coal-fired plants by 2030 and is planning other significant restructuring to the electricity sector, she said.
“How are we preparing? We’re really trying to work constructively with government on how do we implement all of these different programs. We’ve got a number of investments we’re developing and preparing, but we currently right now are not progressing the investment because we need to see the rules first a little bit more. We need to understand more the environment in which we’re going to invest.”
She said the province’s new climate change policies will impact electricity prices, but it’s too early to tell by how much.
“Right now we’re at a historical low in terms of electricity prices so I do see electricity prices increasing over time here in Alberta. It all depends on the implementation plan and that is currently under development and we’ll be part of the discussions with government and their plans over the next several years.”
Manes said constructive dialogue is important for a smooth transition.