Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to Ontario’s utility-scale wind industry, which has passed away from unnatural causes (a lack of government support).
Those of you knew who knew Ontario will recall it was a place of great passion for renewable energy. In just a short time, Ontario grew to become Canada’s leading wind province. And with the passage of its Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009 – which introduced North America’s first feed-in tariff – the province became a leader on the global stage. Those were good times. Soon after the act’s unveiling, global energy players, such as Samsung Renewable Energy and turbine manufacturer REpower Systems (now Senvion), as well as U.S. developers, such as Invenergy and Pattern Energy Group, set up shop north of the border. And Ontario was also an early pioneer of climate change. In 2014, the place rid itself of coal-fired generation.
Alas, these lofty attributes were not enough to save Ontario from itself – a place where the discourse around energy quickly elevated into a political football. Cries of political corruption from the Dalton McGuinty government unraveled the inroads made by renewable energy. For example, from the sudden moratorium on offshore wind and the confiscation of assets and intellectual property, to the scandal involving the relocation, and subsequent cancellation, of the gas plants, there was one debacle after another. Some wind developers did themselves no favors, as the heavy-handed tactics of some angered municipalities in southern Ontario, ruining it for all.
Sure, existing wind projects were unaffected by the September ruling, and small-scale renewable energy projects that plug in behind-the-meter will continue to proliferate. However, the modern utility-scale wind industry as we knew it may take some time to come around again, if ever. Rest in peace. You will be missed.