Canada's Ontario says to scale back renewable energy purchases

Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:05am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario will scale back its purchase of renewable power in a move expected to result in savings of up to $C3.8 billion ($2.86 billion) from a 2013 forecast, the provincial government said on Tuesday.

It's not clear consumers will benefit directly, though the province's Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault told a news conference a residential household can expect to save C$2.45 a month on electricity bills.

The government said it will immediately suspend the second round of its Large Renewable Procurement process and the Energy-from-Waste Standard Offer Program, halting procurement of over 1,000 megawatts of solar, wind, hydroelectric, bioenergy and energy from waste projects.

Ontario's Liberal government has pledged to lower electricity costs for residents as it sought to provide balm for an issue that has become an irritant with voters.

Rising energy bills have hurt the popularity of the Liberals, who lost a by-election earlier this month to the Conservatives for a long-held Toronto seat.

Thibeault said the Sept. 1 planning outlook of the province's Independent Electricity System Operator determined Ontario already has an ample supply of electricity for the next decade.

"Given this strong energy position, it only makes sense that ... we take a careful look at procurements and make common-sense adjustments," Thibeault said.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson and Ethan Lou; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Phil Berlowitz)

File photo: A wind turbine feeds renewable electricity into the Ontario grid at the CNE grounds in Toronto February 18, 2007.     REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski