Ontario opposition vows to end green power program

Tue May 10, 2011 5:55pm EDT
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By Nicole Mordant

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Ontario's opposition Progressive Conservatives said on Tuesday they would scrap the province's feed-in tariff (FIT) program as well as the biggest deal signed under the green energy scheme if the party wins the October provincial election.

If elected, the Conservatives, who are leading the governing Liberal Party in opinion polls, would cancel a C$7 billion ($7.3 billion) solar and wind energy deal the province signed last year with South Korea's Samsung C&T, party leader Tim Hudak said on Tuesday.

The party would, however, honor existing contracts handed out under the FIT program, which pays generous, above-market rates to solar, wind, water and biomass power producers under fixed 20-year contracts, he said.

"An Ontario PC government will end the sweetheart Samsung deal... Also, we will end the FIT program," Hudak said.

"It is unsustainable and is unnecessarily driving up the cost of energy for families and businesses," he said in a speech in Toronto.

The Conservatives have threatened for months to overhaul the FIT program if they win the October 6 election, but Tuesday's announcement was their strongest policy statement on green energy to date.

Foreign and domestic producers of renewable energy have flocked to Ontario, Canada's most populous province, since it launched North America's richest and most comprehensive feed-in tariff program late in 2009.

The program is aimed at creating jobs and eliminating coal-fired power plants to cut greenhouse gases, but has angered some ratepayers who blame it for rising power prices, a charge denied by supporters.   Continued...