This week on 'Living at the Barricades' host Mark Mattson and producer Avi Grand speak with Larry Ladd of the Oshawa Marina User's Group about the fight for public access to the Oshawa Harbourfront. Listen to the show. _______________
The Ontario Power Authority presented its revised 20-year electricity plan last week via teleconference with government officials, industry, public interest organizations and other stakeholders. The plan was met with mixed reviews in the media, with most reviews focusing on rate increases and the impacts on consumer pocketbooks. The Toronto Star was a particular champion of the Authority's plan:
This energy plan for Ontario is long overdue. The province's population has grown rapidly and technology has improved dramatically since the last comprehensive plan was tabled 15 years ago. No time should be wasted putting it into effect.
Unfortunately, The Star overstated the case for the OPA's plan. There are a lot of forces at play in the energy planning process - industry, labour, and political considerations as well as economic and environmental. The IPSP is a mediocre attempt to respond to every concern; as a result, there is little that is innovative and a lot that is cause for concern to the ordinary Ontario resident.
The power system plan leaves little room for public participation, thoughtful decision-making, or modern energy supply systems. Instead, it depends on the kind of large, centralized, and expensive generating stations that have historically led to massive debt and air and water contamination. In fact, the only substantial difference between the province's current plan and the Demand-Supply Plan of the 1990s is the absence of informed debate.
If a thorough assessment - with sworn evidence, expert testimony, intervenor funding and an impartial decision-maker - takes place, we will discover the best way to meet Ontario's energy needs ... not just the most expedient way.
The last time Ontario went through this kind of process, it turned out that most cost estimates were wishful thinking and alternatives to nuclear-style big-energy projects were skipped over because of ownership or technology biases. The current rush to approve pet projects without thoughtful analysis and to skip due process in the name of "smarter regulation" is starting to look more like a way to avoid the kind of sober second thought that killed the Demand-Supply Plan in the 1990s.