Removing Stimulus: Conservative Budget

This year’s Federal budget is wildly over the top in its claims to be stimulating the economy. And in the renewable energy sector, the only Federal program of note has lost its funding. There will be less jobs building renewable energy facilities in the future.

The Government has had the EcoEnergy for Renewable Power program for a number of years. The program paid 1 cent/kWh for 10 years to encourage the development of renewable energy project like wind. The 1 cent was taxable income. The program has been very instrumental in helping Canada grow its renewable energy sources rapidly – by 39% for wind last year alone. But the program has run out of money. The program paled in comparison to the US Federal government initiatives, which paid 2.1 cent/kWh, non taxable, and more recently, has the option of paying 30% of the capital cost of the project through a refundable tax credit. At least our Federal government had a program to support renewable energy

Now the Federal government has no policy support for renewable energy. But Atomic Energy of Canada still gets their support. Another $300 million this year. The fossil fuel industry gets support – flow through shares for drilling was extended, and the budget documents outlined some major 9 figure grants to Shell and others to pay for carbon sequestration. Of course, we know wind works. It is installed around the world, and can be deployed quickly. But carbon sequestration has never been implemented on a commercial scale. We don’t know its cost, nor if it can be made to work reliably. But we have a billion tax dollars to dump into it. Perhaps a white elephant?

The EcoEnergy program at best levelled the playing field with government support for other sources of energy. The other sources are still supported. But apparently wind and other renewables has to stand on its own.

The Conservatives have yet again failed the climate. And they have failed the workers who install and maintain renewable energy facilities. But their darlings in the oil patch and nuclear lobby get support.

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