90% of Ontario’s wind subsidies benefit a select few multinationals: study

Subsidies given to Ontario’s wind farm owners largely benefit only a select few multinational corporations, a new Consumer Policy Institute study shows.

Ontario wind farm owners are benefiting from billions of dollars in subsidies paid for by ratepayers and most of that money has flowed to a select group of large, multinational companies, according to a joint study released by the Toronto-based think tanks Energy Probe and Consumer Policy Institute.

Ontario ratepayers have given at least $1.7 billion in subsidies to wind developers since 2006, when the province first started subsidizing industrial wind farms. The study found that nearly 60% of all wind subsidies have gone to six companies with more than $10 billion in annual revenue and 82% to nine companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

In total, 90% of wind subsidies have gone to just 11 companies, including Suncor, Enbridge and Samsung, among others. The study also finds that the amount of subsidies could grow to as much as $8 billion over the next decade and $13 billion over the next 20 years.

“Ratepayers, across Ontario, whether they are low-income households or otherwise, are subsidizing a small group of large companies involved in the wind sector,” says Brady Yauch, economist and Executive Director of Consumer Policy Institute and author of the report. “To make matters worse, the power they produce is often not needed.”

The study also found that wind farms tend to produce power at night or early in the morning when demand for power is at its lowest level.

“Sometimes, when there’s no demand in Ontario, power is sold below cost to other provinces and neighbouring U.S. states.”

To read the Energy Probe and Consumer Policy Institute study, see here.

We have also produced a background report on the province’s renewable energy policies and electricity market. To read that report, see here.

For more information, contact:

Brady Yauch
Economist and Executive Director
Consumer Policy Institute
225 Brunswick Ave.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2M6
(416) 964-9223 ext.236
bradyyauch@consumerpolicyinstitute.org

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