THUNDER BAY – The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association welcomes the Government of Ontario announcement that it is creating an Industrial Electricity Incentive Program. Such a program has been one of the key pillars of the NOMA energy policy for a number of years.
“We have consistently called for an Ontario-wide industrial electrical energy price in order to maintain and attract industry to this province and, in particular, to Northwestern Ontario. One key reason is that the Province of Manitoba, our nearest Canadian competitor, is selling its electricity anywhere from 3.56 cents to 4.94 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) while Ontario is charging 7.5 cents per kwh. Tuesday`s announcement brings us much closer at 5.5 cents,” says NOMA Vice President Iain Angus.
“While the program is not as we would have designed it, we do welcome it because it represents an improvement to what exists today and an opportunity for a number of mining, forestry and manufacturing projects to enhance their viability,” continues Angus who is also Co-Chair of the Northwestern Ontario Energy Task Force.
“As the program is designed to utilize ‘surplus power’ the Northwest is well positioned” said NOMA President Ron Nelson. “We have in excess of 600 MW of surplus generation capacity and as a result the Northwest can utilize this new program to attract energy intensive industry to the region.”
NOMA states that it believes that the next step in this evolution of Ontario`s electrical policy should be to remove the requirement that each new transmission or distribution line must meet the test of a business case. “Ontario will be the main beneficiary of new investments in mining, forestry and manufacturing in the Northwest,” adds NOMA Executive Vice President, David Canfield. “Ontario should pay for the cost of new infrastructure to make mining developments like the Ring of Fire possible. Ontario must become competitive in order to retain and grow industry in the north.”
NOMA will continue to monitor the development of the Industrial Electricity Incentive Program and will develop a position paper on how it should be implemented to present to the Ministry of Energy when it meets with Ontario Cabinet Ministers at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Ottawa in August.