The Cost of the NDP’s Power Play in our Electricity Market

The cost of the NDP interfering in our electricity system will cost our province billions of dollars.

The government’s ideological decision to wipe out coal generation in our province will mean the end of low power prices like we are paying today and higher taxes.

This is what happens when our government is more interested in winning the approval of international elites and anti-Alberta politicians in Ottawa than defending the hardworking men and women of this province.

Here’s what we mean.

The direct cost of paying six, fully functioning, high-efficiency coal-generation plants to close early will ring in at roughly $1.4 billion. That’s not an investment, that’s just flushing away big money.

But the cost of this NDP power play only begins there. Killing coal-generated electricity in these plants likely means towns like Forestburg and Hanna will lose hundreds of jobs, putting whole communities at risk. Here in Calgary, if the NDP force power contracts back onto ENMAX, it would mean the loss of dividends to the city resulting in annual property tax hikes of over 4 per cent.

And they are doing all their changes with no economic impact assessment.

But this government doesn’t seem to even care.

Costs explode when we look at replacing the coal generation, especially because the government has insisted the replacements be 50 per cent expensive renewables.  Since the wind and sun are intermittent, we need expensive backups for them. All told, we need up to $25 billion in new generation – an investment that will be either paid for on your bills or subsidized with your taxes. Either way, Albertans pay.

The NDP hasn’t just changed the rules of the game, they have moved us to a completely new game board.

Our previous energy-only market has been good for Alberta. While there is room for improvement, the market has provided stable prices, encouraged competition and innovation and protected taxpayers from the startling levels of crown corporation debt seen in other jurisdictions.

The new capacity market that the NDP is moving to eliminates many of these benefits.

The government complains right now that electricity prices are too low – so they have introduced a market that will eliminate the type of low prices we are seeing today so ratepayers can help subsidize more expensive “green” energy.

This means that, without asking for it, everyday people are now taking on the liability of building new assets and guaranteeing that they are successful, even when experts agree that renewables are a risky business.

For families, or seniors on fixed incomes, this move combined with a new carbon tax will mean less money for things like groceries, keeping the lights on or paying the mortgage.

The NDP has taken a whack-a-mole approach to our energy system, and the longer they are in office, the more apparent it is that they are in over their heads.

Over the past 18 months, the NDP has introduced a carbon tax they didn’t campaign on and no one asked for, enforced an accelerated phase out of coal that will cost Albertans billions and devastate entire communities, overhauled our electricity system that offered consumers some of the best rates in North America and taken the energy companies to court to cover for the government’s own mistakes in forcing all of this on us.

The NDP is hoping that Albertans won’t understand the full implications of these policies.

But one only needs to look to Ontario to see what the long-term consequences of phasing out coal and putting too heavy of a focus on expensive renewables can be.

Ontario’s Auditor General has found that the coal phase out cost Ontario consumers an extra $37 billion and counting.

We know that Albertans are counting on Wildrose to make sure our province doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Ontario.

With unemployment near record levels, we simply can’t afford it.

Wildrose MLAs Prasad Panda and Don MacIntyre

Prasad_Panda_MLADon MacIntyre Wildrose MLA