Renewables lobby tackles nuclear subsidies — but not its own.
Thirty years ago, ragtag environmentalists idealistically opposed nuclear power and the monopoly utilities that kept it in business, arguing that wind, solar, biomass and ethanol were more economic as well as cleaner. It was a David versus Goliath battle, and also a battle between free markets and government regulation, because in those days, before the unions hijacked much of the renewable energy movement, environmentalists wanted only a fair contest in which governments didn’t pick winners.
Today, environmentalists are still fighting the nuclear industry. But they’re no longer ragtag and their beloved renewable energy industry is no longer different from the nuclear industry. Now it’s Goliath vs. Goliath, and also a grotesque beauty contest, with each parading its figures in front of government judges, each hoping the government will pick them as winners.
A press release this week from the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association — local representatives of what has become a multi-billion-dollar, multinational-dominated industry — marks the start of the latest contest. “Ontario must phase out all power subsidies,” this lobby organization demands, in announcing the release of its study, Nuclear Power: Where is the Business Case?
The Green Goliath claims its books look better than nuclear’s because it relies on fewer subsidies. “An apples to apples comparison is not only fair, it is the smart thing to do,” Green Goliath says, while refusing to compare apples to apples. “Currently, new green power purchases for hundreds of feed-in tariff program projects collectively will cost Ontarians $220-million per year — but pending repairs at the Darlington nuclear plant alone will cost $10-billion,” it says disingenuously, comparing apples (the ongoing annual costs of renewables) to oranges (the one-time capital costs of nuclear). “Building new nuclear reactors at Darlington is calculated to add a minimum of $26-billion or more to public debt.”