On December 5th, 2011, the Auditor General of Ontario tabled his annual report. His recommendations regarding forest management included the following:
1. To ensure that electricity ratepayers understand why their electricity bills are rising at a much higher rate than inflation, the Ministry of Energy (Ministry) and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) should work together to increase consumer awareness of the concept of the Global Adjustment and make more information available on the cost impact of its major components.
2. To ensure that senior policy decision-makers are provided with sound information on which to base their decisions on renewable energy policy, the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority should work collaboratively to conduct adequate analyses of the various renewable energy implementation alternatives so that decision-makers are able to give due consideration to cost, reliability, and sustainability
3. To ensure that the price of renewable energy achieves the government’s dual goals of cost effectiveness and encouraging a green industry, the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority should:
- work collaboratively to give adequate and timely consideration to the experiences of other jurisdictions and lessons learned from previous procurements in Ontario when setting and adjusting the renewable contract prices;
- work with the Independent Electricity System Operator to assess the impact of curtailing renewables as part of its energy planning in order to identify ways to optimize the electricity market; and
- ensure that adequate due diligence is undertaken, commensurate with the size of electricity-sector investments.
4. To avoid unintended costs arising out of changes to regulatory requirements and changes to supply and demand situations, the Ontario Power Authority and the Ministry of Energy should work collaboratively with other ministries and agencies to ensure that they are made aware on a timely basis of anticipated policy and regulatory changes.
5. To ensure that the stability and reliability of Ontario’s electricity system is not significantly affected by the substantial increase in renewable energy generation over the next few years, the Ontario Power Authority should continue to work with the Independent Electricity System Operator to assess the operational challenges and the feasibility of adding more intermittent renewable energy into the system, and advise the government to adjust the supply mix and energy plan accordingly.
6. To provide investors who have submitted applications for Feed-in Tariff (FIT) projects with timely decisions on whether their projects can be connected to the grid and to ensure that adequate transmission capacity is available for approved projects, the Ontario Power Authority should work with the Ministry of Energy and Hydro One to:
- identify practical ways to deal on a timely basis with the FIT investors who have been put on hold; and
- prioritize the connection of approved FIT projects to the grid.
7. To ensure that the provincially reported estimate of jobs created through the implementation of the renewable energy strategy is as objective and transparent as possible, the analysis should give adequate consideration to both job-creation and job-loss impacts, as well as job-related experiences of other jurisdictions that have implemented similar renewable energy initiatives.
8. To ensure that renewable energy initiatives are effective in protecting the environment while having minimal adverse health effects on individuals, the Ministry of Energy should:
- develop adequate procedures for tracking and measuring the effectiveness of renewable energy initiatives, including the impact of backup generating facilities, in reducing greenhouse gases; and
- provide the public with the results of objective research on the potential health effects of renewable wind power.