Ontario opposition would scrap FIT

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Ontario's opposition Progressive Conservative Party would scrap the province's feed-in tariff program for producers of renewable energy if it wins the October provincial election, a party leader said.

The Conservatives, who have a double-digit lead over the governing Liberal Party in opinion polls, would also comb through existing contracts handed out under the incentive plan to see if any changes can be made, said John Yakabuski, who's in line to take over as energy minister if his party takes power.

"Going forward, absolutely, we would not be signing these contracts," Yakabuski said.

"The problem is that the consumer pays and that is the tremendous, terrible wrong of their program," he told Reuters in an interview.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, has attracted billions of dollars in investment from foreign and domestic producers of renewable energy since it launched North America's most lucrative and comprehensive feed-in tariff program late in 2009.

Through 20-year contracts, the program pays above-market rates for solar, wind, water and biomass power producers. Ratepayers bear the costs of the program.

Residents and businesses, watching their monthly electricity bills rise, have started to complain. Opposition politicians have become increasingly critical of the program, which was aimed at eliminating coal-fired power plants and cutting greenhouse gases, and creating jobs.

"We are not going tear up contracts, but I can tell you we are going to look at each and every one of those contracts to see what options we have," Yakabuski said.

The Conservatives have not yet issued their official energy manifesto but will do so long before the October 6 election, he said.

The biggest investor in the program to date is a consortium led by South Korea's Samsung C&T, which was awarded a $7 billion contract a year ago to build wind and solar projects in the province and set up manufacturing plants.


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