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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the EditorLetter to the Editor

As an environmentally conscious, but also money conscious resident of the City of Brantford, I was excited to receive my Greener Homes Loan approval, which paved the way for my family to be the proud new owners of solar panels (enough to cover the energy use in a small bungalow for a family of 3, with a little extra if we ever have the funds available to purchase an electric vehicle.)

This endeavor would not have been possible for us without this incentive, and we have been waiting for it to be available since it was presented in the federal budget a few years ago.

Unfortunately, the hard work to find a solar company, receive the necessary quotes and complete the loan application had to be scrapped when we learned that due to ‘capacity limits’ we are not able to own and use solar panels in a cost-effective manner. What is cost effective some might ask? This refers to the ability to trade the renewable power we generate using the panels back into the energy grid for immediate use, with the understanding that we can use that energy in the future without charge through an energy credit system.

We were given the sad news, along with the refund of our deposit, by the solar company of our choice, along with the information that the capacity limit had existed since 2014 and it looked there was no move to remedy that situation.

In my opinion, someone has dropped the ball here, and rather than let it go, seeing as Earth Day is around the corner, I decided to get to the bottom of it. Grandbridge Energy (my current energy provider) informed me that they were not responsible for power generation and pointed me in Hydro One’s direction.

After a confusing and very technical conversation with the Generating Department, I learned that, even though I did not tell her where I was or what station was at capacity, there are no plans on increasing capacity limits at this time in Ontario, and even if there were, no one would know until it was done.

I was then told that in order to answer my second question and find out about my City’s power consumption, and where that power comes from (ie. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear) I would have to ask my municipality. After a lovely discussion with a very helpful City of Brantford employee, I learned that there is no data to say where our energy comes from here in Brantford, only the stats for the whole of Ontario. I was also informed that the City of Brantford has no power to speed up an increase in capacity, and that the buck stops with Hydro One.

Down to the bread and butter of this issue. As climate change begins to smack us all in the face, and the country as a whole begins to wake up to this dilemma, the average family is being faced with more barriers to make the necessary changes. Although Ontario can boast about its use of renewable or clean energy, many of its ‘clean energy’ comes at a cost. For example, What are the long-term consequences of nuclear, what environmental effects will haunt us due to our use of hydroelectric dams?

Solar energy is the future, but for now, it looks like my family’s future consists of continuing to line the pockets of the hydro companies who hold the capacity limits hostage for their own two cents.

Danielle Howe

Brantford, Ontario

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