New Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is promising fresh ideas and new approaches. There are few places that need that more than energy policy in Ontario.
 
Our smart new Premier should immediately retire the “Father Knows Best” planning approach that has locked Ontario into 1950s-style solutions of high-cost centralized generating plants and token commitments to energy conservation. Premier Wynne should use her mediation skills to help our energy planners break their single-minded focus on nuclear power and insist they start exploring the vast array of cheaper, safer options for keeping our lights on. And she should do it now before Ontario squanders billions on new and rebuilt nuclear plants, high-voltage transmission lines, mega transformer stations (downtown Toronto) and yet another high-cost gas-fired peaker plant, this time in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph area.
 
Under Premier McGuinty, the government talked a lot about “a culture of conservation” while moving gas plants around like checkerboard pieces.  Premier Wynne must turn talk into action and deal with the real underlying issues – reducing extreme peaks in electricity demand on hot summer days and closing the gap with our competitors on energy productivity. In short, our new Premier must demonstrate that she is ready to lead this province out of the 1950s and into a modern energy era.