TORONTO‑ The multi-billion dollar green energy deal between Samsung and the province of Ontario has come under extreme scrutiny by opposition leaders as the provincial election inches nearer. Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says the province can’t afford Premier McGuinty’s “expensive energy experiments”.
A deal signed in December between Samsung and Ontario is reported to be worth $7.5 billion. Samsung will exchange massive investments into Ontario’s green energy plans for incentives to triple the province’s renewable energy generation.
Samsung said the deal will create about 16,000 green energy jobs and to open four manufacturing plants by 2015. A plant in Windsor, where 200 to 300 wind turbines will be manufactured annually, is said to be opening by August 2011. The Windsor plant will create 300 manufacturing jobs. Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid said Windsor was chosen by Samsung because of the city’s abundance of skilled auto and manufacturing workers.
Hudak says the deal will only increase taxpayer subsidies that will go directly into Samsung’s pocket. He added that the Liberals have been treating green energy policies like social programs, not economic policy.
Citing a study that found both Spain and Italy dumped green energy subsidies because the programs eliminated jobs faster than the industry could create them, Hudak says McGuinty’s plans with Samsung will lead Ontario down the same path. The provincial government, however, said Hudak is providing a distorted view of the situation and that the study has been widely discredited. The Liberals have said they hope new green energy plans will create 50,000 new jobs.
While details of the agreement between Ontario and Samsung have not been made public, the province has said that Samsung will be paid an economic development adder and have tariff premiums paid for green energy development. Samsung will receive massive subsidies throughout the agreement, but it will also invest heavily in Ontario to build new manufacturing plants to produce green energy components.
It is reported that Samsung invested $40 to $50 million into the city of Windsor by opening the wind-turbine manufacturing plant there. Windsor Essex Development Corporation VP Patrick Persichilli said that the Samsung deal will offer the region an attractive marketing opportunity for outside investment.