Positive Energy

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

And The Answer Is: 42!

The answer to the ultimate question is "42" according to Douglas Adams' book, "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", the very number that the Ontario government decided to pay for a kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by a photovoltaic panel. Is this a coincidence? I think not. Both the Ontario price and Adams' book are serious attempts at humour, attempts to make us realize how silly we are when we try to understand political antics. Anyone who takes these numbers seriously just has to be laughed at.

My theory is that the Ontario government is trying to soften up the opposition with this 42 cent price. They know that they are going to have to announce new nuclear reactor builds soon. They know that the enviro-alarmists are going to go apoplectic when this happens. What they want is something to point to as an example of broad support for renewables, so they can calm down the pseudo-panic. Of course the 42 cent price is much too low to ever induce anyone to actually produce any solar power, and so Ontario is sure that this antic will not cost anything.

The tough question is not nuclear or not. We all know that more nuclear reactors have to be built. The tough question is CANDU or not. Do we buy Canadian, or buy American. Canada does not build its own cars, make its own movies, or process its own food. Why should we build our own electricity production equipment? The way that you answer that question says a lot about how you view our globalized economy. I wonder what Ontario will do?