The city’s climate change action plan has no cost-benefit analysis, but plenty of costs (and prohibitions) for citizens

If Ottawa goes for variable renewable energy such as wind turbines, electricity bills may double [Shutterstock photo]

July 26, 2022

You can be forgiven if you never heard of Ottawa’s Energy Evolution climate change action plan. It got passed by the city’s environmental protection committee after a few presentations to select groups* and a couple of questions on “Engage Ottawa”.

That happened in August 2020 and approval by council in October.

You probably had other things on your mind.

Like the pandemic. And whether kids were going back to school, or you were going back to work. Whether there would be a Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

That’s when Ottawa City staff decided to put this in motion, a $57-billion plan to make a “better future” for the City, after declaring a climate emergency.

The goals are to achieve a 100-percent reduction in emissions by 2050, and 43 percent by 2025. Here’s how:

All fossil fuels have to be phased out

Heating and transportation systems have to be fully electrified

Waste heat utilization and renewable natural gas

Sufficient renewable electricity (mostly wind** and solar) to meet demand and offset emissions on the provincial grid***

Price tag? Billions. Who pays? YOU

At the time this was presented to council, two Councillors had comments. Carol Anne Meehan said the $57B budget was equal to the budget for 14 cities. “How are we going to pay for this?” she asked.

Councillor Allan Hubley said, “We’re spending $57 billion? This is news.”

“This is NEWS”????

With all the “engagement” staff is supposed to have done, some councillors were not fully aware of the price tag.

People are also unaware of the prescriptions in Energy Evolution, some of which are pretty drastic.

Bye-bye gas stove. And fireplace. Hello higher bills

Ottawa energy economist Robert Lyman has put together a list of some of the actions that lie ahead in the name of climate change.

Did you know that Ottawa plans to spend $57 billion by 2050, or $57,000 per person now residing in the city, on its climate plan?


Did you know that Ottawa wants to install 36 square kilometres of photovoltaic panels on roofs?

Did you know that Ottawa plans to spend $4 billion on industrial-scale wind turbines within the city limits by 2050? And that they hope to “profit” by $4B (not Ontario’s experience, and probably via your electricity bill)?

Did you know that Ottawa plans to eliminate the secure backup electricity generating plants that now use natural gas and replace them with untested storage systems that could cost $383 million?

Did you know that Ottawa plans to ban sales of natural gas furnaces, fireplaces and appliances (even stoves that restaurants use)?

Did you know that Ottawa’s plans will double or triple the cost of electricity over the few years?


Did you know that Ottawa plans to eliminate parking in the downtown core and in the Byward Market within eight years?

Did you know Ottawa wants to charge you $20 just to drive downtown? For a doctor’s appointment or to dine out?

Did you know that Ottawa plans to restrict new car purchases so that 90% are electric vehicles by 2030, regardless of cost?

Did you know that Ottawa plans to regulate all commercial vehicles (heavy trucks, delivery vans, taxis, car and truck rental, etc.) so that at least 40% of them are all-electric within eight years?

Did you know that Ottawa will spend almost $1 billion on all-electric buses over the next five years, even though no studies have been done of how well they operate in winter conditions?

Did you know that Ottawa expects the percentage of residents here commuting by walking or cycling in 2030 to be higher than in Victoria, British Columbia, even in winter?


Did you know that Ottawa intends to reduce requirements of residential developers to provide parking spaces for the houses and apartments they build?

Did you know that Ottawa is considering introducing an Ottawa vehicle registration fee of $118 per vehicle per year, on top of what the province charges?

Did you know that Ottawa is considering increasing the tax on all private parking lots by 24%?

Did you know that Ottawa plans to require most houses to be retrofitted, even though the cost could be $150,000 per unit?

Did you know that Ottawa is considering increasing development charges by $234 million per year to pay for its climate measures?

Did you know that Ottawa is considering introducing a new Land Transfer Tax raising $130 million per year to pay for its climate measures?

After all this is done, Mr Lyman says, actions by the City of Ottawa would only reduce annual global emissions by 0.014%, an amount too small to be measured, and have zero impact on global temperatures or weather patterns.

Former head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business Catherine Swift recently described Energy Evolution as a “fantasy strategy.” That may be but the fact is work is being done on it NOW, and money—your money—is being spent.

The municipal election is coming. Ask candidates now if they know about Energy Evolution and whether they support it. As a tax-paying citizen, you deserve an answer.


Ottawa Wind Concerns is an incorporated, not-for-profit group, with a membership list of several hundred residents of rural Ottawa communities and other stakeholders. We are a community group member of the Wind Concerns Ontario coalition.Our goal: a safe environment…for everyone


*Check the list of “partners” on pages ix-x. Many are organizations that stand to profit from Energy Evolution demands. The list includes the Canadian Renewable Energy Association or CanREA, formerly the Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA—their goal is to advance the interests of wind and solar power developers, not fix the environment.

**Several councillors denied this, despite staff being very clear.

***This is a peevish political statement as well as being inaccurate. Ontario’s power grid is more than 90-percent emissions-free. Also, more intermittent wind power means MORE natural gas as backup. If you actually want electricity, that is.

Read the Energy Evolution document here.