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Global Renewable Energy Experts Praise Ontario's Green Energy Act

Renewable energy experts from Europe and the United States have come to Queen’s Park today to speak with Ontario MPPs about the government’s proposed Green Energy Act. The experts present their recommendations after three weeks of committee hearings across the province which saw wide support for the proposed Act. “The government is hearing first hand from those who know about the policy and technology of renewable energy,” said Deb Doncaster, Executive Director of the Community Power Fund. “These experts are here to show Ontario what it can accomplish with the Green Energy Act.” Experts from the United States are at Queen’s Park to commend the government’s decision to pursue an aggressive renewable energy and conservation policy, taking a leadership role in North America. The proposed Green Energy Act includes, for the first time in North America, a feed-in tariff style procurement mechanism for renewable energy.

Experts from Europe have direct experience with feed-in tariffs, which set premium rates for renewable energy, based on technology, to encourage the rapid development of these technologies and sectors. European countries have seen wide success with the development of nearly 50,000 MW of wind generation across Europe using feed-in tariffs programs, compared to 25,000 MW in the U.S. and only 2,500 MW in Canada.

“Well designed feed-in tariffs are the foundation of the world’s most successful renewable energy laws that are now informing the development of Ontario’s Green Energy Act,” said Preben Maegaard, Vice-President of Eurosolar and Executive Director of the prestigious Danish Folkecenter for Renewable Energy. “By setting up an effective feed-in tariff system, Ontario will create the market certainty necessary to become a leading global destination to invest in the manufacturing of renewable energy systems and to install attractive community power projects.”

In addition to the environmental benefits of renewable energy, Europe has seen a boom in jobs related to this industry. Germany alone has created 280,000 jobs from renewable energy and conservation. These jobs are across the country in construction, operations and manufacturing, both in urban and rural areas.

“The Act needs the teeth to put a priority on conservation and renewable energy in every function and agency of the electricity sector,” said John Geesman, former California Energy Commissioner and Co-chair of the American Council on Renewable Energy. “There should be no ambiguity about it. Those are the marching orders.”

The meeting in Toronto follows International Earth Day, a day when the orld stops to recognize the importance of protecting the natural environment. The rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies in Ontario will put the province on a path to sustainable energy generation, helping to fight climate change and protect the natural environment from pollution and irreversible damage.

“The Ontario Green Energy Act charts a new course for renewable energy in North American,” said Denis Hayes, Board Chair of the International Earth Day Network and Chairman of the American Solar Energy Society. “To change this course, Ontario is taking an aggressive approach to energy efficiency and renewable energy, one that pushes Ontario towards a sustainable energy future.”

Following the presentations at Queen’s Park, David Suzuki, Preben Maegaard and Denis Hayes will speak at an event about the importance of renewable energy at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and includes clips from the films “The Suzuki Diaries”, produced by the CBC, and “Energy Autonomy: The Code of Survival” based on a book by Dr. Hermann Scheer. For Information about tickets, go to www.greenenergyact.ca. For media passes to the event, please contact Jennifer Foulds, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; jfoulds@environmentaldefence.ca.

The Alliance’s vision is to make Ontario a global leader in green energy development through the use of renewable energy, distributed energy and conservation, creating thousands of jobs, economic prosperity, energy security, while ensuring climate protection. Founding groups include: the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Community Power Fund, the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, the First Nations Energy Alliance, the Ivey Foundation, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Pembina Institute. www.greenenergyact.ca

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