|(cc) Erkin Agsaran|
The Green Energy Act Alliance, a diverse coalition of Ontario groups committed to furthering green power, is celebrating after the McGuinty government announced nearly 2,500 megawatts of new renewable energy projects. The news was the latest in a series of announcements related to the new feed-in-tariff program (FIT), which guarantees a stable price for renewable energy.
“With this announcement, Ontario has flicked the switch on a new era of green energy prosperity,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence, a member of the Green Energy Act Alliance. “This occasion is potentially as significant for Ontario’s economic prosperity as the signing of the Auto Pact in 1965. The provincial government has served notice today that the new centre of global green investing is right here in Ontario. Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to adopt a feed-in-tariff and it’s working even better than we had hoped.”
Today’s announcement included 184 projects throughout Ontario. Of these, 76 are ground-mounted solar, 47 are onshore wind, 46 are water power, 7 are biogas, 2 are biomass, 4 are landfill, 1 is a rooftop solar project, and 1 is an offshore wind project. Significantly, 20 of the projects are spearheaded by small community groups and 16 are First Nations-led.
“Community power projects allow Ontarians to invest in and own a part of Ontario’s new green energy economy,” said Brent Kopperson, Chair, Community Power Fund. “By granting contracts to community power projects, the government has ensured the people of Ontario can directly share the financial benefits of these renewable energy investments.”
The feed-in-tariff, a key feature of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, has seen widespread uptake to date. Today’s announcement of larger projects adds to last month’s announcement of 510 medium-sized projects totaling 112 MW.
“The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is pleased to see the investment in rural Ontario by today’s announcement,” said Don McCabe, Vice President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). “This will allow farmers to both harvest and provide energy to Ontario. The OFA looks forward to continued momentum in renewable energy opportunity for Ontario farmers as offered by the FIT program that balances the environment and human health.”
“Investment in renewable energy on this scale, combined with the domestic content rules, should create green jobs and help get the economy going again,” said Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada, United Steelworkers.
“Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to demonstrate it will phase out large amounts of coal power using renewable energy, and today’s announcement shows just how quickly that can be done when you get the policy right,” said Tim Weis, Director of Renewable Energy and Efficiency for the Pembina Institute, a member of the Green Energy Act Alliance.
The Green Energy Act 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, and energy security, while ensuring climate protection. Member groups include: Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Community Power Fund, David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, United Steelworkers, First Nations Energy Alliance, Ivey Foundation, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and the Pembina Institute.