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Clean-energy industry lauds Ontario’s proposed Green Energy Act

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Ontario’s proposed Green Energy Act (GEA) will improve the province’s sustainable energy foundation and drive construction activity and job creation, clean-energy stakeholders say.

Environment

Ontario’s proposed Green Energy Act (GEA) will improve the province’s sustainable energy foundation and drive construction activity and job creation, clean-energy stakeholders say.

“Ontario’s economy has been hit hard by the worldwide financial-system collapse and decline in demand from the United States,” said John Kourtoff, chief executive officer of Trillium Power Wind Corporation. “The Green Energy Act will serve as a turning point in Ontario’s economic history.”

The proposed GEA, if passed, would create a “greener economy” and new investment resulting in 50,000 new jobs in its first three years, states Ontario’s energy and infrastructure ministry. The government describes the GEA as “a bold series of co-ordinated actions” designed to making it easier build renewable energy projects. The GEA also intends to create a culture of conservation by assisting homeowners, government, schools and industrial employers to transition to lower energy use.

The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) voiced its support for the GEA, stating that the strides Ontario would make would place it among international leaders in green energy creation.

“The proposed changes announced as part of this act will certainly help build a new clean economy, green collar jobs, as well as creating a culture of conservation throughout the province,” said Elizabeth McDonald, CanSIA President and CEO, in a statement.

The proposed legislation would allow Queen’s Park to set domestic content requirements for renewable energy projects, leading to job opportunities in Ontario. If passed, the legislation would also drive new economic opportunities for local communities, First Nations and Métis communities to build, own and operate their own renewable energy projects.

“This proposed legislation would help Ontario become the preferred destination for green jobs, green investment and green energy,” George Smitherman, energy and infrastructure minister said in a statement.

Some of the GEA’s areas of regulatory change would see streamlined approvals processes, including providing service guarantees for renewable energy projects and creation of a renewable energy facilitator. The GEA would also establish a “right to connect” to the electricity grid for renewable projects.

CanSIA and Trillium both intend to be active participants in public consultations with the province as the proposed GEA moves forward.

Trillium plans to build a 710 MW offshore wind facility in the middle of Lake Ontario, 28 kilometres away from the Prince Edward County shoreline.

Known as Trillium Power Wind 1, the facility will power at least 300,000 homes annually in Ontario, offsetting nearly 1.7 million tons of carbon emissions each year.

“It is gratifying to know we have such an enthusiastic and committed partner in the Government of Ontario,” added Kourtoff.

“We believe that the development of Trillium Power Wind 1 will become the catalyst for a significant increase in sustainable economic development and innovative energy solutions, long-term ‘green’ new economy jobs in Ontario.”

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