TORONTO — The Renewable Energy Alliance of Ontario (REAO) says while it understands the new government is committed to finding efficiencies and to lowering electricity bills, it does not believe the cancellation of Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) and Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) contracts will accomplish those objectives.
As a result of the cancellations, thousands of Ontarians lost meaningful employment, and the integrity of capital investment was undermined, states a release issued by REAO, adding the cancellation of these projects is considered a lost opportunity for job creation, economic activity and local spending in Ontario.
“Renewable energy makes sense for Ontario, providing reliable and affordable electricity to ratepayers,” said Mike Gallagher, business manager of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793, in a statement. “Combined with technological innovation, renewable energy can affordably address Ontario’s power needs in the coming years.”
The price of wind and solar technologies has also declined significantly in recent years.
“Given that renewable energy will cost less than the projected retail price of power in Ontario, the provincial government and system planners at the Independent Electricity System Operator have the opportunity to capitalize on the lowest cost option for new procurement,” stated Brandy Giannetta, Ontario regional director for the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
Renewable energy projects are a ready-made solution for the mining industry and the future Ring of Fire. In addition to financial incentives, these projects provide Indigenous communities with access to non-emitting generation, thereby reducing reliance on antiquated diesel systems, the release indicates.
“The LRP projects had significant long-term economic benefits for not only Curve Lake, but First Nations across Ontario,” said Chief Phyllis Williams of Curve Lake First Nation. “The cancellation of these projects was short-sighted and goes against the recommendations set out by the truth and reconciliation report with regards to economic opportunities. We consider this a step back, not a step forward on the path to reconciliation.”
The industry employs thousands of Ontarians, who work as project managers and engineers, technicians, tradespeople, service providers and advisers. If renewable energy is harnessed to meet power needs, rather than the province relying on expensive imports that benefit other jurisdictions, Ontario could maintain and create thousands of new jobs in communities right across the province, the release states.
“Renewable energy comprises a part of Ontario’s manufacturing industry — with facilities that manufacture hydro turbines, solar modules, racking components, and wind power components,” said Tom Rankin, CEO of Rankin Construction. “The development of these renewable assets has made Ontario a healthier place to live, has maximized grid efficiency and has produced a reliable source of energy.”