Ontario now has ambitious green energy and economy legislation

Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, got a Green Energy and Economy Act on Thursday (14 May 09). A Green Energy Act Alliance says the legislation outlines an ambitious and globally significant strategy to improve conservation, increase renewable energy generation and create green jobs.

The alliance comprises leading environmental groups, industry associations, farmers and labour groups.


It says in a media release it applauds the governing Liberals and opposition New Democrats “for passing this groundbreaking legislation”.


“Ontario enters a new energy paradigm," said Deb Doncaster, the chief campaigner of the alliance. "The Act is a clear signal to the global renewable energy community that Ontario is open for business."


"The American Council on Renewable Energy congratulates Ontario and all of Canada for this outstanding leadership on the adoption of renewable energy," said Michael Eckhart, President of the American Council On Renewable Energy.


“This kind of policy leadership is beneficial not only from a climate and environmental point of view, but it is also an investment in new companies and new jobs."


The Act aims to improve conservation programmes, promote investment in renewable energy projects through North America's first feed-in tariff programme and create green jobs.


Introduced in November 2008, the legislation is the cornerstone of the government's plan to put Ontario on a path towards reducing Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions, while becoming a leader in the emerging global renewable energy sector.


"Less than a year after our World Wind Energy Conference in Kingston, the government of Ontario kept their promise and laid the foundation for a boom of renewable energy in the province, based on the first feed-in tariff legislation in North America,” said Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General of the World Wind Energy Association.


"Adoption of the Green Energy Act by the Ontario Legislature represents an historic paradigm-shifting legal milestone in the imperative transition to a renewable energy system in North America," said Hermann Scheer, General Chair of the World Council of Renewable Energy and Member of Germany’s national parliament.


A poll released in late April by the Alliance found 87% support for the proposed act across Ontario, Canada's leading manufacturing province. Respondents predicted the top two benefits would be reducing greenhouse gases and creating jobs.


The Ontario Federation of Agriculture said it sees the act as an opportunity to achieve a profitable and sustainable future for its members. United Steelworkers of Canada sees Ontario starting down the road to a green jobs future. The advocacy group Environmental Defence sees the province not only taking action on its international obligation to reduce greenhouse gases and pollution, but also becoming a leader in an emerging industry.


The Green Energy Act Alliance cites a recent study by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst which estimates that 90,000 jobs per year could be created through investments in conservation, renewable energy and upgrades to Ontario's electricity grid. The investment criteria used in the report are similar to the level of investment expected under the new act.


About the Green Energy Act Alliance: 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 and 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.








Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; cell (647) 280-9521, www.environmentaldefence.ca

Deb Doncaster, Community Power Fund, cell (416) 824-4866

Bob Gallagher, United Steelworkers, (416) 544-5966; cell (416) 434-2221