Ontarians say wind energy is one of the safest forms of electricity generation, new poll finds

OTTAWA, March 6, 2012 /CNW/ - A high 78 per cent of Ontarians say wind energy is one of the safest forms of electricity generation according to a recent Oracle Research poll commissioned by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). The poll was conducted between February 22-29 and has a margin for error of +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

"This poll indicates that the majority of Ontarians clearly believe wind energy is a safe form of electricity generation despite a minority voice that suggests otherwise. We will continue to ensure wind energy is developed in a safe and responsible manner for the benefit of all Ontarians," said Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA.

Ontario is the current provincial leader with close to 2,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity - enough to power over 600,000 homes in Ontario. In fact, 2011 was a record year for wind energy development in Ontario with the installation of 522 MW across the province.

"It is time to embrace renewable energy in all of its forms, including solar and wind powered energy. Ontarians with asthma and other chronic lung disease are already benefiting from the closure of coal plants and looking forward to the decommissioning of the last one as soon as possible," said Dr. Robert Oliphant, President and CEO, Asthma Society of Canada, in a statement. "If for no other reason, we should support renewable energy generation because it does not harm the air we breathe. In all forms, renewable energy is a safe and healthy alternative to fossil fuels."

Wind energy projects bring direct investment, new high-value jobs, and economic growth to rural areas as well as a new source of taxes for municipalities.

"New jobs and investment from wind energy mean a brighter future for our local economy. Farmers, landowners and municipalities have the opportunity to participate in Ontario's world-leading green energy economy. By using a small amount of land, we provide the clean energy that Ontarians want and realize very localized benefits at the same time. I'm proud that Chatham-Kent is on the cutting-edge of seeking new economic opportunities," said Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope.

LOCAL JOBS AND INVESTMENTS

According to a report by ClearSky Advisors, Ontario is expected to install more than 5,600 MW of new, clean wind energy capacity by 2018, creating 80,000 person-years of employment, attracting $16.4 billion of private investments (with more than half of that invested in the province), and contributing more than $1.1 billion of revenue to municipalities and landowners in the form of taxes and lease payments over the 20-year lifespan of the projects.

"Wind energy has created thousands of jobs for our IBEW members and affiliate organizations in Ontario and is providing green electricity for the families of the many communities we live in. These highly skilled jobs help build our local economies and provide new work opportunities for our future generation," said Phil Flemming, International Vice-President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Ontario's stable policy for wind energy has attracted millions of dollars in new investments and jobs in manufacturing in areas of the province hit hard by economic challenges.

"We have established an office in Toronto and look forward to continuing to provide jobs and investments as we help build wind and other renewable energy projects throughout Canada. Ontario, specifically, is a growing market and with a stable, long-term policy, the wind industry will continue to provide significant economic benefits to communities throughout Ontario and beyond," said Mark Donahue, Vice-President and General Manager of Mortenson Construction.

The poll can be found online at: http://www.canwea.ca/wind-energy/talkingaboutwind_e.php.

About the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)
CanWEA is the voice of Canada's wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its more than 420 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada's leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits. To join other global leaders in the wind energy industry, CanWEA believes Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 per cent or more of the country's electricity from wind by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 - Powering Canada's Future is available at www.canwea.ca.

For further information:

For more information or to schedule a media interview, contact:

Ulrike Kucera
Media Relations Officer
ulrikekucera@canwea.ca
Office: (613) 234-8716 ext:228
Mobile: (613) 867-4433

Lejla Latifovic
Communications Co-ordinator
lejlalatifovic@canwea.ca
Office: (613) 234-8716 ext: 241
Mobile: (613) 608-8226