Global Renewable Energy Experts Praise Ontario's Green Energy Act



    
    A day after Earth Day, leaders from Europe and the U.S. come to Queen's
                 Park to make the case for renewable energy
    

    TORONTO, April 23 /CNW/ - Renewable energy experts from Europe and the
United States have come to Queen's Park today to speak with Ontario MPPs about
the government's proposed Green Energy Act. The experts present their
recommendations after three weeks of committee hearings across the province
which saw wide support for the proposed Act.
    "The government is hearing first hand from those who know about the
policy and technology of renewable energy," said Deb Doncaster, Executive
Director of the Community Power Fund. "These experts are here to show Ontario
what it can accomplish with the Green Energy Act."
    Experts from the United States are at Queen's Park to commend the
government's decision to pursue an aggressive renewable energy and
conservation policy, taking a leadership role in North America. The proposed
Green Energy Act includes, for the first time in North America, a feed-in
tariff style procurement mechanism for renewable energy.
    Experts from Europe have direct experience with feed-in tariffs, which
set premium rates for renewable energy, based on technology, to encourage the
rapid development of these technologies and sectors. European countries have
seen wide success with the development of nearly 50,000 MW of wind generation
across Europe using feed-in tariffs programs, compared to 25,000 MW in the
U.S. and only 2,500 MW in Canada.
    "Well designed feed-in tariffs are the foundation of the world's most
successful renewable energy laws that are now informing the development of
Ontario's Green Energy Act," said Preben Maegaard, Vice-President of Eurosolar
and Executive Director of the prestigious Danish Folkecenter for Renewable
Energy. "By setting up an effective feed-in tariff system, Ontario will create
the market certainty necessary to become a leading global destination to
invest in the manufacturing of renewable energy systems and to install
attractive community power projects."
    In addition to the environmental benefits of renewable energy, Europe has
seen a boom in jobs related to this industry. Germany alone has created
280,000 jobs from renewable energy and conservation. These jobs are across the
country in construction, operations and manufacturing, both in urban and rural
areas.
    "The Act needs the teeth to put a priority on conservation and renewable
energy in every function and agency of the electricity sector," said John
Geesman, former California Energy Commissioner and Co-chair of the American
Council on Renewable Energy. "There should be no ambiguity about it. Those are
the marching orders."
    The meeting in Toronto follows International Earth Day, a day when the
world stops to recognize the importance of protecting the natural environment.
The rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies in Ontario will put the
province on a path to sustainable energy generation, helping to fight climate
change and protect the natural environment from pollution and irreversible
damage.
    "The Ontario Green Energy Act charts a new course for renewable energy in
North American," said Denis Hayes, Board Chair of the International Earth Day
Network and Chairman of the American Solar Energy Society. "To change this
course, Ontario is taking an aggressive approach to energy efficiency and
renewable energy, one that pushes Ontario towards a sustainable energy
future."
    Following the presentations at Queen's Park, David Suzuki, Preben
Maegaard and Denis Hayes will speak at an event about the importance of
renewable energy at the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall. The event
starts at 6:30 p.m. and includes clips from the films "The Suzuki Diaries",
produced by the CBC, and "Energy Autonomy: The Code of Survival" based on a
book by Dr. Hermann Scheer. For Information about tickets, go to
www.greenenergyact.ca. For media passes to the event, please contact Jennifer
Foulds, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; jfoulds@environmentaldefence.ca.

    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, 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. www.greenenergyact.ca




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232, (647)
280-9521 (cell)


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