Green Energy Act: First in North America



    
    Green Energy Act Alliance celebrates new Act that lays the foundation for
    a clean environment and strong economy
    

    TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - The Green Energy Act Alliance, a coalition of
leading environmental groups, industry associations, farmers, First Nations,
community power groups and unions, was at Queen's Park today to celebrate the
introduction of the Green Energy Act. The Act lays the foundation for new
measures to conserve energy and create renewable energy that will make Ontario
a leader in green energy and green jobs.
    "The government is holding the door wide open for renewable energy," said
Deb Doncaster, Executive Director of the Community Power Fund and Director of
the Green Energy Act Alliance. "Though the details about the tariff levels,
grid access and community power still need to be worked out, the commitment on
the part of the government is encouraging and the potential for Ontario
enormous."
    "Ontario's Green Energy Act could propel the province past California as
the most innovative North American leader in the renewable energy field," said
Denis Hayes, Former Director, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory and
founder of Earth Day. "This is the sort of healthy, friendly competition
between Canada and the US that will leave us both better off."
    The Act outlines a two pronged approach, focusing on expanding renewable
energy generation and strengthening the province's commitment to energy
conservation. The new procurement mechanism for renewable energy will be
delivered through a feed-in tariff, modelled after the successful policies of
Germany and France. This strategy will be complemented by new provincial
standards for renewable energy planning. The province will upload from
municipalities the regulations for planning renewable energy projects to
ensure that they are the same across the province. All told, the new Act will
amend 15 government statutes and, when fully implemented, have over 50
supportive regulations.
    "Ontario farmers are ready to do their part to produce more green energy
while putting food on the shelves," said Don McCabe, Vice-President, Ontario
Federation of Agriculture. "The Green Energy Act is an opportunity to remove
barriers to renewable energy generation so we can use our sustainably produced
on farm resources."
    Under the Act, strengthened energy conservation measures will include:
energy conservation planning at the local level, energy audits for homes upon
sale and purchase, new energy efficiency standards in the building code,
higher energy efficiency standards for appliances, and upgrading government
buildings to new energy efficiency standards.
    "This Act puts in place the framework for green energy to thrive and
could set us on a path toward a future based on the efficient use of renewable
energy," said Keith Stewart, Climate Change Campaign Manager, WWF-Canada. "We
look forward to working with the government to build on this framework as the
Act is finalized and implemented."
    On behalf of its membership from across the province, the Green Energy
Act Alliance has been recommending that Ontario develop a feed-in tariff
procurement system that encourages the rapid growth of renewable energy and a
focus on energy conservation. For the past month, representatives of the
Alliance have been travelling across the province speaking with Ontarians
about how their communities can benefit from renewable energy.
    "As we have been travelling the province, residents, farmers, First
Nations, cooperatives, municipalities, distribution companies, commercial
operations and institutions have been clear: they want to be conservers and
generators of clean, green, sustainable energy," said Kristopher Stevens,
Executive Director, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. "The Green Energy
Act promises to be a landmark piece of legislation and we should all be proud
that our government is listening and leading us."
    The government predicts that 50,000 jobs will be created over the next
three years as a result of this legislation. This employment will be in every
sector, from steel mills to law firms and manufacturing plants to contractors.
    "First Nations across Ontario are quite excited about the Green Energy
Act and are anticipating supporting mechanisms to become proponents in the
emerging renewable energy sector," said Michael Fox, one of the founding
Directors of the First Nations Energy Alliance.
    The Green Energy Act Alliance's recommendations for an effective Green
Energy Act can be found online at www.greenenergyact.ca

    About the Green Energy Act Alliance (www.greenenergyact.ca): 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, United Steelworkers Union
and the Pembina Institute.




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


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