Ontario's bold new plan for a green economy



    
     McGuinty Government To Boost Renewable Energy, Economic Growth And
                       Create A Culture of Conservation
    

    TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ -

    
    NEWS

    Ontario is proposing sweeping new legislation to attract new investment,
create new green economy jobs and better protect the climate.
    The proposed bill, the Green Energy Act (GEA), if passed, would help the
government ensure Ontario's green economic future by:

    -  building a stronger, greener economy with new investment, creating
       well-paying green jobs and more economic growth for Ontario - a
       projected 50,000 jobs in the first three years
    -  better protecting our environment, combating climate change and
       creating a healthier future for generations to come.

    The proposed GEA is a bold series of coordinated actions with two equally
important thrusts:

    -  making it easier to bring renewable energy projects to life, and
    -  fostering a culture of conservation by assisting homeowners,
       government, schools and industrial employers to transition to lower
       energy use.

    The proposed GEA, and the expected regulatory changes and policies that
would flow from it, include a range of measures. Among the most notable
elements are:

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             More Renewables                   Culture of Conservation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1. Creating a new attractive        1. North American leading energy
       feed-in tariff regime - a           efficiency standards (Energy
       pricing system for renewable        Star) for household appliances,
       energy - that will guarantee        including efficient use of water
       rates and help spark new         2. Mandatory home energy audits prior
       investment in renewable energy      to sale of homes
       generation, increase investor    3. Making energy efficiency a central
       confidence and access to            tenet of Ontario's Building Code
       financing                        4. Green Ontario government and
    2. Establishing the "right to          broader public sector buildings;
       connect" to the electricity         including the development of
       grid for renewable projects         conservation plans.
    3. Establishing a streamlined
       approvals process, including
       providing service guarantees
       for renewable energy projects
       and a Renewable Energy
       Facilitator.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed GEA would encourage billions of dollars in investment to help
ensure Ontario's energy supply mix is one of the cleanest anywhere. The
proposed legislation would also enable the government to set domestic content
requirements for renewable energy projects, leading to job opportunities here
at home. If passed, the legislation would also drive new economic
opportunities for local communities, First Nations and Métis communities to
build, own and operate their own renewable energy projects.
    As the proposed legislation and its implementation move forward, ongoing
consultations would be held with First Nations and Métis communities and
stakeholders including business, environmentalists and municipalities.
    If passed, the GEA would build on the McGuinty government's earlier
initiatives on the province's power supply, including a plan to eliminate
coal-fired power by 2014, the single largest climate change initiative being
undertaken in Canada.

    QUOTES

    "There exists today a global race to establish the policies, attract the
investment and build the foundation for the green economy that is sure to
sustain future prosperity and progress," said George Smitherman, Deputy
Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. "It is a race Ontario is
determined to win. This proposed legislation would help Ontario become the
preferred destination for green jobs, green investment and green energy."

    QUICK FACTS

    -  Ontario has already brought about 1,000 megawatts of new renewable
       energy on-line since October 2003
    -  Canada's two largest wind farms are located in Ontario and by the end
       of 2009, nearly 1,200 megawatts of wind capacity will be on-line,
       enough to power almost 325,000 homes
    -  Investments in new renewable energy projects already in place or under
       construction in Ontario total about $4 billion
    -  Ontarians spend over $7 billion a year on electricity to power their
       homes and small businesses. Just a 10 per cent conservation saving
       would free $700 million from family budgets
    -  To date, the Ontario Home Energy Savings Program has provided
       $38 million to assist homeowners with over 42,000 energy-efficient
       retrofits

    LEARN MORE

    Read more about Ontario's Green Energy Act (www.ontario.ca/greenenergy)
    What is Ontario doing to combat climate change? Learn more about Ontario's
Climate Change Action Plan
(www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/air/climatechange/annualreport.php)


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                                                      ontario.ca/energy-news
                                                      Disponible en français


    BACKGROUNDER
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                               GREEN ENERGY ACT
                       A BOLD PLAN FOR A GREEN ECONOMY

    The proposed Green Energy Act (GEA) is a bold series of coordinated
actions to enhance economic activity and reduce our impact on the climate with
two equally important thrusts:

    1. making it easier to bring renewable energy projects to life, and
    2. fostering a culture of conservation by assisting homeowners,
    government, schools and industrial employers to transition to lower and
    more efficient energy use.

    If passed, the Green Energy Act, along with significant amendments to 15
other statutes, such as the Electricity Act, the Environmental Protection Act
and the Planning Act, would set Ontario on a course to a greener future.
Following passage of the legislation, additional regulatory and policy
decisions would also be required as the government moved forward with its
vision for a greener economy and a culture of conservation.
    Some key measures to help expand renewable energy, which would follow from
passage of the proposed legislation, include:

    -  creating an attractive feed-in tariff regime - a pricing system for
       renewable energy - that will guarantee rates and help spark new
       investment in renewable energy generation, help increase investor
       confidence and access to financing for renewable energy projects
    -  establishing a streamlined approvals process, and provide service
       guarantees for renewable energy projects
    -  establishing a right to connect to the electricity grid for renewable
       energy projects
    -  appointing a Renewable Energy Facilitator to offer one-window
       assistance and support to project developers in order to facilitate
       project approvals
    -  streamlining approvals for large transmission projects
    -  establishing, for the first time, province-wide standards for
       renewable energy projects - like standardized setback requirements for
       wind farms. Approval processes for renewable energy projects would
       continue to ensure high safety and environmental standards
    -  helping local communities to build and operate their own renewable
       energy generating facilities, including support for community projects
    -  implementing a smart power grid in Ontario, making it easier to
       connect renewable energy generation to the system
    -  offering incentives for small scale renewables, such as zero or low-
       interest loans to assist homeowners in financing the capital cost of
       residential renewables.

    If passed, the GEA (and related policy initiatives) would also create the
opportunity for consumers, public institutions and industry to better manage
their energy use through a series of conservation initiatives, including:

    -  making energy efficiency a key purpose of Ontario's Building Code,
       establish a fixed review period of every five years to identify
       further opportunities to increase energy conservation and establish an
       advisory council to provide energy efficiency advice to the Minister
       of Municipal Affairs and Housing
    -  Greening Ontario government and broader public sector
       buildings/facilities, and establish Leadership in Energy and
       Environmental Design (LEED) Silver as the standard
    -  requiring the development of energy conservation plans throughout the
       broader public sector, including municipalities, universities,
       colleges, schools and hospitals
    -  establishing North American leading energy efficiency standards for
       household appliances, including efficient use of water. Energy Star
       would be standard so household appliances sold in Ontario achieve
       continued reductions in energy use
    -  mandatory home energy audits prior to sale of homes
    -  making more energy-efficient products more available to more consumers
    -  establishing mandatory electricity conservation targets for local
       distribution companies and empowering them to better deliver
       conservation programs to consumers
    -  increasing productivity in the Ontario industrial sector through
       energy efficiency programs and demand management plans
    -  requiring targeted conservation measures to protect low-income
       Ontarians.

    If passed, the GEA would create an estimated 50,000 jobs in its first
three years. The economic benefits would be spread across the province through
local involvement in energy production, and opportunities for First Nations
and Métis communities.
    Among the key economic measures that would result through passage of the
GEA are:

    -  creating a feed-in tariff regime described above
    -  enabling domestic content rules for renewable energy projects, leading
       to increased job opportunities here at home
    -  providing opportunities for local communities, First Nations and Métis
       communities to build, own and operate their own renewable energy
       projects
    -  resources for municipalities and Aboriginal communities.


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                                                      ontario.ca/energy-news
                                                      Disponible en français


                                                                BACKGROUNDER
                                       Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
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               PROPOSED GREEN ENERGY ACT ATTRACTS WIDE SUPPORT

    "The Green Energy Act makes Ontario the leader in renewable energy policy
in North America. Our call for the critical elements of a feed-in-tariff, the
right to connect and community power has been answered. If the regulations and
directives to follow result in a culture of conservation being created and
open opportunity for greening our supply mix that also creates 50,000
manufacturing jobs, we will no doubt be able to call ourselves a world leader
in installed green energy within the next decade."
                         Deborah Doncaster, Chair, Green Energy Act Alliance
                                    Executive Director, Community Power Fund

    "I must point out that our entire continent is about to undergo a green
energy transformation. In his inaugural address, US President Barack Obama
said that America 'will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our
cars and run our factories.' The continent's energy industry is on the cusp of
a major change. And with the introduction of the Green Energy Act, Ontario
will be at the forefront of progress, a dynamic force for change."
                                 Paul Massara, Chair, Toronto Board of Trade

    "Ontario's Green Energy Act and supporting initiatives are the most
comprehensive renewable energy policy entered anywhere around the world. It
will enact a balanced and broad-based program. Most importantly, it builds on
worldwide experience to date on 'what works.' This gives us confidence that
the legislation will have its intended effects on the adoption of renewable
energy. It also sets an important example for other governments to adopt
policies that have been shown to be effective and economical."
                             Michael T. Eckhart, President, American Council
                                            on Renewable Energy (ACORE), USA

    "The Green Energy Act is a signal that the Ontario government is serious
about getting down to the business of Aboriginal partnerships, respecting the
environment, and providing Ontario and other consumers with a secure source of
energy, not one that will leave us in the dark. We must commend Premier
McGuinty and Minister Smitherman for this new Energy Act that now gives call
to strategic partnerships in the private sector, Aboriginal community and
government."
                        Chief Isadore Day, Chief, Serpent River First Nation,
                                              Lake Huron Treaty Commissioner

    "The GEA will create new opportunities for our farmers to participate even
more in Ontario's green energy revolution. Through their involvement in energy
production Ontario farmers will create new manufacturing opportunities and
fuel other economic initiatives."
                                  Bette Jean Crews, President of the Ontario
                                                   Federation of Agriculture

    "Ontario's Green Energy Act represents North America's most ambitious and
far reaching enabling legislation and will place Ontario as a world leader in
renewable energy development, industrial innovation and climate protection."
                   Dr. Hermann Scheer, General Chairman of the World Council
                        for Renewable Energy, Member of the German Bundestag

    "Today's introduction of a Green Energy Act is about to launch Ontario
into a leadership position in the race to be the most Energy Efficient economy
in Canada ... and maybe the world. While the initiatives recently introduced
by President Obama in the U.S. created a lot of envy within our organization -
this move by Ontario gives us a lot to be proud of."
                                      Ken Elsey, President and CEO, Canadian
                                                  Energy Efficiency Alliance

    "On behalf of the working men and women of Ontario's Carpenters' Union, I
congratulate Premier Dalton McGuinty and Minister George Smitherman for the
Green Energy Act. This legislation, which is unprecedented in North America,
will provide tangible, immediate stimulus to the construction industry and
create thousands of good "green" jobs. And it will help all of us build a
sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. I urge all Members of
the Legislature and all Ontario residents to get behind this bill and help
make the Green Energy Act become law as soon as possible."
                                          Ucal Powell, President, Carpenters'
                                                 District Council of Ontario

    "Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters supports the intent of the Green
Energy Act to create opportunities for manufacturers and exporters and improve
the environment. We recognize the opportunities that this legislation may
present for many manufacturers to develop and commercialize new, more
efficient products."
                              Ian Howcroft, Vice President, Ontario Division,
                                          Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

    "The introduction of this legislation means Ontario will be a world leader
in green development and it couldn't come at a more opportune time as it
directly addresses both our environmental and economic needs."
                   Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence

    "The Green Energy Act introduced by Minister Smitherman is an excellent
move by our Minister and Provincial Government. LIUNA is excited with the
prospect of 50,000 jobs being created at a time when jobs are most needed. We
applaud this forward thinking to stimulate the green economy as well as the
overall leadership shown in stimulating Ontario's and Canada's economy."
              Joseph S. Mancinelli, International Vice President, Labourer's
                                 International Union of North America (LIUNA)

    "With today's tabling of the Green Energy Act, the Ontario Government has
sent a clear signal that wind and other renewable energies will play a key
role in meeting the province's economic and environmental objectives going
forward. The GEA is a bold, forward-thinking initiative that will accelerate
wind energy investment in Ontario, benefiting the province's manufacturing
sector as well as its rural communities."
                                         Robert Hornung, President, Canadian
                                                     Wind Energy Association

    "The proposed changes announced as part of this Act will certainly help
build a new clean economy, green collar jobs, and as well as creating a
culture of conservation throughout the province... It is clear the McGuinty
Government intends to open the door to make Ontario one of the world leaders
as a renewable energy jurisdiction."
                            Elizabeth McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian
                                                Solar Industries Association

    "We know that Ontario's electricity future will be very different from the
past and the present. The Green Energy Act will ensure that it makes the
maximum possible use of renewable energy. APPrO member companies have done
most of Ontario's renewable energy projects so far - and intend to work
closely with the government over the next several months to make sure that the
proposed feed-in tariff is as big a success as it possibly can be. A 'best-in
class renewable energy feed-in tariff' combined with streamlined approvals
processes and service guarantees has the potential to help Ontario to leap
forward in terms of renewable energy capacity."
                                    Dave Butters, President, The Association
                                               of Power Producers of Ontario

    "Democracy is at work in Ontario! Homeowners, farmers, First Nations,
cooperatives, municipalities and institutions have spoken up about what they
want and need in a Green Energy Act. They want to be conservers and generators
of clean, green, sustainable energy. It's clear that Premier Dalton McGuinty
and Energy Minister George Smitherman have listened with the Green Energy Act
they are introducing today."
                             Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director, Ontario
                                              Sustainable Energy Association

    "The Canadian District Energy Association congratulates the province on
its Green Energy Act initiative. As demonstrated in Denmark and Sweden,
district energy is a key platform to deliver clean and green energy to
Ontario's communities."
                                                Bruce Ander, Chair, Canadian
                                                 District Energy Association

    "Ontarians have clearly demonstrated that they want to be a part of the
renewable energy renaissance. The Feed-in-Tariff provides a simple,
straightforward process to make that happen."
                                                Colin Andersen, CEO, Ontario
                                                             Power Authority

    "The Green Energy Act introduced today demonstrates that the government is
focused on building a diversified portfolio of green energy solutions that
interconnect with today's existing energy infrastructure. The Act will
encourage businesses to invest in the green energy technologies that will move
Ontario towards a clean energy economy."
                          Janet Holder, President, Enbridge Gas Distribution

    The Green Energy Act will serve as a turning point in Ontario's economic
history. Future generations of economists and energy analysts will look back
on this Ontario-engineered Act and discover that it proactively moved Ontario
to a new paradigm that was good for the pocketbook and good for the planet."
                                            John Kourtoff, President and CEO,
                                             Trillium Power Wind Corporation.

    "Waterpower proponents have been frustrated by excessive and overlapping
regulatory requirements. The Green Energy Act will provide much needed
certainty for investment in the responsible development of these critical
renewable energy projects."
                                             Paul Norris, President, Ontario
                                                      Waterpower Association

    "I am encouraged to see that Ontario recognizes that improved water and
energy efficiency are tightly inter-related. It is particularly visionary to
couple this with a bold approach to promoting green energy. We have seen how
standards for fixtures, appliances and other products have led to enduring
water and energy savings. These moves will yield free water and energy savings
to utilities and their customers across the province."
                           Mary Ann Dickinson, Alliance for Water Efficiency,
                                                           Chicago, Illinois

    "The McGuinty government has recognized a critical connection between
energy efficiency and water efficiency. Taking action on eliminating water
wasting fixtures and appliances will be a huge step in meeting energy
efficiency goals. It also provides an opportunity to consider water efficiency
labelling, which would be a first in Canada."
                   Johann Manente, Supervisor, Regional Municipality of Peel,
                        Chair, National Water Efficiency Committee, Canadian
                                            Water and Wastewater Association

    "As an Ontario company involved in the generation of solar power, this act
provides the exact framework that is required for sustainable business and
employment growth in Ontario. Solar generation projects create good
technology-based jobs in rural areas of the province which is good public
policy from any perspective."
                                          William A. Masek, President, Upper
                                                 Canada Solar Generation Ltd.

    "Addressing climate change requires a coordinated effort not only
continentally but globally. Through this legislation, the Government of
Ontario is moving the agenda ahead on the key issue of our time and we look
forward to working with our neighbors to the north on tackling global
warming."
                                        Frances Beinecke, President, Natural
                                            Resources Defense Council, U.S.A.

    "Roxul is committed to a green future for Ontario. Our insulation products
help people to save money as they save the planet - by consuming less energy
at home and at work. We believe that because of the Green Energy Act and its
conservation provisions, the future of green manufacturing in Ontario is
brighter than ever."
                                         Trent Ogilvie, President, Roxul Inc.

    "Clean Air Foundation has been working closely with the Ministry of Energy
for the last two years to help increase the uptake of solar technology in
Ontario. Clean Air Foundation has also pioneered some of the most successful
conservation programs. We congratulate Minister Smitherman for introducing
legislation that will help make it easier for Ontarians to install renewable
energy and look forward to working with the province to continue to increase
our energy conservation efforts."
                                        Ersilia Serafini, Executive Director,
                                                        Clean Air Foundation

    "Thirty five years after Canadians coined the term 'a conserver society'
we are finally seeing it embedded in meaningful legislation. Ontario's new
Green Energy Act will make it easier for communities and individuals to
conserve and even generate their own power. It's bringing power to the people.
Right on!"
                          Chris Winter, Executive Director, The Conservation
                                                          Council of Ontario

    "The Green Energy Act provides the province with a roadmap for a
sustainable and reliable electricity future. A future where large numbers of
renewable generation, conservation and demand management projects will be
successfully integrated into the electricity market to meet the power needs of
consumers. Accelerating transmission investments and smart grid advancements
will enhance the clean and efficient operation of Ontario's electricity
system."
                         Paul Murphy, President and CEO, Ontario Independent
                                                 Electricity System Operator

    "Premier McGuinty's new Green Energy Act represents the change in thinking
we need. Its far-reaching ecological and economic intent reflects Ontario's
ambitious commitment to fight climate change and promote renewable energy. The
promise of the Green Energy Act is clear - to transform Ontario into a low
carbon economy and create tens of thousands of new green jobs in its wake."
                                              Jenny Clad, Executive Director,
                                                    The Climate Project, USA


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                                                      ontario.ca/energy-news
                                                      Disponible en français
    





For further information:

For further information: Amy Tang, Minister's Office, (416) 327-6747;
Anne Smith, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, (416) 325-1810

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