Ontario To Build One Of World's Largest Solar Farms

    Part Of McGuinty Government's Initiatives For A Greener, Healthier

    TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - Ontario's electricity grid will soon get a
boost from 14 new renewable energy projects - including North America's
largest solar farm - awarded through the Standard Offer Program, Energy
Minister Dwight Duncan announced today.
    "The Standard Offer Program is transforming the way we generate
electricity in Ontario," said Duncan. "This program is giving Ontarians the
opportunity to help strengthen our energy system and clean up our air."
    One of the projects announced today is one of the world's largest solar
farms, to be built in Sarnia. OptiSolar Farms will install over one million
ground-mounted solar panels to convert solar power into electricity. This
project will comprise four solar farms and will contribute 40 megawatts to the
grid by 2010 - enough to supply electricity for 6,000 homes.
    "I am very pleased that our community was chosen as the site for this
major new project," said Caroline Di Cocco, MPP for Sarnia-Lambton. "It just
goes to show that Sarnia-Lambton has the right mix of infrastructure and
people, making it a great place to invest. I am very proud of the work that
everyone has done to make this happen."
    "The Ontario government has chosen to take a world-leading role in
encouraging the development of renewable energy, and the Standard Offer
Program is making things happen," said OptiSolar Farms vice-president Peter
Carrie. "Our goal is to make solar power a mainstream energy source."
    The projects include two residential-sized solar photovoltaic
installations, several 10-megawatt wind farms and two waterpower projects with
First Nations participation. The Gitchi Animki Bezhig project will produce
more than eight megawatts of electricity; the Gitchi Animki Niizh project will
produce 9.9 megawatts. All of the contracted projects are expected to be in
service by 2010.
    "This program continues to demonstrate Ontario's international leadership
in developing small renewable generation," said Paul Shervill, a
vice-president of the Ontario Power Authority, the developer and manager of
the Standard Offer Program. "But I am most pleased by the number, scope and
provincewide geography of the projects - it demonstrates that Ontarians are
truly engaged in our electricity future."
    Today's announcement brings to 36 the number of projects awarded under
the Standard Offer Program since February. Taken together, these projects will
generate 250 megawatts of renewable energy - enough to power more than 55,000
    Ontario's Renewable Standard Offer Program is the largest of its kind in
North America and is expected to add 1,000 megawatts of clean energy to the
grid over the next 10 years.
    For further information on the Standard Offer Program and tips on how to
become a small generator, visit www.powerauthority.on.ca/sop.
    All Ontarians have a role to play in making our province greener. The
government has already taken action by protecting a greenbelt that stretches
across southern Ontario from development, introducing tough new laws that
protect our drinking water, producing more renewable energy and doing more to
conserve electricity. But we know more needs to be done. That's why our next
step will be the announcement of a climate change plan - a step that will help
all Ontarians do their part to make our province cleaner and greener while
keeping the economy strong.

    Disponible en français.


    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Steve Erwin, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3546;
Sylvia Kovesfalvi, Communications Branch, (416) 327-4334

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