PC Party Bill 39 threatens Jobs and Investment for Ontario Farmers, Rural Communities and New College Graduates

Proposed Legislation Continues PC Party Misrepresentation of Wind Energy Costs and Benefits

OTTAWA, April 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario farmers and landowners, rural communities and new college graduates could be left in the cold by the passing of a PC Party Private Member's Bill which is scheduled for second reading debate in the Ontario Legislature tomorrow. The 'Ensuring Affordable Energy Act' (Bill 39), like several previous PC Party legislative proposals seeking a moratorium on wind energy development, is founded on the misperception that wind energy is responsible for increasing electricity costs in Ontario. Instead of reducing electricity costs, however, Bill 39 simply threatens future wind energy investment in Ontario at a time when wind energy projects are providing new job opportunities for Ontarians, enabling the construction of new manufacturing facilities, and providing an important new source of income to landowners and rural communities across the province.

"Right now there are literally thousands of Ontarians participating in the province's ground-breaking clean energy economy. Communities across this province - from Chatham-Kent to Frontenac Island, Tillsonburg to Niagara - stand to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in direct benefits from wind energy projects. Students in new renewable energy programs at Fanshawe College, St. Clair College and St. Lawrence College are currently graduating to 100 per cent employment in a homegrown industry. By continuing to incorrectly identify wind energy as the source of rising electricity costs in Ontario and advocate for an end to wind energy development, the PC Party threatens to pull the plug on new manufacturing, investment and jobs at a time when the province badly needs all three," said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

Ontario has proven itself a North American leader in attracting clean energy investment as the province updates its electricity system, replacing harmful coal generation with emissions-free sources like wind and solar. Ontario is now Canada's leader in the production of wind energy, with just over 2,000MW of installed capacity -enough to power over 600,000 homes with clean power every year.

"The PC Party continues to ignore a number of studies that have conclusively demonstrated that wind energy has made only a minor contribution to rising electricity costs in Ontario in recent years. Looking forward, Ontario will need new sources of electricity and wind energy is cost-competitive with virtually all potential new forms of power generation in Ontario, including those supported by the PC Party. Wind energy also produces clean electricity without creating hazardous waste, utilizing great amounts of fresh water from our Great Lakes, or increasing greenhouse gas emissions," said Hornung. "Wind energy continues to be a smart and economical choice for Ontario."

Statements in support of Ontario's wind energy development:

"The IBEW prides itself on providing an extremely competent workforce in the wind energy sector. 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."

  • Phil Flemming, International Vice-President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

"We began developing our strategies for renewable energies, not only wind but solar too, before the Green Energy Act was even established. We saw the economic opportunities from a revenue tax base perspective, as well as new job opportunities in Chatham-Kent."

  • Mayor Randy Hope, Chatham-Kent

"Wind energy provides an opportunity for Ontarians to directly participate in and benefit from clean energy projects in ways that traditional power plants do not. This is the future of decentralized, community-centred and emissions-free power."

  • Deborah Doncaster - Executive Director, Community Power Fund

"Direct investment into the community (from wind energy) has been quite significant."               

  • Valerie Kuhns, Niagara Economic Development Corporation

"Companies in the supply chain, as well as the Port of Hamilton, tap into the opportunities the wind sector presents…The story is not over yet."               

  • Jennifer Patterson, Senior Business Development Consultant, Hamilton Region

"Samuel looks at the wind energy market as a long term business. Because of this opportunity and the creation of Samuel Wind Energy, we have established ourselves not only as a supplier here in Ontario, but in all of Canada and the USA. We have expanded our business and client base."               

  • Bill Hutton, Corporate Vice President, Marketing & National Accounts, Samuel, Son & Co., Limited

"Starting up a new site for me is exciting. You've got 30 people on the project phase and you are all working together to put the wind turbines up. At the end of the day when you're driving home, you look back and you can see this tall turbine that you just helped put up. It's pretty rewarding."               

  • Philippe Baron, wind turbine technician at Greenwich Wind Farm, Thunder Bay

"The wind farm reflects the core values of the M'Chigeeng. The name of the project says it all. Traditionally, they've harvested what they need from Mother Earth, so wind is just another harvest..."               

  • Graham Findlay of Ottawa-based 3G Energy on the Mother Earth Renewable Energy wind project

"[Wind turbines] are also a welcome source of new revenue to smooth out ups-and-downs in commodity prices…It keeps us on the farm at low times. It gives us spending money, and that helps out the local community."               

  • Reinout von Martels, Farmer, Ridgetown

"It's exciting. It's new. I think it's the wave of the future. I mean it's clean, it's renewable. It's everything you look for in a green product."               

  • Andy Burdeney is enrolled in St. Lawrence College's two-year wind turbine technician program and, this spring, will be part of the program's third graduating class

"I am very pleased with the enthusiasm of the students that have signed up for the program. The students are here because they care about the environment, they care about the future and they especially care about working in the immediate area. They very much want to take their place in the economy and in the renewable energy sector but they are keen to do it right here in Southwestern Ontario"

  • Bruno Castellani, Professor/Coordinator, Fanshawe College, St. Thomas/Elgin Campus

"A renewable energy future is good for both the economy and the environment."

  • Cameron Howatt, Student in the renewable energies technician program at Fanshawe College, St. Thomas/Elgin Campus

"We wanted to innovate and be part of the solution so renewable energy seemed like the obvious choice for us. We think a lot about the triple bottom line that people talk about people, profit and planet."

  • Laura-Jean Bernhardson, CEO/Founder of Fresh Collective fashion boutiques. She chose to power all of her boutiques with green energy through Bullfrog Power.

Learn more about how wind energy is working for Ontario: www.windfacts.ca

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.

SOURCE: CANADIAN WIND ENERGY ASSOCIATION

For further information:

Ulrike Kucera, Media Relations Officer
Office: (613) 234-8716 ext: 228
Mobile: (613) 867-4433

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CANADIAN WIND ENERGY ASSOCIATION

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