TORONTO, March 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Environmental Defence applauded the changes to green energy policy announced today by the Government of Ontario. The changes to the Feed in Tariff (FIT) Program, North America's leading renewable energy program, outline a clear mandate to expand renewable energy and create new jobs in the province.
"Though the weather may be hot, today's announcement is sure to lower the temperature on this debate and get people focused on what's important: reducing carbon and smog pollution, creating clean energy jobs in Ontario, and ensuring that Ontario communities are directly engaged in expanding renewable energy in the province," said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.
The FIT program is a central part of Ontario's Green Energy Act, designed to spur investment in renewable energy and create new jobs. Since the FIT program started, enough wind and solar projects have been approved to replace the equivalent of four major coal power plants. Global warming emissions from generating electricity in the province are now two thirds lower than they were in 2003.
The green energy program is now continuing on a much stronger footing thanks to more competitive prices for solar and wind, greater collaboration with municipalities, and new rules to help communities build their own renewable energy projects.
"Today's announcement to reduce FIT prices is a sign that the program is working because the program exists to help to make clean, safe renewable technologies more affordable," added Smith.
The changes also improve Ontario's role as a green technology powerhouse by growing our renewable energy industry with an eye to exporting technology and expertise. As a result of the Green Energy Act, an estimated 20,000 new jobs have already been created.
Ontario can now get back to leading the world in the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a modern green economy.
Important changes to the FIT program:
- Community groups are being given a greater opportunity to develop and own their own projects.
- By moving up targets to build 10,700MW of renewable power from 2018 to 2015, the renewable energy industry has more confidence to invest and hire new employees.
- Lowering FIT rates to reflect the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy equipment like solar panels means renewable energy is cheaper for everyone.
- New rules to improve municipal consultation and participation in projects will reduce conflict.
Environmental Defence participated in the FIT review as part of a joint submission from the Green Energy Act Alliance and the Shine Ontario Association. It can be downloaded here: http://environmentaldefence.ca/reports/ontario-feed-in-tariff-2011-review
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada's most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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