Green Energy Act: First in North America
Toronto - 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 complimented 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.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.
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.