Solar and Wind Power
Solar energy, either thermal or photovoltaic, has become the fastest-growing alternative energy technology in the world. With the GEA, Ontario has expressed a commitment to and timeline for commercializing alternative energy. Solar systems are being installed in residential and commercial buildings across Ontario - for example, Exhibition Place in Toronto has constructed a 100-kilowatt photovoltaic grid, the largest in Canada. WoodGreen Community Services, also in Toronto, hosts Ontario's largest solar thermal energy installation, which augments the hot-water supply of a multi-unit residential building. Canada's largest solar farm, which will produce 40 megawatts of electricity, is being built near Sarnia, with an additional 20-megawatt farm being planned at Sault Ste. Marie.
Ontario is also Canada's leader in wind power, with the country's two largest wind farms located in the province. In fact, Ontario's supply of wind power nearly doubled from 2007 to 2008. In November 2008, a 44-turbine wind farm near Port Alma, on the shores of Lake Erie, started operations. The Port Alma Wind Power Project will produce enough clean electricity for 30,000 households and create up to 70 new jobs. Local farmers will receive up to $300,000 per year for leasing their land. The energy generated will keep 300,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere every year - the equivalent of taking 62,500 cars off the road.
The Ontario Power Authority has also awarded long-term contracts for six new green energy projects. With a combined capital cost of $1.32 billion, these projects will help the province achieve its commitment to eliminate dirty, coal-fired generation by 2014 and maximize its development of renewable energy. About 2,200 jobs and 500 megawatts of renewable power will be generated as a result of these new projects - enough electricity for more than 120,000 homes.
A Greener Future
Investments in new renewable energy projects already in place or under construction in Ontario total about $4 billion. That number is expected to grow rapidly with the GEA and its emphasis on making it easier for investors to develop and commercialize renewable energy projects. The GEA will also attract responsible companies that want to conduct operations using cleaner technologies in jurisdictions that support efforts to manage environmental footprints and energy consumption.
Canada is well-positioned to become an international leader in green technology and alternative energy solutions. Its strategic location in North America, long-term government commitment to alternative energy generation, pro-business climate, generous R&D tax incentive programs, and advanced and diverse manufacturing capabilities make it a preferred location for green R&D and the manufacture of sustainable, alternative energy technologies and related components, service providers, and project developers.