Toronto – The Green Energy Act Alliance, a network of environmental groups, unions, farmers and industry associations, is pleased with yesterday’s announcement by the McGuinty government of proposed feed-in tariffs under the new Green Energy Act.  An effective Act and properly set feed-in tariffs can spark investments in renewable energy in Ontario, bring badly needed green jobs and help the province meet its international climate change obligations.
“The government has passed the first test. It has shown that it’s serious about renewable energy by setting a reasonable rate to start the conversations,” said Deb Doncaster, Executive Director of the Community Power Fund and Campaign Director for the Green Energy Act Alliance. “Now we will need to work together to get it right. We’re ready to bring all of our resources and expertise together to make sure we set the appropriate price so that renewable energy developers and producers bring jobs and investment to the province.”
Popular across Europe as a means of increasing renewable energy production and creating green jobs, a feed-in tariff guarantees a price per kilowatt hour of renewable energy for investors. The price is set depending on the type of electricity generation (solar, wind, hydro, biomass/biogas), the size of the project and other limiting factors.
Feed-in tariffs make renewable energy projects a reality by guaranteeing a market for the energy while ensuring that individuals and investors make a modest return on their investment. The proposed rates include distinguishing between types of renewable energy generation and the size of projects, ensuring that communities and individuals can benefit and participate as energy producers.
Geared at transforming buildings into power generators, the solar PV on residential rooftops and commercial buildings was a surprise to many community power activists, who welcomed the proposed rate structure.  Onshore and offshore wind generation also received different rates, recognizing the different costs associated with each of those technologies.
“My community power organization, the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC), has had a number of projects, both wind and solar, stalled because the prices under Ontario’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program were not high enough,” said Dr. Judith Lipp, Executive Director of TREC. “The proposed feed-in-tariff prices are well within the ballpark of ensuring these projects will be developed, and profitable.  Combined, we anticipate these projects would involve direct investment by 25,000 Ontarians.”
The government will use the preliminary rates announcement to consult with a variety of stakeholders over the coming months, including the Green Energy Act Alliance. International feed-in tariff expert Paul Gipe has traveled to Ontario to be on hand for the coming months as the government makes these important decisions on feed-in tariff rates.
“If we’re going to make a move against climate change and towards a green economy, the government needs to show the international community why it should invest renewable energy dollars in Ontario,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “With this announcement of a competitive feed-in tariff, the government is on the right track.”
The Green Energy Act Alliance’s recommendations for an effective Green Energy Act can be found online at www.greenenergyact.ca
About the Green Energy Act Alliance: 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 and the Pembina Institute. www.greenenergyact.ca
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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)