Toronto – Members of the Green Energy Act Alliance, a coalition of leading environmental groups, industry associations, farmers and labour groups, were at Queen’s Park today to congratulate the Liberals and NDP on the adoption of the Green Energy and Economy Act. The Act outlines an ambitious and globally significant strategy to improve conservation, increase renewable energy generation and create green jobs.
“We applaud the government and the NDP members of the Legislature for passing this groundbreaking legislation. Today, Ontario enters a new energy paradigm,” said Deb Doncaster, Campaign Chair of the Green Energy Act Alliance. “The Act is a clear signal to the global renewable energy community that Ontario is open for business.”
“The American Council on Renewable Energy congratulates Ontario and all of Canada for this outstanding leadership on the adoption of renewable energy,” said Michael Eckhart, President of the American Council On Renewable Energy. “This kind of policy leadership is beneficial not only from a climate and environmental point of view, but it is also an investment in new companies and new jobs.”
The Act aims to improve conservation programs, promote investment in renewable energy projects through North America’s first feed-in tariff program, and create green jobs. The Act, introduced in November 2008, is the cornerstone of the government’s plan to put Ontario on a path towards reducing Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions, while becoming a leader in the emerging global renewable energy sector.
“Less than a year after our World Wind Energy Conference in Kingston, the government of Ontario kept their promise and laid the foundation for a boom of renewable energy in the province, based on the first feed-in tariff legislation in North America,” said Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General of the World Wind Energy Association. “Today’s passing of the Ontario Green Energy Act represents an historic international milestone as the Act promises to be the most advanced piece of renewable energy legislation in North America.”
“Today’s adoption of the Green Energy Act by the Ontario Legislature represents an historic paradigm-shifting legal milestone in the imperative transition to a renewable energy system in North America,” said Dr. Hermann Scheer, General Chair of the World Council of Renewable and Member of the National Parliament of Germany.
A poll released in late April by the Green Energy Act Alliance demonstrated clear support across the province for the proposed Green Energy and Economy Act.  Eighty-seven per cent of respondents said they supported the proposed Green Energy and Economy Act and support was widespread across the province with 93 per cent support in Northern Ontario, 89 per cent support in Toronto and 88 per cent support in the GTA/905. Respondents predicted the top two benefits from the Act would be reducing greenhouse gases and creating jobs.
“The Ontario Federation of Agriculture works for a profitable and sustainable future for its members.  We see the Green Energy Act as an opportunity to achieve that,” said Don McCabe, Vice President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “We will work diligently with the government to make sure that proper regulations are achieved.”
“With today’s passage of the Green Energy Act, and the investments to support it, Ontario is starting down the road to a green jobs future,” said Ken Neumann, National Director of United Steelworkers of Canada. “The members of our union are ready and eager to produce the next generation of clean energy products and parts, such as steel for windmills and glass for solar panels. The future of manufacturing in Ontario lays, in part, in the green jobs of the future.”
“This is an exciting time for Ontario; it’s never been clearer that environmental solutions and economic solutions are one and the same,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “Today, Ontario not only takes action on its international obligation to reduce greenhouse gases and pollution, it becomes a leader in an emerging industry.”
A recent report released from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst estimated that 90,000 jobs per year could be created through investments in conservation, renewable energy and upgrades to Ontario’s electricity grid. The investment criteria used in the report is similar to the level of investment expected under the new Green Energy and Economy Act.
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.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521(c)
Deb Doncaster, Community Power Fund, (416) 824-4866 (c)
Bob Gallagher, United Steelworkers, (416) 544-5966; (416) 434-2221 (c)