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Investment in grid supports green energy

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2009

Investments in Ontario's electricity grid will support renewable energy

Minister of Energy and Infrastructure announces important new investments in electricity grid that will create jobs and facilitate green energy

Toronto - At the 25th Canadian Wind Energy Association conference earlier today, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman announced a key measure to support green energy in Ontario – important upgrades to Ontario's aging electricity grid. The announcement will allow renewable energy generation in parts of the province that were otherwise unsuitable because the energy could not reach key markets.

"By making this announcement, the government is laying the foundation for renewable energy in Ontario" said Deb Doncaster, Executive Director of the Community Power Fund. "Transmission and distribution systems are key to a distributed energy systems and allow community-owned and aboriginal projects to compete with large scale energy producers."

The province set in motion its plan by directing Hydro One, owner of a majority of transmission systems in the province and owned entirely by the province of Ontario, to proceed with 20 new transmission projects across the province. These transmission upgrades are designed to support areas with high green energy potential including regions in the north, east and southwest.

Upgrading the province’s transmission and distribution systems are key parts of the government’s strategy to create jobs and facilitate economic growth embedded in the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. The government predicts that these upgrades will create 20,000 jobs in the province over the next three years.

"We are glad to see the government is moving forward aggressively to establish the framework for Ontario's new energy economy," said Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers National Director,  "Utilizing its commitment in the Green Energy Act to provide significant local procurement requirements, the government will create even more jobs putting people back to work manufacturing the steel for towers and other components for these plans."

The announcement includes upgrades to 20 core transmission lines that will enhance reliability and capacity for green energy across the province. In addition, the announcement includes the development of several enable transmission lines to services areas with high renewable energy potential.

"The government’s announcement today offers every one of us the opportunity to become energy entrepreneurs by ensuring that any clean energy we produce, whether that be wind power, solar energy or biogas, will be able to feed into the electricity grid for a fair and profitable price" said Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. "Now municipalities, First Nations, farmers and energy co-operatives can become power proponents, reducing greenhouse gases and smog while creating potentially thousands of jobs in their communities."

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

 

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Mike Layton, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 257; (416) 525-5758(c)

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