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Ontario’s clean energy sector is booming

February 8, 2011

The boys in the BCCGE mailroom spotted something very interesting this morning while sifting through the mail and email. 

It was an article on Business Wire indicating that “Ontario has already attracted more than $16 billion in private sector investment in the clean energy sector, and over 20 companies have announced plans to set up or expand operations in Ontario.”

The article is a great example of the multiplier effect that clean energy development can have on an economy.

As everyone knows, Ontario became Canada’s clean energy leader when they enacted the Ontario Green Energy Act in 2009.  B.C. followed with its own Clean Energy Act last year (2010).

It goes without saying, of course, that B.C. and Ontario have very different energy contexts. 

Here in B.C. we have a wealth of renewable green energy resources to draw from: wind, run-of-river, geothermal, conventional hydro, biomass, solar, wave and tidal. 

And we already generate 93 percent of our electricity from clean, hydroelectric sources.

In Ontario, however, they’ve long relied on coal-fired and nuclear power plants for the bulk of their electricity.  Changing that situation, and attracting investments in clean energy, is what the Ontario Green Energy Act is designed to do.

And the strategy seems to be working. 

As the Business Wire article states: “In 2003, Ontario had 19 polluting coal units and no solar projects online. Today more than 2,900 solar projects are feeding electricity into Ontario’s grid, eight coal units have already been shut down and by 2014 all coal units will be closed.”

The article goes on to state that “Ontario’s long term energy plan forecasts 10,700 MW of renewable energy – wind, solar and biomass – by 2018,” which is enough to meet the annual electricity needs of two million homes.

The Business Wire article also references a new joint venture between Celestica Inc. and Recurrent Energy (a subsidiary of Sharp Corporation) that “will create up to 300 high-quality manufacturing jobs and up to 2,000 additional construction jobs while delivering over 200 megawatts of new solar generation – enough to power more than 25,000 homes.”

Celestica and Recurrent “have partnered to manufacture solar components at the Celestica facility in Toronto” which are to be used in “new solar projects they will be building in the province.”

Needless to say, it’s always interesting to take a peek at how our compatriots in other parts of the country are faring with their clean energy objectives. 

And it never fails to remind us how fortunate we really are here in B.C. to have so many easily-accessed, cost-effective renewable energy resources at our fingertips.  We truly are blessed here in this great province.

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