Ontario, Canada, proposes renewables legislation

Ontario, Canada, is proposing sweeping new legislation to attract new investment, create new ‘green economy jobs’ and better protect the climate.

If passed, the Green Energy Act (GEA) would help the Government ensure Ontario’s green economic future by building a stronger, ‘greener’ economy with new investment, creating a projected 50,000 green collar jobs in the first three years, and more economic growth for Ontario.

The proposed GEA contains a series of coordinated actions with two equally important thrusts: making it easier to bring renewable energy projects to life, and promoting energy efficiency.

Quick facts

  • Ontario has already brought about 1 GW of new renewable energy on-line since October 2003;
  • Canada’s two largest windfarms are located in Ontario and by the end of 2009, nearly 1.2 GW of wind capacity will be on-line;
  • Investments in new renewable energy projects already in place or under construction in Ontario total about CA$4 billion;
  • To date, the Ontario Home Energy Savings Program has provided CA$38 million to assist homeowners with over 42,000 energy-efficient retrofits.

The proposed GEA, and the expected regulatory changes and policies that would flow from it, include a range of measures. Among the most notable elements are:

  • Creating a new attractive feed-in tariff regime – a pricing system for renewable energy – that will guarantee rates and help spark new investment in renewable energy generation, increase investor confidence and access to financing;
  • Establishing the ‘right to connect’ to the electricity grid for renewable projects;
  • Establishing a streamlined approvals process, including providing service guarantees for renewable energy projects and a Renewable Energy Facilitator;
  • Appointing a Renewable Energy Facilitator to offer one-window assistance and support to project developers in order to facilitate project approvals;
  • Streamlining approvals for large transmission projects;
  • Establishing province-wide standards for renewable energy projects – like standardised setback requirements for windfarms. Approval processes for renewable energy projects would continue to ensure high safety and environmental standards;
  • Helping local communities to build and operate their own renewable energy generating facilities, including support for community projects;
  • Implementing a smart power grid in Ontario, making it easier to connect renewable energy generation to the system; and
  • Offering incentives for small scale renewables, such as zero or low-interest loans to assist homeowners in financing the capital cost of residential renewables.

The GEA will also include measure on energy efficiency including making energy efficiency a central tenet of Ontario’s Building Code.

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Bioenergy  •  Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Geothermal  •  Green building  •  Other marine energy and hydropower  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling  •  Wave and tidal energy  •  Wind power