Renewable Power’s Responsibility to Deliver in Ontario

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  • June 20, 2014

With the majority win of the Liberal government there is a new challenge to show the industry’s true value.

June 20, 2014

By Marlo Raynolds, VP – Market Development

On the evening of Thursday, June 12, the renewable energy sector was delivered a huge cup of comfort with Premier Wynne’s majority win in the Ontario election. But this win comes with a serious responsibility for the renewable energy sector in Ontario. With four years of political stability, demonstrating the real value we can deliver as a sector for the Ontario economy.

Ontario has come a long way since 2003, with a system that relied on imports and coal-fired power. The Liberal government made a serious investment in renewable energy and it put Ontario on the map attracting investment from all over the world. Over the past few years we have seen one of the most rapid deployments of renewable energy anywhere. In Ontario more than 420 megawatts of new wind capacity was commissioned in 2013, representing $1 billion in new investments. 99% of all solar photovoltaic installations in Canada are in Ontario and the solar industry employs approximately 8,000 people and generates direct and indirect annual revenues of $2 billion. Investment translates to considerable economic benefits from the supply chain supporting these projects in local communities.

Ontario was the main reason that Canada experienced increased levels in clean energy investment last year, representing 26% of Canada’s new wind energy capacity installed in 2013.

Along with this, Ontario is also becoming a global clean tech leader with 35% of the nation’s clean tech companies based in the province. Ontario now has a similar level of solar photovoltaic manufacturing capacity as Germany.

Ontario’s green energy policies were first about investment and developing a new sector. It worked, but it came at a price. There were ‘bumps in the road,’ as to be expected in trying to develop any new industry of this scale. The people of Ontario now expect, and deserve, to see the return on this investment.

This needs to start with the next generation of renewable power procurement resulting in reduced power prices from the original feed-in-tariff rates. I believe the sector is ready to deliver on this. It also means the jobs created must further grow, and again we can deliver on this; especially as Ontario becomes positioned to export its expertise and products. As developers, investors, suppliers, and manufacturers, we must deliver value to Ontarians. The Long-Term Energy Plan creates space for the renewable energy sector to show its true value. We have four years to prove ourselves, let’s make sure we do so.