Photo: Standing up for Ontario's clean energy vision

Wind turbines in North Kent, ON. (Credit: Sharon Drummond via Flickr)

By Ryan Kadowaki, Climate Change and Clean Energy Program Coordinator

The David Suzuki Foundation's longtime slogan has been "Solutions are in our nature." This is not only a mantra for the organization; it's also encouragement for our society to pursue strategies that reduce our impact on the planet. A recent example of solutions being identified and implemented is Ontario's commitment to clean up its energy sector.

Ontario's decision to phase out coal-fired power by 2014 has resulted in a dramatic decline in the province's greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. In just two years, the GHG emissions from Ontario's electricity production fell by more than half. To put this in perspective, the reduction in this one sector is larger than the combined total carbon footprints of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and all three territories.

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This aggressive purging of coal has been coupled with a push to install more renewable energies such as wind and solar. The passage of the Green Energy Act has allowed Ontario to lead Canadian provinces in installed wind capacity and to become second in the entire continent for installed solar capacity. Ontario's vision of rapidly shifting the province away from fossil fuel-based electricity has resulted in billions of dollars in investment.

Unfortunately, the deployment of renewable energy has come under attack from a small but vocal group that is calling for a moratorium on wind power in the province. It is critical that government continue to pursue the long-term sustainability of its energy supply and not move backwards on this issue. Please send a letter, put together by our friends at Environmental Defence, and let your elected officials know what a clean energy present and future means for Ontario's environment and the health of its communities. Help Ontario continue to be a provincial leader in finding solutions to climate change and air pollution.

March 7, 2012

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Apr 12, 2012
2:00 AM

The feed-in tariff included in Ontario's Green Energy Act is key to attracting investment in solar, wind and other clean energies. Investor confidence is boosted when the government sends a strong signal — through policy commitment — that it will provide a stable environment for clean energy investment with predictable returns in the long-run. On the flip side, inconsistent govt policy spooks investors:

Mar 10, 2012
11:04 AM


You bet solar is a great investment — for you. Since you get the power at $0.08 and sell it to the province at $0.80.

Everyone else in ontario might call that a classic boondoggle.

Mar 09, 2012
3:29 PM

Wait! Wasn't there just a big report on how Ontario's about to go broke? Isn't it true that Ontario customers pay extraordinary prices for power?

Ontario recently had a program in which it contracted with individuals to buy solar power from those individuals at 10x market rates for 20 years.

Doesn't the David Suzuki Foundation understand that government that are broke can't provide subsidies for clean energy?

Mar 08, 2012
9:14 PM

Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia were once mocked but are now medically recognized however there are no definitive scientific tests. It is arrogant and heartless that we ignore the symptoms of people affected in turbine areas. In Ripley it wasn't the neighbours complaining but the landowners withturbine leases that were bought out by the wind companies and put under a gag order. Even though we have the furthest setbacks in Ont no one knows if even tht is safe as we have rushed in in haste. Why the hurry? There is no energy shortage, we overproduce and sell cheaply to the states,even losing money. Why not get it right before forging blindly ahead? Because the wind companies know the world is waking up to the scam. Parliament is pressing Cameron in the UK, Spain has pulled the subsidies and Germany is no longer putting up turbines but opening NEW coal plants. Not what I would have hoped for either but wind is only a money grab for offshore corporations. Jess pencil it out. 40 to 80 cents per solar contact,14 for wind plus 437 million in subsidies. We now pay between 4-7 for hydroelectricity. Who will pay the difference? That's why rates are going up. Companies that are electricity intensive for production have already left for cheaper pricing in Quebec, more will follow.

Mar 08, 2012
7:29 AM

The plan in Ontario has been a tremendous success because the promotion of wind turbine development was coupled with a commitment to eliminate the use of coal within our borders. That's the way to do it, that amount of coal consumption is gone for good. We need to pay more attention to the siting of the turbines and increase community involvement as happens in countries like Denmark if we want Wind to have a reputation that matches it's promises.

Mar 07, 2012
5:56 PM

It is deathly important that we remain intent upon turning the tide of energy production away from the tried and too obviously detrimental oil/coal industries.

Mar 07, 2012
5:01 PM

I live in Ontario and I participated in the GEA by getting solar panels on my house. I have to say it was a great investment. I see the signs in protest of wind energy all the time. I don't think the groups claims are founded in solid science as there have not been a great deal of studies published that support their claims. Due to the lack of solid information on this topic I feel it best for wind turbines to continue to follow strict guidelines when it comes to their placement.

In addition, I'd like to add that the conservative opposition and it's supporters in Ontario like to blame the green energy act for increasing electricity costs without thinking about how much maintenance on our aging nuclear reactors and new power lines to support sprawling communities are contributing to these costs. I'd like to see the DSF examine and hopefully debunk some of the claims in the auditor's report that blame the GEA for job losses and increasing cost of electricity.


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