Ontario Energy Association

Ontario Energy Association

February 23, 2009 15:03 ET

Ontario Energy Association Applauds Introduction of Green Energy Act

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - The McGuinty Government's proposed Green Energy Act, introduced in the Ontario Legislature this afternoon, represents a bold public policy initiative aimed at establishing Ontario as a North American leader in renewable energy, conservation and the emerging Green Economy. The legislation is multi-faceted - focused on eliminating the barriers that have held up renewable energy projects in the past, creating additional opportunities for renewable energy and green jobs province-wide, and building new partnerships and delivery channels for conservation and energy efficiency.

The Ontario Energy Association (OEA) has long been a proponent for improved regulatory efficiency in support of a stronger, more competitive Ontario economy. "Clearly, there is a need for effective regulation that fully protects the broader public interest, public safety and the environment," said OEA President and CEO Shane Pospisil. "But there has also been an urgent need for more streamlined and transparent regulation to encourage and support the development of a range of projects - including cleaner, greener energy projects. We commend the government for the actions it is proposing to achieve a more balanced - yet fully effective - regulatory approvals framework for Ontario business."

The recent growth and development of renewable energy in Ontario has been quite remarkable, and the proposed Green Energy Act aims to further solidify Ontario's leadership and first-mover advantage. While the details and regulations associated with the proposed legislation are to follow, the OEA applauds the government's vision and remains committed to being an active and constructive stakeholder as these important pieces are put in place.

"Given the scope and severity of the current economic downturn, simply reacting to change will no longer be enough," Pospisil stressed. "Ontario must proactively and strategically set itself up to take full advantage of the business development opportunities available in the emerging Green Economy, which the government estimates could translate into as many as 50,000 direct and indirect Ontario jobs over the next three years. Other jurisdictions will also be aggressively chasing these opportunities and it is imperative that we begin to position ourselves, as the proposed legislation does, for continued success."

A diversified generation mix has long been a strength for Ontario. With the growing importance of renewable energy sources and the emergence of more environmentally-friendly technologies across all energy sources, a diverse and balanced energy portfolio should continue to be a key goal for the province.

"It is also critical that economic prudence and cost-effectiveness continue to be among the key guiding principles going forward," Pospisil added. "It is ultimately Ontario consumers - industrial, commercial, institutional and residential - who pay the bills in an increasingly price-sensitive environment. As such, those green energy and conservation-related projects that promise the greatest overall benefits are clearly the ones Ontario will want to pursue."

The Ontario Energy Association looks forward to working with Deputy Premier and Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman as the proposed Green Energy Act and associated regulations and strategies are further developed in the weeks ahead. The OEA views this as an extremely important piece of legislation and an opportunity - if we get it right - to seize the initiative and develop competitive advantage and capacity in what will most certainly be one of the major growth sectors in the global economy for years to come.

The 210-member Ontario Energy Association (OEA) is Ontario's premier energy trade organization, representing firms and organizations involved in the generation, transmission, distribution and marketing of electricity; and the transmission, distribution and marketing of natural gas across the province. OEA members together employ about 32,000 Ontarians and last year accounted for almost $35 billion in market revenues.

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