Green Industries Applaud Canada’s Budget Proposal

Canadian Finance Minister Ralphy Goodale seems to have made an industry organization in Canada feel warm and green all over with the budget he presented for the Country. The Minister announced a number of incentives and programs that should make investments in low-impact renewable energy more attractive, according to the Clean Air Renewable Energy Coalition, and more profitable for the country, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

The Coalition has been pushing for renewable energy development mechanisms from the Canadian Government since the group was launched in late 2000. People were inspired to form the Coalition because of the Wind Power Production Incentive (WPPI) from the 2001 budget, the group said, and the measures announced should stimulate the business climate for renewable technologies. “These new federal government incentives and programs will support investments in innovation, economic growth, and a new energy infrastructure for the Canadian economy. It puts Canada on the radar screen for global investors in renewable energy,” said John Keating, CEO of Canadian Hydro Developers. “Previously, Canada wasn’t able to compete with other countries for lucrative, renewable energy investment dollars.” The wind energy industry in particular has a reason to look forward to new development with the proposed budget. An increase proposed for the WPPI would support 4,000 MW of installed capacity for wind energy in Canada, which is four times the initial target set for the incentive. The WPPI provides a payment of 1 cent per kWh to wind energy producers for electricity produced over a ten-year period. Incentives approved in the 2001 federal budget made funding available to support the deployment of 1,000 MW of wind energy in Canada through 2007, but these funds are likely to be fully committed sometime in 2005. Payments made through the WPPI helps to close the current cost differential between wind energy and other sources of electricity generation. “Installation of 4,000 MW of wind energy in Canada will generate approximately $6 billion in investment and will create more than 40,000 direct and indirect person-years of employment”, said Robert Hornung, the president of the CanWEA. “By expanding the WPPI program, the Government of Canada is helping to facilitate the creation of a domestic market large enough to support the manufacturing of wind turbines and related components in Canada.” Most of Canada’s best wind resources are located in rural areas, according to CanWEA, and wind energy developments also represent a significant rural economic development opportunity for the country. Such projects strengthen municipal tax bases, create jobs, and bring an additional source of income to landowners in areas of Canada that have often been hard hit by declines in other natural resource sectors. Countries such as the United States, most of Europe, India, Australia, and Japan, have established mechanisms to recognize the environmental attributes of renewable energy, the Clean Air Renewable Energy Coalition stated in their press release. Over the past year coalition members have stressed that investments in Green Power will provide a range of benefits for the country such as; creating a whole new industry for Canada, investing in innovation and sustainable renewable energy technologies, diversifying Canada’s energy supply, establishing made-in-Canada manufacturing facilities, developing regional economies, investing in new business capital and job creation, increasing industry competitiveness, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Low-impact renewable energy can provide an important part of Canada’s power needs without exhausting non-renewable energy resources or impacting the environment,” said Tom Marr-Laing, Director of Policy for the Pembina Institute. The Coalition recently put forward its “Vision of a Low-Impact Renewable Energy Future for Canada”, which outlines a goal to have low-impact renewable energy account for a minimum of 7 percent of Canada’s electricity production in 2010, and 15 per cent by 2020. An analysis of the employment impacts of the Coalition’s “Vision” document indicates that 20,000 jobs would be created by 2015 in meeting our goal. The Coalition said looks forward to working with the government as one of the key stakeholders at the table in the development of a National Renewable Energy Strategy. The Clean Air Renewable Energy Coalition is a group of corporate, environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and municipal organizations focused on accelerating the development of green power in Canada. The group is comprised of fourteen corporations, five environmental organizations and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
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