Ontario Government Told to Support Renewables

An organization wants the province of Ontario to promote renewable energy when the electricity sector is restructured next year.

TORONTO, Ontario, CA, 2001-04-25 <SolarAccess.com> Opening the province’s electricity market will enable renewable energy to compete for power sales, says Patrick Gillette of the Ontario Clean Energy Coalition. The group was established following the announcement by Premier Mike Harris and Energy Minister Jim Wilson that the electricity market will open to competition by May of next year if a number of key conditions are met to enable a competitive electricity market. “We can help meet all four of the government’s key conditions, paving the way for a competitive electricity market,” says Gillette. Offering the additional choice of renewable energy would encourage new generation capacity, which would mitigate upward pressure on rates by adding new supply to the market and meet the Premier’s demand for the lowest possible costs to the consumer and more choice. It would help to ensure a reliable supply of power since, by definition, renewable energy sources are inexhaustible. The third condition is that there be adequate environmental safeguards, which is a key contribution from renewable energy sources, while the fourth condition is that there be new ways of doing business and ensure continued support for alternative power sources. “We see OCEC’s role as informing Ontarians that a competitive electricity market will mean a cleaner environment,” says Gillette. “Yet for that to happen, we also need a firm date from the government for opening the market to competition, and the sooner the better.” OCEC will involve energy officials who support the use of wind, solar, biomass, biogas and run- of-river hydro. Gillette is vice president of the Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation, a development company based near Toronto. For the renewable energy industry to take root in Ontario, Gilette says it needs to know exactly when it can start signing up customers. “The longer that process takes, the bigger the gap will become between Ontario’s electricity supply and its demand for power, because fewer companies will be willing to invest in building the necessary generating capacity owing to the continued delay,” he explains. “That’s why we want to help Ontario go clean, green and competitive in 2001.” Deregulation in Ontario has been delayed twice. The first postponement forced a number of green energy suppliers to leave the province.

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