Wind Energy Expert Joins Ontario NGO

An internationally-recognized authority on the growth of wind energy has joined an Ontario group promoting renewable energy in Canada’s most populous province. Paul Gipe, the author of several books on the burgeoning field of wind energy, has joined the staff of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) in Toronto. Gipe, a Californian, is replacing the non-governmental organization’s executive director, Deb Doncaster.

Toronto, Canada – March 19, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “Ontario is at an energy cross-roads,” Gipe says about his decision to move to Toronto. “There’s an unparalleled opportunity for the province to develop a green electricity system. Ontario is in dire need of new generating capacity and the government has declared that this new generation should be clean. OSEA hopes to help meet that objective by providing clean, community-owned, renewable generation.” Gipe, who spoke in Toronto last fall about the success of wind energy in Europe, will be offering a series of presentations across the province on how Ontarians can develop community-owned wind generation. March 5 Gipe spoke to more than 900 people at a packed concert hall in Mississauga, Ontario. “I’ve haven’t seen such keen interest in wind energy here in North American in nearly two decades,” Gipe said. Currently there is less than 20 megawatts of wind energy in the province. There are a number of projects in the planning stages and the new provincial government will be requesting proposals for about 300 MW of new renewable generation. “This is a welcome start,” says Gipe, “but it falls far short of what’s needed.” Ontario Minister of Energy Dwight Duncan continues to reiterate the government’s commitment to phasing out the province’s coal-fired generation. Duncan, in a recent speech before the Energy Efficiency Alliance, said “ýthis is obviously going to createýmore demand for supply, and we’re going to have to be creative about how we find it.” Duncan added, “doing nothing is not an option.” According to Gipe, Ontario is ripe for a program similar to those in Germany, and Spain. Both countries employ what he calls “advanced renewable tariffs.” Spain, explains Gipe, installed 5,000 MW of wind generation within five years. Germany installed more than 14,000 MW in a little more than a decade. “They were only able to do so because they unleashed the power of the market to determine where and how much new wind generating capacity would be built,” Gipe said. “These countries were not dependent upon on-again, off-again, tax credits or cumbersome bidding systems.” Gipe suggests that “advanced renewable tariffs” are the kind of creative program Duncan is demanding. “Ontario can leap to the forefront of renewable energy development in North America if it has the will to look beyond its shores for successful models of renewable energy development.” Advanced renewable tariffs have enabled hundreds of thousands of Germans to develop, own, and operate their own wind and solar generation. And it’s this community ownership that is one reason why wind energy has been so successful in Germany,” Gipe said. Germany, with seven times more people than Ontario, produces nearly four percent of its electricity with wind energy. Wind turbines generate nearly 20 percent of Denmark’s electricity. There are nearly 80,000 people employed directly and indirectly in the wind industry in continental Europe. Most of the jobs are in countries with advanced renewable tariffs, such as Germany and Spain. “These are good jobs,” says Gipe. “They are manufacturing jobs. They are the kind of jobs that are in short supply here in North America. Our proposal for advanced renewable tariffs can stimulate the kind of dynamic market necessary to lure wind turbine manufacturers to Ontario. These tariffs will also enable farmers and rural communities across the province to become a part of the solution to the province’s electricity crisis.”
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