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Early Closure of Coal Plants Opens the Way for More Green Energy and Community Power

by NationTalk on September 8, 2009313 Views

Toronto – Members of the Green Energy Act Alliance, a coalition of leading environmental groups, industry associations, farmers, First Nations and labour groups welcomed the government’s announcement today that four coal units will be closed early. The Alliance is confident that renewable energy can easily make up the difference.”This is really exciting news for the environment and the future of Ontario’s green energy economy. The closure of the coal plants should open up capacity on the grid system to take an additional 2,000 MW of renewable energy,” said Deb Doncaster, executive director of Ontario’s Community Power Fund who headed the successful campaign for the Green Energy Act.

Community groups, including energy co-ops, Aboriginal groups and local organizations, have approximately 400 MW of renewable energy projects in the pipeline that could easily be built to make up the shortfall from the coal plants. “Each MW of community power will generate ~$208,000 of retained earnings for Ontario’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities,” Doncaster said.

The Alliance praised the Ontario government and its affiliates, such as the Ontario Power Generation, for continuing to show leadership and move forward the evolution from fossil fuels to renewables.

“Such a transformation requires the participation of all Ontario institutions and residents. People want to become players in the renewable energy sector, whether that is by installing solar panels on the roofs of their homes and community centre or by investing in wind farms,” said Kristopher Stevens, executive director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. “The Green Energy Act offers everyone, from OPG to Ontario citizens, real incentives to become green power producers.”

Polls continue to show that Ontario residents want the government to do more to address climate change. This includes shutting dirty coal plants as well as developing more renewable energy.

“With the world set to gather in Copenhagen in December to chart a new course to fight global warming, this leadership from Ontario is decisive and perfectly timed. It sets a positive example that all governments can follow. We congratulate the Ontario government for this leadership and urge even further action to shift Ontario towards non-polluting energy sources as soon as possible,” said Dr. Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, a member of the Green Energy Act Alliance.

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