From: Center for Environmental Economic Development and David Suzuki Foundation
Published October 27, 2004 03:19 PM

Canadian Province Renewable Energy Gold Mine

TORONTO - Renewable energy initiatives can add over $9 billion and create 25,000 new jobs by 2010 to the Canadian Province of Ontario, according to a new report from the David Suzuki Foundation.

"Many countries around the world are already reaping the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy," said scientist and broadcaster David Suzuki. "Ontario seems to be unaware it is sitting on a goldmine that will solve its electricity and air pollution problems."

Like many states in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, the province faces the prospect of replacing polluting coal plants and upgrading its aging electricity infrastructure. Concerns about air pollution have prompted a promise by the Ontario government to close down its five coal-fired electricity power plants by 2007 creating a supply-demand imbalance of about 7,500 megawatts.

The report describes how energy balance can be restored more efficiently and cheaply by investing in renewable energy and conservation.

For example, the report explains how Ontario could install 8,000 megawatts of wind power by 2012, generating about nine percent of current electricity demand. Doing so will produce nearly $14 billion in economic benefits and create 5,000 wind industry jobs.

"Wind energy offers a new cash crop for Ontario farmers, potentially pumping billions into the rural economy," said Paul Gipe, author of the report's wind chapter. "Wind turbines require only a very small land area, in some cases allowing farmers to plow to the base of the towers. Farmers, by either leasing their land to wind developers or by installing the wind turbines themselves, can earn tens of thousands of dollars per year in revenue while continuing to produce their traditional crops."

The report, authored by leading experts in the field, summarizes the potential of five sources of renewable energy - wind, hydropower, biomass, geothermal and solar. It analyzes the economic benefits for each source and makes specific policy recommendations on how to rebuild Ontario's power system with renewable energy.

"Our report shows how the Ontario government can go a lot further," said Dr. Suzuki. "Ontario has the opportunity to position itself as a North American leader in renewable energy."

Renewable energy will also fuel the development of a vibrant new industry in Ontario. For example, Canada's first full-scale solar manufacturing plant opened in June 2004 in Cambridge, Ontario. Spheral Solar will create 200 jobs and add $100 million to the Canadian economy by the end of 2005. However, the primary markets for the Cambridge company are international. Changes in public policy could create significant opportunities here at home for this and other companies.

"It's time for Ontario's priorities to change," said Dr. Suzuki.

The report, Smart Generation: Powering Ontario with Renewable Energy, shows how Ontario can:

  • Create 25,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2010 and 77,000 jobs by 2020.
  • Install more than 12,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2020 - enough electricity to phase out Ontario's coal plants.
  • Produce nearly $14 billion in economic benefits by installing 8,000 megawatts of wind energy alone.
  • Use renewable energy to replace natural gas and electricity currently used for heating and cooling homes, offices and industries in Ontario.
  • Create a culture of conservation to help reduce demand for electricity in the first place, and save consumers money.

    Download a copy of the full report or its 16-page summary:

    For more information, contact:
    Sarah Marchildon
    Communications specialist
    David Suzuki Foundation
    Vancouver: 604-732-4228, ext. 237

    Morag Carter
    Director, climate change program
    David Suzuki Foundation
    Toronto: cell 778-386-1448

    Daniel M. Ihara, Ph.D.
    Executive Director
    Center for Environmental Economic Development (CEED)
    Arcata, CA: (707) 82-8347

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