Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty – one of the chief architects of the province's Green Energy Act (GEA), which established a feed-in tariff for renewable energy – has resigned, according to reports from several Canada-based media outlets.
Last October, Ontario's wind energy industry breathed a sigh of relief when pro-renewables McGuinty defeated Progressive Conservative Party candidate Tim Hudak, who had promised to repeal many of the GEA's core tenets and terminate a host of wind and solar energy initiatives that were already under way in the province.
However, McGuinty's green energy initiatives were often attacked by local residents, many of whom asserted that wind turbines were harmful to both human health and the environment, despite numerous studies debunking the claims.
In spite of the province's renewable energy successes, wind power, in particular, has become a controversial subject in Ontario. In 2011, the province announced a moratorium on offshore wind power, which later sparked lawsuits by wind energy developers that said their projects were already in the works.
In fact, some members of the Progressive Conservative Party are calling for a moratorium on all wind energy development in the province.
A successor to McGuinty has not yet been named, but industry experts believe the GEA will remain in place, at least for now.
‘As one of Canada's foremost champions of wind, McGuinty's leadership and support has been critical to Ontario's success,’ says Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). "The [Green Energy] Act is a policy of the liberal government, and we expect that to continue.’
Hornung adds that CanWEA will reach out to the provincial government to ensure it continues its renewable energy leadership and its efforts to increase Ontario's wind energy capacity.