The Ontario government has strengthened its commitment to wind energy through its updated Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP).
The LTEP envisions 10,700 MW of renewable energy in Ontario by 2018 and significant new transmission investment to support it. Wind energy will represent the strong majority of this development.
According to the Ontario government, the LTEP will create jobs in Ontario while cleaning the air and environment.
The 20-year energy plan creates a mix of clean power sources and shuts down all smog-producing coal plants. Other highlights of the LTEP include the following:
- Closing all coal units by 2014 and fast-tracking the closure of two more coal units in 2011, three years ahead of schedule;
- Creating 50,000 jobs in Ontario's growing clean energy economy;
- Increasing Ontario's power supply coming from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and bio-energy to 13% by 2018, up from 3% currently;
- Building the largest expansion in hydroelectric power in almost 40 years to get more power from Niagara Falls and the Lower Mattagami River;
- Securing clean and reliable nuclear power as a baseload for half of Ontario's power supply; and
- Moving forward immediately with five priority transmission projects to bring more clean power online, to serve changing demand while ensuring reliability.
According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), each 1,000 MW of new installed wind generation capacity represents approximately C$2.75 billion in private-sector investment and 1,000 jobs. It also provides a minimum of $3 million in annual lease payments for farmers and other rural landowners, as well as a similar amount in new taxes for rural municipalities.
Canada currently has 3,549 MW of installed wind energy capacity. Ontario is the provincial leader in installed wind energy capacity with 1,298 MW of wind energy development. Quebec and Alberta follow at 663 MW and 656 MW, respectively, and Canada's remaining seven provinces together account for the remainder.
Wind energy has increased tenfold in the last six years in Canada as governments seek ways to meet rising energy demand, reduce environmental impacts of electricity generation, and stimulate rural and industrial economic development.