Wind energy developments in Ontario can create more than 80,000 person years of employment and attract more than C$16 billion in private-sector investments in the next eight years, according to a new study that measured the economic impacts of the wind energy industry in the province.
The study, ‘The Economic Impacts of the Wind Energy Sector in Ontario 2011-2018,’ by ClearSky Advisors, was commissioned by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
The report quantifies the projected economic benefits associated with a growth in Ontario's installed wind energy capacity from 1,428 MW at the end of 2010 to over 7,100 MW by 2018. This scenario is consistent with the targets set out in the Ontario government's Long Term Energy Plan for energy supply for the period from now until 2018.
Over 2,000 MW worth of wind energy projects have already been signed and are to be constructed in this period. In addition to investment and employment figures, the report quantifies the projected benefits for landowners and municipal governments throughout Ontario.
‘The Green Energy and Economy Act and the Long Term Energy Plan have opened up the market in Ontario for wind energy and will allow faster growth than otherwise would be the case,’ says Tim Wohlgemut, co-founder and principal consultant at ClearSky. ‘Ontario has been put on the global map for renewable energy development, and this has the potential to create a significant number of highly skilled jobs and attract billions in investment to the province.’
Highlights of the report include the following:
– More than C$16 billion in private-sector investments will flow into Ontario, with approximately C$8.5 billion invested locally;
– Wind energy developments will contribute more than C$1.1 billion in revenues to local municipalities and landowners in the form of taxes and lease payments over the 20-year life span of the projects; and
– On an annual basis, the number of jobs created varies from a low of 5,708 person years of employment this year to a peak of 14,249 person years of employment in 2014.
The report notes that municipalities across Ontario are becoming more aware of the increase in tax revenues and local investment they receive as a direct result of wind farms. Domestic-content provisions for wind energy development will also boost local investment and employment, according to the report.