George Smitherman,
Deputy Premier and
Minister of Energy
and Infrastructure,
Toronto, ON, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 25, 2009 – New “green” legislation is being proposed in Ontario to boost renewable energy and economic growth and to create a culture of conservation.

The proposed bill, the Green Energy Act (GEA), is aimed at ensuring a green economic future for Ontario by building a stronger, greener economy with new investment creating well paying green jobs – a projected 50,000 jobs in the first three years – and better protecting the environment, combating climate change and creating a healthier future for generations to come.

The proposed GEA comprises two thrusts – making it easier to bring renewable energy projects to life, and fostering a culture of conservation by assisting homeowners, government, schools and industrial employers to transition to lower energy use.

Some of the key proposals to expand renewable energy include creating a new attractive feed-in tariff regime, establishing the “right to connect” to the electricity grid for renewable projects, establishing a streamlined approvals process with service guarantees for renewable projects, and implementing a smart grid in Ontario.

Key conservation measures proposed include establishing North American leading energy efficiency standards for household appliances, making energy efficiency a central tenet of Ontario’s Building Code, making more energy efficient products more available to more consumers, and making mandatory home energy audits prior to the sale of homes.

The proposed GEA should encourage billions of dollars in investment to help ensure Ontario’s energy supply mix is one of the cleanest anywhere, according to the province’s ministry of energy and infrastructure in a statement.

The proposed legislation would also enable the government to set domestic content requirements for renewable energy projects, leading to increased job opportunities in Ontario. In addition it would drive new economic opportunities for local communities, First Nations and Métis communities to build, own and operate their own renewable energy projects, and would provide resources for municipalities and Aboriginal communities.

“There exists today a global race to establish the policies, attract the investment and build the foundation for the green economy that is sure to sustain future prosperity and progress,” said George Smitherman, deputy premier and minister of energy and infrastructure. “It is a race Ontario is determined to win. This proposed legislation would help Ontario become the preferred destination for green jobs, green investment and green energy.”

The proposed legislation has been widely welcomed by the industry. Ken Elsey, president and CEO of the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, commented: “Today’s introduction of a Green Energy Act is about to launch Ontario into a leadership position in the race to be the most energy efficient economy in Canada and maybe the world. While the initiatives recently introduced by President Obama in the U.S. created a lot of envy within our organization – this move by Ontario gives us a lot to be proud of.”

Paul Murphy, president and CEO of the Independent Electricity System Operator, added: “The Green Energy Act provides the province with a roadmap for a sustainable and reliable electricity future. A future where large numbers of renewable generation, conservation and demand management projects will be successfully integrated into the electricity market to meet the power needs of consumers. Accelerating transmission investments and smart grid advancements will enhance the clean and efficient operation of Ontario’s electricity system.”