Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ontario FIT Program


Last week, Ontario opened two new emissions-free facilities under its feed-In-tariff (FIT) program.  The first large-scale projects in the province to actually become operational under Ontario's FIT program, these two power plants will not only produce clean power, but they will also help boost the province's economy by creating more green jobs for its residents.

One of the facilities is a 6.4-megawatt (MW) landfill gas plant in Ottawa, owned and operated by Waste Management of Canada Corporation.  This will convert landfill gas into enough green, renewable energy to power the equivalent of 6,000 homes a year.  The other facility, operated by Ledgecroft Farms, is a 500-kilowatt, biogas, medium-scale FIT project located on a dairy farm in Seeley's Bay.  According to reports, this second project will use cow manure to generate enough clean energy for 400 homes.  Both projects are located in eastern Ontario.
The Ledgecroft project is just one of many that agribusinesses across the province are likely to monitor closely - farm units are notoriously resource-hungry, and they also produce voluminous waste.  Jennifer Green, part owner of Ledgecroft Farms, says they are very excited to be on the leading edge of Ontario's green energy movement.  She adds, “there are no two systems more compatible than a dairy farm and biogas system.  The inputs of one become a fuel source for the other, which in turn provides immeasurable environmental benefits and improvements to our land, water, and air.” 

Ontario Power Authority (OPA) CEO, Colin Andersen, considers the launch of these two renewable energy facilities a "significant milestone for the FIT program and another major step in our strategy to create a clean, reliable electricity system."

More Green Jobs to Fuel the Ontario Economy
Apart from the recently-launched green energy projects, the Ontario Power Authority has announced 694 medium- and large-scale FIT projects over the last two months.  These use a range of different technologies, although photovoltatics account for the lion's share of approved ventures.  Roughly 200 of these projects are expected to be operational within a year, meaning that thousands of potential job opportunities await Ontario residents as the province moves forward with its ambitious plans for a green economy.

Ontario Leads Canada’s Green Energy Initiative
As one of the leading forces in Canada's sustainability movement, Ontario is quite serious about establishing a workable model for a clean energy ecosystem.  In the past seven years, the province has brought 1,300 MW of renewable power online.  In addition, Ontario is now home to the largest wind and solar farms in Canada.  These energy farms are vital to the development of Ontario's economy, since they provide jobs, build skills, and lessen the need for expensive energy imports.   

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