Guelph, ON – Polling released today shows strong support for renewable energy in Ontario. The poll, conducted by Ekos Research Associates, found 74 per cent of Ontarians surveyed said phasing out coal and supporting renewable power was the right strategy for Ontario to pursue. And 81 per cent of those surveyed want to see more renewable energy in the province.

The poll, conducted on behalf of Environmental Defence, is part of a new report, Getting FIT: How Ontario Became a Green Energy Leader and Why it Needs to Stay the Course. The report, released today at Canadian Solar in Guelph, looks at how the province’s forward-thinking policy resulted in billions of dollars of investments in wind and solar power, prompted dozens of renewable energy manufacturing plants to set up shop in Ontario, and spurred the creation of tens of thousands of jobs. The report also shows how schools, First Nations, and thousands of individual Ontarians have participated in the province’s green energy boom.

“The Green Energy and Green Economy Act was a bold policy. While its implementation had challenges, the Act must be viewed as a success. It gave Ontario cleaner air, seeded robust renewable energy and clean technology industries, created thousands of green jobs and provided businesses and individuals the opportunity to participate in a green energy revolution,” says Keith Brooks, Clean Economy Program Director, Environmental Defence.

“Thanks to the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, Ontario now leads Canada on nearly every green energy measure, including renewable energy investment, wind and solar power installations, and clean economy jobs,” Brooks notes.

As renewable energy continues to grow globally and U.S. states and Canadian provinces plan to get off coal, Ontario is well-positioned to service the increasing demand for clean energy solutions. But, at present, the province plans to stop building renewable energy in 2021, which could put the future of Ontario’s green energy manufacturing sector in jeopardy, and make it difficult for the province to meet its targets to reduce carbon emissions. Ontario must recommit to the green energy industry it successfully established.

“The Green Energy and Green Economy Act is a great example of how tackling climate change can create economic opportunities. It’s the reason Ontario is Canada’s clean technology leader. Now’s not the time to walk away from that sector. It’s time to double down,” Brooks says.

Intended to feed into the review of Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan, the report recommends that Ontario:

  • Commit to procuring more renewable energy past 2021
  • Develop an export strategy to ensure Ontario captures a larger share of the global demand for clean power
  • Commit to phasing out natural gas-fired electricity generation to ensure emissions from electricity continue their decade-long decline
  • Disclose the fine print on the agreements to refurbish Ontario’s nuclear fleet so Ontarians have the information needed to ensure good decision-making and cost effectiveness

“Ontario must continue building wind and solar power to ensure emissions from the electricity sector continue to decline while supporting the tens of thousands of people that now work in clean energy in this province,” Brooks adds. “Ontario’s green energy policies have delivered multiple benefits to the province. And they’re popular with the public. Ontario needs to stay the course.”

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 258; 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca