In a boost to its bid to be a leader in green energy, the Canadian province of Ontario has won a multi-billion-dollar wind and solar power project. The province’s government, led by premier Dalton McGuinty, negotiated the agreement with a consortium fronted by Samsung C&T Corporation and the Korea Electric Power Corporation.

The consortium will invest $7bn to generate 2500 watts of wind and solar power. In what he views as a “step for Ontario to become the place to be for green energy manufacturing in North America”, Mr McGuinty says: “We will be delivering more green energy for Ontarians to use – and more green energy products for North America to buy.”

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Green Energy Act bears fruit

The agreement stems from Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which was launched in 2009 with the aim of creating opportunities for developers and investors. It offers a system of advanced renewable energy tariffs, a green energy debt finance programme and a community power corporation.

“We commend Ontario for creating a welcoming climate for green energy investment,” says Samsung C&T Corporation CEO Sung-Ha Chi. “Samsung… looks forward to working with Ontario residents and businesses to create clean, green power.”

The consortium qualifies for Ontario’s fee-in tariff prices. Created in September 2009, the system guarantees a price per kilowatt hour of renewable power generated, based on the technology used and the size of the project.

The consortium is also eligible for an ‘economic development adder’, which is contingent upon the consortium’s manufacturing partners operating four manufacturing plants. Thus, towers and solar inverters will be fully operational by March 2013, the solar module assembly by December 2013 and blades by the end of 2015.

In total, these projects are expected to provide an estimated 110 million megawatt-hours of emission-free electricity over 25 years. With this new agreement, the government is planning to triple the province’s output from renewable wind and solar sources. The project should also provide clean electricity to more than 580,000 households.

One of the aims of the Green Energy Act is to create new jobs in the field of renewable energy. More than 16,000 jobs should be created over six years, during the construction, installation and operation of renewable energy projects and in manufacturing plants. Indirect employment should also be created in many sectors, such as finance, consulting and other manufacturing, service and development industries. Mr McGuinty’s government expects this project to bring $7bn of renewable generation investment into the province.

Since 2003, Ontario has developed more than 1200 megawatts of new projects in the domain of renewable energy, which represents $2.8bn of investments. Via the Green Energy Act, the province expects to attract even more major investments in the sector, lending weight to its ultimate goal of becoming the biggest green energy provider in North America.