New Ontario wind farm plants (615 MW) will create jobs and local benefits

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) celebrates the hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in local benefits that will come with the announcement today from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) on additional clean wind power projects in the Province.

The announcement involved new contracts for wind farm developments in the Ontario communities of Pickerel, Smithville, Simcoe and Stella. These four wind turbines projects represent an additional generation capacity of 615 MW, bringing the total FIT contacts awarded by the OPA to over 2,100 MW of new clean wind power projects to the people of Ontario.

"Wind energy’s growing contribution to Ontario’s electricity supply is making Ontario a leader in green energy production, and bringing much-needed jobs and economic opportunities to local communities," says Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) president Robert Hornung. "The wind energy industry is committed to working closely with municipal leaders and local residents, the Ontario government and the Ontario Power Authority to ensure wind energy developments in communities throughout Ontario are responsible and sustainable."

Wind farms provide lease income to landowners and new income for rural municipalities through property taxes and often through additional amenities agreements. A typical 100 MW wind farm can generate several hundred thousand dollars in tax revenue for municipalities and a similar number in annual lease payments for rural landowners. For rural communities that depend on natural resources with volatile markets and commodity prices, wind farms can be an important source of economic stability.

Under the government’s Long-Term Energy Plan, CanWEA estimates that wind energy will deliver a minimum:

* 800 people per year employed in construction of wind farms through 2018
* 2,300 full-time positions in operations and maintenance by 2018
* a significant increase in the 900 full-time manufacturing jobs that will already be in place to build major components by 2012

"The Green Energy Act was created to make Ontario one of the most attractive markets for wind energy in North America and to bring jobs and economic opportunities to the province," says CanWEA president Robert Hornung. "Today’s announcement is great news for Ontario, and for the communities hosting these new wind energy projects.

Jim Vanden Hoek, former mayor of Frontenac Islands near Kingston, Ontario, has said the already existing Wolfe Island wind development is "the best rural Ontario good news story that you will find. Annual income from the wind development has allowed this municipality to achieve sustainability and to reduce property taxes."

Canada currently has 4,155 MW of installed wind energy capacity. Ontario is the provincial leader in installed wind energy capacity with 1,598 MW of wind energy development.

CanWEA is the voice of Canada’s wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its more than 450 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada’s leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits.