Think Ontario if you are thinking green

- Canada expects to be pulling out of its recession by the middle of the year. Lending actually rose in December. Credit, for the most part, is flowing normally.

The reason? Canada has the wisdom to properly regulate its banks. Banks there have plenty of cash on hand to lend to creditworthy consumers and businesses. They’ll survive the global financial mayhem.

The recession north of the US border is expected to be painful, but brief, even shorter than that of the early 1990s. So short, in fact, its time to start thinking ahead, thinking about growth and thinking about renewable energy and electric cars.

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA), the regulatory agency responsible for ensuring a reliable, sustainable supply of electricity for Ontario, has just awarded not one, or two, or three, four or five, but six long-term contracts for power from wind energy projects. The contracts will lead to the construction of 500 megawatts of wind capacity and help Ontario in its goal to eliminate power generated from coal-fired power plants by 2014.

The wind farms will make jobs too. OPA expects 2200 direct and indirect jobs to be created. The direct jobs are those in the construction, management and maintenance of the wind farms. Indirect jobs will be in the manufacturing of building materials and services such as engineering design, legal, accounting and real estate.

Aside from the availability of clean power for Ontarians, landowners who host wind turbines are expected to receive about $3 million each year in lease payments. Municipalities will receive about $1 million per year in tax revenues.

Together the projects will cost about $1.32 billion. All of the projects are expected to be complete by 2012 and the power contracts are for 20 years.


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