According to a Toronto Star report, Ontario may be shifting in its energy policy, marking a significant reentry into the renewable energy sector after a hiatus of five and a half years.
This change comes with Energy Minister Todd Smith’s announcement of a call for 2,000 megawatts of non-emitting power generation, including wind, solar, hydro, and bioenergy.
This move is seen as a “come-to-green-power” moment for Premier Doug Ford and a marked reversal from the government’s previous stance on renewable initiatives.
Previously a leader in solar and wind energy, Ontario experienced a significant change in its energy landscape when Doug Ford became Premier in 2018.
Ford’s administration halted construction and terminated partially-built renewable projects, citing costs and concerns about rising hydro bills. This shift led to a decline in the province’s clean energy generation from 94 percent non-emitting to 89 percent, adversely affecting Ontario’s ability to attract businesses seeking low-carbon electricity.
However, the recent announcement by Energy Minister Todd Smith indicates a reversal of this trend.
The call for 2,000 megawatts of clean energy, which accounts for about 5 percent of the province’s total electricity generation, signals Ontario’s renewed commitment to cleaner energy practices. This initiative is a progressive step towards embracing green solutions’ undeniable benefits, including job growth, investments, and prosperity within Ontario communities.
Evan Pivnick, Program Manager at Clean Energy Canada, welcomed the decision, noting it as “definitely overdue” and highlighting the favorable business case for renewables given the recent cost reductions.
The cost of renewable energy, particularly solar, has decreased significantly, with solar now being the most economical energy source in history. Smith indicated that this announcement is just the beginning, with plans for an additional 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy to follow in a “regular cadence” of new generation.
While climate analysts and professionals in the renewable energy sector have applauded Ontario’s announcement as a step in the right direction, they also note that the province’s commitment is less ambitious compared to other regions.
This development comes at a time when the ongoing COP28 international climate summit in Dubai has spurred anticipation for a global consensus on an aggressive push towards renewable energy.
Over 100 countries, including Canada, are committed to tripling their renewable energy generation by 2030. Ontario’s policy shift aligns the province more closely with the global momentum towards more aggressive renewable energy targets.