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Wind, solar generate power and money

The Ottawa Sun: JONATHAN JENKINS, QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU - April 9, 2010

It's about greenbacks, not green energy.

The real advantage of $8 billion worth of private sector investment in 2,500 megawatts of renewable energy isn't just the power it will provide, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Thursday.

"The big prize here is not clean energy for Ontarians," he told reporters in St. Andrews near Cornwall.

"That's wonderful. But it's to build up our manufacturing capacity so that when the Americans get their act together and decide to get serious about green energy, they'll say, 'Who can make the windmill turbines for us? Who can make the solar panels for us?'

"The genius of this plan is when we find ourselves in a position like in the car sector where we're selling to the Americans."

Most of the 184 projects announced Thursday by McGuinty and Energy and Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid are wind or solar generation, although 46 of them involve hydroelectric dams. Power from the projects will be sold to the province on 20-year contracts.

The government says it now has nearly 700 contracts signed under the Green Energy Act and those projects are expected to create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Duguid said renewables and conservation programs will help Ontario wean itself off burning coal but won't prevent the need for nuclear rehabs at operating reactors as well as the new construction.

"We're still firmly committed to purchasing two new nuclear units," Duguid said.