Posted February 5, 2009
Climate Change

Green Energy Act the Solution to Environmental and Economic Crises is theme of Kingston Meeting

Kingston - Citizens from Kingston and surrounding areas attended a meeting at the St. Lawrence College last night (February 3), organized by the SWITCH Kingston and the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. The presentation was a preview of what these organizations anticipated seeing in the Green Energy Act, which Premier Dalton McGuinty announced on February 3, will be tabled later in the month.

The theme of the evening was quickly established by the opening comments, "A Green Energy Act will bring economic prosperity and new 'green' jobs to Ontario, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and allow individuals, communities and companies to become energy producers and conservers," made by Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director of OSEA, a founding member of the Green Energy Act Alliance (GEAA).

Around 70 people, including locals and students, attended the Kingston meeting and appeared to be highly interested in the Green Energy Act. During the question and answer period, many questions were raised about how locals can get involved as individuals. When asked what they thought of the meeting, attendees said it was very informative and useful.

Renewable energy is the solution to both climate change and the economic crisis but to get enough windmills erected, solar panels installed and biodigesters operating, legislation is needed to make renewable energy a provincial priority.

Stevens went on to say, "The fundamental provision we expect to see in Ontario's Green Energy Act flow from similar legislation adopted in Germany. That country is now a world leader able to produce 20,000 MW of new green power, developed in less time than it would take to build a 1,000 MW nuclear plant. Germany is also able to meet tough climate change targets by avoiding the emission of 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere a year, while a quarter of a million new green collar jobs have been created, all for just an extra $5 a month per household.

The GEAA is recommending guaranteed access to the electricity grid for all producers of sustainable energy, priority purchase of green electricity before coal and nuclear power, fair prices, fixed over the long term for renewables and a strong commitment to continually improve conservation and efficiency.

Across Ontario farmers, First Nations and communities are eager to contribute to the province's electricity supply by producing clean, renewable energy. However, they are being hindered by outdated regulations that slow the adoption of renewable energy technology, a lack of access to the grid to sell their energy and opposition from lobbyists for the coal and nuclear power industry.

"If we want to continue to be a productive society without further damaging the bio-sphere and burdening future generations, one thing we must do is take responsibility for how we use energy. A Green Energy Act will enable us to do that," said Ted Hsu, executive director of SWITCH.

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