Ontario Green Energy Official: “The U.S. stimulus is probably our biggest competitor”
While Washington continues to debate whether man-made climate change even exists, Canada’s most populous province, has debated, passed and implemented the effective and investor-friendly . But Ontario, like the rest of the world, is closely following the Obama administration’s push to anchor the U.S. as a global green power. The tens-of- billions of dollars the U.S. has invested in renewable energy projects over the past year are tough to compete against, an Ontario government official tells G.E.R.
“The U.S. stimulus is probably our biggest competitor,” Chantal Ramsay, an official at Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development & Trade, recently told us. “The U.S. Government and Department of Energy are handing out a lot of stimulus money and that’s definitely impacting a company’s decision on whether or not to invest in the province,” she adds.
Over the past year Ontario has scored some major investments including a blockbuster CAD $7 billion deal with Samsung for wind and solar projects signed in January. The province’s RESOP program has also attracted a contingent of wind and solar developers eager to back their power projects to the province’s generous feed-in tariffs.
Ontario may gain the upper hand soon.
The U.S. stimulus programs, including the very popular 1603 direct-cash grants, are scheduled to expire next year. In a perfect world, a comprehensive energy and climate change law will pick up where the stimulus left off. But prospects for that are grim. The House barely passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act last summer. Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) released their version of climate change legislation last month, but prospects for passage aren’t good.
This instability assures Ontario a continued edge over its southern neighbor as it establishes a beachhead into the North American green market.