Connecting with the Minister of Energy

Ninety members of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) had an opportunity to network and to listen to the Honourable Glenn Thibeault, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, at our Connections event in Toronto on December 1. The meeting was especially timely – the province has just completed its public consultation program for the 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP), and CanWEA is in the process of finalizing its submission.

This will be the province’s third LTEP, following Plans released in 2010 and 2013. The LTEP focuses on the province’s needs for short-term energy investments, while also broadly setting the direction of the energy sector over the next 20 years. The next LTEP, expected in March 2017, will “balance the principles of affordability, reliability, clean energy, community and indigenous engagement, as well as conservation and demand management” according to the Ministry of Energy in announcing the consultation program. The June 2016 Climate Change Action Plan is also likely to be a significant factor in the next LTEP.

At the Connections event, Minister Thibeault thanked CanWEA members for their “advocacy, facilitation and leadership” in making Ontario “a global trailblazer in innovation and technological advancement” that has created “an energy system that drives our economy and creates jobs.”

The Minister said we are at the “cusp of great change for Canada’s energy systems”, which provides an opportunity for innovation and increasing value for ratepayers through new products and services. He signalled that the next LTEP will see a move from “technology-specific” to “technology-agnostic” electricity procurements that are focused on outcomes – innovation, modernization, action on climate change, the best prices possible – rather than contracting for specific technologies.

He stressed that the Government “values the clean, green, renewable energy sector” and its contribution to job creation and the economy. He also expressed pride that Ontario boasts the largest operating fleet of wind energy generators in Canada, “allowing us to demonstrate a level of innovation and expertise” that is useful for other jurisdictions in Canada and abroad.

As the December 16 deadline for submissions to the LTEP approaches, Minister Thibeault pledged to “rely on the expertise of the people in this room to inform our thinking” and to “guide our decision making”. To that end, CanWEA plans to make its submission to the Ministry on December 16, while also summarizing key points in a news release and posting the submission on our website.

Our next blog will delve into highlights of our LTEP submission. We strongly believe that wind energy will continue to play a growing role in Ontario over the next two decades. Wind power has relatively low – and continually-declining – costs going forward; it’s a jobs creator; wind development will continue to benefit local communities and the province’s economy; and it provides the non-emitting energy that the province needs to meet its climate change goals.

We hope you will look for our LTEP submission and our upcoming communications on how the tremendous momentum we have built for wind energy in Ontario can continue well into the future.

Photo: Minister Glenn Thibeault addresses the December 1 CanWEA Connections event.

Ontario Regional Director at the Canadian Wind Energy Association

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