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Ontario wind industry boost after surprise Liberal win

CANADA: Ontario's feed-in tariff (FIT) contract holders are back on firmer ground after a provincial election on Thursday saw the governing Liberal Party score a surprise victory.

Wind energy had emerged as a significant issue in the month-long campaign, with Conservative leader Tim Hudak threatening to review and potentially cancel FIT contracts for projects that have yet to be built.

As much as 2GW of the 3GW contracted under the now-defunct programme were at risk. Also in question was Ontario’s plan to buy another 600MW of wind over the next two years, with Hudak advancing an energy strategy heavily focused on nuclear.

Polls had shown the Conservatives and the governing Liberals neck-and-neck, leaving both developers and the province’s nascent wind manufacturing sector anxious about what the future would hold.

"Wynne’s election offers improved certainty for projects awarded contracts through Ontario’s now collapsed FIT programme" said Luke Lewandowski, lead analyst for North America at Make Consulting.

"The alternative, a Hudak victory, would have been a significant setback, imperilling projects, and potentially closing the book on recent growth in Ontario’s renewables market. Wynne’s election also creates optimism for additional support in the future."

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