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A C$1.5billion wind incentive would reap financial reward for government

CANADA: Renewing Canada's ecoEnergy for Renewable Power (ERP) incentive would more than pay for itself through tax revenues, says a new study by GE Energy Financial Services (GEEFS).

The 199.5 MW Melancthon EcoPower Centre is Canada's largest wind farm so far
The 199.5 MW Melancthon EcoPower Centre is Canada's largest wind farm so far

The study estimates that injecting an additional C$1.5 billion into the program could support the installation of 5.2 GW of new wind projects and carry a net present value benefit to Canada's governments of C$287 million.

"In Canada, the ecoEenergy initiative has been effective in stimulating renewable energy deployment, and as our study shows, it's time to view the program not as a cost but a net contributor to Canada's treasury," says said Mark Tonner, managing director for Canada at GEEFS.

GEEFS entered Canada’s wind market with the recent purchase of the 300 MW Dokie Wind Project in British Columbia and will receive ERP payments, worth C$0.01/kWh for the first 10 years of a project’s life, for Dokie’s 144 MW first phase, expected online in early 2011.

But the project got in just under the wire to receive the incentive. The program has allocated all of its funding and the wind industry has been pushing for another cash infusion in the next federal budget, due out on March 4.

"Unless the government acts quickly, Canada's wind energy industry and - as this new GE study shows - the broader economy will suffer a major setback, leading to delays and cancellations of planned wind projects as investors seek more competitive investment opportunities south of the border, in the United States," says Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

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