Ontario government to consider a renewables portfolio standard

The Ontario government says it will report on initiatives to increase the use of alternative energy in the province, including the implementation of a renewables portfolio standard (RPS), before the end of the year. "It's in the best interest of all Ontarians to explore the use of alternative fuels," says energy minister John Baird. His comment is part of the provincial government's official response to the findings of a legislative committee investigating ways to promote renewables in Ontario. In June, the committee released a sweeping report calling for "aggressive action" to support the development of clean energy alternatives. Among the most significant of its 141 recommendations was the call for an RPS to be in place by the end of next June. While it did not suggest specific targets, it did say the RPS "shall be amongst the most aggressive in North America." Baird singles out the RPS for particular attention. He says he is consulting with experts, consumer and environmental groups and market participants "with a view to making recommendations for a renewable portfolio standard." The consultation is being done by parliamentary secretary Steve Gilchrist. He was a member of the alternative fuels committee and is considered a strong supporter of renewables. The RPS also has the support of Ontario's official opposition. Anticipating a provincial election next year, the Liberal party says it would require electricity retailers to supply 5% of their power from renewable sources by 2007 and 10% by 2010.