Ontario task force to encourage investment in wind

Wind industry stakeholders in Ontario have created a task force to look at ways to make wind power a significant new source of generation when the province opens its electricity market to competition in May. The task force is developing a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to encourage investment in wind power, says chair David Boileau. While the group will not release its final report until after it has been presented to government, Boileau says it will call for both a provincial renewables portfolio standard and a federal production tax credit. A "whole raft" of other recommendations will touch on issues like Crown land use policy, municipal taxation, environmental assessment and emissions trading. The task force began its work earlier this year, says Boileau, prompted by the growth of the industry worldwide. "When we looked at the statutes and regulations and legislation in Ontario that might impact wind, we found there really wasn't an awful lot there. We thought there needed to be an in-depth study of the whole picture." Six government ministries provided staff to act as a resource to the task force, and Boileau believes the province is "very serious and sincere" about instituting measure to promote investment in renewables. "I have absolutely no doubt that at the end of the day, we will end up with regulations and incentives that will encourage an industry in Ontario, simply because it makes business sense to do that." Boileau says his company, Harmony Wind Power, believes Ontario has a wind power potential of 2000-3000 MW. The province is also well placed to become a centre of turbine manufacturing. "We've seen towers, blades and turbines being shipped through the Port of Thunder Bay, going out west. We should be manufacturing these things here in Ontario," he says. "We have a huge steel industry here. We can service all of the North American market, and why stop there? If the Danes and the Germans can ship equipment to Canada, we can ship equipment to them."