Offshore Wind Could Boost Ontario’s Economy

In a new study released by The Conference Board of Canada and financed by the wind company Vestas Offshore, the development of offshore wind farms could boost Ontario’s economy by $4.8 billion to $5.5 billion a year between 2013-2026. During the same time frame, development could lead to a total of $10 billion in capital investment and operations spending and support around 4,000 jobs during the construction phase.

“Employment and Economic Impacts of Ontario’s Future Offshore Wind Power Industry,” was based on the economics if seven new offshore wind energy projects were developed totaling 2,000 megawatts (MW) by 2026. The Conference Board felt that this number was “conservative compared with market potential.” While there are no offshore wind farms currently operational in North America, there are two in development near Kingston, Ontario.

“An offshore wind industry in Ontario – one that develops enough projects to be sustainable in the longer term – would create both short-term construction employment and permanent green jobs in the operations phase,” said Len Coad, Director, Environment, Energy and Technology Policy, The Conference Board of Canada. “Should development progress as anticipated, it is likely that new industries will develop in the province to service the needs of the growing sector.”

According to IESO, there is 2,600 MW of wind energy capacity expected to be online in Ontario by the end of 2011 with the number growing significantly over the next five years. The organization said that wind energy is well positioned for growth with the implementation of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009 as well as the Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-in-Tarriff (FIT) program that promotes renewable energy.

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