Ontario commits $2.3 billion over three years to grid upgrades, expansion
Just days before the Ontario government is expected to officially launch its much-anticipated feed-in tariff program (FIT), Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman announced that the province — through crown-owned utility Hydro One — will spend $2.3 billion on 20 projects designed to expand and upgrade its transmission system. The investment is expected to take place over three years and create 20,000 “green-collar” jobs in the process. Many of the projects are aimed at expanding capacity along existing corridors to carry more power from the Far North where there remains an abundance of untapped wind and hydroelectric projects. But some of the money will also go toward constructing enabler lines for areas of the province where renewable-energy development clusters have been identified. It’s being called an historic investment in transmission, the largest single commitment in decades, and the government said it was important to make this commitment to signal to the market that Ontario is serious about accommodating development of green-energy projects. Indeed, it’s a wise investment to announce just before the launch of the FIT program, and just after announcing a $250-million loan guarantee program dedicated to aboriginal-owned renewable generation and transmission projects.