The federal government is putting $1.5 billion into funding alternative energy technologies, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.
Harper said a 10-year incentive program, the so-called ecoEnergy Renewable Initiative, will be established to fund eligible projects to be constructed over the next four years.
He said the money could be spent on wind, solar, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy.
The prime minister said the first component, ecoEnergy for Renewable Power, will boost Canada’s supply of clean electricity by “offering generous incentives to spur production.”
The Conservatives say they’ll budget for $1.48 billion for an incentive of one cent per kilowatt hour for up to 10 years to eligible projects constructed over the next four years that generate clean electricity from renewable sources.
These sources can include wind, biomass, solar, geothermal and wave technologies, all of which generate few or zero harmful emissions.
“There is no end to the potential of these and other alternative, natural, non-polluting energy sources,” Harper said as he unveiled the plan at the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific on the outskirts of Victoria.
“The ecoEnergy Renewable Initiative will help scientists and entrepreneurs harness the power of the natural forces that are all around us,” Harper said.
Second component offers incentives
The second component, ecoEnergy for Renewable Heat, will offer incentives amounting to $36 million to encourage the use of clean renewable technologies for water heating, and space heating and cooling in homes and offices.
The incentives are projected to boost the production of clean, renewable Canadian energy by up to 4,000 megawatts a year, the prime minister said.
“In terms of greenhouse gas reduction, that’s the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road,” Harper said. “That is real, practical, achievable action on climate change.”
On Wednesday, the Harper government said it would invest $230 million over the next four years to develop clean energy technologies to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Liberals, NDP take aim
Liberal environment critic David McGuinty told CBC Newsworld on Friday the Conservatives are simply “running around the country re-announcing” Liberal programs cut from the last budget.
“I’m pleased to see the government is resurrecting Liberal policies and re-announcing them,” he said.
“I just wish they’d have a little bit more candour in admitting it.”
NDP Leader Jack Layton said it was good to see support returning for wind power and other renewable energy programs, but from what he’s seen of the plan, it looks as if the Conservatives are just resurrecting old initiatives.
“The Conservatives cancelled them, put the brakes on and now they’re re-packaging them,” Layton said. “We’ve got to be a lot more ambitious, and it seems to me the prime minister is setting the bar and the targets and the objectives much, much too low.”
On Sunday, sources say, the Conservatives will unveil a revised version of a program that paid part of the cost when homeowners made their house more energy efficient.
With files from the Canadian Press
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