TORONTO – Changes are coming to the Green Energy Act that will restore some autonomy to municipalities that want to limit the number of wind turbines erected in their jurisdiction, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Monday.
“You will see that we chose many of your suggestions to improve our (renewable energy) program,” McGuinty told delegates at the Combined Rural Ontario Municipal Association and Ontario Good Roads Association Conference.
“We’re listening, and taking municipal concerns into account as we make thoughtful choices.”
Rural outrage over wind farms is widely credited with costing the Liberals several southwestern Ontario seats in the 2010 election.
Energy Minister Chris Bentley is working on a review of the FIT (Feed in Tariff) green energy program that pays heavy subsidies for wind, solar and biomass electrical generation.
Those subsidies will be going down as a result of the review – the top price is now 80 cents a kilowatt hour for small, rooftop solar arrays, while wind power is getting 13 cents a kWh.
But it’s now clear the review will go much farther than merely adjusting price, and return at least some of the power small-town Ontario had to say no to such projects before the GEA took that away.
“(Bentley) is also working very hard to see that we do a better job incorporating the local perspective on this,” McGuinty said later to reporters. “We will be adopting some of the recommendations that have been put forward by rural Ontario, to I think, achieve a better balance.
“I’m not going to speak to the specifics – I’ll let the minister do that in due course. But I can say that we have listened very carefully to the concerns and have incorporated those in the changes we’re making.”
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