The federal government plans to double renewable energy investment

Feds unveil plan to grow wind power while sparing rare whale species


The federal government has released details of its plan to double the number of renewable energy projects funded by the government, while keeping in reserve some for environmental needs.

The federal Liberals’ move to expand the renewable energy programme reflects the growing concern about the need for cleaner energy and a recognition that the nation’s energy mix needs to change in order to address the climate change crisis that has been exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels.

A release from Environment Canada says the government will be “financially reinvesting” in a number of renewable energy projects, many of which are at the development and design stages.

The department also plans to set aside a total of 2,500 megawatts of electricity transmission capacity to support wind and solar infrastructure, as well as to create an “electro-hydraulic transmission network” that will enable wind, solar and hydro-electric projects to share power more effectively.

The federal government says the total investment in wind projects has increased nearly threefold from $1.2 billion in 2008 to $3.4 billion in the first three months of 2013. It adds that an additional $2.2 billion has been committed in 2014.

Meanwhile, the federal government also intends to invest about $800 million annually into renewable energy through the national energy strategy, and to provide an additional $500 million to projects, some of which are at various stages of design and construction, over the next three years.

About 700 megawatts of renewable energy capacity is now operating through the Renewable Energy Standard, and projects are being added at a rapid pace. The energy industry continues to receive funding through a number of government agencies including the Public Utilities Board Renewable Energy Fund, Canada’s Clean Energy Program, the National Energy Board, Environmental Minister Peter Kent and others.

The federal government says it will continue to increase its investment through the strategy, and will deliver on the plan’s commitment to make Canada the first nation in the world to meet the Paris Accord’s goal of reducing emissions by 17 per cent by 2030.

The new plan is expected to be announced in the fall.

Worst-case scenario:

Environmental groups say the federal government’s goal of adding 2,500 megawatts of renewable energy from wind, solar and other sources will be largely achieved if it gets all the projects up and running in time. They say if the federal government doesn’t do much to help

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