Climate change will create a myriad of social, economical, political, and environmental consequences over the course of the 21st century if left unmitigate

(Last Updated On: July 13, 2011)
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Climate change will create a myriad of social,
economical, political, and environmental
consequences over the course of the 21st century
if left unmitigated. In his review of the
Economics of Climate Change, Stern projects damage
costs worth up to 20% of global GDP if stringent
environmental policy on CO2 emissions and
investment in clean and renewable technologies are
not undertaken. In its budget for 2004, the
government of Canada made a commitment of over $1
billion over seven years in support of
environmental technologies. About 60 percent of
Canada’s electricity comes from renewable sources,
chiefly hydro. Another 20 percent comes from
nuclear plants while coal and natural gas fired
facilities account for 15 percent and five percent
each.

In Ontario, rising energy prices, population
growth and a depleting generating capacity has led
to high demand for modern renewable sources of
energy in the region. Canada has set a goal of
cutting GHG emissions 20% below 2006 levels by
2020 and 60-70% below 2006 levels by 2050.

With growing use of electricity and many power
plants approaching their best before dates,
Canada’s electricity producers must add 32,319 TWh
of new generation to keep supply and demand in
balance between now and 2025 – more than half of
what the country currently produces.

The purpose of this report was to see if Ontario’s
wind resource has the potential to alleviate an
anticipated shortfall in electricity supply over
the coming years, and what obstacles stand in the
way of Ontario becoming a world leader in wind
energy production. It has strong potential to
become a pioneer in renewables due to the massive
expected renewable investment in the province over
the coming years as a result of the incentives
that its 2009 Green Energy Act provides. Its
surrounding great lakes provide abundant offshore
wind opportunities, a highly educated workforce,
and a pioneer in community wind farm development
in North America.

However, the transition from fossil intensive
electricity to cleaner forms such as wind does not
come without its complexities. Has the economic
recession and current low fossil fuel prices made
investing in wind a risky move? Other issues like
population growth, an ageing electricity
infrastructure, backup capacity and geographic
diversity pose challenging though achievable tasks
for the province to overcome over the next 20
years in particular, and are all examined in this
report.

James Hogan

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