Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ontario's Green Energy Investments in Sault Ste. Marie

Ontario’s Green Energy Act is providing jobs and benefiting the environment in places like Sault Ste. Marie. According to a news release from MPP David Orazietti, Green energy has already created over 900 construction jobs and 110 permanent jobs in the Sault and Algoma region.

“The Ontario Green Energy Act is the most visionary program for renewable power generation in North America and Heliene Inc. is proud to have made the solar modules that are on top of the local Water Treatment Plant,” said Martin Pochtaruk, President of Heliene Inc. “We need this alternative energy program to remain in place for years to come in order to replace old coal-power generation with modern green technologies and, more importantly, we need this framework to stay in place to provide our youth with a sustainable future, clean air and value added manufacturing jobs.”


Heliene Inc. has manufactured over 70,000 solar modules since opening in 2010. It has also created more than 60 high-tech manufacturing value-added jobs in Sault Ste. Marie. Heliene Inc. is currently forecasting over $3 million in annual salaries and another $4 million of indirect economic development for Sault Ste. Marie.

“Superior Energy Solutions is a local EPCM contractor that added 10 local full time temporary employees to do the engineering, system design and installation of the solar panels on the water treatment plant,” said Ted Curry of Superior Energy Solutions. “As a result of the province’s Feed-in-Tariff green energy program our company has grown form 2 employees at the beginning of 2010 to 22 employees today.”

The province’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) has already provided $50,000 to create a comprehensive alternative energy strategy as well as another $50,000 to install solar panels on the roof of Algoma University’s George Leach Centre. The Algoma University solar project is expected to create 159 KWH of power and generate annual revenues of $127,000 a year that will be shared between the University and the Sault Ste. Marie PUC.

“One year ago PUC Services installed 24 solar panels with a total output of 5.28 kW on the roof of a pumping station to gain experience on the effectiveness of solar panels converting sunlight into electricity,” said Brian Curran, President & C.E.O. of PUC Inc. “The performance of the panels gave us the confidence to proceed with the installation of 461 solar panels with a total output of 138 kW on the roof of the water treatment plant. Total cost of the installation is $864,000 with a large portion of the equipment and labour obtained from local suppliers. Annual revenue under the province’s Feed-in Tariff program is expected to be $110,028, a portion of which will go towards offsetting water treatment costs. The savings are in addition to the environmental benefits of generating electricity without any emissions.”

The newest solar project in Sault Ste. Marie is located on the roof of the Water Treatment Plant. It consists of 461 solar panels that will generate 132 KWH of green energy. The project will help operate the treatment plant as well as provide revenue while reducing emissions over the next 20 years equivalent to cars driving over twelve million kilometers.

“Our government’s landmark renewable energy strategy is allowing municipalities, utilities and local businesses, as well as schools, including colleges and universities, to install solar panels, which benefits the environment, reduces pressure on the electricity grid and creates longer-term revenue,” said David Orazietti, MPP on July 13, “With approximately $1 billion in alternative energy investments in the Sault and area in recent years, and solar panels made here in our city used in this local project, we should all be concerned about political parties in Ontario, who if elected, would cost Sault Ste. Marie hundreds of high-quality jobs.”

Key provincial investments that are transforming Sault Ste. Marie into the green energy capital of North America while also strengthening the local economy and creating jobs.

Here is a summary of provincial investment in the Sault and Algoma: $400 million investment by Brookfield Renewable Power in 189 MW wind farm, $300 million investment by Starwood Energy in 60 MW solar farm, $175 million investment by St. Mary’s Paper in 30 MW biomass co-gen plant, $135 million investment by Essar Steel in 70 MW Co-gen plant, over $7 million to green Sault Ste. Marie schools including energy retrofits,$7.4 million in provincial gas tax funding to increase ridership for public transit also reducing air emissions, $2.5 million for Heliene Canada to build a $10 million solar module manufacturing plant, $2 million for Ellsin Environmental tire recycling project, $1.4 million to construct methane collection system at landfill to reduce greenhouse gases, $900,000 for Elementa project for bio-conversion, $50,000 for AU solar project, $50,000 for Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) to create alternative energy strategy, FIT and Microfit Programs and Transmission Line Upgrades in North Sault Ste.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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