Ontario says Samsung deal to make it green leader

Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:51pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A C$7 billion ($6.7 billion) green energy investment by a consortium led by South Korea's Samsung C&T Corp will make Ontario a leader in renewable energy technology, the Canadian province said on Thursday.

The project to build four wind and solar power clusters in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, will have a combined power-generating capacity of 2.5 gigawatts by 2016. That's equivalent to 4 percent of Ontario's total electricity consumption.

It will include wind turbines that will generate up to 2,000 megawatts, as well as solar power facilities that will generate up to 500 megawatts.

Ontario has agreed buy electricity from the group.

The province's Green Energy Act guarantees above-market prices for green power, which has led to criticisms that the deal is effectively a subsidy to Samsung.

But the act also says Ontario must shut down all of its coal-fired power plants by 2014 and increase its ratio of renewable power generation, and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the project would help meet those goals.

He said that on top of the 16,000 jobs the project was expected to create, it would position Ontario as a leader in green technology manufacturing.

"We're doing more than buying a huge amount of electricity, we are doing more than just creating jobs... we are trying to lay the foundation here for economic growth," he said. "If we can build the capacity here to deliver renewable technology to the U.S. market, that's a good thing."

About 4,000 of the jobs will be permanent, an Ontario government official said.   Continued...

<p>A view of a wind turbine (L) as it spins at the Melancthon I Wind Farm, the first of several commercial sized wind farm projects in the province of Ontario, in Shelburne, approximately 125 km (77 miles) north of Toronto March 9, 2006. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>