QUEEN’S PARK – Leader’s Ledger – Today marks the eighth anniversary of the power blackout that plunged Ontario families and businesses into darkness. The blackout came during a summer when the province’s electricity supply suffered from brownouts and diesel generators could be found in parking lots because of the uncertainty.
When our government came to office in 2003 the energy system was in a state of disrepair. Previous governments had not made necessary investments in the system. In fact, between 1995 and 2003, the dwindling supply of generation was like Niagara Falls running dry. Simply put – we did not have enough power to meet demand. Businesses were concerned about the reliability of the system while families worried about their children’s health because Ontario was burning too much coal for power use.
Together, we have made tremendous progress in the past few years. Over 8900 megawatts of new electricity generation have been brought online. That is enough electricity to power the cities of Ottawa and Toronto combined.
Ontario’s power system is much stronger, more reliable, and using cleaner sources of energy. Families and businesses can be confident when they turn the switch, the lights will come on.
We are phasing out coal-fired generation by the end of 2014. The impact on the environment is immense. It is like taking seven million cars off the road. So far, eight coal units have been shut down and coal usage for the first six months of 2011 was 94 per cent lower than the same period in 2003.
We are also now a global leader in clean energy development.
Last November we released our Long-term Energy Plan; a roadmap for the future that outlines our energy strategy to build a world-leading clean energy economy, and a modern, reliable energy system for decades to come. It will ensure Ontario has a balanced mix of resources to power our homes and businesses for decades to come. Our plan has already created 20,000 jobs and is on track to create 50,000 clean energy jobs by the end of 2012.
The McGuinty government is committed to ensuring that Ontario’s families, industries and businesses have a reliable energy system they can count on and taking 10 per cent off electricity bills for the next five years through the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit.
Ontario is moving the economy forward – we’re turning the corner and are back on track.
Minister of Energy