Ontario Creates 20,000 New Green Energy Jobs (maybe)

Ontario’s Ministry of Energy reported last week that the Province’s Green Energy Act (passed in May, 2009) has created over 20,000 clean-energy jobs since its inception, and is on-track to generate 30,000 by 2012.

As with many clean-energy initiatives, the benefits extend beyond just those who’ve been paid to do the work. Since May of ’09, the Green Energy Act has led to the creation of almost 2000 “feed-in tariff” projects, which generate enough energy to power 900,000 homes. The Ministry of Energy claims this is all part of a larger plan to use cleaner sources of renewable energy (wind, bio-fuel, solar, etc.) replace coal and oil-fed power production plants and establish Ontario as “North America’s renewable energy leader “, which is an admirable goal …

… so, why am I skeptical?

Granted, clean power is an admirable goal (as is new job creation, especially in this economy), but this bit of “fluff” news seems like the same kind of political double-talk we’re used to getting here in the ‘States to me.

Consider: while the Ministry of Energy claims 20,000 jobs, there are precious few details on what jobs those are. The only ones the article cites directly are 10 (ten) construction jobs that were “ created in the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theater in Toronto by installing 96 solar panels for Ontario’s electric system.”

What happened to those 10 jobs once the panels were installed? Are those 10 people just standing around, looking at the solar panels and collecting paychecks – or are they back in the unemployment line this week? What about the massive oil sands projects in other parts of Canada, which are so integral to the region’s economy that there’s actually a strong public bias against electric cars? Are any of the new jobs “created” in Ontario devoted to cleaning up that mess, which Greenpeace and Canada’s own government claim will contaminate the area’s water for decades to come?

I think those are fair questions, and – hopefully – ones you’ll all be able to help answer in the comments, below.

Source: Cooler Planet.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.