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The Ontario Legislature has passed the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA), intended to attract new investment, create new green economy jobs and better protect the environment. The legislation will now be sent to the province's lieutenant governor for Royal Assent.

Once in force, the GEA, as well as complimentary policy and regulations, will provide the government with the necessary tools to ensure Ontario's place as North America's renewable energy leader, and to create a culture of conservation, assisting homeowners, government, schools and industry in embracing lower energy use.

The GEA will offer a wide range of economic opportunities for manufacturing and skilled labor as well as new renewable ventures for Aboriginal communities, farmers and community groups in rural Ontario or for urban dwellers, schools or companies looking to invest in rooftop solar to cut their electricity costs.

Key elements of the legislation include the following:

- Streamlined approvals for renewable energy projects;

- development of a feed-in-tariff system to provide guaranteed prices for renewable energy projects;

- opportunities for municipalities and First Nation and Metis communities to build, own and operate their own renewable energy projects;

- new programs for municipalities, communities and aboriginal groups to ensure some project costs associated with community renewable energy projects can be recovered; and

- establishment of an academic research chair to examine potential public health effects of renewable energy projects.

SOURCE: Government of Ontario

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