*Deals will create enough energy to power 600,000 homes
*Government sees C$9 bln in investment, 20,000 jobs so far
TORONTO, April 8 Ontario announced 184
contracts for green energy projects on Thursday that it says
will lead to thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of
investment in Canada's most populous province and top energy
When completed, the solar, wind, water and biofuel projects
will power 600,000 homes, generating more than 2,500 megawatts
of electricity, the provincial government said.
The contracts announced on Thursday are in addition to 510
"medium-sized" green projects already awarded by the government
earlier this year.
"This is the big one," Brad Duguid, minister of energy and
infrastructure, said of the latest announcement. "This is the
2,500 megawatts that's coming on line."
The two sets of projects will generate 20,000 direct and
indirect green jobs and attract about C$9 billion ($8.9
billion) in private sector investment, as well as investment in
new Ontario-based manufacturing, Duguid said.
Ontario plans to phase out all its coal-fired power
stations by 2014 and replace them with cleaner energy sources.
Last October, it unveiled the most generous set of feed-in
tariffs in North America to attract green energy projects and
the manufacture of green energy equipment.
The incentives, part of the province's Green Energy Act,
guarantee sellers of renewable power fixed, above-market prices
for 20 years to feed their production into the electricity
Some critics have complained that moving away from cheap
coal power will add too much to the price of electricity.
"There is a higher cost to green energy," Duguid said in an
interview. "It's not huge, but it's something that I think our
generation is willing to accept because this gives us an
opportunity to provide a cleaner environment and healthier
lifestyle for our kids and grandkids and generate a green
economy that is going to generate jobs for the future."
So far this year, two prominent green energy players --
South Korea's Samsung C&T Corp 000830.KS and Germany's Bosch
Solar Energy AG BSLRF.PK -- have said they will set up
manufacturing facilities in the province, and the government
said it expects more to follow.
(Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Peter Galloway)