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For several years, Ontario has contemplated implementing a cap-and-trade system for GHG emissions, as evidenced by its membership in the Western Climate Initiative – an organization of several U.S. states and four Canadian provinces seeking to cooperate to reduce GHG emissions – and by the 2009 enactment of the Environmental Protection Amendment Act, which established the framework for an emissions trading system. On April 13, 2015, the Ontario government announced the creation of a cap-and-trade system for GHG emissions which is anticipated to take effect in the fall of 2015. Details of the system, including the amount of carbon covered by the cap and pricing particulars, have yet to be announced, with public speculation that targets may be set on an industry-by-industry basis.
Coal and Fuel
The additional production of renewable energy facilitated by the Green Energy Act permitted the province to close its last remaining coal-fired energy generating plant in 2014, positioning Ontario as the first jurisdiction in North American to completely phase out coal as a source of energy.
Green Energy Act
The province’s 2009 Green Energy Act created a series of financial incentives for the development of renewable energy such as wind, solar and biomass, including the creation of a feed-in tariff program. The Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plans regulation under the Act has also established a requirement that public sector agencies routinely develop and update five-year plans for energy conservation.