Canada fund advances Ontario grid link to Manitoba hydropower

Canada ecoTrust has awarded C$586.2 million (US$496.6 million) to Ontario for energy-related programs including an East-West transmission line to allow import of hydropower from new projects in Manitoba.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said March 6 the national government intends to provide the funding to Ontario as part of the Canada ecoTrust for Clean Air and Climate Change, an initiative to support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants.

Ontario said it would use the funds to advance clean-energy projects that bring measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, such as increasing Ontario’s supply of clean and renewable electricity. Ontario also is to use the funds to support the phase-out of its coal-fired power plants.

The announcement advances a 2005 agreement between Ontario and Manitoba for a joint venture to build hydropower projects in Manitoba and a transmission line capable of delivering at least 1,500 MW to Ontario. (HNN 11/15/06) The Clean Energy Transfer Initiative described in that agreement involves developing hydropower sites in northern Manitoba, including the 1,250-MW Conawapa project. (HNN 3/1/07)

Initiative to benefit all provinces, territories

Harper first unveiled Canada ecoTrust during a Feb. 12 appearance in Quebec. At that time, he announced the government would provide C$349.9 million (US$296.4 million) to Quebec to support the province’s 2006-2012 action plan for climate change. Quebec indicated it would use the funds for several projects such as developing renewable energy sources in rural regions.

Canada ecoTrust allows each province and territory to develop technology, energy efficiency, and other projects that benefit the environment. It is to consist of C$1.5 billion (US$1.27 billion) of new funding on a national basis, to be included in an upcoming budget.

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