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Market News

 March 13, 2007
Provinces receive half a billion in ecoTrust funding

 Ottawa, Canada (GLOBE-Net) -- Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories are the latest to receive funding for projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution under the federal government's ecoTrust program.

Ontario

Ontario will receive $586.2 million, which will be used in part to increase renewable energy supplies and support the provincial goal of phasing out remaining coal-fired generating stations. The funding follows up on an agreement with the previous federal government, which had agreed to give Ontario $528 million.

The Ontario government has indicated it will use the funding on projects such as the construction of an East-West electrical transmission interconnect with Manitoba, in order to import hydroelectric power.

Ontario will also receive up to $962 in federal investment in public transit and highway infrastructure projects in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The money is part of a new federal plan for transportation in the GTA, called FLOW, aimed at reducing traffic congestion and increasing public transit use, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Transit projects to be funded include the extension of the northern section of the Spadina subway line, the development of the Brampton AcceleRide, the construction of a Mississauga bus rapid transit corridor, the enhancement of the York VIVA rapid transit system, and development of regional rapid transit in Durham. Highways 407, 404, and 7 will also receive investment.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper noted that according to the Toronto Board of Trade, traffic congestion is responsible for $2 billion a year in lost productivity. But of all the problems created by traffic, "perhaps none is more detrimental than the toll on the environment", he added.

Manitoba

For its part, Manitoba will receive $53.8 million, which the province says will help it reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 megatons (Mt).

The government of Manitoba says potential projects include:

  • expanding Manitoba's low-income energy efficiency program into additional communities

  • supporting the creation of new biodiesel plants in rural Manitoba; and

  • increasing Manitoba's portfolio of renewable energy to include solar power and bio-gas.

Manitoba will also use part of the funds for its contribution towards the east-west Power Grid, a connection to the Ontario electricity system that will allow Manitoba to export hydroelectric power.

British Columbia

British Columbia will receive $199.3 million, in support of a provincial plan to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent from current levels by 2020.

Potential projects for BC include:

  • Extracting energy from sawmill scrap and wood infested with pine beetles;

  • Providing clean electricity to remote rural areas now fuelled by diesel, such as electrification of Highway 37;

  • Support for the development of a "hydrogen highway," a network of hydrogen fuelling stations for fuel celled buses and vehicles; and

  • Support for new geothermal and bioenergy projects, including the capture of biogas from landfill sites.

Read more: BC releases energy and emissions reduction plan.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories will receive $5 million in ecoTrust funding, to be used for both reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and projects to help the Northern region adapt to a warming climate.

NWT Premier Joseph Handley noted that the North is experiencing more rapid climate change than other regions in Canada, and said that residents are prepared to take a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Territory will use the funding to support projects relating to energy conservation and efficiency, alternative and emerging technologies as well as development of hydro-electric resources.

Projects may include:

  • Development of hydro resources including mini-hydro-electric plants to service the small isolated communities of Whati and Lutselk'e;

  • Energy conservation activities to reduce household consumption of fossil fuels;

  • An Energy Efficiency Financing Program that supports residents in making energy-saving investments in their homes, appliances and vehicles;

  • alternative energy projects utilizing wind and heat pumps; and

  • Utilization of residual heating systems and surplus hydro capacity to heat public buildings.

The $1.5 billion Canada EcoTrust funding will be included in the upcoming federal budget, using part of the anticipated 2006-07 budgetary surplus. So far, $995 million has been allocated to help the provinces and territories to pursue initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Quebec received the first wave of funding, with $349.9 million to support the province's 2006-2012 Action Plan for climate change.