Terra Informa: Who Has the Power?

Workers install solar panels on a roof
Windsor’s Unconquered Sun is one the solar panel manufacturing companies that have benefited from Ontario’s Green Energy Act. (Photo: Unconquered Sun)

If you asked most Canadians if they wanted more renewable power in their province, they’d likely say yes. And if you asked them whether they’d like to get some local jobs out of the deal, that’s even better. Unfortunately, Canadians aren’t the only ones who get a say in matters like these.

In 2013, the World Trade Organization forced Ontario to change legislation that helped encourage domestic production of renewable energy products like solar panels and wind turbines.

To understand what this change could mean, we meet Sean Moore. He’s a laid-off autoworker who took advantage of Ontario’s domestic production requirement to start his own business, Unconquered Sun, manufacturing solar panels. We also speak with Brandy Giannetta from the Canadian Wind Energy Association. They help us understand the difficulties of manufacturing in Canada today, the benefits Ontario’s Green Energy Act provided, and the possible ways forward now that local jobs are no longer guaranteed. And one question hangs over everything: how have we given up our decision-making powers and what are we getting out of the bargain?

I produced this story with Alyssa Hindle for CJSR’s nationally-syndicated environmental news show Terra Informa. This story won an Honourable Mention for News at the 2013/2014 NCRA Awards.

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