The development of offshore wind farms in Ontario would earn billions of dollars for the provincial economy and create thousands of jobs, investment opportunities and a significant amount of clean energy, a report has found.
The study, financed by wind energy company Vestas Offshore
and researched by independent think-tank The Conference Board of Canada
, found the emergence of the new industry would boost the Ontario economy by "a conservative estimate" of $4.8-billion to $5.5-billion a year between 2013 and 2026.
Over this time, the development would lead to a cumulative total of $10 billion in real capital investment and operations spending.
The Conference Board went on to say that development would create between 3,900 and 4,400 jobs a year during the construction phase and result in 600 permanent positions in operations and maintenance.
The estimates are based on the development of seven new offshore wind energy projects by 2026. If realized, these projects would reach a generation capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW), an amount the Conference Board describes as conservative compared with the market potential. At present, no offshore wind farms exist in North America. However, a number of offshore farms are in the pipeline, including two in near Kingston, Ontario.