The Ontario Power Authority through province’s clean energy Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program, has approved 40 new large renewable energy  projects including solar, wind and water. This will create 7,000 direct and indirect jobs, including construction, operation and maintenance, and attract $3 billion in private sector investment.

The projects will generate more than 872 megawatts of renewable power enough electricity to power more than 200,000 homes or a community the size of Burlington. The authority says this builds on the 180 FIT projects under development from contracts the OPA announced in April 2010, which represent more than 2,400 MW of power – enough electricity each year to power more than 600,000 homes.

The Feed In Tariff means Ontarians are paid a guaranteed rate over 20 years or 40 years (for water power projects) to produce renewable energy that is used to feed into the electricity grid. Over that 20-year period, electricity ratepayers will be paying higher costs -or subsidies -worth somewhere between $4.1-billion and $5.6-billion. Average subsidy for each of the 27,000 man-years of work: between $152,000 and $207,000.

Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid said at a Thursday morning news conference that the new projects would be “fully realized” within three years.

The 40 new clean energy projects includes 35  solar power projects totalling 257 megawatts, four wind projects totalling 615 megawatts, and one 500-kilowatt water project. These new projects will result in at least 240 more wind turbines and at least one million more solar panels in Ontario.

Ontario now has more than 1,500 megawatts of wind power online generated by more than 800 wind turbines its 100 folds increase in wind power capacity  that was in 2003. More than 3,700 small-scale solar projects are feeding electricity into Ontario’s grid.