Ontario leader Wynne reelected
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne won reelection in surprisingly easy fashion on Thursday and will form a majority government, ensuring that solar and wind energy will continue to play a prominent role in the province’s energy mix.
Wynne won 38.7% of the votes cast versus 31.2% for Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak and 23.7% for New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath.
Pre-election polls had forecast a closer race although they did show Hudak losing support in the final week before the election.
The ruling Liberals will have 59 seats in Ontario’s Legislative Assembly with the Progressive Conservatives to hold 27 and New Democrats 21. It is set to reconvene before 2 July.
Ontario is Canada’s leading wind province with about 2.78GW of installed generating capacity with at least 1.9GW under development.
The Liberals under Wynne have been a minority government. She took office on 11 February 2013 after being chosen as party leader to succeed Dalton McGuinty, the driving force behind the 2009 Green Energy and Green Economy Act, which linked feed-in-tariff eligibility to local production of equipment.
The Liberals say the policy attracted about C$37bn ($34.09bn) of investment and contracted about 8GW of renewable energy. The World Trade Organization ruled in December 2012 that it violated international trade laws. The province has since made changes to the program to bring it into compliance.
Hudak, who also lost to McGuinty in 2011, has long taken a dim view of renewable energy and how the 2009 legislation was implemented by the Liberals. He had vowed, if elected, to a thorough re-evalution of several hundred outstanding contracts issued under the law, and to axe projects that had not yet entered construction.
Wynne’s reelection means that her government will continue to implement Ontario’s Long-term Energy Plan that calls for the province to have 10.7GW of wind, solar and biomass in commercial operation by the end of 2020.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association congratulated Wynne on her victory and said it stands ready to work to ensure that the wind energy industry plays an important role in Ontario.