Over the past few months I have been working in Niagara and have seen the growth of the green economy in wine country. In communities that have been impacted by waves of job loss in almost every aspect of manufacturing, regional governments are working hard to attract green technology manufacturers and the jobs they bring with them.
Their efforts are paying off. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in Welland, which is looking to be the solar power centre of Ontario. After the severe hits Welland has taken from plant closures in steel, auto parts, chemicals, steel pipe and then farm implements, two manufacturing plants are now up and running there. These plants, one for photovoltaic cells and another for power inverters to harness the power of these solar cells, represent the first manufacturing jobs to come to this city. They are very welcome. Workers from some of the closed plants are finding these good green jobs.
I also have met several of the crop of photovoltaic installers that are staking their future on solar power and are making the Green Energy Act’s Feed-In-Tariff, a sound business proposition. While many of these are new ventures, the people behind them are experienced tradespeople with strong backgrounds in the skills that manufacturing solar power infrastructure requires.
There is word that more plants are on the way. They can’t get to Niagara soon enough.