In the race to become a global leader in green energy, the province of Ontario has announced the third round of new contract offers under the Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-In Tariff Program. This marks a further milestone in the province’s quest to promote the development of renewable energies and stimulate the creation of thousands of new “green” jobs.
The Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Program is one of the measures introduced by Ontario’s Green Energy and Economy Act to promote the transition of Ontario’s energy supply from fossil to renewable sources. Under this program the government offers stable prices for energy generated from wind, waterpower, biomass and biogas, solar photovoltaic (PV) power or landfill gas. The FIT Program is administered by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and is open to homeowners, business owners and private developers for renewable projects with an installed nameplate capacity in excess of 10 kW. The program is the first of its kind in North America.
On May 26, 2011, the OPA began making contract offers in respect of 839 mid-sized renewable energy projects that had submitted their applications between June 5 and December 7, 2010. The offers cover a wide range of projects across Ontario. All of the projects are capacity allocation exempt. In other words, each project must be connected to the electrical distribution system and generate: (i) 500 kW or less where the facility is connected to a line of 15 kV or greater; or (ii) 250 kW or less where the facility is connected to a line of less than 15 kV.
The vast majority of the contracts being awarded relate to solar power generation facilities. A list of all the projects and short descriptions can be downloaded at www.powerauthority.on.ca/sites/default/files/news/FIT%20Program%20List%20of%20CAE%20Contract%20Offers%20-%20Phase%203.pdf.
In total, the new FIT contracts awarded will represent more than 140 MW of additional installed capacity, which will generate power for more than 16,000 homes or a community roughly the size of Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is also anticipated that the government’s new initiative will create thousands of job opportunities and attract more than $ 900 million of investment from the private sector.