Ontario’s Ground Breaking Feed-in Tariffs
The Government of Ontario officially launched its Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Program – the most comprehensive of its kind in theAmericas– in 2009. The OntarioFITand Micro-FIT(for systems <10kW) programs are operated by the Ontario Power Authority and give priority grid access to renewable sources of power and set fixed tariffs under 20 year contracts. TheFITPrograms allows any renewable power system, from the smallest household solar system to large wind farms, to connect to the grid and be paid tariffs that provide a reasonable return on investment.
By the end of 2011, contracts for over 4750 MW of new renewable power had been offered with a further 16,000 MW of applications pending. Of the contracts offered, 3165 MW are wind, 1332 MW solar, 193 MW hydro, and 63 MW bio-energy. These contracts have already leveraged over $10 billion in private investment and resulted in significant new solar and wind manufacturing capacity and hundreds of new jobs inOntario. The program has been so successful that increasing grid capacity has become a major factor in rate of deployment of new renewable power systems.
The FITand MicroFIT programs underwent their first scheduled review in late 2011. The review report released on March 22, 2012 can be viewed at http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/fit-and-microfit-program/2-year-fit-review/ and the draft rules for the new programs can be obtained from http://fit.powerauthority.on.ca/
The new FIT 2.0 rates reflect the lower cost of solar and wind systems – a sign of success of the program to date.
The proposed new Program rules also give priority to community or First Nation owned projects, and those on health care and municipal facilities. An “adder” of up 1.5 cent/kWh will continue to be paid for community and First Nations projects and a premium paid for biomass and hydro projects that deliver power during peak periods. Community power projects will also continue to be eligible for project development grants under the Community Energy Partnership Program.
For initial reviews of the new FITProgram rates and rules check out the following:
Participation in theFITprogram requires the payment of a registration fee and application security. Projects that require additional grid capacity are required to meet transmission/distribution availability and economic connection tests. All these requirements are waived for MicroFIT projects less than 10 kW. BothFITand MicroFIT projects must meetOntariodomestic content requirements.
In addition to theFITProgram,Ontariois making major new transmission investment for grid expansions to accommodate increased renewable energy deployment.
The introduction of feed-in tariffs and guaranteed access for renewable power sources represents a complete change in the way power will be provided to Ontarians in the 21st century. Up until now, renewable power sources had to be integrated into an existing grid. From now on, a newOntariogrid will be built around these renewable power sources.
For more on renewable energy issues in Canadavisit the Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance at http://new.canrea.ca/site/