On June 12, Ontarians re-elected the Liberal Party government led by new premier Kathleen Wynne – this time with a full majority (more seats than all other parties combined). This means that the provinces two current Feed-in Tariff Programs – MicroFIT for small projects 10 kW and under and FIT for projects up to 500 kW – will be run for another four years, bringing much needed stability particularly to the solar PV energy market.
Under its Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) released in December 2013, the government has committed to procure 900 MW of new renewable power through the FIT programs by 2018. Procurement under the FIT program will be 150 MW per year and 50 MW per year for MicroFIT. Announcement of the 2014 FIT contract offers is expected before the end of July. As in the previous years, community owned projects will be given priority.
In addition to the FIT programs, the government has committed to procure 280 MW of larger solar, wind, bioenergy, and hydro projects through competitive bidding processes. Finally, there is a pledge to consider raising the current targets for renewable energy beyond the 12 GW set in the LTEP, although this would depend on a decision not to re-furbish some of the Provinces aging nuclear capacity. The estimated cost of these re-furbishments is increasing and there is mounting pressure to increase renewable targets and purchase hydro power from Quebec instead.
The First Three Years
In the three years since the FIT Programs started under the 2009 Green Energy Act, Ontario has attracted more than $27 billion in private sector investment in close to 10,000 MW of renewable power and 30 clean energy companies. This investment has resulted in more than 20,000 jobs. The programs have driven down costs significantly as can be seen by comparing current the 2014 FIT 3.0 tariffs for solar PV with those in the first round.
|Solar Rooftop PV System||FIT 1.0Cents/kWh||FIT 2.xCents/kWh||FIT 3.0Cents/kWh|
|MicroFIT systems < 10 kW roof||80.2||54.9||39.6|
|FIT systems 10-100 kW||54.8||34.5|
|FIT systems 10-250 kW||71.3|
|FIT systems 100-500 kW||53.9||32.9|
|FIT systems 250-500 kW||63.5|
While the current FIT programs are a far cry from the long term comprehensive feed-in tariff procurement process promised in 2010, Ontarians can breath a sigh of relief and look forward to steady increase in renewable power capacity in the coming years.
FIT 3 2014-2015
Ontario Power Authority finally announced the awarding of FIT 3 contracts for projects 10-500 kW on July 30
These contracts add up to 123.5 megawatts (MW) broken down as follows:
- 490 solar photovoltaic (PV) projects
- 8 bio-energy projects
- 1 wind energy project
- 1 waterpower project
257 projects (60 MW) are with First Nations, 81 projects (21.5 MW) with community co-ops, and 161 projects (42 MW) with municipal or public sector institutions.
Rather than waiting until 2015 for FIT 4, there will an additional procurement of 100 MW of projects less than 500 kW from those applications that were not successful in the original FIT 3 procurement of 123.5 MW. The 100 MW will consist of 50 MW of municipal projects, 25 MW of community coop projects and 25 MW of Aboriginal projects. Prices that will be paid for new FIT and MicroFIT projects were announced on September 30. There are minor reductions in prices paid for solar and biogas, minor increases for wind and biomass, and major increases for waterpower and landfill gas
Procurement of Large Renewable Power Projects
Renewable capacity for projects over 500 kW is now being procured through a Request for Proposals process. Submissions to become a qualified supplier closed on September 4 and a list of qualified suppliers was announced November 4. http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/large-renewable-procurement