The province of Ontario has rolled out a series of new measures designed to attract new investment in renewable energy projects and build a green economy that will promote the creation of 50,000 jobs over the next three years.
According to the government of Ontario, the initiatives include the first comprehensive feed-in-tariff (FIT) program in North America that guarantees specific rates for energy generated from renewable sources. The FIT is designed to encourage the development of renewable energy projects by a range of generators. Prices are intended to cover total project costs and provide a reasonable rate of return over a 20-year contract.
FIT payments can range from C$0.10 per kWh for landfill gas projects larger than 10 MW to C$0.82 kWh for residential solar rooftop projects 10 kW or smaller. The FIT also includes a price adder for Aboriginal and community projects to encourage participation.
Developers will be required to have a certain percentage of their project costs come from Ontario goods and labor at the time they reach commercial operation, the minister's office adds. For micro solar PV (10 kW or smaller), this requirement will start at 40% and increase to 60% on Jan. 1, 2011. For larger solar PV, the requirement will start at 50% and increase to 60% on Jan. 1, 2011.
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will begin accepting FIT applications on Oct. 1 and expects to sign the first contracts in early December.
Ontario will direct the OPA that there is to be no ground-mounted solar procurement above 100 kW on Class 1 and 2 or Specialty Crop Areas to provide continued protection of such lands. Some ground-mounted solar procurement, up to 500 MW, will be allowed on Class 3 lands, to be allocated on a regional basis.
Additionally, the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process has become law. The REA is designed to ensure that renewable energy projects are developed in a way that is protective of human health, the environment, and Ontario's cultural and natural heritage.
Ontario has also established the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office (REFO). The REFO is a one-window access point to assist developers, communities and municipalities obtain information on developing renewable energy projects in Ontario, and help them navigate through the regulatory approvals necessary to make their projects a reality.
SOURCE: Government of Ontario