Under its Green Energy Act feed-in tariff (FiT), Ontario has approved 184 new contracts for large renewable energy projects (>500 kW), in addition to 510 medium-sized (10 kW to 500 kW) projects already announced. The facilities will have capacity of 2.5 GW.
“Ontario has a vision for green energy; we will be a North American leader,” says Premier Dalton McGuinty. “We have practical, aggressive policies to secure green energy generation, research and manufacturing, which will create good jobs in a growing industry.”
Initiative is largest in Canada
The green energy initiative is the largest of its kind in Canadian history, the Government explains. In addition to the 2.5 GW of capacity, the domestic content requirements will mean thousands of new jobs in the green and renewable energy sector and C$9bn in private sector investment.
McGuinty made the announcement in eastern Ontario where 60 renewable energy projects with a generating capacity of 900 MW were approved. The facilities includes three 10 MW ground-mounted solar projects.
The Green Energy Act is part of the Government's Open Ontario Plan that provides a stable price for clean and renewable energy so developers will invest and create 50,000 jobs.
Since 2003, 1.3 GW of renewable electricity has come online in Ontario. The province is Canada's leader in wind power and solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, and is home to both Canada's largest wind and solar farms.
Ground-mounted solar PV is favourite
Most of the contracts offered in the latest renewable energy tranche (76) are ground-mounted solar PV, with 47 for onshore wind and 1 for offshore wind. Roof-mounted solar received one contract, water received 46, 7 biogas, 4 landfill gas and 2 biomass.
Economically-viable renewable energy projects that did not receive contracts in this round will be considered when more transmission connection capacity is available or approved.
The provincially–owned power utility has started development work for a number of transmission upgrades, “which is moving Ontario down the path toward expanding the system to accommodate even more renewables over time.”
The provincial regulator has also received 8491 applications under the microFiT (<10 kW) programme, for total capacity of 76 MW. Almost all of those were for solar PV, which pays C$0.80/kWh. The first 700 contracts for microFiT were issued last December.