Local Control Over Renewable Energy Development To Be Increased In Ontario
Local control over future renewable energy projects is expected to be increased in order to support municipalities and secure Ontario’s clean energy future, according to the announcement by Ministry of Energy released on May 30th, 2013.
At the Solar Ontario 2013, the largest solar event in Ontario that took place on May 29-30, Ontario Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli, readdressed the Government of Ontario’s commitment to renewable energy and announced changes to the large and small Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Program and microFIT Program rules to further increase municipal participation and support for communities.
A new competitive procurement process for large renewable energy projects over 500kW will be developed by the province, working closely with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and municipalities. This new process is to be developed to better meet the needs of communities and will require energy planners and developers to work directly with municipalities to identify appropriate locations for large FIT projects.
Changes will be made to the small FIT Program rules to give priority to projects between 10 and 500kW that are partnered with or led by municipalities. New capacity of 900MW will be made available between now and 2018 for small FIT and microFIT Program. A new procurement window will be opened this fall offering 70MW for small FIT projects and 30MW for microFIT projects. The annual procurement, starting next year, will be 150MW for small FIT and 50MW for microFIT projects. It is expected that with these changes, 6,400 more jobs will be created and enough electricity to power 125,000 homes will be produced each year.
Other changes announced:
- A property tax increase for wind turbine towers is to be determined.
- The Province will provide small and medium-sized municipalities with funding to develop Municipal Energy Plans.
- One of the key parts of Green Energy Act which requires made-in-Ontario content in wind and solar projects would be removed.