Today, Ontario's Ministry of Energy released the results of
the scheduled two-year review of Ontario's feed-in tariff (FIT)
program. The regular review is intended to ensure the continued
success and sustainability of the FIT program by examining key
issues such as FIT prices and improving renewable energy approval
Ontario's FIT program was first launched in 2009 to
encourage the development of renewable energy by providing standard
program rules, standard long-term contracts and standard pricing
and by streamlining the approvals process. The FIT program is also
intended to help Ontario eliminate coal-fired generation by 2014
– one of the single largest climate change initiatives in
Canada. To date, the province has offered FIT contracts for 4,800
As expected, the review recommends some key changes to the FIT
FIT prices be reduced by at least 20 percent for solar (on
average) and approximately 15 percent for wind. The FIT price
schedule will be adjusted annually to reflect then current costs
(any price changes would not affect executed FIT contracts);
prioritize projects with municipal support and projects with
local or Aboriginal equity participation by (i) establishing a
points system (otherwise project readiness must be demonstrated),
(ii) setting aside a minimum of 10 percent of FIT contract capacity
for projects with greater than 50 percent community and Aboriginal
equity participation and (iii) creating more stringent limitations
on assignment and change of control to maintain continued
increased land use restrictions to prohibit solar ground-mount
projects in or surrounding residential areas or on prime
streamlining regulatory approval processes by up to five months
by requiring Ministry comments prior to applications and reducing
review times for archaeological reports and endangered species
to encourage timely project completion, reducing commercial
operation milestone for rooftop solar PV from three years to 18
transition process for all existing FIT applications;
program withdrawal available for existing contracts (security
fees to be returned); and
procurement of 10,700 MW of non-hydro renewable energy
generation by 2015.
The review results have been formally adopted by the Ministry of
Energy and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) is now in the process
of completing draft program rules and contracts to implement the
recommendations. The OPA has indicated that these drafts will be
posted on the FIT and microFIT websites shortly for review and
The FIT program review does not affect existing FIT
contracts. This means that the OPA's existing rules and
contract apply to FIT contract holders (whether or not they have
reached commercial operation). Existing FIT applicants who have not
entered into a contract with the OPA will be subject to the new
rules and pricing.
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