Ontario's Energy Minister announced today that the province
will increase municipal control over the siting of future large
(> 500 kW) renewable energy projects by replacing the existing
feed-in-tariff (FIT 2.0)1 program with a competitive
procurement process. The new process will require renewable energy
developers to work directly with municipalities to select locations
for any future large renewable energy project.
The announcement included a renewed commitment to small
renewable energy projects by making 900 MW of new capacity
available between now and 2018 for the small FIT and microFIT
programs. The following proposed measures are intended to
strengthen municipal participation in the current small FIT project
Revise the small FIT rules (between 10 and 500 kW) to give
priority to projects partnered or led by municipalities.
Work with municipalities to determine a property tax rate
increase for wind turbine towers.
Provide funding to help small and medium-sized municipalities
develop Municipal Energy Plans regarding infrastructure options and
Numerous Ontario municipalities have resisted renewable energy
development, and this increased role may create significant
challenges in siting future projects, particularly wind
developments. The Ministry has not yet issued any details of the
proposed process. The changes may be significant, for example, it
is not known if developers with time-stamped applications will be
required to undertake a new site selection process with the local
municipality. The Minister clarified that existing contracts will
be protected and municipalities will not have an absolute veto to
ban renewable energy projects.
This announcement comes on the heels of two recent energy
planning directives issued by the Minister of Energy to the OPA,
the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and other key
agencies to (1) consult and issue recommendations by August 1,
2013, for a new integrated regional energy planning process that
would focus on improving how large energy infrastructure projects
are sited in Ontario and (2) update Ontario's Long-Term Energy
Plan. It is not clear how this new regional energy planning process
will relate to the new procurement process for large renewable
energy projects (referenced above).
The Energy Minister also announced this week that domestic
content requirements under the FIT program would be revised in
accordance with the recent World Trade Organization ruling which
found that Ontario's current requirements were inconsistent
with Canada's trade commitments.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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