The Ontario Government has recently announced significant
amendments to the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program. These changes are
likely to impact the way renewable energy is delivered in
The Government's new focus is on small and micro FIT
projects. The changes will support the small/micro FIT programming
while making large FIT projects more competitive than under the
previous regime. The existing large FIT program is discontinued and
will be replaced with a new program to be established after
In addition, the Government has increased municipal
participation by giving more input into the decision making process
at the local level. These changes are an attempt to address one of
the biggest criticisms of the program from local governments and
many local landowners.
The Government has also signalled it will implement the World
Trade Organization (WTO) decision which found that the minimum
domestic content requirements of the FIT program were contrary to
treaties to which Canada is a party.
Further details of some of the proposed changes are set out
Large FIT Discontinued
The large FIT program is being discontinued. All large FIT
(greater than 500 kW, or greater than 250 kW if connected at
voltages less than 15 kW) projects will no longer be procured under
the large FIT Program. This will be replaced with a new competitive
procurement process. Particularly significant for these projects is
the fact that they will not be eligible for a FIT contract if
transmission lines are not available (minor upgrades will be
permitted). It is also of note that special exceptions exist for
existing large FIT contracts designed for First Nations
participation when they are on reserve land.
Small-FIT Expanded and Micro-FIT
Small FIT projects will continue to be procured. The procurement
target will be 150 MW starting in 2014 and for the next 4 years.
The next application window will be launched in the fall of 2013
for up to 70 MW. Micro FIT projects will continue to be procured.
Starting in 2014 and for the next 4 years, 50 MW annually will be
awarded. Unused capacity from the previous window will be added to
this fall's target in addition to 30 MW this fall.
Small FIT projects undertaken by municipalities or other
publicly-owned bodies such as publicly-funded schools, public
colleges and universities, hospitals, publicly-owned long-term care
facilities, public transit and Metrolinx will gain capacity
set-asides and will be given priority.
Municipal Participation and Land Use
In 2009, amendments to the Planning Act eliminated a
municipal government's right to control the construction of
renewable energy projects through traditional land use planning
controls, such as in official plans or zoning by-laws. While this
will not change, priority will be given to FIT projects that have
support from the municipal council by awarding points to supported
projects. Municipalities will have increased say in identifying
locations and siting requirements. In other words, large FIT
project proponents will have to work with municipalities to find
appropriate sites for new projects to increase the chance the
project will proceed, but municipalities will still not be able to
prohibit the construction of these projects. Time will tell whether
this change in approach will prevent the construction of unpopular
projects or whether it will only delay construction.
The Ontario Government intends to implement the 2012 WTO ruling,
which found that the FIT program's minimum domestic content
requirements violate the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and
the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures.
Reductions to Price per KW/h
Pricing will be reviewed annually beginning in the summer of
2013 and developers can expect rates to continue to fall as the
cost of solar panels and equipment drop.
Pilot Rooftop Solar Program
A pilot project will be commenced in the summer of 2013 to
permit certain FIT contracts for solar projects on unconstructed
buildings. Previously projects had to be located on existing
buildings. This pilot project has a goal of encouraging the
construction of new buildings with roofs that are built with the
intent of hosting solar power systems.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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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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