Originally published in Blakes Bulletin on
Energy/CleanTech, February 2009
On February 12, 2009, new rules came into effect in Ontario
which are expected to expedite the connection of small electricity
generation facilities, such as solar, biomass/biofuel or fuel cell,
to Ontario's distribution system.
The new rules apply to a "queue exempt small generation
facility", which is a facility:
(a) with a name-plate rated capacity in the range of >10 kW
and ≤ 250 kW if connecting to a less than 15 kV line;
(b) those with a name-plate rated capacity in the range of
>10 kW and ≤ 500 kW if connecting to a 15 kV or
The new rules apply to any facility that meets this definition,
regardless of the technology used to generate the electricity. (It
had initially been proposed to limit the new rules to only certain
forms of green technology.)
The process by which new generation facilities in Ontario are
connected to the distribution system is set out in the Distribution
System Code which is governed by the Ontario Energy Board
The Distribution System Code already contained a simple and
expedited connection process for "micro-embedded generation
facilities" with a name-plate rated capacity of 10 kW or less;
however, a generator over 10 kW was subject to a more complex and
lengthy connection process, which includes a first-come,
first-served queuing mechanism under which generation connection
applicants are placed into a queue following completion of a
connection impact assessment by the distributor.
Micro-embedded generation facilities are not subject to the
queuing requirement. However, prior to the recent rule changes,
small generation facilities of between 10 to 500 kW had to wait for
connection in the same queue as large generation facilities.
As a result of the recent amendments to the Distribution System
Code, queue exempt small generation facilities no longer have to
wait in the queue, and distributors are required to process their
applications as and when they are received and in accordance with
deadlines stipulated in the Code.
In determining the feasibility of the connection of an
"exempt small embedded generation facility", the
distributor must now include as available any capacity that has
been set aside for a generation facility that is in the queue. The
OEB recognized that this approach may risk displacing a small
number of projects that are currently in the queue because of the
lack of connection capacity in certain locations. In order to
manage this risk, the OEB also amended the Code to require a
distributor to seek direction from the OEB promptly upon becoming
aware that the connection of an "exempt small embedded
generation facility" cannot reasonably be managed by the
distributor without displacing a project that is in the queue.
The OEB expects that the new rules will result in faster
connection times for smaller generators, and that this will support
the Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program administered by the
Ontario Power Authority and the farm-based bio-mass generation
development program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food
and Rural Affairs.
The provincial government has indicated that it will soon be
introducing a new Green Energy Act which is expected to contain
additional measures to make it easier to get new green generators
(such as wind, solar and biofuel) on to the provincial electricity
grid. This new legislation is expected to be introduced by the end
More information about the amendments to the Distribution System
Code is available at the
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