Ontario's electricity supply has depended almost exclusively
on nuclear, hydroelectric and fossil fuels (including coal). To
achieve a cleaner energy mix, Ontario's Minister of Energy and
Infrastructure tabled the government's much-anticipated
Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009 (Bill 150) on
February 23, 2009. If passed, Bill 150 will enact the Green
Energy Act, 2009 and amend or repeal 20 related statutes with
the goal of encouraging the development of renewable energy in
Ontario, such as wind, solar, biofuel, biomass and geothermal
Key components of Bill 150 include:
Feed-in tariff program – A feed-in tariff
procurement program, which will essentially replace the Ontario
Power Authority's current request for proposal process and
standard offer program, is intended to increase investor confidence
in renewable energy projects by providing standard program rules,
standard contracts and standard pricing for classes of renewable
energy. Prices may be differentiated by energy source or fuel type,
generation capacity and the manner by which the generation facility
is used, deployed, installed or located. The government may also
direct the Ontario Power Authority to include goals for domestic
content for renewable energy projects.
Streamlined approvals process – A
'one-stop' approvals process will combine existing
environmental approvals into a single new 'renewable energy
approval' and set province-wide standards for renewable energy
projects. To minimize potential delays, Ontario's Planning
Act will also be amended to exempt renewable energy projects
from certain prescribed planning approvals (including official plan
and zoning). Renewable energy project leases that have a term of 40
years or less will also be exempt from the Planning
Act's subdivision and part-lot controls. Also, aboriginal
consultation requirements may be specified by the government,
including the timing of such consultations.
'Right-to-connect' – Transmitters
and distributors will be required to connect and grant priority
access to renewable energy projects if the project meets prescribed
technical, economic and other regulatory requirements.
'Smart grid' – To fully exploit the
potential of renewable energy, 'smart grid' technologies
will be adopted to better accommodate the intermittent energy flows
from wind and solar projects.
Energy conservation – Various proposed
amendments will make energy conservation a priority in Ontario by
developing Building Code conservation standards, requiring
conservation and demand management plans for prescribed consumers,
setting electricity conservation targets for local utilities,
creating new financing tools to help consumers manage up-front
costs of small-scale renewable energy projects and requiring energy
audits prior to the sale of homes.
While nuclear and hydroelectric power will continue to be the
backbone of Ontario's energy mix over the next few decades, the
proposed Green Energy Act, 2009 should make it easier to
develop renewable energy projects in Ontario. The specific details
regarding the implementation of the Green Energy Act, 2009
will not be available until the regulations are released (likely
not before 2010). Until such details are known, it is far from
certain whether the Green Energy Act, 2009 will spark
significant new development of renewable energy projects in Ontario
or what impact it will ultimately have on the price of electricity
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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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