Ontario is introducing legislation to eliminate domestic content requirements under its feed-in tariff (FIT) program for future renewable energy projects. If passed, the amendment to Ontario's Electricity Act would remove the need for projects participating in the program to source up to 50% of content within the province.
The Ministry of Energy says the changes would help ensure Ontario is in line with decisions made by the World Trade Organization, which last year ruled that the FIT's domestic content mechanism breached international trade laws.
Nonetheless, the ministry maintains that the requirements had been put in place as a temporary measure, and strong growth in the renewables sector means the rules are no longer required.
"Ontario has a strong renewable energy sector, one that has created over 31,000 jobs and now exports goods and services around the world," comments Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli. "Changes included in this legislation will, if passed, save ratepayers $1.9 billion, making clean energy more affordable than ever."
To date, the ministry says Ontario has more than 18.5 GW of renewable energy online or announced to be built. As part of its recently updated Long-Term Energy Plan, the province intends to seek 300 MW of wind power next year and 300 MW more in 2015.
"The strength of the sector means here at home, when Ontario's renewable energy providers make decisions about what products and services they purchase, we're confident Ontario suppliers will be competitive and the supplier of choice," Chiarelli adds.