The Ontario government has completed its first review of the province's feed-in-tariff (FIT) program, which Ontario's Ministry of Energy says takes immediate steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of renewable energy while creating more jobs, lowering prices and giving communities greater input.
The scheduled two-year review of the FIT program was intended to transparently adjust prices as costs fell.
According to the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA), under the FIT, electricity prices from renewable energy sources – such as wind and solar – are expected to drop by at least 25%. The prices paid for renewable energy under the FIT are based on a ‘cost plus a reasonable return on investment’ model, OSEA says.
By 2014, Ontario will phase out all of its remaining coal, and by 2016, 25.62 TWh of power will need to be replaced as four of the province's 20 nuclear reactors come to the end of their lives.
Following the first review of the FIT, the provincial government says it will act quickly to implement several recommendations, including the following:
- Creating more jobs sooner by streamlining the regulatory approvals process for projects while maintaining the highest environmental protection standards;
- Reducing prices for wind projects by approximately 15% and the cost of solar projects by more than 20%;
- Encouraging greater community and Aboriginal participation through a new priority-point system, which will also prioritize projects with municipal support;
- Reserving 10% of the remaining capacity for projects with significant participation from local or Aboriginal communities; and
- Developing a clean energy economic development strategy to leverage Ontario's expertise and strengths to become a global leader in the sector.
‘Having a clean energy strategy that supports healthier families, a healthier environment and a healthier economy is part of our plan to create and support jobs today and tomorrow," says Chris Bentley, Ontario's energy minister. "I want to thank Ontarians for the thoughtful feedback and insight they provided to help us move forward. It's clear Ontario's clean energy sector is evolving, and the province is positioned to become a global leader in clean energy knowledge and products.’