Attendees of the Canadian Wind Energy Association's (CanWEA) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Toronto expecting clarification surrounding the finer points of Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009 will have to wait ‘a few more days,’ according George Smitherman, Ontario's minister of energy and infrastructure.
Ontario's sweeping Green Energy Act expands the province's use of renewables, such as wind, while reducing its reliance on coal-fired generation. The act also gives wind energy developers more certainty around power purchase agreements.
The act, which was proposed in February and passed in May, is almost finalized, and CanWEA attendees were awaiting further guidelines and specifics on such matters as safe set-back distances for wind turbine siting.
Smitherman said details surrounding feed-in tariffs, set-back rules and provisions for local content would be announced at the end of the week.
Wind energy officials say the 550-meter siting distance that was in the government's first release is too onerous and curtails many projects in the province.
Smitherman also laid out a plan that gives the go-ahead to Hydro One to begin work on a C$2.3 billion project involving 20 transmission projects in Ontario over the next three years. The six core transmission network upgrades include north-south lines from Sudbury to Barrie and from Barrie to the Greater Toronto area. An east-west line will also originate from Nipigon to WaWa.
The capacity of transmission lines was not announced. Another series of core-supporting transmission projects and distribution upgrades, Smitherman said, will enable ‘clusters of green energy to be connected.’
The transmission announcement is part of Ontario's 10-step plan to promote green energy. Previous measures include the enactment of a C$250 million aboriginal loan guarantee program (ALGP), wherein aboriginal communities will be eligible for loan guarantees to take on equity participation in renewable energy and transmission projects. The AGLP is expected to facilitate aboriginal participation in energy projects by providing loan guarantees for up to 75% of an aboriginal corporation's equity in the project.