Ontario Government Releases FIT Program Review
The Government of Ontario recently released findings from its two-year review of the Feed-in Tariff Program (FIT Program), outlining recommendations and proposed changes. The Program is categorized into six specific areas with recommendations for each one. The report suggests technical revisions as well as program planning and transition issues with the OPA.
The following are some key FIT Program recommendations by Deputy Minister Fareed Amin:
- Prices should be reduced to reflect lower costs – FIT Program prices for wind and solar should be reduced by more than 20 per cent for solar and roughly 15 per cent for wind. Other prices for renewable technologies should remain the same
- Streamline the environmental approvals process – In combination with the Ministry of Environment (MOE), Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Sport (MTCS), the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) should be changed to improve service and ensure that the scale of the environmental approval processes correspond to the size and impacts of projects
- Encourage greater community and Aboriginal participation – Involve Aboriginal and local communities by introducing a system to prioritize FIT applications for both small and large projects that award points to projects with minimum equity participation. Maintain the price adder for community and Aboriginal projects, at adjusted prices
- Enhance municipal engagement in the FIT Program – Clarify and strengthen project rules to ensure responsible engagement. a) Enhance protection of agricultural land and b) prohibit solar ground-mounted projects in residential areas and lands bordering residential areas
- Expand Ontario’s Clean Energy Economy – The Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) and the Ministry of Energy should develop a “Clean Energy Economic Development Strategy” that includes: a) financial support through the Smart Grid Fund to support Ontario – based demonstration projects
- Continue Ontario’s Commitment to Clean Energy – Ontario should procure 10,700 MW of non-hydro renewable energy generation by 2015. At the end of 2013, the government should review Ontario’s electricity supply and demand forecast to explore whether a higher renewable capacity target is warranted
The FIT review process launched in October, 2011 and completed in December of 2011. During that period, the Deputy Minister met with 80 energy sector stakeholders and received 200 written submissions and 2,900 on-line responses to survey questions.