Moving Clean Energy Forward
Ontario is committed to building on the success of the Feed-in-Tariff Program (FIT), with changes that will continue to encourage more clean energy and create skilled jobs, while providing better value to electricity consumers and more say from municipalities. The review of the FIT Program makes strategic recommendations in six areas:
1. Continue Commitment to Clean Energy
- Ontario has become a leader in clean energy production and manufacturing and the FIT Program continues to be one of the best ways to attract investment, encourage participation and efficiently build clean energy projects.
- To date, the FIT Program has led to almost 2,000 small and large FIT contracts totalling approximately 4,600 MW - enough electricity to power 1.2 million homes.
- Beginning this year, the province will conduct an annual review of FIT prices - setting and publishing prices each November, effective Jan. 1st the following year.
- As the program moves forward, Ontario expects to procure its target of 10,700 MW of non-hydro renewable energy generation by 2015.
- At the end of 2013, the government will review Ontario's electricity supply and demand forecast to explore whether a higher renewables capacity target is warranted.
2. Streamline processes and create jobs
- Ontario's clean energy initiatives have created more than 20,000 jobs and are on track to create 50,000 jobs. There has been more than $27 billion in private-sector investment.
- Since the launch of the FIT Program, Ontario has led North America in the procurement of clean energy projects.
- There are currently 2,900 megawatts (MW) of FIT projects moving through the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process.
- To see these projects produce jobs and investment in local communities, Ontario should improve the regulatory approvals process, while maintaining the highest environmental protection standards.
- The province will create a new Renewable Energy Committee to help regulatory ministries reduce duplication, improve service standards and streamline the process - shortening the application process by up to 25 per cent.
- The Ministry of Natural Resources will review and update its approach to renewable energy development on Crown land to align the release of Crown land with provincial energy supply needs and transmission availability.
3. Encourage greater community and Aboriginal participation
- There are currently 12,000 Ontarians participating in FIT. Projects with local participation will help encourage support in host communities and will result in significant local economic and employment opportunities.
- To ensure that projects are rooted in the community and investment remains in the community, the province will reserve a minimum of 10 per cent of the remaining FIT contract capacity for projects with significant community and Aboriginal participation.
- The new program will also prioritize large and small FIT applications using a point-system that will award additional points to projects that have significant local and/or Aboriginal involvement.
4. Improve municipal engagement
- Almost 20 municipalities are currently building FIT projects, including Brockville, Kitchener, Lambton Shores, Markham, Waterloo, and Welland.
- There is an opportunity for municipalities to play a greater role in the development of renewable energy across the province.
- Under the new rules, large FIT projects will require a contract launch meeting with the municipality, proponent, project developer, government, utility, and agency to facilitate early discussion, share information and define expectations.
- Projects with municipal support will be prioritized through the new point system during the application review process.
- The province will clarify project-siting rules by removing all exemptions and strengthening the protection of prime agricultural lands.
- The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) will work with the Ministry of Energy to revise the municipal consultation form in the REA process.
5. Reduce prices to reflect lower costs
- When Ontario launched the FIT Program in 2009, prices were set to reflect capital costs, provide investors stability and cultivate a domestic clean energy industry.
- Over the course of two-years Ontario has created a domestic renewable energy sector to drive economies of scale and lower prices.
- To balance the interests of all Ontarians, while continuing to encourage investment, FIT prices will be reduced by more than 20 per cent for solar and approximately 15 per cent for wind.
- Prices for water, biogas, biomass and landfill gas will remain at current levels.
6. Expand Ontario's clean energy economy
- More than 30 companies are currently operating, or plan to build solar and wind manufacturing facilities in Ontario.
- Many post-secondary institutions have launched Clean Energy programs that will strengthen the clean energy economy and build the intellectual capital in Ontario.
- The Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation will develop a Clean Energy Economic Development Strategy that will build on Ontario's strengths and leverage its experience as a leader in the sector.
- Future international expansion by the most innovative and competitive companies in Ontario will be the key to long-term industry growth.