IESO expands role of renewable generation in Ontario with latest round of Feed-in Tariff (FIT) contract offers
Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) recently announced it will offer 936 long-term contracts for 241.430 megawatts (MW) of small-scale renewable generation, including solar, wind, hydroelectric and bioenergy projects. These contracts are the result of the latest procurement under the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, known as FIT 4.
FIT projects have an installed capacity between 10 and 500 kilowatts (kW) and are connected to local distribution systems. As was the case in previous application periods, most of these contract offers are for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, many of which are located on industrial, commercial, institutional or municipal rooftops. Over the coming weeks, contracts will be offered to:
907 solar PV projects for 232.258 MW
14 bioenergy projects for 3.45 MW
6 onshore wind energy projects for 3.00 MW
9 waterpower projects for 2.722 MW.
Of these, 96 projects (representing 41.45 MW) have Aboriginal participation, 413 projects (representing 67.26 MW) have municipal or public sector entity participation and 186 projects (representing 60.24 MW) have community participation. More than 92 percent of the successful applications received municipal council support resolutions. The minimum number of priority points obtained by projects receiving contract offers was two.
the completeness and eligibility review conducted by the IESO under the supervision of an Independent Evaluation Monitor. This ensured robust and transparent public procurement practices were followed throughout the process and the applications were ranked according to priority points and time stamp and then tested in that order for connection capacity.
New in FIT 4 was the opportunity for applicants to gain priority points by electing to reduce the base price available in the FIT price schedule by one of three optional tiers. Of the successful applications, 52 percent chose to apply for price reduction priority points, representing all three available price reduction tiers. Price reduction selections will be taken into consideration in the program price review and will influence the price schedule for future FIT procurements.
Ontario’s FIT program, enabled by the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009, is North America’s first comprehensive guaranteed pricing structure for renewable electricity production. It includes standardized program rules, prices and contracts for those interested in developing a qualifying renewable energy project. Prices are designed to cover project costs and allow for a reasonable return on investment over the contract term. Qualifying renewable energy technologies include biogas, renewable biomass, landfill gas, solar photovoltaic, waterpower and on-shore wind power.
“Renewable generation continues to make important contributions to Ontario’s supply mix,” said JoAnne Butler, Vice-President of Market and Resource Development at the IESO. “Projects developed under the FIT program represent an important step in broadening participation in the province’s energy sector.”
“Indigenous communities, municipalities and co-operatives have been key partners in helping Ontario become Canada’s leading province for installed solar energy capacity. The FIT program has provided significant opportunity for communities to participate in, and benefit from, renewable energy projects by prioritizing community participation within the program. I would like to congratulate the successful applicants for becoming leaders through their commitment to renewable energy,” said Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy.