Expanding opportunites for renewable energy in Ontario
For Immediate Release
EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY IN ONTARIO
New Standard Price Will Add Up To 1,000 Megawatts Over The Next 10 Years
CAMBRIDGE -- Ontario is leading the way in using clean, renewable electricity by setting a standard price that will make it easier for entrepreneurs and businesses to sell clean power from small projects to the grid, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced today.
"We're taking a bold new step that will allow hundreds of small, local, renewable energy producers to get into the energy market -- providing cleaner energy that will help meet Ontario's needs today -- and in the future," said Premier McGuinty.
The Premier made the announcement at Photowatt Technologies in Cambridge, joined by Ontario's Minister of Energy Donna Cansfield and world-renowned scientist Dr. David Suzuki.
Until now, it was too costly and complex for small, renewable power producers -- such as farmers, rural landowners, community groups, First Nations, business owners or municipalities -- to sell their energy to the grid.
Through Ontario's Standard Offer Program, the government will set a fixed price for small renewable energy projects. Under the plan, the Ontario Power Authority will purchase electricity produced by wind, biomass or small hydroelectric at a base price of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. The fixed price for solar will be 42 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Over the next ten years, this will help add up to 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy to Ontario's electricity supply -- enough to power 250,000 homes. It will help ease the strain on Ontario's electricity system, reduce air pollution, promote reliability, protect the environment and create new, high-skill jobs.
"The McGuinty government is committed to expanding the opportunities for clean and renewable generation in Ontario," Cansfield said. "Through the program, Ontarians will have an opportunity to improve our air quality and take advantage of a whole new revenue stream."
"Ontarians need a reliable power system that doesn't leave a legacy of economic or environmental debt," said Suzuki. "Today's announcement will revolutionize the market for clean, renewable energy in North America and lay the groundwork for a healthier, brighter future."
"This is great news for renewable energy and all Ontario communities," said Deborah Doncaster, Executive Director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. "The government has delivered on its commitment for a Standard Offer Program which will help smaller and community-based projects participate in building a sustainable electricity system."
Setting standard rates for renewable power is part of the government's plan to build a clean, affordable, reliable and sustainable energy supply in Ontario. In 2004, the government committed to generating five per cent -- or 1,350 megawatts -- of electricity through renewable sources by 2007. In the last year, Ontario has contracted for more than 1,300 megawatts of new, renewable power.
"Standard Offer contracts have been the fastest and most successful way of producing renewable energy throughout the world," said Premier McGuinty. "Encouraging communities to develop more renewable electricity will spur the kind of innovation in the energy sector that will help clean up our air, create jobs and contribute to our long-term prosperity."
Ontario energy policy breakthrough hailed
BC should make similar renewable energy commitment
Ontario's Standard Offer Program gives a fixed price and assured electrical grid access to wind, small hydro, solar and biomass energy producers. The policy has been extremely successful in Europe, and Ontario's program is a North American first.
"Ontario has upped the ante for jurisdictions vying to attract and grow this high-tech industry," said Guy Dauncey, BCSEA President. "Countries that have done this-including Germany, Denmark, and Spain-have become leaders in renewable energy generation and, just as importantly, in the energy innovations and jobs that follow."
"This is exactly the kind of policy approach that BC needs to jump-start its own sustainable energy sector," said Peter Ronald, BCSEA Coordinator. "BC's 'Alternative Energy and Power Technology Task Force needs to make similar, strong commitments to renewable energy."
"The way we currently cost energy ignores the economic and human health impacts of climate change," said Tom Hackney, BCSEA Policy Chair. "Sustainable energy can provide many economic benefits, and contributes to long-term well-being by reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change."
"Especially with the perverse subsidies still flowing to the oil and gas sector, this policy is needed in BC to begin to level the field for sustainable energy," Hackney continued.
For more information please contact:
Guy Dauncey, BCSEA President (250) 881-1304 email@example.com
Peter Ronald, BCSEA Coordinator, (250) 744-2720 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Hackney, BCSEA Policy Chair (250) 381-4463 email@example.com
Backgrounder: Ontario energy policy breakthrough hailed
Ontario's Standard Offer program will offer $0.11/kWh (kilowatt-hour) to producers of wind, biomass and small hydro energy. It will offer $0.42/kWh for solar photovoltaic energy. The term of the contracts will by 20 years, and there will be an inflation adjustment. The residential retail price for electricity in Ontario is under $0.06/kWh.
There is no limit to the number of projects that may apply for a contract, but the size of each project is capped at 10MW (megawatts). For comparison, the proposed Duke Point power plant on Vancouver Island (a medium-sized gas-fired power plant) would have been 260 MW in size. 10MW of capacity is approximately sufficient to serve 10,000 homes.
The contracts are available to anyone, including homeowners, businesses and commercial energy producers. The electricity produced would be fed into the electricity grid. The contracts are expected to be available by June 2006. Many details for the implementation of the Standard Offer program will be worked out by the Ontario Power Authority and the Ontario Electricity Board.
In BC and other North American jurisdictions, electricity contracts are awarded by requests for tender, with the lowest cost bids winning. The Standard Offer Contract, known in Europe as a "feed-law" or "advanced renewable tariff", offers renewable energy producers guaranteed access to the electricity grid at a price set by the regulatory authority. This gives producers the contractual certainty needed to finance renewable energy projects.
In Germany, adoption of the new policy has led to the development of 110,000 solar PV systems, 2,000 biomass plants, 6,000 small hydro plants, 16,500 wind turbines, and 45,000 jobs in the wind industry.
BC Hydro predicts that by 2025 the demand for electricity on the British Columbian system to grow by 30%, from today's 56,000GWh (gigawatt-hours) to 76,000 GWh.
Energy conservation is expected to meet one third of this demand. BC Hydro is considering several options to meet the other two thirds, including green energy such as wind and small hydro; the 900 MW Site C dam on the Peace River; and coal-fired generation. These options will be addressed in BC Hydro's Integrated Electricity Plan, expected to be filed with the BC Utilities Commission before the end of March this year.
Recent polling information published by BC Hydro (Integrated Electricity Plan advertisement, October 2005) shows that British Columbians are squarely in favour of renewable energy and energy conservation to meet future energy needs:
66% strongly support using PowerSmart (energy conservation);
94% support or strongly support wind power;
74% support or strongly support development of small hydro "run-of-river" projects;
57% support or strongly support Site C;
74% oppose or strongly oppose coal-fuelled projects.