Thu, 03/28/2013

Feed-in-Tariff Program helping Ontario on the road to cleaner energy

The application window for the Small FIT Program closed on January 18 this year. The OPA is reviewing each application for completeness, and then checking to ensure they meet the eligibility requirements. Applications that pass both of these stages are ranked according to priority points and time stamp, and then tested for transmission and distribution capacity.

There have been nearly 4,000 Small FIT applications submitted since the program’s relaunch, representing more than 825,000 kilowatts (kW) or 825 megawatts (MW). A summary of the Small FIT applications that have been submitted is available here. The OPA expects to start awarding contracts in Q2 of 2013.

The OPA continues to process microFIT applications until the 50 MW procurement target is achieved. As of March 4, 2013, just under 8 MW of that target still remains to be allocated. The 2012 price schedule remains in effect.

A date for the Large FIT application window is pending and will be communicated once details are finalized.

For more information about the FIT and microFIT programs, visit:  

Hydroelectric Projects Directive to OPA from Minister of Energy

On January 21, Ontario’s Minister of Energy directed the OPA to procure up to 10 MW of new build distribution-connected hydroelectric projects greater than 500 kW and less than 5 MW, under a new municipal program stream for eligible municipal waterpower projects.

Connection availability for this stream will be based on impact assessments carried out by the distributor, transmitter or Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), as appropriate, before the contract is executed. To be eligible for this stream, a FIT application must have been submitted to the OPA before June 5, 2010, and the project size must be consistent with the size indicated in the project’s pre-existing application.

The OPA will plan for the opening of an application window for this new stream following the award of Small FIT contracts.

The Minister’s directive also indicated that the capacity target of 50 MW for hydroelectric projects set out in the April 5, 2012 direction from the government is no longer set aside within the FIT Program. The Ontario government remains committed to allocating the remaining 40 MW of the target. A future direction will include the criteria for further hydroelectric procurement initiatives.

The OPA is also directed not to commence new negotiations relating to refurbishment, upgrade or expansion of existing facilities currently holding Hydroelectric Contract Initiative (HCI) contracts.

Click here to read the Directive.

“saveONenergy home” interactive tool can help Ontarians better manage their electricity costs

A new interactive tool on the saveONenergy website is helping Ontarians find more ways to save energy in their homes.

The tool takes users on a tour through the “saveONenergy home”, highlighting energy saving opportunities to help better manage electricity. 

Users can select the energy saving measures they are already taking in their home and at the end of the tour, receive a summary of their results, tips on further energy savings opportunities and links to savings coupons and programs to help achieve these potential savings.

Click here to view the tool. 

Latest Progress Report on Electricity Supply released

The Progress Report on Electricity Supply is prepared on a quarterly basis to provide updates on the electricity supply contracts currently being managed by the OPA.

As of the end of the third quarter of 2012, the OPA administered contracts for 21,491 MW of electricity supply generation. This capacity represents over $36 billion of new capital investment in power generation in Ontario’s electricity system since 2005.

Click here to view the full report.  


New market rule changes to make renewable energy facilities dispatchable
On January 3, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) published changes to its market rules that will make many renewable energy facilities dispatchable. The new rules are intended to help ensure that renewable energy is efficiently integrated into Ontario’s electricity system, that it delivers value to Ontario’s energy consumers and that all market participants are treated fairly. Dispatching wind is an efficient way to address surplus base load generation or local congestion.
The OPA has successfully completed negotiations with some wind suppliers to align their contracts with the new rules.  On March 1, Renewable Energy Supply (RES) contract holders withdrew an application they had previously submitted to the Ontario Energy Board for a review of the new market rule amendments. The new market rules will allow the IESO to operate Ontario’s electricity system more effectively, resulting in about $200 million in savings per year. The OPA is continuing to negotiate with other wind suppliers. Savings resulting from these negotiations will be in addition to IESO’s estimated savings.
For more information about the market rules changes and the IESO stakeholder engagement, visit:

OPA and local distribution companies working
together on extension of programs
In December 2012, the Minister of Energy directed the OPA to extend funding province-wide conservation and demand management (CDM) programs for an additional one-year period, from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015.
The one-year extension has received support from stakeholders and will allow additional time for customers to initiate and complete projects. It will also add stability and enhance continuity to the conservation activities being undertaken by the OPA and LDCs.
The OPA has been consulting with LDCs, their customers and other key stakeholders to identify opportunities provided through the directive as well as address any concerns.
Click here to view the directive.
Click here to learn more about the saveONenergy programs for businesses and for the home.

18-Month Outlook points to continued reliability

According to the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO’s) 18-Month Outlook, Ontario will continue to have adequate generation and transmission capability to meet consumers’ needs over the next 18 months.

The period will also see a significant amount of renewable energy integrated into Ontario’s bulk power system. The IESO expects more than 3,200 MW of renewable capacity to be connected to the transmission system, including Ontario’s first two transmission grid-connected solar projects, located in Haldimand County and Elgin County. By August 2014, total wind and solar generation connected to the province’s transmission and distribution systems is expected to reach approximately 6,800 MW and produce approximately 14.9 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy annually.

Progress continues to be made in removing coal-fired generation from the supply mix in Ontario. The remaining generating units at Lambton and Nanticoke are scheduled to stop burning coal by the end of 2013 and the conversion of Atikokan generating station from a coal-fired unit to biomass is underway, with the unit expected to be in service  by the end of 2014.

The IESO regularly assesses the adequacy and reliability of Ontario’s power system. The 18-Month Outlook is issued on a quarterly basis and is available here.

Other electricity news

Just the facts…

The number of FIT and microFIT contracts that came into commercial operation in 2012 was 5,286 representing 167.88 MW.

The percentage of energy generated by coal in Ontario in 2012 was only 2.8 percent.