Ontario awards 1GW feed-in tariff contracts

CANADA: Ontario's governing Liberals have awarded new feed-in tariff (FIT) contracts to 1.02GW wind-energy projects, raising the stakes in the province ahead of its autumn election where the FIT is shaping up to be a pivotal issue.

Ontario energy minister Brad Duguid
Ontario energy minister Brad Duguid

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The 19 projects are all located in the south-western part of the province, a region that has some of its best wind resources, but where development has been stymied by a lack of grid access.

Ontario is moving ahead with contract awards now because a 180-kilometre, double-circuit 500 kV transmission line is due to be in service by the end of next year.

While half of the line's 3GW of transfer capacity is earmarked for refurbished nuclear-generation in the region, the rest will go to renewable-energy projects.

But part of the renewable energy allocation has been set aside under a controversial deal that allows a Korean consortium led by Samsung C&T to jump the queue.

Under the terms of that C$7 billion (US$7.3 billion) deal, Samsung and its partners agreed to
build 2GW of wind and 500MW of solar projects and to bring plants to Ontario
to manufacture wind and solar generation components.

In a letter to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) — which administers the FIT
programme — energy minister Brad Duguid directed the agency to "hold in
reserve" 500MW of transmission capacity on the new line for the consortium.
There were about 4.5GW of projects, the vast majority of them wind, vying
for the remaining space.

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