Ontario wind auction pushes down prices

CANADA: Nearly 300MW of wind capacity has been awarded support in Ontario's first competitive auction with the average price coming in lower than the previous feed-in tariff (Fit) scheme.

EDF EN Canada was one of the winners in Ontario's first auction

Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has selected five wind projects totalling 299.5MW in the province's first competitive renewables procurement after scrapping its Fit programme for large-scale projects and ending domestic content requirements in 2013.

The average price it will pay for wind is C$0.0859/kWh ($.0642/kWh), a significant drop from Fit, which started in 2009 at C$0.135/kWh. Ontario reduced the tariff to C$0.115/kWh in 2012 but did not buy any projects under that rate.

Major North American wind companies dominate the winner's list, and include EDF EN Canada for its 60MW Romney Wind Energy Centre, EDP Renewables Canada for its 100MW Nation Rise Wind Farm, and Invenergy for its 57.5MW Strong Breeze Wind Project.

Renewable Energy Systems Canada is anchoring two projects, partnering with Boralex on the 50MW Otter Creek Wind Farm Project and Sierra Nevada Power on the 32MW Parc Eolien Gauthier.

"[The] announcement reflects an understanding that there is a will and a need to cost-effectively and reliably integrate more clean, renewable energy, like wind energy, into the electricity grid," said CanWEA regional director in Ontario, Brandy Giannetta.

The IESO is also buying 140MW of solar at an average price of C$0.1567/kWh and 15.5MW of hydro at an average price of C$0.1759/kWh.