Ontario scraps 600MW of new wind

CANADA: Ontario's government is scrapping its plan to buy another 930MW of renewable energy, including 600MW of wind power, as it grapples with mounting concern over rising power bills in the province.

Ontario has more wind power — around 4.5GW — than any other Canadian province
Ontario has more wind power — around 4.5GW — than any other Canadian province

The decision is expected to save C$3.8 billion (US$2.9 billion) in electricity system costs relative to the forecast in the province's last long-term energy plan, saving residential customers about C$2.45 (US$1.85) a month.

It also came after Ontario’s independent electricity system operator (IESO) released a planning report saying there was no "urgent need" to procure additional supply.

"When our experts said we didn’t need it, that’s when I acted," energy minister Glenn Thibeault told reporters on 27 September. "I’ve been tasked to find ways to bring bills down."

The cancellation comes relatively late in the procurement process, stranding dozens of projects in advanced stages of development. The deadline in the IESO’s request for qualifications was 8 September, with 59 submissions received.

The wind industry is "shocked and extremely disappointed" by the decision, said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA).

The IESO’s planning report "understates the need for new electricity generation given the important role electrification will play in meeting Ontario’s climate change commitments and transitioning to a low-carbon economy", said Hornung.

The government plans to start consultations on a new long-term energy plan to be released in 2017. CANWEA will "use that forum to demonstrate" the need for new non-emitting electricity generation and the cost-competitiveness of wind, said Hornung.

He noted that Ontario’s last round of procurement netted wind power at a cost as low as C$0.065/kWh.

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