Canada

Canada

Making wind competitive -- Calls for Ontario RPS multiply

A renewables portfolio standard (RPS) is key to a strategy that could see up to 3000 MW of wind power installed in the next eight years, says the Ontario Wind Power Task Force. A report, Harnessing Wind Power in Ontario, lays out 15 recommendations designed to make wind "a significant and competitive electricity option" in the province's coming competitive marketplace. The report covers issues like land use policy, environmental assessment and emissions trading, but makes it clear the adoption of an RPS that commits Ontario to sourcing 8% of its 2010 electricity consumption from renewables is a priority. The RPS would start at 1.5% in 2003, increase to 2% in 2004 and then rise by 1% a year. The impact on blended wholesale prices would be minimal.

Combined with a federal production incentive, the RPS will help put wind on an level playing field with fossil fuel generation. The combination will also allow Ontario producers to compete for investment dollars with their US counterparts, where the federal production tax credit and various state portfolio standards result in a "realised price" of about C$0.08/kWh for wind. "It is also important to remember that because wind generators in the US benefit from these policies, they will have a competitive advantage over Ontario generators when supplying energy to the Ontario market," the report says.

Calls for an RPS have been gaining strength in Ontario. Last year, the Independent Power Producers Society of Ontario released a draft RPS proposal (Windpower Monthly, October 2001). And recently, a study from the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian Institute of Environmental Law and Policy and the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative argues "that in Ontario it is practical to implement an RPS that would ultimately ensure the take up of approximately 20,000 GWh/year."

An RPS, together with energy efficiency initiatives that could result in "massive" reductions in electricity use, would allow Ontario to shut down all five of its coal-fired generating plants. The study was presented to Ontario's Select Committee on Alternative Fuel Sources, a government commission investigating ways to promote alternative energy. A final report will go to Ontario's Legislative Assembly before the end of May.

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