Consultant defines huge potential for wind industry in Ontario mandate

The new Ontario government's promise of a renewables portfolio standard (RPS) of 10% by 2010 could lead to the installation of more than 2000 MW of wind power in the Canadian province over the next seven years, says a new study by Navigant Consulting. "This proposal will likely make Ontario one of the most attractive markets for wind project developers in North America," says Navigant's John Dalton. Ontario's former Conservative government announced a green power standard of 8% by 2014, but was unable to implement the plan before being defeated in last month's provincial election. The winning Liberal party, however, campaigned on an even more aggressive target of 5% by 2007, increasing to 10% three years later. The Navigant study found that integrating the expected increase in wind capacity into Ontario's grid will be a significant challenge. "Many of the areas with attractive wind regimes don't have the transmission infrastructure to support large scale wind power development," says Dalton. In fact, an assessment of wind proposals that have already been made to the province's Independent Market Operator shows that if all go ahead, "developers are already facing transmission constraints," he says. "The success of this policy will depend on the design and administration of the RPS and the efforts devoted to ensuring that the significant amount of generating capacity that it will promote can be effectively integrated into the Ontario wholesale market."