Addressing the barriers to small generation in Ontario

Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan has asked two of the agencies overseeing the province's electricity system to develop a standard offer program for small clean energy projects intending to connect to the distribution network. Explaining his reasoning to the Ontario Energy Board and the Ontario Power Authority, Duncan notes that participation in Ontario's competitive request for renewable energy projects is proving too costly, complex and administratively burdensome for small-scale developers. He wants the agencies to "work together to address the barriers" to small generators by offering standardised purchase contracts for their power. The energy board will focus on the necessary changes to codes and connection requirements and on ensuring non-discriminatory access to the electricity system, while the province's power authority will investigate the appropriate price and eligibility requirements for projects. Duncan wants their recommendations and proposed implementation plan by the end of the year. A recently released report prepared for the energy ministry by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA), says Duncan "provides useful background information to consider in developing a standard offer program." In its 60-page report, OSEA recommends that the government launch a five year pilot program offering 20 year, fixed price contracts to all small scale renewable energy generators up to 10 MW in size. It says wind projects should receive C$0.133/kWh for the first five years of operation, with the tariff dropping in years six to 20 for projects in high and medium wind speed sites.

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