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Competitive bidding is now formally a part of Ontario Hydro's long awaited renewable energy technologies strategy, the company announced on May 5. The public utility is soliciting up to 60 MW of independent nameplate capacity through a request for Round 1 proposals. Round 2 will seek a further 65 MW, beginning in 1997.

Individual wind turbines with Canadian content are eligible, together with small (2-5 MW) and medium (10-22 MW) wind farms, along with other renewable technology categories. These figures differ slightly from those reported earlier (Windpower Monthly, April 1995). Per category, one or more contract awards are expected, with no more than one project from a single proponent.

Hydro expects to qualify about 100% more capacity in each technology category than will be finally selected for development. It is seeking the lowest possible bid price over the contract term. Innovative price options, such as contracts for differences from an agreed performance baseline, or risk-sharing provisions beyond the contract term, will be considered.

The Independent Power Producers' Society of Ontario (IPPSO) welcomes the renewables programme in principle, but criticises its limited size and low rate ceiling of $0.09 per kilowatt hour. "Green power means selling energy and not nameplate capacity," says IPPSO board member Paul McKay, who noted that the 60 MW Round 1 total is not a firm average energy purchase commitment. "This effectively cuts what Hydro would actually buy by more than half."

The in-service date for most project proposals is on or before December 31, 1997. However, proponents of medium wind farms must conduct wind resource mapping for about 42 weeks and their projects are due on line by December 31, 1998.

Ontario Hydro's own business units and municipal utilities are excluded from Round 1. Non-Ontario utilities can bid wind proposals and others whose generation resources are indigenous.

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