Ontario releases huge tender

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The Ontario government has released a request for project proposals for up to 1000 MW of renewable energy, enough to meet its goal of having 5% of the province's electricity generation coming from renewable sources by 2007. The RFP is open to wind, water, solar, biomass and landfill gas projects 20 MW and larger in size. Proposals are due in August, with the announcement of the winners expected as early as the fall.

Another invitation to tender for supply of 200 MW of small and medium-sized renewable energy projects less than 20 MW in size will be released in June, says energy minister Dwight Duncan. The government, he adds, is also consulting with industry on options, including the possibility of establishing fixed power purchase prices to encourage very small community and farm-based renewable energy projects. Fixed purchase prices promoted such small scale development during the industry's pioneering years in Denmark and Germany. Ontario expects to announce its strategy later in the year.

"We're creating a new and exciting industry in Ontario," Duncan says. "Expanding our share of renewable energy will not only clean up our air, it will mean more jobs, more opportunities, more innovation and more economic growth across the province."

The 1000 MW RFP is the government's second call for renewable capacity. In November, it announced the purchase of 395 MW, 90% of which came from five wind energy bids (Windpower Monthly, December 2004). Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, expects wind developers to be successful again. "The opportunity for wind energy is vast and there are numerous projects poised to contribute clean wind energy for Ontario," he says.

The government's 5% target, which equals about 1350 MW of capacity, is an interim step towards a goal of 10% by 2010. The government's energy strategy includes shutting down Ontario's 7500 MW of coal-fired generation.

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