Last week, the Ontario Government decided to cancel the second round of the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program. The Feed-In Tariff (FIT) and MicroFIT programs remain untouched by this decision. OREC continues to find new projects to build under FIT 5 and will launch our fifth securities offering in November to finance at least three projects under FIT 4.
Although the news comes as a disappointment, it’s clear that the government continues to support community-owned renewable energy through the FIT program. The news is nevertheless a minor set back in greening Ontario’s electricity grid as industry and the province moves towards Net-Metering; an idea that is on the cusp of revolutionizing how homes and businesses generate and consume renewable energy.
The move away from wind power is a deliberate political decision to quiet concerns over NIMBYism as a small but vocal group of communities express their discontent with new wind projects. The LRP program has helped increase wind power generation but it did not require community ownership. TREC’s report The Power of Community shows us community ownership translates into community buy-in.
This latest decision also runs interference with Ontario’s Climate Action Plan which charts a course for the electrification of heating – away from natural gas – with heat pumps. Wind power is a good option to meet peak demand in winter while the FIT and MicroFIT programs are geared towards solar power to ease summer peaks.
How and when will the government wean itself off natural gas and nuclear as the primary source of electricity to meet their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets? If these issues concern you, we ask that you participate in consultations of Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan.