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CANWEA: Ontario RE round delay

Ontario’s proposed competitive procurement window for large-scale wind and solar will not open this year as initially hoped, according to the chief executive of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).

“It won’t happen until 2014,” Colin Andersen told the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) annual conference in Toronto. Plans now call for releasing a procurement timetable in a couple of months.

The World Trade Organization ruled against the province linking feed-in tariff (FIT) eligibility for renewables contracts to local equipment production and services.

As interim steps towards compliance by 24 March 2014, the ruling Liberal Party removed wind and solar projects above 500kW from the FIT programme and cut local-content requirements to 25%.

The OPA is working with the Ontario Ministry of Energy to develop guidelines for competitive procurement. The authority has administered the FIT programme since it was created by the 2009 Green Energy and Green Economy Act.

Andersen says that after extensive public consultation, the OPA provided interim recommendations on 30 August to energy minister Bob Chiarelli on how to structure the new procurement regime.

Before the government can implement it, Andersen says the ministry needs to conclude a review of the 2010 Long-Term Energy Plan that will suggest any changes for build-out of Ontario’s energy supply into next decade.

More consultation is needed with the public and stakeholders before Chiarelli can submit those recommendations to Premier Kathleen Wynne’s cabinet for approval.

Among the main issues are whether Ontario needs new nuclear plants and how much large wind needs to be added beyond the 5.8GW the province has contracted with the FIT.

CanWEA president Robert Hornung told the conference that the government needs to act quickly to provide the industry and supply chain with clear signals as to its large-wind procurement intentions beyond 2016, when FIT contract projects will have been built.

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