Friday, March 11, 2016

Ontario forges ahead with investment in competitive renewables

After what has felt like something of a retrenchment in recent months, Ontario is once more forging ahead with renewable energy investment.
As reported in the business section of the paper, Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has announced 16 contracts with 11 different companies to build 5 new wind turbine projects, 7 solar projects, and 4 hydroelectric projects, for a grand total of 455 megawatts of new power capacity.
These are relatively modest additions to generating capacity in the scheme of things, as the province is not really in need of much new capacity at the moment, but it is all part of the gradual shift towards clean renewable energy.
As a mark of how renewable power has come of age recently, though, these are not government price set projects, but competitive contracts awarded to those promising to sell power for the lowest price. Gone is the need to for the old Feed-In Tariff program for these kinds of large-scale projects (although I am more than happy to be still benefitting from those myself). The cost of wind and solar has fallen dramatically in recent years, so that they are now competitive on their own merits.
Finally, renewables go mainstream.

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