Ontario slashes FIT for wind, solar

Ontario’s Feed-inTariff has received significant cuts as part of its first review from the Ontario Ministry of Energy, which includes a reduction in the prices the provincial government pays for solar by more than 20 percent and wind by about 15 percent.

Enacted in 2009, the tariffs are credited with spurring growth in Ontario’s renewable energy sector, and the wind industry has been the major beneficiary. Ontario has more than 1,750 MW of installed wind power and plans to reach 7,500 MW by 2018. As of 2011, Ontario had more than 200 MW of solar online, and it had done much to draw the interest of international players eager to tap into the market.

According to the Ontario government, the landmark Green Energy Act has leveraged more than $27 billion in new investment and economic opportunities. It also has created 20,000 clean energy jobs.

While the rates for solar and wind are being cut in the FIT, prices for hydro, biogas, biomass and landfill gas projects are unchanged. The new rates will be adjusted annually to reflect current prices.

The announcement does however offer opportunities to speed up the approval process by as much as 25 percent, to expand the money set aside for local and aboriginal communities and it calls for new strategies for other sectors of the clean energy economy, such as smart grid technologies.

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