Ontario’s renewable energy capacity continues to rise, with plans to purchase a further major chunk of new wind power under a second round of competitive large-scale clean energy procurements.
Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, speaking at a forum for the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), announced the region’s Independent Electric System Operator (IESO) will make a second-round of request for proposals (RFPs) for additional renewable energy supply, including 600 MW of new wind power.
“Ontario is a North American leader in the development of renewable energy projects. By putting emphasis on price and community support, the next phase of renewable energy procurement will save consumers money by putting further downward pressure on electricity prices,” says Chiarelli.
The RFPs form part of Ontario’s successful Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process, an ongoing program designed to help Canada’s most populous province reach its 2025 target for renewable energy to comprise 50 percent of installed capacity.
A first-round LRP (LRP1) in March saw the IESO flooded with over 100 offers from potential suitors, with wind energy alone totalling 2,027 MW – seven times what the Operator sought to buy.
Ultimately 16 contracts were awarded to successful parties. Among these were five wind power projects totaling 299.5 MW, at an average price of 8.59 cents/kWh. Seven solar energy projects totalling 139.885 MW also scored a guernsey, at an average price of 15.6 cent/kWh. Four hydroelectric contracts totalling 15.5 MW were also given a green light.
CanWEA president, Robert Hornung, says the rush by bidders to be part of the first round of the LRP/RFP process, along with great returns on energy prices for consumers, sets the stage for a highly successful second round.
“Our industry has proven that wind energy is a cost-competitive source of new generation for Ontario and this new RFP ensures the province will continue to secure carbon-free electricity at the best possible price,” he said.
“The wind energy industry looks forward to working collaboratively with the Ontario government to ensure the successful completion of this open and competitive procurement process.”
In 2015, Ontario welcomed 871 MW of new wind power projects, becoming the first Canadian province to surpass 4000 MW of wind capacity. 1,800 MW of contracted wind power projects await construction, in addition to the new capacity to be procured through LRP II.
In 2014, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate coal as a source of electricity, the equivalent of taking seven million cars off the road.