Ontario Feed-in Tariff Deserves Attention
I really appreciate the quality of your articles and generally read them cover to cover. I also appreciate your inclusion of items with Canadian information and news. However, in your recent feature article, “Making Your Own Electricity” (see
EBN), I was very surprised and disappointed that you made no mention of Ontario’s recently enacted Green Energy Act, which includes a very progressive feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable energy sources. I believe that it is the most progressive in North America, offers comparable rates to those in Germany, and is likely to have a very significant effect on the economic viability of renewables in the Province.
Charles Simon Architect + Planner
Eden Mills, OntarioEditors’ Response:Thanks for pointing that out. Ontario’s feed-in tariff is indeed a standout in North America—and the world. Enacted in October 2009, the program offers options for small-scale renewable energy installations (less than 10 kW) under its “MicroFIT” program, with a separate “FIT” program for larger-scale projects. The tariff applies not only to photovoltaic (PV) panels but also to biogas, biomass, landfill gas, hydropower, and wind. Participants in the FIT and MicroFIT programs enter into a 20-year contract (40 years in the case of hydropower) to receive a fixed rate for the power they generate—up to $0.80 (CDN)/kWh for solar, with rates in the $0.10–$0.19/kWh range for other sources. Considering Ontario’s commitment to closing all its coal-fired power plants by 2014, the province is surely banking heavily on these generous rates to bring about a permanent shift away from carbon-intensive electric generation. Germany’s rates, among the world’s highest, have been falling, as planned, by about 8% annually. The U.S., on the other hand,
is now playing catch-up. A handful of states have proposed programs, but only three are in place: California pays a non-incentivized rate for installations of 1.5 MW or less, capped at 500 MW; Hawaii’s program is so new that rates have not yet been set; Vermont’s FIT was capped at 50 MW with only 12.5 MW allocated for PV—all of which were spoken for on the program’s inaugural day.
Published February 1, 2010