The Ontario Power Authority, which designed and is in charge of administering the province’s feed-in-tariff program, announced micro and small/medium sized FIT contracts earlier this year totalling 112 megawatts. Today, it issued the big one: the awarding of 184 contracts for projects larger than 500 kilowatts. In total, and assuming all projects get developed, this works out to 2,421 MW of green-energy capacity.
Ground-mounted solar represented 76 of the projects and amount to more than 600 megawatts. Northland Power, a company normally associated with building natural gas plants, has 13 solar projects totalling 130 MW. Onshore wind projects number 47 and waterpower projects number 46. The Ontario government called this the “single-largest green energy initiative of its kind in Canada,” while environmental and pro-green industry groups called the contract approvals historic. No doubt, criticism will follow from the usual suspects who continue to crap on any green-energy programs.
Significantly, 264 MW worth of projects have been identified as “community power”: projects developed, owned and operated by Ontario landowners and groups comprised of First Nations and energy co-ops — in other words, not by corporations.
The province said this latest round of projects will create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs, though I’ve always found it a mystery how they come to those numbers and take them with a grain of salt. It also estimated it will result in $9 billion in private investment, a figure that’s boosted by local content requirements.
The big surprise: a contract was issued for a 300 megawatt offshore wind project in Lake Ontario, near Kingston’s Wolfe Island. It’s sure to be a controverial project, but it represents the first time *in the world* that a power-purchase contract has been granted to an offshore wind project in the Great Lakes. It’s also the largest single approved project under this entire FIT round. Click here for a breakdown of the 184 projects.
The company behind the Wolfe Island Shoals Windfarm is a company called Windstream Energy. Don’t know much about them, but they’ve got their work cut out. They would have had to put up more than $3 million in security deposits to participate in the FIT, so I’m assuming they’ve got lots of wind data and have done the necessary studies (bird, bat, etc…) to move the project forward. But even so, they’re going to face the wrath of an angry Wolfe Island residents association, which is having a hard enough time accepting the onshore turbines there. “If they’re directly in front of Wolfe Island it’s going to be a firestorm,” said one industry observer. Got that right.
More to come later…