Ontario’s Buy Local Renewable Energy Policy: An Update

Date: 15 Mar 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In January, we released a report – Maximizing Jobs From Clean Energy: Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ Policy – highlighting the impressive job forecast (43,000 jobs) from Ontario’s CLEAN Contract (a.k.a. feed-in tariff) program.  News from the province suggests that the program is overcoming hurdles and continuing to grow.

Forecasts for 2011 indicate that Ontario could become North America’s largest solar market, installing 455 MW, more than twice what California installed in 2009.  This is nearly a 3-fold increase over 2010 installations.

Additionally, supply concerns have faded.  ClearSky Advisors notes that, “Though there has been concern that development would be limited by supply shortages, it is now most likely that there will be sufficient supply to meet demand from 2011 to 2015.”

Hurdles remain for Ontario.  They are still subject to a World Trade Organization complaint over their ‘buy local’ policy (discussed in detail in our report) and if liberals lose the fall elections, it could spell significant cutbacks in the province’s clean energy program.

One recent report suggests that there are new “big fees” for project development, as well, but these fees exempt small-scale projects and a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the fees will comprise less than 2 percent of projects costs.

Overall, it appears Ontario’s robust clean energy program is still on track to develop thousands of megawatts of clean energy and thousands of jobs.

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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.