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Ontario seeks proposals for 930 MW from renewables


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Ontario seeks proposals for 930 MW from renewables

Ontario has unveiled a plan to add as much as 930 MW ofwind, solar, hydroelectric and bioenergy electricity to its grid through thesecond round of its Large Renewable Procurement, or LRP, process.

The IndependentElectricity System Operator, or IESO, will issue a request forqualifications by Aug. 1, following engagement with stakeholders, BobChiarelli, the province's energy minister, said April 5. Based on the resultsof its first round of proposals under the LRP process the IESO, which procurespower and operates the grid in Canada's most-populous province, anticipates itwill recognize C$3.3 billion in cost savings relative to its long-term energyforecast that was issued in 2013. That translates to about C$1.67 per month onaverage residential power bills.

"Ontario is a North American leader in the developmentof renewable energy projects," Chiarelli said April 5 at the Canadian WindEnergy Association, or CanWEA, spring forum in Gatineau, Quebec. "Byputting emphasis on price and community support, the next phase of renewableenergy procurement will save consumers money by putting further downwardpressure on electricity prices."

Like the first round of procurements, the latest request,called LRP II, will require proponents to engage with community stakeholders,municipalities and Indigenous communities. The program covers renewable energyprojects generally larger than 500 kW. In its first LRP the province contracts to 16proponents for approximately 455 MW of capacity. For LRP II, targets of as muchas 600 MW of wind, 250 MW of solar photovoltaic, 50 MW of hydro and 30 MW ofbioenergy have been set.

In the initial LRP round five wind projects totaling 299.5MW were awarded contracts at an average price of 8.59 Canadian cents/kWh,according to CanWEA. A total of 2,027 MW of wind capacity was proposed.

"Our industry has proven that wind energy is acost-competitive source of new generation for Ontario and this new RFP ensuresthe province will continue to secure carbon-free electricity at the bestpossible price," CanWEA President Robert Hornung said in an emailfollowing the announcement. "The wind energy industry looks forward toworking collaboratively with the Ontario government to ensure the successfulcompletion of this open and competitive procurement process."

Ontario became the first province in Canada to exceed 4,000MW of wind capacity after adding 871 MW of new projects in 2015, according toCanWEA. An additional 1,800 MW of contracted projects are still to be built,the group said.

Clean Energy Canada, a think tank dedicated to the promotionof renewable energy, said Ontario's emphasis on cleaner power is boostingemployment in the province in addition to decreasing pollution. The provinceestimates as many as 42,000 jobs have been created in the clean technologysector since 2003, with more than 30 solar and wind manufacturers operatingthere. The province also recently renewed agreements with operators that supply the bulkof Ontario's baseload electricity.

"Ontario set a target for renewable energy to compriseabout half of installed capacity by 2025 — this is another step towards thatgoal," Sarah Petrevan, a senior policy adviser at Clean Energy Canada,said in a separate email. "By timing this offer so that projects will comeonline in 2022, Ontarians will have access to low-carbon electricity whilenuclear facilities are being refurbished."

The IESO is planning a webinar April 12 to help familiarizeproponents with the LRP II process.