Ontario’s electricity operator announces 16 solar, wind and hydro contracts

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The body that operates Ontario’s electricity grid, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has awarded sixteen contracts for 455 megawatts of new renewable power capacity. The announcement today follows a review of more than 100 proposals received following an RFP issued by IESO in early 2015. The contracts awarded are for five wind installations, totaling 299.5 MW; seven solar projects totaling 139.885 MW; and four hydroelectric contracts totaling 15.5 MW.

The contracts were awarded under the terms of IESO’s Large Renewable Procurement program (LRP). It differs from the province’s feed-in tariff program (FIT) in that it puts more emphasis on competitive bids, with the aim of driving down the prices, according to Bruce Campbell, president of IESO. The average cost per kilowatt hour for wind energy supplied under the new contracts will be 8.59 cents; under the feed-in tariff program the average is 12.8 cents per kWh. For LRP solar power, the cost will be 15.67 cents per kWh, compared to up to 29.4 cents under FIT. Both of these are still more expensive than nuclear power, however, which averages 6.4 cents per kWh.

The president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), Robert Hornung, commented that the organization was pleased to see such a large response to the RFP from IESO, a response that is indicative of “a mature wind energy industry in Ontario,” and one that is capable of “vastly expanding” the level of zero-emission electricity available for Ontarians.

A list of the successful proponents is available here.

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