As of March 15, Ontario’s green energy producers will be subject to a new set of fees for applications they make for feed-in tariff (FIT), microFIT, and other renewable power projects. The province has a rapidly-expanding market for solar, wind, and other clean power sources that has created thousands of kilowatts (kW) of green energy and boosted the careers of workers in these industries. In exchange for the new Renewable Energy Approval fees, the Ministry of the Environment will streamline the approvals process in order to make it easier for businesses, organizations, and individuals to participate in this emerging area in the future.
The FIT and microFIT are parts of a government initiative to diversify Ontario’s energy supply mix and to use cleaner forms of energy to replace the province’s coal-fired power plants by 2014. The programs keep the initiative on course by paying high prices to producers of solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, and biomass energy. In turn, they provide spin-off benefits like new career opportunities and training courses like Ontario Solar Academy’s PV design and installation training program.
Fees Help Simplify Process, Keep Solar Energy, Career Training on Course
The new Renewable Energy Approval fees, as drafted, range from $1,000 to $67,905, depending on the type and size of project. However, the Ontario government’s recent decision to impose a moratorium on off-shore wind projects effectively cancels the highest fee, leaving the top payout at $56,458 for on-shore wind farms larger than 50 MW. Owners of new PV projects will now pay $1,000 for government approval of installations of 500 kW and less and $12,844 for larger solar farms.
According to a government website, “The Renewable Energy Approval simplifies the number and types of approvals required for new renewable energy projects, integrating environmental, health, and safety matters previously dealt with by a number of provincial, municipal and proponent-driven processes into one process.” While Ontario’s new fees may present an obstacle for newcomers to the province’s green energy industry, the recent decision reflects the government’s responsibility to ensure that this new market evolves into a long-term, stable sector of the economy that helps to create a healthy and prosperous future for Ontarians.