Ontario awards standard offer contracts to two hydro projects

The government of Ontario awarded contracts Feb. 27 to two small hydroelectric projects totaling about 2.5 MW and to 20 other energy projects that submitted applications to its renewables Standard Offer Program.

The contracts represent a total capital investment of C$336 million (US$288 million) and involve four sources of renewable technology and projects totaling more than 165 MW. For hydro, the government selected Veridian Connections’ 950-kW McLeod Dam project in Belleville and Lakeland Power Distribution’s 1.5-MW High Falls project in Bracebridge. The other projects are powered by solar (22.9 MW), biomass (10.2 MW), or wind power (129.5 MW).

The 22 contracts were the first awarded under Ontario’s Standard Offer Program, which allows small generators of electricity from renewables under 10 MW to supply energy to the grid. (HNN 1/25/07) The province said the program is the largest of its kind in North America and expected to add 1,000 MW from renewables to the grid over ten years.

Fifty-eight more applications have been submitted. Contracts will be awarded as those applications are evaluated, the Energy Ministry said. All standard offer contracts are contingent on municipal and environmental approvals.

The Standard Offer Program is a collaboration of the Ontario Power Authority, Ontario Energy Board, local distribution companies, and organizations promoting energy from renewables. It provides standard terms and conditions intended to make it simpler and less costly for operators of small renewable energy facilities to participate in Ontario’s electricity supply system.

The standard offer is one of three procurement strategies the government is pursuing to add to its electricity supply, the others being competitive procurement through requests for proposals, and non-competitive procurement though negotiation.

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