Before making an announcement on energy prices, the Ontario Minister of Energy toured Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Energy
and met with students who were working on various energy projects. The London West MPP continually stated that by talking to the students and their different projects it was clear that the “future is here” and Ontario is truly a global leader.
Bentley announced in front of green energy industry professionals and advocates that prices for future wind and solar energy projects would be reduced – 20 percent for solar developments (from 80.2 cents per kilowatt hour to 54.9 cents) and 15 percent for solar ventures (from 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour to 11.5 cents). Electricity bills, however, will still continue to rise.
Although there is a price decrease in future solar and wind projects, there are already thousands of energy projects approved at the higher prices. Bentley noted that green energy only accounts for approximately five percent of the increase in all electricity bills.
Prices for other energy projects, such as water, landfill gas, biomass and others will remain unchanged.
The Energy Minister also said that the provincial government will reserve 10 percent of remaining capacity for projects with significant participation from local or Aboriginal communities. Ontario will introduce a priority point system that will prioritize projects with municipal support that will have community input.
These announcements come as the province reviewed the Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Program
– a comprehensive structure of guaranteed pricing for renewable electricity production, developing technology and creating jobs.
“To all those who have been leaders in green for so long, thank you for your leadership. Thank you for helping us see a cleaner greener future for Ontario. The Government of Ontario’s commitment to green started in 2003. It began with our commitments to stop burning coal; coal creates dirty air, dirty air makes people sick,” said the Energy Minister.
“We are committed to cleaning up the air, to keeping people healthier and to building a green economy that creates jobs, brings on clean energy here in the province of Ontario and positions us to sell our parts, our products and our innovation to the world.”
Municipalities across the province can receive green energy quicker if they request for it, but cannot say no if they don’t actually want it in the end. This is in part under the new rules of FIT. Bentley reiterated his government’s stance on clean and green energy and that the province listens to municipalities and to community groups, such as universities, businesses, hospitals and school boards.
When prompted on whether or not municipalities have a say in green projects, Bentley responded, “The legislature rejected the municipal veto, we have 440 different rules around the province of Ontario. We’ve rejected the municipal veto. What we have done, working with municipalities and listening carefully, is find the right balance.”
He added that the government is permitting the project proponents the opportunity to work with community groups and the Ministry of Natural Resources will develop a plan with crown land and the availability of crown land.