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Green Energy Act

The Green Energy Act includes many provisions to promote and develop green energy industries in Ontario.  These programs are designed to reduce bureaucratic red tape, introduce subsidies and provide general government support at all levels for the renewable energy industry. Specifically, the Green Energy Act directs the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to set up programs that facilitate micro and macro renewable generation systems to easily be developed and connected to the Ontario electrical grid and that the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will pay a subsidized rate to the generator to insure these systems will have a reasonable rate of return on their investments.

In Ontario the actual rate consumers pay for domestic energy is subsidized and does not truly reflect the true capitalized cost of energy generation.  More so the province needs new sources of energy to provide the energy requirements of a growing province that has mandated the closing of its dirty coal fired electrical generating plants.  Most alternatives including natural gas and nuclear generating plants are cleaner and more efficient than coal but still have massive environmental costs that are not represented in the present cost of energy. As well both of these options are very expensive and are environmentally controversial. Solar and wind power generators have no operating environmental costs and their start up environmental costs are minimal. Unfortunately the present capital costs of Solar and Wind generators are so high and the revenue of the energy produced at present energy rates so low that it is economically unviable to install and operate these systems.

As well the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), which regulates generation, & Hydro One, which regulates transmission, were set up to operate only with large scale power generation systems and are ill-suited to handle small micro systems. As it is the mandate of both of these crown corporations to operate in the most efficient manner possible in order to provide electricity to the taxpayers of Ontario at the lowest possible cost they had no incentive to help small micro generators connect to the power grid as the set up costs far outweighed the benefit of having the system connected to the grid.

The Green Energy Act addresses both of these issues with the introduction of the FIT and Micro-FIT programs.  The two main components of these programs are 1) Guaranteed Feed-in-Tariff rates and 2) Simplified Grid-Tied connections.

Guaranteed Feed-in Tariff is a binding contract between the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and a renewable power generator that guarantees that the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will pay that generator for its power at a specific rate for a specific period of time.

Simplified Grid-Tied connection is that the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and Hydro One as well as the Local Distribution Centre (your local PUC) must all simplify their installation and application processes for renewable power generators in order to make connecting to the electrical grid simply, fast and affordable to anyone who wants to invest in these systems.

As with any government program there are many critics as well as many proponents for the Green Energy Act. It is beyond our scope to debate the pros and cons of the act but essentially the Ontario government is attempting to solve two problems with one solution.

The two problems are:

  1. The need for new energy sources at a time when environmental awareness is at an all time high with such issues as global warming, smog and nuclear waste handling and
  2. While the entire world is caught in one of the worst recessionary times in modern history Ontario has been hit extraordinarily hard due to its large reliance on manufacturing, specifically the auto industry. Ontario has lost an unprecedented amount of high paying manufacturing jobs and has one of the highest unemployment rates of any 1st world region of comparable size.

The Green Energy Act is an attempt by the Ontario government to make Ontario into North America’s premier renewable energy centre.  In offering incentives to individuals to set up grid tied renewable energy generators and requiring Ontario content in these systems the government is hoping to develop both the supply and demand sides to a new sustainable renewable energy industry in Ontario.  As being a completely new industry there will be many new jobs created to sell, build, install and operate these generators as well as factories and industries to research, develop and make the components required for these systems.

It is also hoped that by increasing the demand for this equipment the price of the equipment should be driven down with faster technological advances as well as economies of scale.  There is little debate that if successful in becoming a leader in alternative energy systems that Ontario will benefit greatly with numerous jobs created, increased world exports and new clean energy to help ease Ontario’s need for dirty energy.  The big question in the end will be how much did it cost the province to get these benefits and was it worth it?

The following is an excerpt from the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure website with an overview of the Act:

The Green Energy Act: A Vision for the Future

Ontario’s Green Energy Act (GEA), and related amendments to other legislation, received Royal Assent on May 14, 2009. Regulations and other tools needed to fully implement the legislation were introduced through the month of September 2009, as part of a ten step plan to bring the GEA to life.The landmark Green Energy Act will boost investment in renewable energy projects and increase conservation, creating green jobs and economic growth to Ontario.  This legislation is part of Ontario’s plan to become a leading green economy in North America.

GEA will :

  • Spark growth in clean and renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and biogas in Ontario.
  • Create the potential for savings and better managed household energy expenditures through a series of conservation measures.
  • Create 50,000 jobs for Ontarians in its first three years.

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The Green Energy Act

The Green Energy Act includes many provisions to promote and develop green energy industries in Ontario. These programs are designed to reduce bureaucratic red tape, introduce subsidies and provide general government support at all levels for the renewable energy industry.

Suppliers

Home Energy Solutions:
www.heshomeenergy.com

AS Solar:
www.assolarinc.com

MicroFIT Program

Ontario Power Authority:
microfit.powerauthority.on.ca

Hydro One:
www.hydroone.com

Associations

Cansia:
www.cansia.ca

Service Area

Specializing in Southern Georgian Bay & Central Ontario including Collingwood, Thornbury, Meaford, Stayner, Wasaga Beach, Markdale, Creemore, Barrie, Angus, Alliston and beyond.

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