Ontario Government Politicizes Review of FIT Program

In yet another indication of the expanding role of politics in controlling Ontario’s power system, the Ontario government announced today that it is shouldering aside the agency responsible for administering the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program — the Ontario Power Authority — and initiating a review of the program directly under the control of the minister of energy.

The announcement of the review biases the outcome. The government’s announcement declares the existing FIT program to be “successful and sustainable”¬†and commits to direct consultation with only the renewable energy sector. With the statement “Assessment of government policies and tools to ensure that Ontario remains a center of manufacturing excellence and clean energy job creation,” the review also appears to exclude repealing the damaging protectionist elements of the Green Energy Act.

4 Comments

  1. The surprise switch over to the MoE/I running the show wasn’t even hinted at in the OPA’s recent management conference call. In my mind, this just entrenches them as a punch line. When it comes to believing that there must be an Ontario electricity agency that sincerely wants to do the right thing on anything, I’m well past the Charlie Brown/Lucy/kicking a football stage.

    Here’s my take on FIT:

    1. Never should have happened, except maybe for window-dressing micro-FIT projects. The rest should have been procured competitively.

    If it did go ahead …

    2. Due to favourable equipment cost and FX movements, prices were high right out of the gate.
    3. Elimination of price digression (?) for solar, based on developer backlash, was like allowing your kids to dictate a steady menu of junk food.
    4. Prices were based on inability to fully utilize accelerated CCA as it was created. Project flips to companies with other income to write this off against provide windfalls to original developers.
    5. Price review could have been done annually and so is way overdue. Even the two-year review should have been done well before the election.
    6. Based on past actions (early mover, RESOP -> FIT), the travesty of price-grandfathering submitted applications is a distinct possibility.

    It’s all over except the crying.

  2. Considering how politicised the FIT program decision making already was at the OPA will the outcomes really be any different now that the Minister of Energy will be directly controlling the FIT review? At least with the power shifting to cabinet the bad decisions made will now belong to the politicians that made them.

  3. Quelle surprise! I think not. Wasn’t the LTEP and the fallout-IPSP II a Ministry design. Why would we expect anything to change. The old Ministers and now the new Minister has no faith in the ability of those who might know a little more. They will no doubt leave it to the OPA to deliver the results of the “consultation” process however, of that I’m confident! They are simply rushing to follow; Portugal, Spain, the UK and Germany perhaps because they discovered that Ontario is distined to have the highest electricity prices in North America (except for California) and if we keep driving jobs out of Ontario we will not need nearly the amount of electricity we currently can produce.

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