Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trillium Power sues Ontario for $2.25 billion CAD over future lost profit for development of offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes

Trillium Power Wind Corp. (“Trillium”), which had planned to build a series of offshore wind farms in Lake Ontario is suing the Ontario provincial government for $2.25 billion CAD for alleged damages suffered as a result of Ontario cancelling all offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes earlier this year.

Trillium’s Statement of Claim was filed yesterday in Ontario Superior Court and alleges that the decision to cancel offshore wind projects was made for purely political reasons in order to appease wind-power critics. Of course this is merely a Statement of Claim and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

It is alleged that Trillium spent millions of dollars over many years planning its offshore projects, and had dutifully followed the government’s application processes, but was taken completely by surprise when Ontario said it would not consider any offshore development in the Great Lakes until more scientific studies were done.

Unlike other onshore wind projects in Ontario Trillium did not have a FIT contract (or as I understand, any contract) with the government of Ontario for any of its offshore wind projects.

In the lawsuit, Trillium alleges that the province’s decision constituted “a confiscation of property rights, without warning or substantive justification” and that as a result, Trillium had to “effectively cease its corporate operation and organization, to lay off staff and to cancel contracts with advisers.”

The Statement of Claim indicates that the majority of damages claimed are for future loss of profits, as Trillium had only spent about $5.3 million CAD in planning for its first wind farm.

Canada has 202, 080 km of coastline – by far the greatest amount of coastline in the world - Greenland has 44,087 km and Russia has 37,653 km. Canada has a wealth of prime locations for offshore wind farm projects in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada. From the outset of this project I questioned the wisdom of building an offshore wind farm in an inland freshwater lake in the most densely populated part of Canada - other than the fact that an offshore wind farm in Lake Ontario would have afforded a great view from Trillium’s head office in downtown Toronto.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SaskPower to invest $550 million CAD to upgrade Saskatoon power station with natural gas and waste-heat conversion

The project, at the Queen Elizabeth Power Station in Saskatoon, the largest city in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada, will involve the construction of three 35 MW natural gas turbines, six steam generators and a steam turbine designed to produce 95 MW of power. The project will provide an additional 200 MW of cleaner energy to the provincial grid by 2015.

“These natural gas generating units will emit half the carbon dioxide of coal-fired generators, as well as less sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury,” said Robert Watson, SaskPower President and Chief Executive Officer. “Emissions will be reduced even further because the operation will utilize waste heat to generate electricity rather than venting it to the atmosphere.”

SaskPower has stated that the private sector will play a major role in the design, construction and commissioning of the project. Those developers and suppliers involved in natural gas and waste heat generation will want to take note, as it is anticipated that SaskPower will issue a request for proposals (RFP) in the near future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Raising finance through carbon credits

Earlier this week international law firm, Shearman & Sterling LLP announced they had advised East Asia Power (Xiamen) Company Ltd., a subsidiary of Pacific Oil and Gas, on the sale of certified emission reductions to be generated under the UN Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism regime. Switzerland-based Mercuria Energy Trading SA is purchasing the credits from East Asia Power (Xiamen) Company Ltd. for an undisclosed amount. East Asia Power (Xiamen) Company Ltd. intends to generate the carbon reduction credits over a seven-year period at its less carbon-intensive Fujian Xiamen Dongbu natural gas-fired plant. Emission reduction credits certified under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism regime are freely tradable and may be used to satisfy emission reduction targets under the Protocol itself and in the European Union Emissions Trading System under certain circumstances.

It is believed that East Asia Power (Xiamen) Company Ltd. used a portion of the funds to finance the construction of the natural gas-fired plant. Such arrangements can be comparable to a joint venture in many ways and in my view, are a fairly good method of raising finance for smaller projects. I expect that other renewable energy developers will be selling their certified emission reductions in order to secure funding for their projects.

Given the delays with Saskatchewan’s carbon credit legislation, and the huge number of offsets generated by farmers from zero-till agriculture in Saskatchewan, I would have assumed that some enterprising developer, aggregator or emissions trader would have already capitalized on the idea of using the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism to generate credits in Saskatchewan for sale to European energy traders such as Mercuria.

Monday, September 26, 2011

BC Hydro’s future energy procurement practices for projects in British Columbia

In September of 2010, BC Hydro retained Merrimack Energy Group Inc. to conduct an independent review of its energy procurement practices. BC Hydro is in the process of adopting the majority of the recommendations. Both the report and BC Hydro’s response to the recommendations are available for viewing on BC Hydro’s website at

Merrimack is recommending the following:

1. Link the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process and procurement activities, (i.e. the timing and level of need for new resources should be determined through the IRP process)
2. Make the energy procurement process more transparent for all stakeholders and First Nations
3. Implement smaller but more frequent energy procurements in the future which are linked to the IRP
4. Continue to follow the recent trend in BC Hydro’s procurements, combining or mixing procurement vehicles to match the type of overall solicitation being implemented
5. For larger procurement processes, utilize a multi-stage evaluation process
6. Develop standards for evaluating and negotiating bilateral contracts and make the standards transparent to stakeholders.
7. Consider creating an Advisory Group comprised of nonsupplier stakeholders and First Nations to advise BC Hydro on procurement activities.
8. Complete financial analysis, in collaboration with stakeholders and First Nations, to assess if more flexible contract provisions, which shift less risk to the supplier
9. In the process of integrating BC Hydro and BCTC, assess how other utilities are addressing these issues

BC Hydro has expressed agreement with the above recommendations, except #7.

BC Hydro is a crown corporation with operates 30 hydroelectric facilities and three natural gas-fueled thermal power plants and generates between 43,000 and 54,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity annually, depending on prevailing water levels. BC Hydro’s energy policies are laid out in the 2007 BC Energy Plan. Several elements and targets included in that plan were updated in the Clean Energy Act of 2010.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ormat receives approval for $310 million USD OPIC financing for geothermal project upgrade in Kenya

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has approved $310 million USD in financing for Ormat Technologies Inc. to double the generation of an existing geothermal plant in Kenya. Ormat will utilize the OPIC financing to add 52 MW to the existing 48 MW of power generation capability of the Olkaria geothermal plant located in the Rift Valley of Kenya approximately 75 kilometres northwest of Nairobi.

The loan is comprised oa refinancing tranche of up to $85 million USD to prepay the existing loan and fund transaction costs, and a construction loan tranche of up to $165 million USD to finance the construction of an additional 36MW expansion currently underway. The loan also includes a $60 million USD stand-by facility to finance an additional optional 16 MW capacity expansion, that, if exercised by Ormat, could bring the total capacity of the complex to 100 MW. According to the Ormat Press Release, the maturity dates of the construction tranche and the refinancing tranche are expected to be June 2030 and December 2030, respectively.

Sources: Ormat Press Release and Energy Business Review

Thursday, September 22, 2011

$1.5 million CAD wind turbine lawsuit filed against Suncor et al. in Ontario

The Michaud family of Thamesville, Ontario is suing Kent Breeze Corp., MacLeod Windmill Project Inc. and Suncor Energy Services Inc. for $1.5 million CAD claiming they have suffered vertigo, nausea and sleep disruption caused by the Kent Breeze wind farm. The wind farm, which began operating in May 2011, consists of eight turbines, the closest of which is 1,146 metres from the Michaud's property. Interestingly, the same largely German made turbines, seem to cause adverse health effects only to Ontarians and Germans living much closer to the turbines seem to be unaffected. To put this lawsuit into perspective it may be useful to compare Ontario to Germany, the country with the longest experience operating wind turbines:

Ontario: 550 meters
Germany: 80 meters

Number of turbines in operation
Ontario: 900
Germany: 22,000

Approximate number of years utility-scale turbines have been in operation

Ontario: 5
Germany: 25

Ontario: 1,076,395 sq. km.
Germany: 357, 022 sq. km.

Future development
Ontario: The incumbent in the current Ontario provincial election, Tim Hudak, has vowed to stop all future wind energy development in Ontario and tear up a $7 billion CAD deal to expand renewable energy manufacturing in Ontario.
Germany: just announced plans to further increase financing opportunities to quickly and efficiently promote further development of wind farms in the country.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

German utility Stadtwerke München and German developer wpd target Canada through joint venture for future renewable energy projects

Stadtwerke München has taken a 33% stake in German wind developer wpd's onshore wind projects in Europe and Canada. The deal is reported to include 70 MW of operational wind assets and a project pipeline of over 4 200 MW in 12 European countries and Canada.

Stadtwerke München (SWM) has the ambitious aim of generating 100% of all energy from their own renewable generation facilities sufficient to power the entire city of Munich, Germany which has a population of over 1 million inhabitants.

Wpd has projects in the Canadian province of Ontario and was awarded 5 contracts under the Ontario feed-in-tariff program. It is expected that with the additional financial resources of Stadtwerke München, wpd will develop projects in other Canadian provinces.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Opposition party pledges 50% renewable generation in Saskatchewan by 2025 and 400 MW of new wind power within 4 years

The provincial opposition party, the NDP, is proposing a new provincial Renewable Energy Act which will expand clean and renewable energy sources to provide 50% of Saskatchewan's electricity by 2025. The NDP have also stated they will build 400 MW of new capacity in wind power in the first four years of government. Given the outstanding and considerable renewable energy resources in Saskatchewan this is not an unrealistic goal and I commend the NDP for having the foresight to recognize this opportunity.

The proposed Renewable Energy Act will legislatively mandate the province of Saskatchewan to aggressively pursue more wind power opportunities and construct those in tandem with other sources to balance the intermittent electricity generated by wind. The Renewable Energy Act will also mandate that the province of Saskatchewan work with northern communities to develop low-impact (e.g. run-of-river) hydroelectricity projects and biomass power plants along the forest fringe that utilize forestry residues to generate energy.

Although the governing Saskatchewan Party have been less ambitious in their renewable energy targets, they have opened up new opportunities for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to design, build and own their renewable energy generation in the province and sell the electricity to SaskPower under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The Saskatchewan Party has prudently recognized that IPPs are essential to developing a competitive renewable energy market and I commend the Saskatchewan Party for having the foresight to recognize this and take action to welcome renewable energy developers into our province.

The NDP candidate for Saskatoon-Greystone and environmental advocate, Peter Prebble has excluded a role for IPPs and is proposing that the provincial monopoly utility, SaskPower, own all renewable energy generation. This prevents private developers from entering the market, restricts foreign investment in Saskatchewan and precludes the deployment of new and cheaper renewable energy technology in the province.

What Saskatchewan needs to capitalize on our abundant renewable resources is a policy which combines the NDPs ambitious (but attainable) renewable energy targets and the Saskatchewan Party’s pragmatic market-oriented approach to building and owning generation. Irrespective of the outcome of the upcoming provincial election, if the NDP and Saskatchewan Party can find some common ground regarding renewable energy we have a real opportunity to transform Saskatchewan into a renewable energy powerhouse.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vertical-axis wind turbines could further reduce the cost, size, and environmental impacts of wind farms in the future

John Dabiri of the California Institute of Technology recently published an interesting article in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy which concludes that vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) could significantly alter our approach to structuring wind farms in the future.

An abstract of the article follows below:

Modern wind farms comprised of horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) require significant land resources to separate each wind turbine from the adjacent turbine wakes. This aerodynamic constraint limits the amount of power that can be extracted from a given wind farm footprint. The resulting inefficiency of HAWT farms is currently compensated by using taller wind turbines to access greater wind resources at high altitudes, but this solution comes at the expense of higher engineering costs and greater visual, acoustic, radar, and environmental impacts. We investigated the use of counter-rotating vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) in order to achieve higher power output per unit land area than existing wind farms consisting of HAWTs. Full-scale field tests of 10-m tall VAWTs in various counter-rotating configurations were conducted under natural wind conditions during summer 2010. Whereas modern wind farms consisting of HAWTs produce 2–3 W of power per square meter of land area, these field tests indicate that power densities an order of magnitude greater can potentially be achieved by arranging VAWTs in layouts that enable them to extract energy from adjacent wakes and from above the wind farm. Moreover, this improved performance does not requirehigher individual wind turbine efficiency, only closer wind turbine spacing and asufficient vertical flux of turbulence kinetic energy from the atmospheric surface layer. The results suggest an alternative approach to wind farming that has the potential to concurrently reduce the cost, size, and environmental impacts of wind farms.

The full version of the article is available here:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Samsung & Pattern Energy acquire 180 MW Acciona wind project in Ontario

Acciona, the developer of the Armow project in the Canadian province of Ontario has sold the project to a newly formed partnership between South Korea’s Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Energy Group. The price and other terms of the deal have not been released. The project is located in Kincardine township about 235 kilometres northeast of Toronto. Turbine components for the 180 MW Armow project will be procured from the new Siemens factories in Tillsonburg, Ontario and Windsor, Ontario. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013 and the wind farm is expected to reach COD the following year.

Samsung has agreed with the provincial government of Ontario to develop up to 2500 MW of renewable energy projects in the province. Samsung has recently acquired PPAs from the Ontario Power Authority for Armow and 3 other projects in Ontario: the 270 MW South Kent Wind project under development in Chatham-Kent, the 270 MW K2 Wind project in the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh and 150 MW of wind from the Grand Renewable Energy Park, a wind and solar power project under development in Haldimand County. The terms of the PPA have not been released.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

GHG emissions offset program launch date unknown causing uncertainty in oil and gas industry in Saskatchewan

The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act (the “Act”) passed third reading in the Saskatchewan provincial legislature in May 2010. After passing third reading a Bill can be proclaimed law and receive Royal Assent anytime thereafter - this has not yet happened in the province of Saskatchewan.

Somewhat surprisingly there seems to be little pressure from the provincial government or environmental groups to proclaim the Act law. However, business requires certainty as to government regulation and with the booming oil and gas sector in the province of Saskatchewan responsible for the majority of GHG emissions it would certainly be beneficial to all stakeholders to implement this legislation as soon as possible so that business in the province can plan accordingly.

The Act will create an emissions trading system giving regulated emitters the option to purchase emission offsets or make a carbon compliance payment into a technology fund in order to invest in solutions and research into greenhouse gas emission reduction in the province.

The full version of Bill 195 is available here:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Canadian Brookfield to merge hydro and wind assets to take on Europeans to create global renewable energy powerhouse

Canadian asset manager Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is proposing to merge its hydroelectric and wind power assets presently held by Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. to create the world's second-largest public renewable energy company. The merged entity would have a market capitalization of $6 billion USD, ranking behind Italy's ENEL GP's $10 billion USD equity value but ahead of EDP of France and Portugal's EDF Group.

The new corporation, Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP (“BREP”) will be headquartered in Bermuda but will run its Canadian division from Gatineau, Quebec. Brookfield has 2,000 MW of projects under development, including a wind farm in south-western Ontario and other projects in Saskatchewan.

Mr. Richard Legault, CEO of Brookfield’s power operations noted that the deal would position BREP "as one of the largest publicly listed pure-play renewable power businesses, one that is roughly 1 1/2 times the size of the fund today with almost 4,800 megawatts of capacity at 179 facilities producing 18 million megawatt hours of power per year.” Legault said the new company would "rank among the very best renewable businesses globally in terms of its quality of assets, scale of operating platform, geographic diversification, access to capital, and global reach."

The focus in the medium term will be on its core markets in Canada, the United States and Brazil. But in the longer term, it could target opportunities in Europe and Australia where Brookfield's infrastructure and real estate operations have a strong presence.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Learn more about Saskatoon’s world-class Green Energy Park

The following presentation will be held tomorrow evening in Saskatoon regarding the Green Energy Park:

Saskatoon’s Green Energy Park – Achieving a Diverse and Environmentally Sustainable Energy System Using Local Renewable Energy Supplies
Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Start Time: 7:00 pm
End Time: 8:30 pm
Event Title: Saskatoon’s Green Energy Park – Achieving a Diverse and Environmentally Sustainable Energy System Using Local Renewable Energy Supplies
Location: Cliff Wright Library (1635 McKercher Drive, Saskatoon, SK., Canada)

Description: The City of Saskatoon is developing a world-class energy park at its landfill that has potential to power over 5,000 homes using only local renewable energy supplies, and is expected to achieve an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the city of over 115,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent. Green energy projects feature renewable power generation technologies using landfill gas, a turboexpander pressure reduction application with SaskEnergy, a tall wind turbine sited on top of the landfill, and other considerations for the future that could include utility-scale solar and heat recovery applications. Come find out more about this exciting project. Event co-sponsored by the Cliff Wright Library and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. For more information, please contact the Saskatchewan Environmental Society at 306-665-1915.

Kevin Hudson, P. Eng. will be delivering the presentation. Kevin is one of the leading renewable energy engineers in Saskatchewan. The presentation is open to the public.

Enbridge shifts renewable energy projects to affiliate

One of Enbridge Inc.'s separately-traded sister companies recently approved a deal to buy three renewable energy projects for $1.23 billion CAD from the parent company. Under the deal, Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc. will buy ownership of the Ontario Wind, Sarnia Solar and Talbot Wind renewable energy projects from the Calgary oil and gas pipeline company. An Enbridge spokeswoman said the Enbridge Income Fund was created to hold assets that generate reliable and stable cash flow, for investors that pay a premium for the fund's dividend stream. Separating the renewable assets into the income fund provides a lower-cost way to fund Enbridge's investments in renewable power, she said. Enbridge Inc. will retain operational control of the projects, which generate 369 megawatts of power in total and include the world's largest operating photovoltaic solar facility in the Sarnia Solar project. The income fund currently owns Enbridge's Saskatchewan crude oil pipeline system, a 50% interest in the Canadian portion of the Alliance Canada natural gas pipeline that runs from British Columbia to Chicago, and partial interests in several smaller wind power and waste-heat generation plants in western Canada.

Friday, September 9, 2011

South Africa issues massive 3725 MW Request for Proposals (RFP) from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for wind, solar PV, biomass, biogas, landfill gas and small hydro

Selection for the projects will be by way of a competitive request for proposals (RFP) process with a pre-qualification phase.

Important details regarding the RFP follow below:

Generation Allocation

3725 MW of renewable generation will be allocated in the first round as follows:

- Onshore wind – 1850 MW;
- Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) – 200 MW;
- Solar photovoltaic (PV) – 1450 MW;
- Biomass – 12.5 MW;
- Biogas – 12.5 MW;
- Landfill gas – 25 MW;
- Small hydro – 75 MW;
- Small projects (1 MW-5 MW), using wind, solar PV, biomass or biogas technologies – 100 MW.

Price Caps

The price caps are as follows:

- Wind – $157.33 CAD/MWh;
- Solar PV – $390.29/MWh;
- CSP – $390.29/MWh;
- biomass – $146.63/MWh;
- biogas – $109.63/MWh;
- landfill gas – $82.21/MWh;
- small hydro – $141.13/MWh.

A respondent will be non-compliant and automatically rejected during the qualification phase if the price cap is exceeded.To put the wind cap into perspective for those in Saskatchewan, SaskPower is paying $96.09 CAD/MWh for wind power under the Green Options Partners Program (GOPP). Under the South African RFP, Eskom will pay nearly 40% more than SaskPower for wind generation and almost 75% more than SaskPower for solar PV.

Evaluation and RFP

Norton Rose, counsel for the South African Department of Energy (DoE) and Eskom, who structured and will likely run the procurement process have provided some details about the evaluation criteria and the RFP:

- If a respondent is successful in the pre-qualification phase, their submission will be evaluated based primarily on price and economic development.
- In regard to price, a formula will be used to calculate an "equivalent annual tariff" for the MWh price proposed.
- As to economic development, a scorecard has been formulated to which bidders are obliged to respond, thereby enabling the department to determine bidders’ commitment to economic development requirements.
- Each technology will have their own economic development matrix, but common to all are requirements for job creation, local content (with special emphasis on local manufacturing), rural community development, skills development and education, enterprise development, socio-economic development, and participation by the historically disadvantaged.
- The points allocation between price and economic development is 70/30.
- Bidders whose responses rank the highest will be appointed "Preferred Bidders" with as many being appointed as may be necessary in order to provide the maximum allocation of MW for each technology.
- In the event of selection, a Preferred Bidder will be held to compliance with the price and economic development proposals in its bid, with regular reporting to demonstrate compliance during the life of the project.
- Non-compliance will result in progressive demerits, and may eventually result in cancellation of the PPA and other agreements.
- The draft PPA, Implementation Agreement, Direct Agreement and Connection Agreements are non-negotiable, although the DoE reserves the right to revise the templates of any of these draft agreements during the course of the procurement program.
- Bidders will be required to lodge, along with their bids, a bid guarantee issued by a first class South African bank for an amount equal to R100,000.00 per MW proposed in the bid.
- There are 5 bidding "windows"- November 4, 2011; March 5, 2012; August 20, 2012; March 4, 2013; August 13, 2013.
- If the maximum allocatable MW for any particular technology has been allocated during any particular window, then the subsequent windows will not be opened for that technology.

Given the significant amount of generation allocated and the relatively high prices, it is anticipated that there will considerable interest from developers around the world. South African law firm Deneys Reitz merged with Norton Rose along with Canadian law firm Ogilvy Renault on June 1, 2011. A number of Canadian renewable energy developers formerly represented by Ogilvy Renault (now Norton Rose) are expected to participate in the South African procurement process but will likely have to seek alternate counsel in Canada given Norton Rose is already acting for the utility. I have renewable energy experience working in Namibia, bordering on South Africa and serviced by Eskom, and would be happy to discuss a possible submission further with any interested wind, solar PV/CSP, biomass, biogas, landfill gas or small hydro developers.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Finavera signs MOU with McLeod Lake Indian Band in Peace River Region of British Columbia

The MOU covers the construction and operation of 4 wind projects totalling 300 MW on First Nations land. In the MOU the McLeod Lake Indian Band has provided its acknowledgement and acceptance for the 45 MW Tumbler Ridge Wind Energy Project, 77 MW Wildmare Wind Energy Project, 117 Meikle Wind Energy Project and the 60 MW Bullmoose Wind Energy Project. The MOU establishes the processes and sharing of benefits between the developer and the McLeod Lake Indian Band. In return for their consent and support of Finavera’s wind projects in the Peace River region of British Columbia, the McLeod Lake Indian Band will benefit through training, employment, business opportunities and financial participation in the projects. The MOU Finavera has signed with the McLeod Lake Indian Band is the second of five such agreements that Finavera hopes to conclude in the Peace River Region. The Company signed an MOU with Halfway River First Nation in 2010 and is presently in discussions with three other First Nations (West Moberly First Nation, Doig River First Nation and Saulteau First Nations).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

EU joins Japan, US and files WTO complaint against Canada over Ontario renewable energy FIT

The European Union (EU) has officially requested World Trade Organization (WTO) consultations on the subsidies the province of Ontario gives to renewable-energy producers that use domestic technology. The EU’s formal request was issued on August 11, 2011 and just accepted by the WTO. The EU’s request follows on the establishment of a WTO dispute panel to hear Japan’s complaints against Canada regarding the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program. Under WTO rules, the EU and Canada must now hold talks for at least two months in a bid to resolve the dispute. If the talks fail, the EU can ask WTO judges to rule. The US is also involved in discussions regarding the same matter. Canada, the EU, Japan and the US are all major players in the green energy industry.

Under the Ontario FIT, which was created by the provincial Green Energy Act, developers are paid above-market rates for provision of renewable energy provided it is generated with a certain percentage of Ontario-made equipment. Under the Ontario FIT up to 50% of the initial costs to develop a solar-energy project must be made of up products or services from. The Ontario FIT pays as much as $0.802 CAD per kilowatt hour for PV energy electricity generated which compares to the industry average of about $0.10 – a difference of almost 8x and one of the most significant feed-in-tariff payments in the world for PV electricity. From the perspective of Ontario and Canada the Ontario FIT has been a resounding success and is in the process of being emulated in many jurisdictions across North America. The Green Energy Act aims to help Ontario meet its goal of shutting all its coal-power generators by 2014. Germany, the UK, the US and soon Japan have their own feed-in-tariff programs but the dispute focuses on the specific “Buy Ontario” provisions.

EU exports to Canada in wind power and photovoltaic (PV) power- generation equipment are “significant,” according to the European Commission, ranging from 300 million EUR ($416 million CAD) to 600 million EUR ($833 million CAD) between 2007 and 2009.

Bloomberg is reporting that Caitlin Workman, a spokeswoman for Canada’s Trade Department in Ottawa, has stated that Canada will “vigorously defend Canada’s interests during these proceedings” at the WTO.

This announcement comes at a difficult time, as the province of Ontario kicks off a provincial election campaign which pits current Liberal party premier Dalton McGuinty (who spearheaded the Ontario FIT and is a significant supporter of renewable energy) against Conservative incumbent Tim Hudak. In a move reminiscent of post-colonial African dictators of the 1950s, Hudak vowed to rip up a $7 billion CAD MOU for wind and solar power which the Ontario government signed with multinational Samsung. If elected Hudak also vowed to scrap the Ontario FIT.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sprott Power Corp. closes project financing on Nova Scotia wind farm

Toronto-based Sprott Power Corp. and joint venture partner Firelight Infrastructure Partners LP have closed $45 million CAD in non-recourse, construction and take-out debt financing for its 31.5 MW project in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Construction started in May, 2011 and is expected to be completed in early 2012.

Sprott Power Corp. is developing the Riverhurst I Wind Project in Saskatchewan and was awarded a 10 MW PPA by SaskPower in May 2010. Sprott expects to execute the PPA with SaskPower before the end of 2011. The Riverhurst project is located on 320 acres of private land with an additional 800 acres under lease option. Commercial operation is scheduled for 2013.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Renewable energy rebate program in Saskatchewan extended to 2012

Up to $35,000.00 CAD is available to individuals in Saskatchewan to install small (less than 100 kilowatt) wind, solar or other renewable generation equipment and connect to the SaskPower's grid.

The Saskatchewan government announced this week that an additional $2.9 million CAD will be available to support environmentally friendly power generation options and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Saskatchewan.

Funding for the program, administered by the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), is provided by the province's Go Green Fund and SaskPower. As of March 31, 265 small-scale renewable power systems have been installed in Saskatchewan and more than $1.7 million CAD provided in refunds.

The program is being extended to March 30, 2012, due to the significant increase in uptake during the past year. The Net Metering Rebate Program timeline follows below:

January 3, 2012 - Project Registration Form (SRC-NM-PR) and supporting documents;
March 30, 2012 - Project Confirmation form (SRC-NM-PC) and proof of payment for equipment deposit of at least 10%;
August 31, 2012 - Request for Rebate form (SRC-NM-RR), proof of payment for all eligible expenditures, and the electrical inspection form.

The Net Metering Rebate Program complements SaskPower's Net Metering Program, which supports those who wish to generate their own power from environmentally friendly sources. A bi-directional or net meter is installed by SaskPower allowing customers to record both the electricity they used and the electricity they generated. If customers generate more power than they use, that excess electricity is fed back to SaskPower's electricity system and the customers are given a credit on their power bill.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Canada's Environment Minister Announces Further Reduction of Electricity Sector Emissions

Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent recently announced that the Government of Canada is moving forward with Regulations for the coal-fired electricity sector.

Fittingly, the announcement was made in Saskatchewan which generates nearly 60% of electricity from burning coal, making Saskatchewan one of the largest per capita emitters in the developed world.

The proposed Regulations will apply a stringent performance standard to new coal-fired electricity generation units and those coal-fired units that have reached the end of their economic life.

The gradual phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity generation is expected to have a significant impact on reducing emissions. The proposed regulations, in addition to other measures taken by federal and provincial governments and utilities to reduce electricity emissions from coal and other sources, are projected to result in a decline in the absolute level of GHG emissions from electricity generation.

The Government first announced its intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector on June 23, 2010. Since then, consultations have been ongoing with key stakeholders to inform the development of the proposed Regulations. The regulations were published in the Canada Gazette Part I on August 27 for a 60-day public consultation period.

The draft regulations are available here:

Final Regulations are expected to be published in 2012, and regulations are scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2015.

The Government of Canada is making progress towards our ambitious target of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020 through a sector-by-sector approach aligned with the U.S.