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March 22, 2016
A Note from Rob Miller, CanSIA Board of Directors 
 
Good morning,

This month the International Energy Agency reported that global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) - the largest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions - stayed flat for the second year in a row.  The IEA's preliminary data suggest that electricity generated by renewables played a critical role, having accounted for around 90% of new electricity generation in 2015.

It's not surprising that renewables are having a significant impact in reversing the negative trends of past decades.  In 2015, global investment in renewable power set a new record, with a total of US$367 billion invested (that's an increase of 7% over 2014's investment total).  This investment is driving economies of scale and deployment experience to continuously dramatically reduce the costs or renewable electricity. Ontario is already procuring large solar electricity for less than the retail rates of today (see update below) and Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to follow suit later this year.

With these new economic fundamentals, the Canadian market for renewable and solar electricity is sure to see continued strong growth to the benefit of our economies and our environment.

Please read on for some other policy, regulatory and market updates from the CanSIA Executive Team: 

Kindest regards,

Rob Miller
CanSIA, Board of Directors 


Upcoming Webinars
CanSIA's first network webinar "Behind the Meter and Small Power Producer Program Design Considerations" on March 3rd was a great success! Resources can be viewed here (please note CanSIA member login required).

There are two additional upcoming members-only Network Webinars - details below. These webinars are intended to inform and engage members on important industry trends and developments, as well as to keep members up to date on the work CanSIA is doing on behalf of our members.  
March 31st, "Competitive Procurement of Renewable Electricity in Alberta":

This webinar for CanSIA's Policy & Market Development Network will present an overview on the status of renewable electricity policy development and procurement design in Alberta driven by the province's Climate Leadership Plan on the path to 30% renewable electricity by 2030. Topics discussed will include the opportunities, challenges and outlook for solar. 
April 28th, "Federal Tax Enablers & Incentives for Solar":

This webinar for CanSIA's Utilities & Regulatory Affairs Network will present an overview of the options available to the Government of Canada to enable and incentivize the deployment of solar technology through the tax treatment of capital costs or revenue streams from solar technology.

 CanSIA members can register for webinars here.

Non-members who are interested in these webinars should consider joining CanSIA. More information about our member benefits and services is available here.


Policy & Market Development
ObamaObama, Trudeau Pledge to Advance Renewable Energy Integration as Part of Climate Pact 
 
 
On March 10, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama released a U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership. The agreement between the two leaders focuses largely on implementation of the Paris Agreement, but also includes pledges to regulate existing sources of methane, but also measures specific to adaption to Climate Change in the Arctic region. 
   
Among these broad pledges is a statement that the two nations will cooperate on clean energy. The leaders pledge to "facilitate the integration of renewables on our interconnected grids" and "jointly study, identify, and implement options for broad integration, including how to bring more wind, solar, hydro and other renewable energy online".  The statement also includes plans to deploy more renewable energy in the Arctic. "With partners, we will develop and share a plan and timeline for deploying innovative renewable energy and efficiency alternatives to diesel and advance community climate change adaptation", reads the joint statement.  The Government of Canada are already rolling out investment including $5.4 million to help First Nation communities in British Columbia to access opportunities in the natural resource and clean energy sectors
 
ABAESOAlberta Appoints Coal-Retirement Lead, AESO Initiates Renewable Electricity Plan

Terry Boston, the retired head of North America's largest power grid PJM Interconnection, has been appointed by the Government of Alberta to lead discussions with coal-fired electricity generation owners as the province transitions from coal to cleaner sources of power.  Boston is tasked with presenting options to government that will strive to maintain the reliability of Alberta's electricity grid, maintain stability of prices for consumers, and avoid unnecessarily stranding capital. Twelve of Alberta's 18 coal-fired generating units are expected to shut-down before 2030 under the federal coal regulations. The primary focus of his work will be with the six coal generation units that would otherwise be expected to operate past 2030.  During Mr Boston's time at PJM, about 16,000 MW of coal-fired generation retired, with an additional 7,000 megawatts expected to retire by 2019.

The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) has begun their formal stakeholder engagement surrounding the development of the province's Renewable Electricity Program (REP). The anticipated timelines include information gathering and analysis in Q1/Q2 2016 leading to a draft recommendations report provided by AESO to the Government in May 2016 followed by the launch of the first REP competition in Q4 2016 with the first REP projects in service in Q2 2019. Further information is available on the REP website. View this presentation for an overview of some of the information that CanSIA is feeding into the process. The AESO is reaching out to the developer and investment community to seek their input into the structure of the Renewable Electricity Program. The first phase of this engagement is a questionnaire that interested parties may respond to and submit to the AESO. The AESO strongly encourages parties to participate and to provide detailed responses to the questionnaire. Please submit completed questionnaires to rep@aeso.ca. The deadline for responses is March 24, 2016.

BuildingsCanSIA Submits Proposal to Reduce GHG Emissions from Ontario's Building Stock

On March 8, 2016, CanSIA's Ontario Solar Climate Change Initiative (OSCCI) submitted to government a proposal on how the forthcoming Climate Action Plan can make policy and regulatory changes to support the growth of solar in the province. The proposal, entitled, The Role of Solar in Ontario's Climate Action Plan, includes three central areas of action:
  • Making changes to the Ontario Building Code to require new build construction in the province to be "solar ready";
  • Implementing a phased-in approach for new build construction to work towards net zero energy ratings; and
  • Revising existing, and implementing new, energy efficiency retrofit programs that include solar PV, and solar heating and cooling, as eligible technologies to address emissions from the provinces existing building stock.
Through the Climate Action Plan, Ontario has the opportunity to join other leading international jurisdictions in encouraging environmental due diligence from our builders. A recent article in the Globe and Mail highlights this opportunity. Approximately 17% of Ontario's GHG emissions come from buildings and solar can play a significant role in reducing those emissions. Additionally, utilizing codes and standards to accelerate and lower the cost of solar deployment will help reduce natural gas use for the generation of electricity, which comprises another 9-10% of Ontario's GHG emissions.

IESOOntario's IESO Announces Results of Large Renewable Procurement

On March 10, 2016, the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) concluded the Request for Proposal process for the first competitive Large Renewable Procurement (LRP I RFP) and announced which projects have been offered contracts.

7 solar projects for 139.885 MW of the 140 MW solar Procurement Target have been awarded through the process. For solar, the weighted average bid price for awarded contracts was 156.67 $/MWh and the range of bid prices was 141.50 - 178.50 $/MWh. These solar projects represent the lowest cost solar projects that have been contracted in Canada to date. It is also the first time that a utility scale solar project has been contracted at a price that is lower than the retail rate of electricity in Ontario. These projects demonstrate that the cost of utility scale solar development in Canada is continuing to decrease and is tracking well against similar international projects. The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy, said in question period that "these contracts confirm that wind and solar power are now on a level playing field with other forms of generation. By putting emphasis on price and the support of host communities, today's results put further downward pressure on electricity price projections in Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan. Today builds on our success over the past 10 years and moving forward to a greener energy system."

Maintaining this downward progression of project costs is important to keep solar as a preferred tool available to Canada and the provinces as they move forward with efforts to decarbonize electricity production and mitigate emissions increases.

 
FITCanSIA Submits Procurement Proposal for Ontario's FIT 5

While the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) continues to review FIT 4 Applications, CanSIA's FIT Procurement Proposal Forum has been active.

The FIT Procurement Proposal was developed by the FIT Procurement Proposal Forum, a group of CanSIA's members who volunteered their time and resources to the consideration and development of the industry's recommendations on the next rounds of FIT procurement. Before finalizing the proposal, CanSIA distributed the draft materials via the Policy and Market Development Network and the Utility and Regulatory Affairs Network for consultation with members who did not volunteer to participate in the Forum. These recommendations have now been submitted to the IESO and the Ontario Ministry of Energy.

If you would like to be notified of new Forums as they are initiated, please sign up for CanSIA's Networks to receive these notifications. Please note that you must be a CanSIA member to join a Network or participate in a Forum. 
 
InfrastrOntario & Federal Governments Partner to Deliver Infrastructure Funding for Solar Micro-Grids

On March 18, 2016, the government of Ontario announced that they are partnering with the federal government to provide 13 small communities with over $10 million to build and repair critical infrastructure and help create jobs through the Small Communities Fund.

Patricia A Hadju, federal Minister of Status of Women and Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines announced the funding for infrastructure projects, including improving waste management and water treatment facilities, increasing access to broadband and adopting solar powered energy solutions.

4 of the 13 announced projects involve installing solar powered micro-grids and one of the projects is for a solar powered heating system. More information, including which communities these projects are being developed in, is available here.

 
Utility & Regulatory Affairs
DGTFCanSIA's Distributed Generation Task Force Issues Recommendation Report - Ontario

CanSIA's Distributed Generation Task Force (DGTF) has concluded the development of their final Recommendation Report. CanSIA created the DGTF in 2015 to consult on and design a transition for the Ontario distributed solar industry to move away from the current Feed-in Tariff (FIT) regime and into a net metering based framework. CanSIA is proud to issue this report which captures the hard work of a leadership group of 13 of CanSIA's members, CanSIA staff, and external consultants. This group is dedicated to a long-term energy supply mix that includes solar photovoltaics, especially in its role as a critical asset in the distribution system.

The Recommendation Report includes commentary on: 
  • The benefits of distributed solar generation to the distribution system; 
  • How distributed solar generation can contribute to meeting the Province's conservation, climate change, and economic development objectives;
  • Evolving the FIT Program towards net metering;
  • Changes to Ontario's existing net metering regulation; and
  • A transitionary capital incentive program to bridge the period between the end of FIT/microFIT and the economic feasibility of net metering.
With the finalization of the Recommendation Report, the DGTF is now engaged in advocacy efforts to implement the recommendations contained therein.
 
ForumCanSIA launches "Interconnection Costs Forum"

Perceptions and issues related to the cost of solar generation present the single biggest barrier to regulatory modernization and solar market development.  To target these perceptions and issues CanSIA is initiating the Interconnection Connection Cost Forum which will undertake a(n):
  • Inventory of costs associated with Dx interconnection.
  • Literature review on topics including cross-subsidization.
  • Jurisdictional scan for typical approaches to costs allocation.
The primary objective will be to establish a base of knowledge to inform future regulatory decision-making; a network of utility, regulatory and solar industry subject experts; and Subscription details will be forthcoming in coming week(s).  CanSIA is seeking participation from Members especially those with detailled expertise from across Canada. Interested parties may express their interest to participate by signing up for CanSIA's Utility & Regulatory Affairs Network.

WildlifeUpdate from the Wildlife Conservation and Solar Best Practices Forum

The Wildlife Conservation and Solar Best Practices Forum has had its first meeting with policy decision-makers.  The Forum delivered a three hour presentation to Wildlife Biologists and Habitat Specialists from Alberta Environment and Parks on topics including design to enhance biodiversity, setbacks from habitats and good neighbourly practices.  Alberta is expected to release their guidelines for siting, mitigation and monitoring later this year. The Forum will next be meeting with Environment Saskatchewan in April as the province also begins to develop its guidelines for solar developers.


Stories We Are Following
Join CanSIA's Member Networks!
CanSIA is pleased to announce the introduction of our new Networks and Forums platform, which will replace the Caucus/Working Group model we've used for the past five years. The Networks and Forums will optimize member resources when engaging and collaborating with CanSIA while providing members with a new avenue for accessing research, analytics, and updates from the executive team. Our new structure will also serve to maximize our advocacy impact through stronger cooperation and interaction.

Professionals employed by a Corporate or Supporter Member are eligible to participate in one or more of the following three CanSIA Networks, and can sign up here:
  1. Policy & Market Development Network
  2. Utility & Regulatory Affairs Network
  3. Communications Network
Join CanSIA as a member to increase your access to policy forums, working groups, market research and policy advocacy events.

Contact Lisa Hatina ( lhatina@cansia.ca), Business Development and Member Relations Manager to learn more about the significant opportunities and benefits that CanSIA members receive, can participate in and support in our three core service areas:
  • Policy and Advocacy;
  • Industry Capacity Development; and,
  • Profile Building and Networking.