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December, 2017
Opening note from CanSIA President & CEO, John Gorman
Another calendar year comes to a close for CanSIA. We reflect on the past twelve months and strategize for the twelve that lie ahead. During my opening remarks at Solar Canada 2017, I highlighted the recent progress made by, and developing opportunities opening-up for, the solar energy industry in Canada. When I consider the position we occupy today, it makes me proud of what CanSIA has accomplished and very excited for what lies ahead.

The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, released just a few days after Solar Canada 2016, is Canada's first comprehensive strategy to meet our national greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments. The strategy is structured around three guiding principles: reducing the amount of energy that we use; reducing the emissions-intensity of the energy that we use; and powering as many end-uses as practically possible with non-emitting electricity. The opportunities for the solar energy industry being created by economy-wide carbon pricing, federal investment such as the Low-Carbon Economy Leadership & Challenge Funds and provincial emissions reductions programs for consumers such as those offered by Energy Efficiency Alberta and the Green Ontario Fund are beginning to see the light of day. Climate action is driving energy policy.

In Ontario, the recent Long-term energy plan has clearly signalled that an energy transformation is underway. The Alberta Utilities Commission will soon finalise their report from the Distribution-Connected Generation Review proceedings. NB Power have included a solar leasing program in their rate application. Fortis BC and Saskatoon Light & Power are working on approvals for virtual net-metered community solar projects. SaskPower undertook extensive public consultations on solar options for consumers and are expected to release new offerings in 2018. Hydro Quebec has announced its intention to build a 100MW solar farm and started to plan for a future where a growing number of consumers become prosumers. Utilities and regulators are taking distributed solar seriously.

The first utility scale solar farm outside of Ontario-in Brooks Alberta-will reach commercial operation before the holidays. SaskPower are expected to contract their first 10 MW facility this month. EPCOR has announced a 12MW "behind-the-fence" facility at the EL Smith Water Treatment Facility starting next year. The winners of the first round of the Alberta Electric System Operator's Renewable Electricity Program (REP) and SaskPower's first competitive procurement will soon be announced. As of November 2017, there were more than 3,000 MW of solar PV in the AESO connection queue hopeful for a PPA and CanSIA is very anxious to see how future rounds of solar will be structured to ensure a level, technology-neutral playing field. Lastly, Proponents are anxiously awaiting next steps for Alberta Infrastructure's NRFP for 135,000MWh per year as well as how the Federal Government intends to meet their 100% renewable electricity target by 2025. The Prairies really have become the leading markets for utility-scale solar.

CanSIA look forward to capitalizing on this momentum to take another major step toward solar being a mainstream and widespread option for Canadians in 2018.
Policy & Market Development
CanSIA's 2017 Year-In-Review & Outlook for 2018 Concludes another Successful Year yearinreview
In December 2016, the CanSIA Team delivered their fist "Year-In Review" presentation.  Twelve months later, Patrick Bateman (Policy & Market Development); Lisa Hatina (Business Development & Member Relations); Wes Johnston (Vice-President); and Erin Seegmiller (Communications) explored how the key themes from 2016 evolved into key events that affected the Canadian solar industry throughout 2017 (including global, national and provincial-level energy and climate change policy leadership, investment and regulation and local-level project successes and good news stories).  CanSIA Members may watch the webinar online to hear about the key trends, drivers and business opportunities that the solar industry should plan for in Canada in 2018 and beyond. (The slide deck is also available online)
Canada not on track to meet 90% Non-Emitting Electricity target by 2030 twentythirtytarget
December 2017 saw the passing of the 2nd anniversary of the Paris Agreement and the 1st anniversary of Canada's Pan-Canadian Framework (PCF) on Clean Growth and Climate Change (see Environment & Climate Change Canada's " Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change: First Year Progress Snapshot").

The general consensus is that so far, there has been significant climate planning, and limited climate action. According to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Julie Gelfand " the federal government must put its plan to cut greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change into concrete action" and to the Pembina Institute " while it's tempting for governments to slip into 'election mode' well in advance of the writ being dropped (and Canada has numerous upcoming elections), signatories to the PCF simply cannot afford to take their eyes off policy implementation".

The single constant in Canadian carbon policy has been the drive towards decarbonizing Canada's electricity system. Successive governments within the Federation have implemented real and binding clean energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) policy, systematically reducing the quantity of fossil fuel used in Canada's electricity mix. Results are evident, with GHG emissions from the electricity sector peaking at 128 Mt in 2001 and dropping to 79 Mt (38% decrease) by 2015. The pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and Canada's Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy both point to a continued aspiration of the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to further decarbonize electricity. Looking forward, it is likely that provincial and federal policies will continue to increase the quantity of non-emitting generation in the supply mix leading to less electricity sector emissions. Given the policy that is being designed and implemented, now is a good time to pause and take stock of Canada's GHG aspirations for the electricity sector.

Research commissioned by CanSIA and CanWEA used modeling and analysis to take stock of the effectiveness of current and developing policy to further decarbonize Canada's electricity sector. A regionally explicit electricity dispatch model was used to assess the impact of provincial and federal policies on non-emitting generation to 2030. Specifically, the research asked: is Canada on a pathway to achieve 90% non-emitting electricity by 2030?
  • Canada is not on target to achieve 90% non-emitting electricity generation by 2030. The analysis suggests Canada is significantly off a pathway to the 90% target, with 2030 non-emitting generation forecast at 80%, which is slightly better than the current level of 78%.
  • Natural gas generation is well above a level consistent with the 90% target. Even with current clean energy and GHG policies, our simulations suggest about twice as much natural gas generation in 2030 relative to a pathway that achieves the 90% non-emitting target.
  • Generation from renewables is about 30% below a pathway to the 90% non-emitting target, with annual growth needing to double above the current trajectory to be consistent with a pathway that achieves the 90% target.
  • Coal and oil are not shedding generation on a pathway consistent with the 90% target. Current policies, while significantly reducing coal generation to 2030, are not enough to fully remove coal from Canada's electricity mix by 2030.
  • GHG emissions will continue to fall due to policy to shutter coal generation. GHG emissions from fossil fuel sources are forecast at 48 Mt of CO2e in 2030, or 39% below current levels and 63% below the peak of 128 Mt in 2001.
  • Increased natural gas use will offset somewhat the emission reduction gains from reduced coal-fired generation. Our analysis suggests natural gas GHGs will more than double current levels by 2030, accounting for three quarters of GHG emissions from the sector, up from 30% today. This is 19 Mt more GHGs and a grid GHG intensity that is 70% higher than a scenario that achieves the 90% non-emitting target.
The final report may be viewed on the CanSIA website.

Provincial actions under the Federal Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund Announcedprovinicialactions
Today throughout Canada, initial details of programs to be funded by the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund that will help Canadians save money and energy, while supporting the national climate objectives were announced:
  • British Columbia will access up to $162 million through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund to invest in projects such as the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings.
  • Almost $150 million will be used to support Alberta's climate objectives. Alberta's projects will focus on helping Albertans, including farmers and ranchers, use less energy and save money. Alberta will work with Indigenous communities to install renewable-energy solutions.
  • In Ontario, almost $420 million will be invested to support Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan and help Ontarians contribute to fighting climate change. Together, Canada and Ontario will support projects such as renovating buildings, retrofitting houses, or helping farmers reduce emissions from their operations.
  • In Quebec, over $260 million will help expand actions under the province's 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan. These new investments will allow more farmers and foresters to adopt best practices, more businesses to retrofit their buildings, and more industries to improve efficiency in innovative ways.
  • New Brunswick will invest its approximately $51-million allocation, in partnership with NB Power, to help New Brunswickers improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses. Whether in support of small-business owners, low-income homeowners, or even larger manufacturing facilities, these investments will help manage energy costs throughout New Brunswick.
  • In Nova Scotia, the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund will invest approximately $56 million to expand an existing home retrofit partnership with Efficiency Nova Scotia. Today, only those homes heated with electricity are eligible for retrofit funding. The new funding will open up Efficiency Nova Scotia's retrofit program so that any Nova Scotian home could be eligible, allowing Nova Scotians reduce their heating bills, regardless of how they heat their homes. This will help reduce emissions and will improve comfort in households across the province, and it will contribute to Nova Scotia's transition from coal to clean.
More details on how the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund will help provinces and territories take climate action will be shared over the coming months.

First Round Results of Alberta's Renewable Electricity Program (REP) Announced  ABRep
On December 13, 2017, the Government of Alberta announced the results of Round 1 of the Renewable Electricity Program (REP), a technology-neutral RFP for up to 400 MW of renewable electricity generation capacity.  Twelve proponents submitted 26 projects, of which three proponents (Capital Power, EDP Renewables Canada Ltd. and Enel Green Power Canada Inc) will receive contracts for four wind projects totalling 600 MW in southern Alberta at a weighted average bid price of $37/MWh.  Each project can connect to the existing transmission system, with no new transmission costs for Albertans.  In the first round of REP, successful companies will receive support using an Indexed Renewable Energy Credit in exchange for a project's renewable attributes.  The Indexed-REC doesn't reflect the difference in a project's value - only their cost. As a result, tweaks are needed to future rounds to ensure that the net-benefits of projects become the differentiating factor.  Future rounds of Alberta's auctions should continue to focus on cost, but should also give weight to the value of energy as well. The success of this first competition represents a major milestone toward meeting the Government of Alberta's target of 30 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. 

BC Hydro's controversial 1.1 GW Site C Hydro-Facility Receives Approval to Proceed BCHydro
Following the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC)'s "Site C Inquiry", the third hydro facility on the Peace River near Fort St John in northeast British Columbia with an installed capacity of 1.1 GW and projected annual generation of 5.1 TWh (aka "Site C"), has been approved to proceed by the provincial government. 

Support or opposition to the project has been a polarizing topic for British Columbians. Would the new electricity supply be required? Would alternative supply options be less costly in the long-run? Would the $6.8 billion to complete project bring better value than the $3.9 billion in sunk and remediation costs to cancel it? Would the benefits outweigh social impacts to farmers and indigenous communities?

Calling it a "difficult decision," the B.C. government has decided to go ahead with the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam, paving the way for work to restart. "At the end of the day, we've come to a conclusion that, although Site C is not the project we would have favoured or would have started, it must be completed," said Premier John Horgan in announcing the decision. "This is a very, very divisive issue, and will have profound impact ... for a lot of British Columbians. We have not been taking this decision lightly."

Analysis shows the business case for Site C question is not so clear cut as polarized camps would have you believe. However, the decision on Site C shouldn't be viewed as an endpoint - but rather a new beginning. With or without Site C, the future is electric. The province's 2018 Integrated Resource Plan will now proceed with the reality of Site C in-service by 2024 and with a stated objective of understanding the future role of distributed energy resources, such as solar and energy storage technologies.

Ontario's MicroFIT Program Now Closed ONFit
On December 1, 2017, the microFIT Program reached the 50 MW Annual Procurement Target allocated for 2017. As a result, the IESO will not accept any further applications under the microFIT Program. The application window for the microFIT Program is now officially closed.  The IESO thanks everyone for their interest and participation in the microFIT Program. Since it began in 2009, more than 26,000 contracts have been awarded to microFIT participants, representing over 230 MW of renewable energy.  Visit the IESO website for more information.  

Saskatchewan releases "Prairie Resilience", province's new climate change strategy sask
On December 9, Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan introduced the province's climate change strategy. The strategy, titled "Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy", focuses on the principles of readiness and resilience, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change - without a carbon tax.

The strategy includes a sector-specific output-based performance standard on facilities emitting more than 25,000 tonnes per year. Flexible compliance options to enable these facilities to meet their obligations will include purchasing offsets from a non-regulated entity or paying into the provincial technology fund. However, according to Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna " Saskatchewan's [carbon] price likely wouldn't hit our standard, because it applies only to heavy industry instead of being economy-wide".

While the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy are now the subject of debate ( particularly the absence of an economy-wide price on carbon and a reliance on carbon sequestration and on offsets for emissions displacement), there are several measures present that will create market opportunities for solar energy, namely: introducing regulations governing emissions from electricity generation by SaskPower and Independent Power Producers; meeting the province's commitment of up to 50 per cent electricity capacity from renewables; investigating the feasibility of energy storage services to expand renewables capacity; and exploring additional energy efficiency and conservation products and services.

The full strategy and is available online ( full document, summary and news release). CanSIA will engage with the Government of Saskatchewan to discuss the future role of solar energy in the province following the results of the province's first RFP for 10 MW and the election of the new SaskParty leader and defacto Premier on January 27 (2018).

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Alberta's Carbon Competitiveness Incentives (CCI) to take effect Jan 1, 2018ABCarbon
Alberta's Carbon Competitiveness Incentives (CCI) will replace the current Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER) on Jan 1, 2018, and will be phased in over 3 years. It's expected to cut emissions by 20 million tonnes by 2020, and 50 million tonnes by 2030.  The CCI regulation applies to facilities that emit 100,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) per year, such as: electricity production; heat production and use; oil extraction, upgrading and refining; natural gas processing and transmission; and chemical manufacturing.  A facility with less than 100,000 tonnes of GHGs may be eligible to opt-in to the CCI if it competes against a facility regulated under the CCI or has more than 50,000 tonnes of annual emissions, high emissions-intensity and trade-exposure. Continued stakeholder engagement and further details will follow in the coming weeks

Ontario Cap and Trade Auctions Raise 1.9 Billion in 2017 to Help Reduce GHG Emissionsoncapandtrade
Ontario has released results from its fourth and final cap-and-trade auction of 2017. The auction sold 83% of available allowances and raised a healthy $422 million for climate action in Ontario. This brought Ontario's 2017 cap and trade revenues total to about $1.9 billion, more than the $1.8 billion projected in the 2017 budget. These funds will go towards programs to reduce GHG emissions and support renewable technologies. Visit for more information programs such as the new insulation, windows, and geothermal system incentive programs.  

Powering Past Coal Alliance Co-Founded by Canada gains Steam PoweringPast
In the fall of 2017, Canada co-founded the Powering Past Coal Alliance to help accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity. Canada and the United Kingdom successfully launched the alliance at the United Nations' 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23), in Bonn, Germany. At its launch, 27 national, provincial, state, and city governments endorsed the declaration to support the rapid phase-out of traditional coal power.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance brings together a diverse range of governments, businesses, and organizations, which are united in taking action to accelerate the phase-out of traditional coal power. Alliance partners commit to achieving this phase-out in a sustainable and economically inclusive way, while providing appropriate support for workers and communities.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance, has now grown to more than 50 members, including 33 countries and 24 businesses. According to Federal Minister of Environment & Climate Change Catherine McKenna  "while momentum is clearly building to end pollution from burning coal, a change of that magnitude takes time" and "getting China into Canada's international alliance to wean the world off coal power would be a huge win, but the world's most populous country can't make that kind of commitment right now". 

Federal Standing Committee on Natural Resources tables Report on Strategic Inter-Ties FedStanding
The Federal Standing Committee on Natural Resources tabled their report resulting from a study of the potential of strategic electricity inter-ties.  CanSIA appeared as a witness during this study and are quoted throughout the final report.  A key recommendation included in the report is that "the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada work with industry, provincial/territorial governments, and Indigenous governments and communities to improve low-carbon electricity delivery by examining: a. How electricity interties can support provincial renewable electricity targets and help manage the variable output of some renewable electricity resources". 

Ontario Releases Draft Net Metering Regulations for Consultationdraftnet
The Ontario Ministry of Energy has posted the following solar draft regulations for consultation:
  1. Net Metering and Virtual Net Metering
  2. Net Metering Third Party Ownership Protection Measures
  3. Siting of non-rooftop solar PV Projects
CanSIA views the evolution of net metering regulations and virtual net metering pilots as essential if Ontario is to have a robust and open net metering framework that will facilitate new and more efficient business models, reduce the cost of solar for electricity end users, and provide a stable basis for the industry post the FIT and microFIT program.

CanSIA encourages all of our interested members to participate in these consultations as well as to participate in our Ontario Net Metering Member Forum. The teleconference for the Forum will be held on Thursday January 10 from 1:30 - 3:00 PM wherein the Forum will review and discuss a draft feedback submission. Call-in details for the teleconference will be provided to those who register at the link above. The deadline for submissions to the Ministry of Energy is January 18, 2018.

Ontario Announces RFI for Non-Emitting Resources  ONRFI
As part of the broader Market Renewal initiative, the IESO is commencing a new Request for Information process that will lead to a formal RFI being launched in February 2018. As identified at the recent IESO Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting and in the 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan, Ontario is forecasted to have an incremental need for electricity capacity in the early-to-mid 2020's. To assess how non-emitting resources may help to address this need, the IESO will be launching this RFI process to obtain details on prospective products, and indicative pricing, to help inform mid-to-long term decision-making.

According to the IESO, the RFI will be issued in two phases, with the first focusing on the technical and operational characteristics of non-emitting resources. The second phase will centre on commercial and regulatory considerations and will be released toward the end of the summer of 2018.

An IESO webinar has will take place on December 21, 1:30 pm - 3 pm, that will provide more information about the objectives and timelines for the RFI. To participate in this IESO webinar please register here. CanSIA encourage both utility scale and distributed generation solar participants to take part in the IESO webinar.

Ontario Launches Panel to Review OEB ModernizationOEB 
On December 14, 2017 the Minister of Energy, Glenn Thibeault, announced the launch of a panel to seek advice on modernizing the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). According to the Minister, the panel will have a broad mandate including reviewing how the OEB can continue to protect consumers amidst a rapidly changing sector, support innovation and new technologies, and how the OEB should be structured and resourced to deliver on its changing role.

The panel will seek feedback from the public starting in spring 2018, examine best practices from other jurisdictions and report back to government by the end of 2018.