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May 25, 2016
A Note from Utilia Amaral, Chair of CanSIA Board of Directors 


Good afternoon,

Q1 2015 marked the beginning of a significant change in tone for the climate change dialogue in Canada. The opening piece in this newsletter in March 2015 was:  " Could Ontario's Climate Change policy be as impactful as the Green Energy Act?". That question is beginning to be answered with the finalization of the Cap and Trade regulation and the introduction of Bill 172 in Ontario. Federally, and in other provinces, governments are following Ontario's lead.
 
Just over a year since the question was posed, the implications of climate change policy for the energy sector in Ontario was the topic of a discussion with Bruce Campbell, President & CEO, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and John Godfrey, Ontario Climate Action Group Chair and Special Advisor to the Government of Ontario at Solar Ontario 2016 Opening Plenary Session. The conclusion? Policy and regulatory decision-making for energy, transportation, buildings and industry will never be the same again in Ontario.
 
Moving across the country, in the coming days and weeks Alberta will announce the details of their new Carbon Pricing regime, their Renewable Electricity Program (REP) will take a final step toward completion and consultations on residential, commercial and community-scale solar will edge closer. The Federal climate change consultation, which kicked off this year, will likely receive 1000's of policy, regulatory and program ideas and the interim reports that will form the basis of federal/provincial/territorial working groups throughout the summer will be drafted.
 
CanSIA has and is engaged in intensive consultation with Members, other sector-level organizations, eNGO's and Government to develop and analyse recommendations that aim to create significant opportunities for the solar industry. These could take the form of carbon pricing, tax policy, standards on solar ready and zero carbon buildings, and incentives to move away from natural gas heating and electricity generation. It is an exciting time to look back, and forward, and to be in the thick of how quickly the world is changing for the better.
 
Please read on for deep dives on these climate consultations and other policy, regulatory and market updates from the CanSIA Executive Team:

Kindest regards,

Utilia Amaral
CanSIA, Chair of Board of Directors 


Upcoming Webinars
Climate Policy in Ontario

Date: Thursday, May 26 2016
Time: 11:30 to 12:30 Mountain / 1:30 to 2:30pm Eastern

The Network webinar entitled, Climate Policy in Ontario, will review the current status of the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act, the Cap and Trade regulation, and the forthcoming Climate Action Plan. Details on each of these policy pieces will be discussed as well as their expected impact on the solar energy industry in Ontario.

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.

Upcoming Events
CanSIA's Summer Solstice 2015

Join CanSIA for our 8th Annual Summer Solstice on June 22, 2016! 

Date:
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: Jazz Bistro, 251 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1T8

Don't miss this great opportunity to network with over 200 solar energy executives, professionals, practitioners and stakeholders. Build your network of solar colleagues and friends and to stay-up-to-date on timely and important industry updates.

Click here to register for this exciting event!

Policy & Market Development
federal Federal Minister McKenna Engages Canada on Climate Change, Deadline for Ideas June 1st


Minster of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna has launched a climate action web portal to give Canadians the opportunity to have their say on how best to tackle climate change in Canada .  The deadline for submissions is June 1st although further ideas and information will be received after that time. This ideas generated in this consultation will feed into the federal-provincial-territorial working groups and the First Minister's meeting in October at which point there is expected to be detailed policy implementation discussions leading into Budget 2017.

In preparation for these consultations CanSIA has established several new Forums to consult and engage with Members, is initiating a collaboration with several other energy, climate change and environmental groups to discuss, align and advocate for recommendations on behalf of the solar industry.  Submissions will be shared with CanSIA Members as will updates on progress and developments.

Ontario passes Bill 172, Paves Way for Historic Climate Action in Canadabill
On May 18, 2016 the government of Ontario passed the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act (Bill 172) into law. With the passage of this law Ontario has put itself at the forefront of bold action on climate change in Canada. Bill 172 enshrines Ontario's 2020, 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) targets and formally establishes the process for the collection and distribution of Cap and Trade allowance auction revenues. These revenues will be deposited into the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account and will be invested in green projects and initiatives that reduce GHG emissions.

Schedule 1 of Bill 172  lays out the different technologies and projects that have been identified as eligible to receive funding from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account, including: the production or installation of renewable, low-carbon, carbon-free and net zero alternative energy, the research, development or deployment of technologies that eliminate or reduce the need to use fuels that emit greenhouse gasses, distributed renewable energy generation and energy management technologies to support load-shifting, energy storage, net metering and other measures to eliminate the need for grid-based electricity during natural gas peaking.

The Government of Ontario will soon be releasing the Climate Action Plan which will include specific details on how Cap and Trade auction revenues will be spent over the next 5 years. Some details from the action plan were leaked via the Globe and Mail and point to potential opportunities for distributed solar in line with the recommendations of CanSIA's Ontario Solar Climate Change Initiative and Distributed Generation Task Force.

Ontario Planning Outlook Scope Revised, Long Term Energy Plan Process Beginsscope
  On May 11, 2016 the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) presented to their Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) regarding revisions to the scope of the forthcoming Ontario Planning Outlook (OPO). The OPO, originally discussed at the March 23, 2016 SAC, will be the IESO's initial technical report to the Ontario Ministry of Energy (MOE) regarding the state of the electricity system and will form an important piece of the Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) process.

When the OPO was originally discussed at the March 23, 2016 SAC, CanSIA submitted comments to the IESO regarding the proposed scope of the report. At the May 11, 2016 SAC the IESO presented how they would be incorporating stakeholder feedback including additional risk analysis around nuclear refurbishment, conservation targets and expiring contracts, recognizing the opportunities various technologies and distributed energy resources could provide and the implications for planning, incorporating the impacts of Cap and Trade, and recognizing the evolution of customer choice decentralization of the grid. All of these changes align with CanSIA's comments and will help ensure that the OPO addresses additional important considerations for the LTEP.


Alberta Electric System Operator Releases Stakeholder Update, Recommendations to Followrecommendations
The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) is entering the final stages of the Renewable Electricity Plan (REP) stakeholder engagement. They are now undertaking one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders including CanSIA prior to submitting their recommendations to Government. AESO's recommendations to Government are anticipated to include a proposal with respect to the design of the overall REP program, as well as a request for the Government to approve key features of the first procurement.  A Stakeholder Update released by AESO provides an overview of their consultation effort to date.

The details of policy, regulatory and programs for residential, commercial and community-scale renewables are still unknown. While rumours abound, formal consultations are expected throughout the Spring and Summer are expected.  In the interim, CanSIA continues to advance conversations on utility interconnection costs and processes and property tax treatment for solar.

Manitoba Hydro launches Power Smart Solar Energy PV ProgramManitoba
  Manitoba Hydro announced the details of the new Power Smart Solar Energy PV Program on Earth Day (April 22nd). The program will give customers a capital rebate of $1.00/Watt. The program also offers a 4.9% interest rate with up to $30,000 in financing. Users must be connected to Manitoba Hydro's grid to qualify for participation.

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Ontario passes Cap and Trade Regulation, Key Component on Path to 15% by 2020Cap
On May 19, 2016 the government of Ontario finalized their Cap and Trade regulation, which will come into effect on July 1, 2016 and the first compliance period under the regulation will begin January 1, 2017. The Cap and Trade regulation includes details on greenhouse gas emission caps, entities that will be covered by the regulation, compliance, auction and sale of allowances and the distribution of allowances. The final regulation largely aligns with recommendations submitted by CanSIA into the process which focused on ensuring that the electricity sector was a covered sector (including imported electricity) and establishing the point of regulation for fossil fuels (including natural gas) at the distributor level.

Establishing a price on carbon will have mid to long term positive effects for the solar industry as the province and consumers factor in that price into their decisions on how to generate electricity, how to heat their buildings, and how to move people and goods. CanSIA is very supportive of the province's efforts in this area and we are excited by the prospects for solar that will be brought about by the Cap and Trade program. External analysis, however, points to the fact that the Cap and Trade program will not be enough for the province to meet their ambitions GHG reduction goals. In order to meet these targets the province must ensure that the additional activities, to be detailed in the Climate Action Plan, are pursued aggressively.

New Reports on Utility Regulatory and Business Model Reforms, Rate Designreport
Net-energy metering (NEM) with volumetric retail electricity pricing has been a lynchpin to the growth of distributed photovoltaics (DPV) in the United States. Although DPV penetration is still well below 1% of retail sales in all but a few states, concerns about possible impacts on utility financial performance and on non-solar customers have motivated a wide range of reforms. This study from Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory highlights some of the challenges and opportunities for the DPV market arising from these reforms .

Further recognizing that the accelerating adoption of customer-facing distributed energy resources (DERs) will have increasingly important implications for grid operation and investment, and fundamentally changes the utility-customer relationship to become a two-way exchange of values and services, the Rocky Mountain Institute have also released a valuable report entitled Rate Design for the Distribution Edge.

Ontario's Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) Process amended to enable Operational FlexibilityREA
On April 15, 2016 the Ontario Ministry of Environment of Climate Change (MOECC) posted changes to the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) amendment process that incorporate greater operational flexibility for project developers. The REA has been amended to exempt developers from having to obtain an amendment to an REA for specific changes to a project including:
  • A reduction in the size of the project location, as long as there are no changes to the infrastructure or equipment that forms part, or is proposed to form part, of the renewable energy generating facility.
  • A change in respect of a communication tower
  • A change in the location of fencing
  • A change in respect of a fiber optic communications line
CanSIA has advocated to the MOECC regarding these and other changes designed to incorporate greater amounts of operational flexibility for developers. In order to incorporate other of CanSIA's proposed changes, the MOECC expects to post revisions to the REA Technical Guide in the summer of 2016.

Ontario Energy Board shifts Rate Design focus from Residential to Commercial & Industrialdesign
In April 2015, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced a change from variable distribution rates (i.e., rates based on energy consumption) to a fixed monthly distribution rate (i.e., a set charge per customer) for residential customers. In May 2015, the OEB began a process to identify new distribution rates for commercial and industrial electricity customers by releasing a staff discussion paper describing a set of options for the new commercial/industrial distribution rates.

Ontario's Feed-In Tariff (FIT), a standard offer procurement program, has been instrumental in supporting the development of solar electricity generation but the solar FIT is expected to end in 2017. The natural next step for Ontario's solar industry is to partner directly with electricity consumers through net-metering and other customer-based generation models to support a vibrant, cost-effective and reliable solar electricity DG sector. A key component of the value that distribution solar generation offers customers is the ability to decrease or avoid distribution rates. Changes to the distribution rate structure and the credits provided to distributed energy resources (DER) are important to the future development of distributed solar generation resource in Ontario. CanSIA has been a part of this rate design process through our Commercial & Industrial Rate Design Forum and will be submitting comments to the OEB by the May 27, 2016 deadline.

Stories We Are Following
Join CanSIA for the 2016-17 Membership Year
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.

Returning member? Don't miss out on your 10% early bird discount for membership renewal. Take advantage of these terrific savings before the deadline on May 31, 2016!