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October 19, 2016
A Note from CanSIA Director of Policy & Market Development, Patrick Bateman

Last week's 7th annual Solar West conference hosted by CanSIA in Edmonton featured the most substantive and highest quality discussion of how the market for solar energy in Western Canada will develop.

The announcement by Minister of Environment & Parks (and Minister responsible for the Alberta Climate Change Office) Shannon Phillips that the Government of Alberta are exploring the potential of procuring 135,000 MWh of solar electricity per year to power the more than 1,500 properties and buildings that they own and operate in the province (in combination with SaskPower's ongoing utility-scale procurement) is another major step forward in the transition toward solar energy playing a meaningful role in Western Canada's electricity supply-mix (see further details on announcement here).

Now that utility-scale solar developers are under starters orders in both provinces, and that the public in both provinces are soon to see the most competitively priced solar electricity in Canada's history, the policy development focus shifts to distributed solar: the near-term steps required to spur some activity; and the long-term regulatory and utility reform required to transition from a centralized emissions-intensive system to one that is cleaner, smarter and more distributed.  As reported in today's Globe and Mail, with Ottawa set to re-introduce incentives for home-energy retrofits (and for commercial properties) and with upcoming milestones such as the submission of  Alberta's Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel report to the Government on consumer-level energy efficiency and distributed generation programming - the future for smaller-scale solar is also bright.

Please read on for more policy, regulatory and market updates from the CanSIA Executive Team and learn how you can get involved:
Upcoming Events
Upcoming CanSIA Network Webinar: Solar & Climate Leadership in Alberta
Date/Time: October 20, 2016 from 12:30PM - 1:30PM MT / 2:30PM - 3:30PM ET

This webinar will present a status update on the renewable electricity policy and regulatory framework 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 included the opportunities, challenges and outlook for solar.

CanSIA Members can register for the upcoming 'CanSIA Network Webinar: Solar & Climate Leadership in Alberta' through the Members-Only Portal.

Previous CanSIA Webinar recordings and archived materials can be viewed through the Members-Only Portal on the Network Resources Page. 

CanSIA Network Webinar: Solar & Federal Climate Leadership  
Date/Time: November 24, 2016 from 12:30PM - 1:30PM MT / 2:30PM - 3:30PM ET

This webinar will present a status update on the leadership, regulation and investment in support of renewable energy at the federal level in Canada including consultations such as the Canadian Energy Strategy, Pan-Canadian Climate Change Framework, Budget 2017 and Infrastructure Plan. Topics discussed included the opportunities, challenges and outlook for solar.

CanSIA Members can register for the upcoming 'CanSIA Network Webinar: Solar & Federal Climate Leadership' through the Members-Only Portal.

Previous CanSIA Webinar recordings and archived materials can be viewed through the Members-Only Portal on the Network Resources Page.

Policy & Market Development
Canada Ratifies Paris Agreement, Announces National Carbon Pricing DetailsParis
The Government of Canada formally ratified the Paris climate accord on Wednesday October 5th, after easily beating back an effort from the opposition to give provinces the sole authority to deal with carbon pricing.  Members of Parliament approved a motion supporting both the United Nations agreement and the federal-provincial declaration issued last March in Vancouver that committed Canada to undertake the joint action needed to "meet or exceed" its Paris commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Earlier that week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced the motion on the Paris accord with the announcement that Ottawa would require provinces to have a carbon-pricing plan - either a tax or cap and trade - in effect by 2018. Where premiers refuse to do so, Ottawa will impose a tax of $10 per tonne, rising to $50 per tonne in 2022, the equivalent of 11 cents per litre at the pump.  The approach led to much politicking in the media, here is one with some well-crafted arguments that we enjoyed.

Ottawa to target Building Stock as part of Pan-Canadian Climate Change FrameworkOttawa
As reported in today's Globe and Mail, more details on what the Federal Government's Pan-Canadian Climate Change Framework will include are being released in advance of COP 22 in Marrakesh and of the next First Minster's Meeting in early December.  It was reported that a goal to have all builders routinely construct "net-zero" homes within 15 years, which combine energy-efficiency technology with home-based renewable energy sources to essentially eliminate the need for power from the electricity grid or natural gas and the re-introduction incentives for retro-fitting existing homes and commercial properties will be central planks for reducing emissions in our built environment.  The Canada Green Building Alliance released a study last month which concludes that, with cost-effective incentives, Canada could reduce emissions from the sector by 44 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Government of Alberta Aims to become 50% Solar-Powered ABfifty
The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) states that the Government of Alberta is leading by example as the first provincial or territorial government in Canada to explore the feasibility of meeting 50% of their annual electricity needs from solar energy.  Minister Shannon Phillips, Alberta's Minister of Environment & Parks (and Minister responsible for the Alberta Climate Change Office) announced their intent today at the Solar West 2016 conference in Edmonton, hosted by CanSIA for the solar energy industry (listen to audio on CanSIA's Public Appearance webpage). The process, if successful in identifying a supplier or suppliers that can construct and operate a solar farms that meet the province's economic criteria, could give rise to 100 MW of new installed generation capacity in the province - enough to power 18,750 Alberta homes for a year.  The announcement received significant media attention including in the Global News, Calgary Herald and Edmonton Sun.  Further details on the Request For Information (RFI) can be viewed on the Alberta Purchasing Connection (interested parties should register as a Vendor).

Ontario Ministry of Energy Launches Long Term Energy Plan ConsultationLTEP
On October 13, 2016 the Ontario Ministry of Energy (MOE) launched the consultation process for the review of the Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP). All details are available on the MOE LTEP webpage. The consultation will run from October 24, 2016 to December 17, 2016 with the final LTEP slated to be released in 2017. Stakeholders can participate in the process by attending any of 17 in-person consultation session held around the province as well as by submitting written comments to the MOE.

CanSIA will be participating in the LTEP engagement process through our LTEP Strategic Project. Through the Strategic Project CanSIA plans to advocate for the Ministry of Energy to adopt policies that encourage greater consumer choice in the adoption of energy solutions to meet communities power needs and GHG reduction targets. This will involve firm GHG reduction targets for the electricity sector in the face of increased electrification of other sectors of the economy, a robust net metering policy that incorporates community solar and third party ownership models, transitional incentives, revised market structures that permit and support the participation of renewables, and a regional planning process that effectively incorporates community energy planning objectives.

SaskPower Releases First 10 MW Solar RFQ , Invites Industry to IPP DaySaskPower
On September 22, 2016, SaskPower announced their plans to add of 60 MW of ground mount solar photovoltaic generation to the province's electricity grid by 2021. On October 4, 2016 SaskPower launched the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the first 10 MW of utility scale solar procurement.

The purpose of SaskPower's RFQ is to commence the two stage procurement process to ultimately select an owner/operator of the 10 MW installed capacity photovoltaic solar generation facility. SaskPower is seeking applications from interested persons and communities that have solar energy facility project development and operations experience. In this first stage of the procurement process, SaskPower will establish a shortlist of owners/operators who have the financial strength and capacity, and knowledge to operate and maintain the facility. Responses to the RFQ are due to SaskPower by November 30, 2016 at 4:00 PM.

More information on the procurement, including the RFQ and associated documentation, are available here.  On November 17, 2016 in Saskatoon, SaskPower and the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy, in conjunction with CanSIA and CanWEA, will be holding a day long information session for independent power producers (IPPs) planning on participating in SaskPower's renewable energy procurements. Any of CanSIA's members planning on participating in the recently announced competitive procurement for utility scale solar projects should attend this event to learn more about:
  • SaskPower's Renewables Power Plan
  • Regulatory Update from Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment
  • SaskPower's Wind RFP/RFQ Process
  • SaskPower's Solar RFP/RFQ Process
  • Connection Availability
  • Lifecycle Overview for Utility Scale Wind and Solar
  • Local supplier opportunities and requirements
Information, including how to register for the session, is available here. The event takes place the day after the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) Energy Forum, which is taking place on November 16, 2016, also in Saskatoon. The FNPA will also be conducting the procurement of 20 MW of utility scale solar in Saskatchewan.

Utilities & Regulatory Affairs
Discussions around Regulatory Modernization in Alberta continue to advanceDiscussions
On September 30th, CanSIA submitted recommendations to Alberta's Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel (EEAP) with regard to the policy and regulatory framework for "local solar electricity generation" (i.e. that which is connected at the distribution level).  CanSIA's five recommendations to the EEAP are summarized as follows:
  1. Create a clear vision for the future of electricity in Alberta.
  2. Define "community" as electricity that is generated locally (not based on asset ownership).
  3. Enable local solar electricity generation to realize its true value through regulatory modernization.
  4. Reduce sizing and siting prescriptiveness to enable flexibility and economies-of-scale.
  5. Prepare the electricity system for future higher penetrations of variable generation.
CanSIA is working to ensure that the submission to the EEAP will also support the renewal of the Micro-Generation Regulation and spur activity from the Alberta Utilities Commission on rate design and from utilities on grid-readiness.  The topic was discussed at Solar West including presentations from the Alberta Utilities Commission and Utilities Consumer Advocate and Desiderata Consulting which will soon be available from the event website.

CanSIA Tackles SCADA and Transfer Trip Costs in Ontario SCADA
CanSIA has received numerous pieces of feedback from members with regards to the cost impacts of installing SCADA and transfer trips when ordered to do so by Local Distribution Companies (LDCs). CanSIA has begun working with members and LDCs to fully scope the impact of these issues and to analyze the regulatory framework that establishes cost recovery mechanisms for items like SCADA and transfer trips. These items are generally characterized as Renewable Enabling Improvements by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) in the Distribution System Code (DSC).

In the near future CanSIA plans to engage with other LDCs and the OEB to address fair cost recovery for these renewable enabling improvements and to communicate the results of that engagement with members.

CanSIA Submits Recommendations for Ontario's Revised Net Metering RegulationNetMetering
On August 19, 2016 the Ontario Ministry of Energy posted a draft version of the revised net metering regulation (Ontario Regulation 541/05) for stakeholder comment. The comment period for the draft regulation has now closed and details have not yet been released on when the final regulation will be available. The Ministry of Energy has targeted July 1, 2017, however, as the date the regulation will come into force. CanSIA expects the final regulation will be released in advance of that date.

With the FIT and microFIT Programs slated to end in 2018, the revised net metering regulation will be an important cornerstone for the distributed solar industry from 2017 onwards. CanSIA has worked closely with the Ministry of Energy, Ontario Energy Board, the Independent Electricity System Operator and Local Distribution Companies in order to provide input into the development of the revised regulation. Our recommendations focused on maintaining retail rate settlement for exported generation, removing capacity based restrictions on system size, incorporating third party ownership and community net metering, making necessary upgrades to permit Time of Use settlement, and fully allowing the incorporation of energy storage for net metered systems.

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