Ontario renewables programme draws strong response

The largest generation project to submit a proposal during the RFQ period was the 200MW Northpoint II onshore wind farm.

A recently-closed request for qualifications (RFQ) from Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) for the first phase of its Large Renewable Procurement (LRP I) programme drew more than 100 responses from a wide range of developers and infrastructure financiers.

The LRP I programme is one of the action items in Ontario's goal of seeing about half of generation arise from renewable sources by 2025. The procurement process was designed to bring in competitive offers for new renewable generation projects while ensuring community engagement in proposed project areas, according to a related release. 

“At this stage, community members should be aware that a project has been proposed for their area because the applicants are required to engage with communities,” said Joanne Butler, vice president of market and resource development for the IESO. “This was a key element we learned from stakeholders through our consultation on the process. Those applicants who have done this well and can show community support have a much better chance of getting a contract.”

The release noted that projects with demonstrated support and participation from aboriginal communities will receive preference.   

Project target size for the first round of procurements under the LRP include up to 300 megawatts (MW) of wind, 140MW of solar, 50MW of bioenergy and 75MW of waterpower, with the minimum generation capacity in all categories of 500 kilowatts. The deadline for submissions was August 7, and registered proponents were announced on August 25. 

Of the 119 qualified submissions that will be eligible to submit during the LRP I request for proposals (RFP) stage, there were 80 proposed non-rooftop solar projects representing 2,248.5MW of generating capacity, 27 proposed on-shore wind farms totalling 2019.8MW, nine proposed waterpower projects totalling 38.5MW, two renewable biomass generation projects totalling 47MW, and a single 4MW rooftop solar project proposal. 

The projects were submitted by a total of 42 qualified applicants who met the requirements to participate in the LRP process, with requirements including past development experience and financial capability, according to the IESO.  

By far the largest generation project to submit a proposal during the RFQ period was the Northpoint II Wind Energy Center onshore wind farm project, which is to be built in the Township of Addington Highlands (roughly 170 kilometres southwest of Ottawa). It has a maximum capacity of 200MW by NextEra Canada Development & Acquisitions, with funding from limited partner (LP) fund Northpoint II Wind as the registered proponent. The project calls for between 35 and 100 turbines and is expected by developers to reach commercial operation by December 2019, according to the project website. 

The smallest proposed project was the 2.5MW Peterborough Utilities Buckhorn hydro project, submitted via Peterborough Utilities with Peterborough Utilities Buckhorn Hydro LP as the representing qualified proponent. The project calls for the establishment of a hydropower facility near the Township of Selwyn and the Municipality of Trent Lakes (roughly 170 kilometres north-east of Toronto). 

The LRP I RFP submission deadline for the 42 qualified applicants is September 1 at 3pm.