Communities across Ontario will be able to benefit from a new program designed to make it easier to plan, develop and bring to life small-scale renewable energy projects, according to the Government of Ontario.
The recently launched Community Energy Partnerships Program (CEPP) will cover up to 90% of eligible development costs to a maximum of $200,000 for community power projects greater than 10 kW and no larger than 10 mW. Charities, not-for-profits and co-ops will be eligible for the fund as well as projects developed by individual Ontario residents, such as farmers.
“Opening Ontario's doors to clean energy means that everyone can participate in growing Ontario's clean energy economy and the jobs associated with it,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. “Today's launch of the Community Energy Partnership Program will make it easier for not-for-profits, co-ops and farmers to become clean energy providers through community-owned renewable energy projects.”
The Ontario government says that community ownership keeps the economic benefits of renewable power close to home, improving the quality of life for local citizens and empowering them to make a difference in fighting climate change.
But the Ontario government adds that one of the biggest barriers to the development of community-owned renewable energy projects is a lack of financial resources needed to cover upfront development costs which prevents renewable projects from coming on-line.
“The Ontario Power Authority recognizes the value and supports the development of community power projects,” said Colin Andersen, the Power Authority's CEO. “We would like to see more community-owned projects participating in the Feed-In Tariff program.”
To date, the Ontario Power Authority has awarded 694 contracts under its Feed-In Tariff Program. Twenty of the contracts for projects larger than 500 kW are for community-owned renewable energy projects. They are located in several communities, including Elmira, Clarington, Singhampton, Wainfleet and Webbwood. These community projects have a combined generating capacity of over 264 mW, enough electricity to power more than 70,000 homes.
More information about the CEPP, including details on how to apply for the program, is available at www.communityenergyprogram.ca.