Where Are We With Renewable Energy Innovation in Ontario

With Toronto hosting the International Climate Summit earlier this month, and the subsequent release of Clean Energy Canada’s report tracking the global shift towards clean energy technology, it seems like renewable energy is at the top of the energy industry’s mind.

According to “Tracking the Global Energy Revolution” from Clean Energy Canada, the shift towards renewable technology has created an enormous international market worth $788 billion US. Investors in 2014 put almost $300 billion US into renewable energy while moving $50 billon US out of fossil fuel stocks.

It seems that Ontario is falling in line with these energy trends. As more nations move towards pricing carbon and investing in renewables, Ontario has had great success phasing out coal and transitioning towards a low-carbon electricity sector. The province re-committed to ambitious emissions reductions targets by recently announcing plans for a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. Carbon tax policies like these help spur investment and innovation in clean technology, and may energize Ontario’s already burgeoning renewable sector.

This sector was kick started in 2009 by the Green Energy Act (GEA), which enabled various international companies to set up shop in Ontario. Since then, more than 23,329 microFIT rooftop solar projects have been installed with a capacity of 2,356 megawatts (MW). Alberta, in comparison, has 7 MW. The province has also installed 3,498 MW of wind – and with another 2,228 MW under development, Ontario is quickly becoming a wind energy trailblazer in Canada.

The GEA also helped facilitate the development of innovative community organizations like SolarShare, who sell solar bonds to regular Ontario residents. After selling $10 million in bonds, they’ve built 6 MW of solar projects worth $30 million.

Other community initiatives have sprung up well. Just recently, Oxford County became the first municipality in Ontario to commit to a 100% renewable energy target by 2050.

Other exciting projects are on the way at the government level. The Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) is working on procuring 50 MW of energy storage for a two part pilot project. Phase I procured 34 MW from diverse ancillary service technologies like batteries, flywheels,  hydrogen and thermal storage, while Phase II will procure 16 MW for capacity services.

With policies in place to phase out fossil fuel, and investment money firmly situated in renewables, it seems like Ontario’s clean tech sector is here to stay. If your business is interested in installing a renewable energy project, let us know. We are power systems experts that serve energy users, utilities and power producers with a variety of metering and engineering needs.

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