Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Letters from Nowhere

So it would have been real nice to have offered a post last week analyzing the final FIT 2.0… but the rules have still not been published! The final rules were expected May 7. So what have the OPA been doing for two weeks?

We'll see any day now, likely just in time to spoil the long weekend! I'll do my best to flag the changes I see as most relevant to the Co-op sector in an early post.

Meanwhile, LIFE Co-op has been talking with a number of friends about the prospects for partnering on projects, and there's plenty of interest in the industry. However, it seems everyone is waiting with bated breath for the final rules to arrive.  There’s a good bit of pain in the industry, too, with all this waiting. It can be hard to describe how it feels in here, but my friend Andrew Hill has done a remarkable job in an open letter to the authorities: Andrew’s got a keen pen, and his letter expresses well what many are feeling.

I'll be back next week! Have a great weekend.


(Open Letter: Originally published by Andrew Hill on Linked-In, Feed-in Tariff group, May 9, 2012.)

Open letter to the Premier, Minister of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority Re: Delay of Feed-in-Tariff review

Dear Premier McGuinty, Minister Bentley, Mr. Andersen & Ms. Hiltz,
It appears that the Ministry of Energy, despite its April 5th 2012 charge to the Ontario Power Authority to resolve the Feed-in-Tariff review “as soon as possible” has been let down. The Ontario Power Authority itself claimed it would release the finalised results of the review on May 7th, a date which has come and gone; with only the passing reference on its website that they “are continuing to review and consider stakeholder input on the draft documents and will complete this process as soon as possible”.
Working in the renewable energy industry here in Ontario, I find this deplorable.
The entire Feed-in-Tariff programme has basically been on hold for the past six months while the review has been underway. I am in contact with companies involved in providing Micro-FiT systems to homeowners across this province on a daily basis as part of my job. I am saddened to report I receive word continuously of companies closing, laying off employees and pulling out of the solar industry altogether. It is not just small businesses, some of the larger manufacturers have cut back on their workforce or pulled their offices from Ontario.
Much is said about the renewable energy sector in Ontario creating jobs and bolstering the economy, however, the lengthy review process is doing the exact opposite. I would implore you to do all that you can to hasten the closure of the review and begin the working process of the programme without delay.
It would be a shame if my colleagues in the industry and I began lobbying CanSIA, OSEA and the other industry associations to spend some of the membership fees our companies pay on a media campaign to bring their plight into the public eye. If it is a case of the Ministry of Energy, the O.P.A. or another agency not wanting the programme to proceed and succeed, rather than subjecting the industry to a form of “siege warfare” in order to starve it to death; be humane by simply cancelling it and face the political music. (There is no other industry in this country that I can think of that would A) put up with a six month “shut down” without a publicised outcry or B) even survive for that length of time without customers!)
If it is merely a case of over thinking and miscommunication between the Ministry of Energy and the O.P.A. or associated parties that is causing the delay, please do feel free to convene a “war room” type group to put things straight, soon. The time has come to move ahead; the industry is and has been waiting, ready and eager; it is up to you now.
By way of reference: (MY CAPITALIZATION, You can not highlight here!)
From the O.P.A. website:May 4, 2012 Update
Thank you for your comments and submissions on the draft microFIT Program documents. We are continuing to review and consider stakeholder input on the draft documents and will complete this process as soon as possible. microFIT subscribers and applicants will be notified when the final microFIT Program Rules and Contract have been posted.

From the O.P.A. Webinar:April 13, 2012, Slide 16
Next Steps
•Comments on draft rules and contract accepted until April 27, 2012
•Re-launch microFIT programs under 2.0 rules and contracts
–Transition period for existing post September 1, 2011 applications
–New application window
–Dates to be provided

From Minister Bentley’s letter:April 5, 2012, Page 2
Continuing Commitment to Clean Energy