The Government of Ontario announced today that it has not and will not award Renewable Energy Approvals to off-shore wind projects. The Ontario Power Authority will no longer be accepting Feed-in Tariff applications for off-shore wind projects and will suspend those applications that it has already received.
The news release does not say what will happen to projects that have already been awarded FIT contracts. The biggest of these is the 300 MW Wolfe Island Shoals project, to be developed by Windstream. According to one media report, that project alone was expected to create 1900 jobs during the five-year development and construction period and 175 long-term jobs during the subsequent operational period and to generate over $700 million in direct Ontario-based capital expenditures.
The government's announcement highlights that offshore wind in freshwater lakes is in early development and that there are no such projects in North America. John Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment, is quoted as saying "We will be working with our U.S. neighbours to ensure that any offshore wind projects are protective of the environment. Offshore wind on freshwater lakes is a recent concept that requires a cautious approach until the science of environmental impact is clear. In contrast, the science concerning land based wind is extensive."
The announcement is the latest in a series of adjustments to the province's green energy strategy.