New Ontario program will help communities develop clean energy projects

TORONTO, May 10 /CNW/ - 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.

The Community Energy Partnerships Program (CEPP), which launched today, will cover up to 90 per cent of eligible development costs to a maximum of $200,000 for community power projects greater than 10 kilowatts and no larger than 10 megawatts. 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."

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.

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 kilowatts 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 megawatts, enough electricity to power more than 70,000 homes.

The Community Power Fund and Deloitte are responsible for administering the CEPP. The Ontario Power Authority selected the Community Power Fund and Deloitte through a competitive procurement process.

"Financial barriers are a significant impediment to communities developing their own green power projects," commented Laurie Arron, CEPP Program Director at the CP Fund. "The CEPP will provide vital seed capital for those interested in developing their own renewable energy projects."

Funding under the Community Energy Partnerships Program is divided into two phases. The first phase involves project design and development. Examples of costs covered by the CEPP include engineering studies, business plan development and connection impact assessments. The second phase provides funding support for regulatory approvals including federal and provincial environmental assessments and the province's Renewable Energy Approval.

More information about the CEPP, including details on how to apply for the program, is available on the CEPP website at www.communityenergyprogram.ca

SOURCE Ontario Power Authority

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Tim Butters, Ontario Power Authority, (416) 969-6307; Amy Tang, Office of the Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, (416) 327-6747

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