Ontario has been praised internationally for its renewable energy Feed-in Tariff ("FIT"), the first of its kind in North America. If commentators have one reservation, however, it is about the domestic content rules, which require project proponents to source prescribed percentages of equipment and labour in Ontario. With the Ontario Power Authority ("OPA") set to announce the next wave of FIT offers in the coming weeks, proponents are now peppering the OPA and the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure ("MEI") with questions about the domestic content rules. To their credit, both the OPA and MEI appear committed to continuing the open consultation process that has characterized the development of the FIT.
Beginning last December, the OPA posted interpretations of the domestic content rules online. The OPA announced this week that it will now be undertaking a more transparent and accountable process for issuing guidance on the domestic content rules. The new process will include the following steps:
- stakeholders may submit feedback and questions relating to designated activities for domestic content;
- the OPA and/or MEI will review feedback and questions;
the MEI/OPA will produce draft interpretations and post them on the FIT Program website;
- stakeholders may provide feedback on the draft interpretations;
- the OPA and/or MEI will review of feedback; and
- they will post the final interpretation on the FIT Program website.
The OPA will announce draft interpretations on its website and by email to FIT email update subscribers.
The first draft interpretation to be developed pursuant to this process concerns designated activities for inverters. The draft interpretation was posted March 3 and is open for comments until March 10.