Are we Hypocrites?
February 7, 2018, Niagara-on-the-Lake – The Board of Niagara-on-the-Lake Energy (NOTL Energy) is pleased to announce that the 70 kW solar plant located on the roof of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro building is now operational. The solar plant is owned by the unregulated subsidiary, Energy Services Niagara Inc., which rents the space from NOTL Hydro Inc., and receives revenue of $0.2323 per kWh for all its production under a Feed-In Tariff (FIT) contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO).
A reasonable question to ask is whether the Board of NOTL Energy can be considered hypocrites for accepting a FIT contract while they publicly called for the cancellation of the FIT and MicroFIT programs? The short answer is, yes, we are hypocrites.
This question was raised both within the Board of NOTL Energy and by the Town Council of Niagara-on-the-Lake. In the end, the price offered by the IESO was too high to refuse and the return on investment too good for the Board of NOTL Energy to turn down this opportunity on behalf of its shareholders. The Board of NOTL Energy is not as principled as one of its customers who did not apply for a FIT contract but instead installed a 250 kW net metering solar installation.
The Board of NOTL Energy would gladly have cancelled this contract if the FIT program had been terminated back in mid-2016 when requested. Instead, FIT 4 proceeded as did another 150 MW of FIT 5 contracts. It is estimated the FIT 5 contracts will cost over $37 million annually or over $0.18/kWh for another 200 GWh of electricity at a time of surplus capacity.
The Board of NOTL Hydro has previously urged the Minister and the Premier to take steps to reduce the high cost of electricity in Ontario and has provided concrete suggestions.