City fighting for solar park

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The City of Dryden is hoping to kick start the permiting process for their stalled renewable energy project.

After years of waiting, the city of Dryden still has no answers on their application to Ontario Power Authority (OPA) for the proposed solar park to be constructed in Hatch’s Field.

Partnering with Blind River and the Municipality of Niagra, the city intends to register a document, critical of the OPA, to be entered as an official position with Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)

Titled Systemic Bias in the Structure of the Ontario Power Authority Feed-In Tariff Rules, the city hopes resulting political pressure will jump-start the process.

“We saw a bit of a trend there in terms of a number of municipalities who tried to jump on this whole solar energy thing early on and to some extent, we think up here we were also victimized by the fact that the power is needed in the south and not in the north, even though we were assured that had no part in the evaluation,” said city manager, Arie Hoogenboom.

Excerpts from the document summary read, “Despite these intentions, however, the reality of the FiT (Feed-in Tariff) is that it is systematically biased against municipally owned projects, actually preventing municipalities from implementing projects that would be a source of employment and municipal revenue in vulnerable regions of the province.”

“To date, the OPA has shown a complete unwillingness to look or address this systemic bias. This report calls on the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure to issue a directive to the OPA to address this challenge and to correct this ongoing injustice to Ontario municipalities.”

The document finishes with a remedy to the situation, as well as case studies, including Dryden’s application process.

Hoogenboom says the fall election is bound to further complicate the process.

Hoogenboom says, “We’ve (the city of Dryden) spent a couple hundred thousand dollars trying to get ourselves in a position where we can generate a few hundred thousand dollars a year. It’s not going to be cheap. We were looking to invest over $30 million.”

The city manager says the project is still being considered, and is 12th on the priority list in the region and 114th in the province.

By Ally Dunham


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