Perhaps you've heard a lot of fuss over the past year about the Ontario government's new Green Energy and Green Economy Act ("GEGEA")and how it enables individuals, businesses and community groups to generate their own power. You may also know that the Ontario Power Authority ("OPA") will sign a 20-year power purchase agreement ("PPA") under its Feed-In Tariff ("FIT") program with each new generator. This PPA guarantees a set tariff to the generator for each kilowatt-hour ("kWh") the generator supplies to the provincial grid.
Unfortunately, you may also realize after reading the last paragraph that becoming an electricity generator will require navigating a minefield of acronyms, abbreviations and industry lingo that are used as shorthand by more experienced players. Wouldn't it be nice if someone just made it easy for you to tell the difference between a CanWEA and a CanSIA, or a FIT and microFIT?
Well, look no further! Below is a list of key terms that should get you started in understanding who is who and what is what in the Ontario renewable energy industry. Hopefully, this is just the first baby step en route to establishing your own residential rooftop solar installation or a community wind farm. If you come across any terms that should be added to the list, please fire them my way.
CanSIA: Canadian Solar Industries Association, nonprofit trade association working to strengthen the Canadian solar industry and promote the use of solar energy.
CanWEA: Canadian Wind Energy Association, nonprofit trade association promoting the development of wind energy in Canada.
ESA: Electrical Safety Authority, inspects all new construction and renovation involving electrical work as required by the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
IESO: Independent Electricity System Operator, balances the supply of and demand for electricity in Ontario and then directs its flow across the province's transmission lines.
LDC: Local Distribution Company (e.g. Toronto Hydro)
MEI: Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
OEB: Ontario Energy Board, regulates the province's electricity and natural gas sectors in the public interest
OPA: Ontario Power Authority, responsible for ensuring an adequate, long-term supply of electricity in Ontario and administers the FIT programs
OSEA: Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, works to initiate, facilitate and support the work of local sustainable energy organizations through membership services, province-wide capacity building and non-partisan policy work.
TREC: Toronto Renewable Energy Co-Operative, non-profit environmental co-operative that develops community-owned renewable energy projects and educates Ontarians about renewable energy, energy conservation and the community power model.
AEPP: Aboriginal Energy Partnership Program
BIA: Business Improvement Area
CEPP: Community Energy Partnerships Program
CP: community power
DAT: Distribution Availability Test
EA: Environmental Assessment
ECT: Economic Connection Test
FIT: Feed-in Tariff
GEA: Green Energy Act, 2009, S.O. 2009, c. 12 Schedule A
kWh: kilowatt hour
microFIT: micro Feed-in Tariff
MWh: megawatt hour
NRCan: Natural Resources Canada
O&M: operation & maintenance
PPA: power purchase Agreement
REA: Renewable Energy Approval
REC: Renewable Energy Co-operative
TAT: Transmission Availability Test