With Ontario announcing Tuesday it’s launching another round of bidding on renewable energy contracts, energy companies are considering their options for Lambton County-based proposals that came up empty the first time around.
Ontario’s Energy Ministry said Tuesday that 930 MW of wind, solar and other renewable energy generation contracts will be up for bids in the second phase of its large renewable procurement process, set to begin by Aug. 1.
That announcement came less than a month after contracts for 455 MW of renewable energy were announced by the Independent Electricity system Operator (IESO), an agency that administers the procurement program for the province.
The 16 projects offered contracts in the first round didn’t include two wind projects and one solar project based in Lambton that submitted bids.
“We have not made any final decisions about what we plan to submit in the next round of bidding in Ontario,” said Steve Stengel, with NextEra Energy, a company that proposed a 100-MW wind turbine project in the Lambton townships of Warwick and Brooke-Alvinston, as well as the neighbouring Middlesex County community of Adelaide-Metcalfe.
That bid wasn’t successful during the first round of the procurement process.
Also unsuccessful was Suncor’s proposal for a 75-MW Nauvoo wind project in the same three communities.
“We will be taking time to look at the opportunities that will be presented in the upcoming large renewable procurement, which would include understanding how the Nauvoo project may participate in that process,” said Suncor spokesperson Nicole Fisher.
Enerfin Energy, a company based in Spain, was pursing a 100-MW Sydenham wind project for Brooke-Alvinston and Enniskillen townships, but didn’t submit a bid in the first round.
In September, Sebastien Verzeni, director of Enerfin Canada, said the company’s board decided to sit the first round out and work on the project “to make it more competitive” for the second round of bidding.
“They were going to see what the price was of the contracts that were let a couple of weeks ago, and then they would make up their mind,” said Don McGugan, mayor of Brooke-Alvinston.
“I would expect to hear from them in the very near future,” he added.
McGugan said his municipality remains an unwilling host for wind energy projects, “but that doesn’t mean anything.”
He noted wind projects were announced in the first round of bidding in communities where municipal councils passed motions declaring themselves unwilling hosts.
A 30-MW solar energy project Ontario Power Generation (OPG) had proposed for the idle Lambton Generating Station site near Courtright also came up empty-handed in the first round of bidding.
“We look forward to speaking with the IESO to understand why our Lambton proposal was not accepted,” said OPG spokesperson Neal Kelly.
“We’ll look at all our options and we’ll decide by August if we will bid on (in the second round) and that includes the Lambton option.”
OPG’s partner in the solar project proposal for Lambton was SunEdison Canadian Construction LP, a subsidiary of U.S.-based SunEdison.
OPG and SunEdison, along with the Six Nations Development Corporation, are also partners in a 44-MW solar project for the closed coal-fired Nanticoke Generating Station site on Lake Erie.
The Nanticoke project was offered a renewable energy contract with the province in the first round of bidding.
“There’s a number of things we still have to do before we will start building that project,” Kelly said.
Those steps include stakeholder consultations, engineering and provincial approvals.
“Construction is expected to begin in late 2017, and the project should be complete by late 2018, or early 2019,” Kelly said.
Stories have been in the news recently about financial troubles at SunEdison, following a report in The Wall Street Journal that the company is planning to file for bankruptcy protection.
SunEdison faces a cash crunch after an aggressive acquisition strategy saddled it with $12 billion in debt.
Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal report SunEdison’s creditors are likely to take control of the company and its portfolio of power projects.
“We continue to monitor developments,” Kelly said.
“The partners are well aware of SunEdison’s situation, and we’ll continue to work together to move the project forward.”
With files from Reuters
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