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Ontario's minister of energy has ordered the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to focus on microFIT and smaller solar projects, according to new directives associated with the province's feed-in tariff (FIT). While the OPA continues to stress greater involvement with aboriginal and community groups, the province's further development of larger wind and solar projects has largely been de-emphasized.

Importantly, the OPA has cleared the application queue for projects, meaning that all interested renewable energy developers, including wind and solar developers must reapply. The microFIT contract and application window will open at the same time as the rules are posted, which could be as early as July 12.

According to the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, the directives
provided renewable energy developers greater clarity on the prioritization of projects with greater than or equal to 50% community or aboriginal equity participation.

Ontario-based consultancy Ortech adds the OPA will provide further information on the timeline for the large FIT applications, such as utility-scale wind and solar, at a later but as-yet-unspecified date.

Ortech also says the clause for terminating contracts has been returned to the language used originally by the province in the first iteration of FIT rules in 2009.

The final FIT rules for small projects are expected to be released toward the end of July, according to Chris Bentley, Ontario's minister of energy.

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