TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2013) - Canada's renewable energy leaders are looking forward to networking and knowledge-sharing at the 4th annual Ontario Feed-In Tariff Forum, taking place this April 2-4 in Toronto. The forum will be the first opportunity for the industry to understand the new direction for renewable energy in Ontario under the province's new Premier Kathleen Wynne. It will also provide the very latest update on small and large FIT projects and the outlook for project finance and development in other key markets including British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta.
Over 120 leading speakers will address the most business-critical issues for renewable energy developers, suppliers and investors involved in the Ontario Feed-In Tariff market and interested in evolving project opportunities across Canada. Among those speaking are the CEOs, Presidents and Senior Representatives of leading developers and suppliers including Gemini Power Corp, GDF Suez Canada, Invenergy, SunEdison, Alterra Power, Ontario Power Generation, REpower Systems Inc., Pattern Energy, Boralex, Siemens, SkyPower Global, General Electric, Xeneca Power, Heliene, Recurrent Energy, KPMG, Finavera Wind Energy, Greengate Power, Spark Solar, Canadian Solar, Mainstream Renewable Power, and Algonquin Power Company.
These companies are currently looking to understand the outlook for renewable energy projects in Canada and how the next stage of Ontario's renewables market will develop. The Ontario Feed-In Tariff Forum will provide them with a timely platform to network and receive the very latest updates on provincial energy policy and project outlooks. Mike Snow, President of Algonquin Power, sees the forum as an opportunity to spread three key messages around project risk, permitting challenges and community engagement in Ontario.
"Political uncertainty increases project risk which will ultimately increase the cost of securing reliable sources of renewable energy," comments Snow. "Another key message for this year's forum is that the Ministry of Environment needs to evolve the permitting process to eliminate front-end loading of a significant portion of the engineering costs. And the other point I will be bringing up, is the need to educate Ontario residents on the significant benefits associated with hosting renewable facilities."
"We are looking forward to the Ontario Feed-In Tariff Forum and National Renewable Energy Forum," says Michael Dilworth, Vice President and General Manager, SunEdison Canada who is speaking at the event. "It is important to have these discussions as an industry in order to better understand how solar can be included in policy discussions throughout Canada."
Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy, is looking forward to seeing the Canadian wind industry pulling together and demonstrating its maturity as a fully-fledged professional industry as he has seen in the US. "I think the Ontario Feed-In Tariff Forum is one of the key elements for demonstrating the professionalism of the Canadian wind industry. Ontario is one of the most active Canadian provinces and areas in North America and is an essential part of the wind industry in Canada," he says. "The forum is a key place to meet and coalesce the wind industry, which should be viewed as on par with any other professional industry."
Mike Crawley, President of GDF Suez Canada is interested in hearing from wind suppliers and the direction of the province's FIT program. "I'm looking forward to hearing more from turbine vendors about new products for lower, more moderate wind regimes as well as connecting with developers looking for partners to help them build their FIT 1.0 contracted projects," he says. "Finally, along with everyone else, we are looking for some indications on the future of the Ontario FIT program."
Among his speaking roles at the Forum, Crawley will be interviewing Tom Mitchell, President and CEO of Ontario Power Generation, during the Forum's Power Leaders Breakfast Q&A on April 3. "OPG's diverse mix of assets, which includes storage, has allowed for the growth of renewables in this province," comments Tom Mitchell, President and CEO of Ontario Power Generation. "I look forward to discussing our ongoing efforts to work cooperatively with First Nations, communities and the private sector to deliver clean, low-cost power and good value in the form of local economic benefits."
Michael Polsky, CEO of Chicago-based Invenergy, who also is speaking at this year's forum, is seeking clarity on the future of FIT as well. "The whole FIT program has been in turmoil, and now there is ongoing uncertainty," he says. "I would like to find out what is going to happen with the FIT - a lot of fact-finding will happen at the forum."
The timing and format of the Ontario Feed-In Tariff Forum is providing a much-needed platform for renewable industry leaders to discuss how to move renewables forward and gain clarity on the FIT. "A once-promising future for investors and developers of renewable energy in Ontario is now in jeopardy. We have invested a tremendous amount in Ontario, and are keen to discuss a way forward for the FIT program that will ensure a future for green jobs and clean energy for local communities," says Kerry Adler, Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of SkyPower Global.
"In the past two years since we started operations in Canada, we hired about 100 people, installed about 200 wind turbines in Quebec and made a multi-million dollar investment in a blade factory in Ontario," comments Helmut Herold, Managing Director of REpower Systems Inc. "We would like to help reinforce the economic growth that both Ontario and Quebec have seen due to the development of the renewable energy market. A recent study done by KPMG/Secor just demonstrated that for Quebec wind energy has had a significant economic impact and is cost competitive."
John Barros, Senior Development Manager at Mainstream Renewable Power, is looking forward to engaging in the ongoing conversation about how to maximize the benefits of renewable energy projects for local communities. In his own words, "Genuine community involvement is the foundation for broad support for renewables in Ontario and the first vital step towards creating successful renewable energy projects."
Ben Kennedy, Renewables Account Manager, GE Power and Water, is also interested in learning more about the future of renewables in Ontario. "I am looking forward to understanding what the future holds for FIT 2.0 and what is going to happen beyond 2014 for renewables in Ontario," he says. "I have been to this event in the past and it's a great opportunity to network with key industry players and also get a pulse on the market."
Recurrent Energy's Director of Eastern Region Development, Bob Leah, looks forward to discussing how Ontario can lead other Canadian providences in further harnessing clean solar power. "2012 proved to be a fantastic year for solar energy under FIT 1 and Recurrent Energy expects 2013 to see continued success, as we are forecasted to install more than 220 megawatts peak in Ontario by early 2014," says Leah. "The upcoming Ontario Feed-In-Tariff Forum provides a great opportunity to look forward and discuss best practices for improving the prospects for solar in Ontario under FIT 2.0."
Georges Arbache, Vice President at KPMG's Global Infrastructure Advisory team in Toronto, will be chairing the discussion on investors' perspectives of Ontario's renewables market. "This will set the stage for a continued conversation on the current trends and tools used within the industry both nationally and globally," he comments. "The OFIT Forum is an invaluable conference, which brings the collaboration of thought leaders discussing the future of this industry."
Paco Caudet, Director of Sales of Canadian Solar, thinks that Ontario is currently a hot market for solar because of its attractive feed-in-tariff program and is eager to gain some clarity on the future outlook of the FIT offering. "The Ontario FIT Forum is a unique platform for leading executives in renewable energy to discuss what needs to happen to ensure the long-term viability of solar in Ontario," he says.
This year's forum will also provide a full picture of how energy policies in other key markets are evolving and the potential for projects in British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta. The National Renewable Energy Forum takes place April 2 and is co-located with this year's Ontario Feed-In Tariff Forum. Experts in these provincial markets will be joined by leading renewable energy developers, suppliers and government relations specialists to offer a complete picture of evolving project opportunities. "The forum is an excellent place to gain insight into the future of Canada's renewable energy industry," says Michael Petersen, Director of Development for Acciona. "I'm looking forward to an open discussion among many of the industry's key players."
The National Renewable Energy Forum will also provide all renewable energy technologies the opportunity to discuss how to shape the narrative for renewables and develop a cohesive strategy for positioning renewables with policymakers across the country. "As renewable energy policies evolve around Canada and the world, we have the unique opportunity to come together as an industry," comments Hando Kang, Senior Director, International Affairs and Communications, SkyPower Global, who is speaking on April 2. "Together, we can drive policy, build awareness and be the voice that helps shape the conversation."