Policy Landscape in Canada

Policy Landscape in Canada

Given the highly regulated nature of the energy sector, government policy, legislation and regulation have had a significant impact on renewable energy (RE) and community energy (CE) proliferation (or lack there of) in Canada. This regulation mostly takes place at the provincial/territorial level, which results in a chequered RE & CE policy and activity landscape across the country.

Below is a table listing policies and support programs available to RE and CE projects in each of Canada’s jurisdictions. For more detailed information regarding RE & CE activity in each province and territory, please visit our “Provinces” pages.


RE Policies

CE Policies

British Columbia

·    Standing Offer Program: Provides grants to projects 15MW or less, first come, first served approach.


·    Net Metering Tariff: Provides credit for extra electricity generated by clean renewable electricity generation up to 100kW.

·    Remote Community Energy Network: Provides training, planning, development, and other support services to remote B.C. communities to get them connected to electricity.

·    Sustainable Communities Program: Offers expertise and financial incentives for a variety of services, including funding for employees, funding to develop energy plans, and many others.

·    BC First Nation Clean Energy Business Fund: Provides capacity development and funding to acquire equity positions in and shares from clean energy projects built in traditional territories and treaty areas.

·    Community Energy Association: Provides support and resources to local governments in developing community energy plans.


Micro-Generation Regulation, 2008:

·    A market-based incentive program that encourages individuals to create up to 1MW of renewable or alternative energy.

·    Province provides credit to individuals for any extra energy sold to grid.

There are no provincial policies supporting community energy. There are municipal incentives however:

·    City of Edmonton: A one-month pilot program in 2010, encouraged homeowners and businesses to install solar PV systems by providing in total $200 000 worth of rebates.

·    City of Medicine Hat: The Residential Renewable Energy Purchase Incentive, a program running between 2015 and 2016, encourages homeowners to install solar PV systems by providing up to 50% of the cost of installation.

·    Starland County: The Starland Solar Initiative, started in 2014, encourages homeowners to install solar PV systems by providing up to $5000 in incentives towards the cost of installation.

·    Town of Banff: The Solar PV Production Incentive, taking place between 2015 and 2016, encourages property owners to install solar PV systems by providing credits over a 7 year period.


·    Small Producer Program: Allows residents, farms, businesses and communities to develop and sell up to 100kW of ‘environmentally preferred’ energy. ·    First Nations Power Authority (FNPA): Assists First Nations communities in participating in procurement opportunities with SaskPower.


·    Manitoba’s Clean Energy Strategy: the government has set a long-term target of 1,000 MW of wind power.

·    Net Metering: Sell excess renewable electricity generation to Manitoba Hydro.

·    Bioenergy Optimization Program: Encourages companies to turn waste products into renewable electricity through incentives.

There are no provincial policies supporting community energy.


·    Net Metering: Sell excess renewable electricity generation to Manitoba hydro.

·    Green Energy Act, 2009: Includes the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, which allows homeowners, businesses and communities to generate renewable energy and sell it to the province at a guaranteed price for a fixed contract term.

·    Large Renewable Procurement: A competitive FIT process that caps renewable capacity and reduces the number of large renewable projects.

·    Green Energy Act, 2009: Provides communities, especially First Nation communities, with price adders, priority points in the FIT program, contract capacity set-asides, and organizations to support community renewable energy projects.

·    Energy Partnerships Program: Provides funding and support for renewable energy project development for aboriginal communities, municipalities, co-operatives, and public sector entities.


·    Call for Projects: Hydro-Québec issues calls for tenders for large commercial wind farms. Its most recent call in 2012/13 awarded contracts for 800 MW of wind capacity (CanWEA, 2015).

·    Net Metering: Feed excess renewable electricity to grid and receive credit on bill.

·    Calls for Community Wind Projects: In 2010, Hydro-Quebec put a call out for tenders of community wind farms and accepted a total of twelve bids.

New Brunswick

·    Integrated Resource Plan: Provincial energy plan that includes a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandating that 40% of in-province electricity sales come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

·      Net Metering: Sell excess renewable electricity generation to NB Power.

·      Large Industrial Renewable Energy Purchase Program: NB Power purchases renewable electricity its largest customers (at this time, only the pulp and paper mill sector is eligible).

·      Community Energy Policy: Provides financial and development support for a total of 75MW of clean energy projects that are majority-owned by First Nations, municipalities, co-operatives, not-for-profit organizations or institutions.

·      Locally-owned Renewable Energy Projects that are Small Scale (LORESS) Program: Currently in draft stages, aims to “encourage the creation of new renewable generation” and “create jobs and grow the economy in a sustainable way” (Ministry of Energy and Mines, 2015b).

Nova Scotia

·      Renewable Energy Standard (RES): Mandates that 40% of Nova Scotia’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Includes the Competitively-Sourced Commercial Renewables program, which procures large-scale renewable energy projects to meet RES targets with half the generation.

·      Renewable Electricity Plan: Outlines mechanisms for accelerating the development of renewables and amends aspects of the province’s electricity legislation and regulations accordingly.

·      Electricity Reform Act:  Allows homeowners and businesses to purchase renewable power directly from producers.

·      Enhanced Net Metering: Sell excess renewable electricity generation to grid, but measures electricity in two directions.

·      Development Tidal Feed-In Tariff Program: Supports tidal energy developers in testing and deploying their large-scale in-stream tidal energy projects.

The province had the Community Feed-in Tariff (COMFIT) program in effect from September 2010 to 2011. The program is now discontinued.


·      Renewable Energy Act: Provides modest tariff of 7.8 cents per kWh to encourage renewable energy development.

·      Net Metering: Sell excess renewable electricity generation to Maritime Electric.

There are no provincial policies supporting community energy.
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