Green energy legislation by the Canadian province of Ontario has so far failed to prompt the installation of significant renewable capacity, according to a new report.

Up to the end of August 2011, the Green Energy Act can be credited with just 86 MW in renewable capacity – equivalent to only 0.25 per cent of Ontario’s installed capacity of 34,882 MW – found Professor Mark Winfield, an environmental policy expert at York University in Canada.

This raises doubts over the effectiveness of the plan’s feed-in tariff, he said. Bottlenecks in the system, uncertainty about the programme’s future, and a challenge to the domestic content provision of the Act at the World Trade Organization have reduced the number of renewable projects undertaken in Ontario, he added.

Ontario’s electricity grid was designed for several large generators and not thousands of smaller ones, in his view.

“It’s a problem. Manufacturers are having difficulties because there is a backlog of contracts that can’t be executed, and therefore potential developers cancel orders for equipment,” he said.

Ontario’s environmental commissioner, Gord Miller, remarked on the slow progress of the programme this summer.

“There’s been an awful lot of discussion about something that’s fairly modest so far, I’d say,” he told a press conference.

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