--Brian Eckhouse & Sara Rosner

 
Brad Nordholm

Renewables developers are concerned about a paucity of power purchase agreements and uncertainty surrounding those contracts in the U.S. and Canada.

Some utilities in the U.S. are approaching the fulfillment of state government-issued renewable portfolio standards, decreasing available PPAs and potentially slowing project development, said Brian Goldstein, head of project finance Americas for BNP Paribas at Euromoney Seminars’ 6th Annual North American Infrastructure & Energy Finance Forum in New York. Developers are also looking at whether Ontario, which hosts a general election Oct. 6, will halt its provincial feed-in tariff contracts to renewables projects. Ontario is one of the preferred markets in North America to develop and finance renewables projects.

The California Public Utilities Commission’s rejection of a 2010 photovoltaic PPA also has sponsors on edge. The commission nixed the contract because of pricing that exceeded bids into a 2011 tender for new generation (PFR, 8/19).

The outlook for parity is improving, however, which would ease renewable dependence on RPS and policy. The cost of wind turbines and photovoltaic panels has sharply declined, corresponding to lower PPA pricing, said Brad Nordholm, ceo of Starwood Energy in Greenwich, Conn. Some wind projects in the Midwest are priced between $0.035-0.045 cents. Wind priced at $0.065 cents a couple of years ago, noted John Foster, Competitive Power Ventures executive v.p. in Silver Spring, Md.

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