Backgrounder: Proposed Approval Process for Renewable Energy Projects
The McGuinty government's new Green Energy Act, 2009 was passed May 14, 2009, making Ontario the North American green energy leader.
The act will encourage new investment in renewable energy sources - wind, solar, biomass, biogas and hydro power, for example - helping to create a stronger, greener economy and well-paying green jobs.
It is a major step forward in ensuring that renewable sources of energy supplement the province's power supply once coal-fired generation is phased out by the end of 2014.
Benefits to the Environment
Phasing out coal is the single largest greenhouse gas reduction initiative anywhere in Canada. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 megatonnes. Replacing coal with other sources of energy, including renewable energy, is a key component of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan.
The government is committed to developing clean, renewable sources of energy so Ontarians will have a reliable and sustainable supply of electricity.
Proposed Approval Process for Renewable Energy Projects
The act allows for environmental standards and setbacks for renewable energy projects, to be identified in regulation and developed in consultation with Ontarians.
The proposed approval process would provide clear provincial rules and requirements, transparent decision-making and create certainty for stakeholders and proponents.
Proposed requirements are based on science and will incorporate stakeholder consultation and comment.
Examples of the provincial ministry requirements that would have to be met as part of the approval process include:
- Public consultations to ensure local residents are heard
- A uniform process for proponent consultation with municipalities on site requirements and local infrastructure
- Requirements for projects proposed on Ontario's Crown lands that address the potential overlap with existing licensed resource users such as forestry and fisheries.
The proposed approval process and details of the requirements are outlined for discussion and comment in both a consultation document titled Proposed Content for the Renewable Energy Approval Regulation developed by the Ministry of Environment and a Draft Approval and Permitting Requirements Document for Renewable Energy Projects developed by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Ontarians Invited to Comment
Ontarians are encouraged to comment on the proposed approval process. Consultation documents have been posted to the websites of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources. They have also been posted on the Environmental Registry at www.ebr.gov.on.ca. Enter Number 010-6516 for the Ministry of the Environment posting and Number 010-6708 for the Ministry of Natural Resources posting. The deadline for comments is July 24.
Provincial information sessions will also be held in June in Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Chatham, Port Elgin, Sault Ste. Marie and Toronto. Visit the ministry's website at www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/business/green-energy for dates and locations.