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Backgrounder: Ontario Proposes Rules For Off-shore Wind Turbines

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Backgrounder: Ontario Proposes Rules For Off-shore Wind Turbines

Clean energy is a key part of the province's plan to combat climate change and phase out coal.  Renewable energy generation and conservation will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands of clean, green jobs in Ontario.

Ontario is proposing comprehensive rules for off-shore wind turbines and is seeking the public's input. Under the proposal, wind turbines would need to be a minimum of five kilometres from the shoreline.

In addition, developers of off-shore wind turbines would be required to complete a stringent and comprehensive application process that would include:

  • Ensuring the lakebed is available for a renewable energy project. The lakebeds of the Great Lakes and many other lakes are Crown land and are made available for proposed renewable energy projects under the Public Lands Act.
  • Meeting requirements that minimize negative impacts to endangered and threatened species and their habitat, others who use Crown land and resources and flooding and erosion.
  • Meeting coastal engineering study requirements.
  • Applying for a Renewable Energy Approval by assessing and addressing any potential negative environmental effects to significant wildlife habitat, noise assessments, and drinking water, as well as consulting with the public, municipalities and Aboriginal communities.
  • Complying with federal environmental assessment requirements for off-shore wind projects and obtaining permits if required under the federal Fisheries Act and/or Navigable Waters Protection Act. This would trigger a federal environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.  This work could be completed concurrently with the Renewable Energy Approval application process.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is also undertaking a review of Ontario's current process for making Crown land available for off-shore wind projects.  This review will include consideration of where, when and how the government makes Crown land available and may result in additional areas being removed from future off-shore development.

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