Proposed new regulation to be made under the Electricity Act, 1998

ERO number
013-1916
Notice type
Regulation
Posted by
Ministry of Energy
Transferred to
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
November 28, 2017 - January 17, 2018 (50 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
November 28, 2017
to January 17, 2018

Decision summary

A new regulation was made to ensure the appropriate siting of renewable energy generation facilities.

Decision details

Decision details

A new regulation (Ontario Regulation 274/18) was made under the Electricity Act, 1998 (EA) to introduce siting restrictions for renewable energy projects.

The requirements introduced under the new regulation include:

  • Non-rooftop solar and wind facilities are not permitted to be connected to a customer account that falls within the distributor’s residential-rate classification;
  • Non-rooftop solar projects are required to be set back 15 metres from any property boundary; and
  • Non-rooftop solar projects are not allowed in prime agricultural areas or in areas where the prime agricultural area designation process had not been completed, if the project is larger than 10 kilowatts (kW).

An appropriate professional is required to certify that the project meets these siting restrictions. Certification must be delivered to the local distributor in the form established by an order or code issued by the Ontario Energy Board, if any.

The regulation exempts facilities that already have a connection agreement and facilities proposed on First Nation reserve lands from the siting restrictions. Additionally, facilities under contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) are exempt from the restrictions, as these projects are subject to the siting restrictions administered through IESO’s programs.

The regulation also provides flexibility in relation to the 15 meter setback requirement for facilities related to a virtual net metering demonstration project under the IESO’s Renewable Distributed Generation Integration (RDGI) Fund, if the abutting property owner is also a participating customer in the demonstration project or if the abutting property owner consents to the facility being closer than 15 meters from the property boundary.

Projects would continue to be subject to siting restrictions in other approvals or permits, as applicable.

The regulation comes into force on July 1, 2018.

Comments received

Through the registry

14

By email

9

By mail

2
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

Effects of comments

Feedback from stakeholders on the Ministry of Energy’s proposal for this new regulation included the following recommendations or requests:

Allow exemptions or limit the application of restrictions in a variety of cases

The regulation provides flexibility in certain circumstances for facilities approved under the IESO’s RDGI Fund. This will provide opportunities for the Ministry of Energy to learn about flexible siting restrictions from a limited set of projects in order to assess if exemptions could apply more broadly in the future.

Allow a municipal official to attest that the prime agricultural restriction is met

This request was incorporated into the regulation.

Clarify the roles that each party will play

The regulation sets out the roles and responsibilities of each party. The Ontario Energy Board is empowered to establish the form in which confirmation of regulatory compliance is made.

Allow solar carports to be treated as rooftop facilities

Consistent with existing Ministry of Energy policy, solar carports are subject to the same siting restrictions as other non-rooftop solar PV projects to ensure that these projects are located appropriately.

Allow municipalities, or building code or building permitting authorities to decide appropriate siting restrictions for renewable energy projects

This course of action is out of scope for the regulation.

Allow developers to attest that siting restrictions are met

Following consideration from a policy and implementation perspective, incorporating this feedback would limit the effectiveness of this regulation to ensure the appropriate siting of renewable energy projects.

Restrict the application of prime agricultural protection to larger projects, or limit its application only to specific land classifications or conditions

Following consideration from a policy and implementation perspective, incorporating this feedback would limit the effectiveness of this regulation to ensure the appropriate siting of renewable energy projects.

Regulatory impact analysis

Costs to confirm compliance with the siting restrictions under this regulation vary based on business model, approach taken, and the unique complexities of individual projects and project sites. The cost to independently hire a Registered Professional Planner and licensed surveyor to certify that the regulatory requirements are met for a single project is estimated to be about $2,000.

Connect with us

Contact

Ben Weir

Phone number
Email address
Office
Conservation and Renewable Energy Division
Address

77 Grenville St.
5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2C1
Canada

Office phone number

Sign up for notifications

We will send you email notifications with any updates related to this consultation. You can change your notification preferences anytime by visiting settings in your profile page.

Follow this notice

Original proposal

ERO number
013-1916
Notice type
Regulation
Posted by
Ministry of Energy
Proposal posted

Comment period

November 28, 2017 - January 17, 2018 (50 days)

Proposal details

Description of regulation

The province currently addresses renewable energy generation facility siting through the Renewable Energy Approval (REA), the Environmental Sector Activity Registry (EASR), and through the program rules governing the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) and microFIT programs. The FIT and microFIT program rules included siting restrictions for Non-Rooftop Solar PV Facilities and Wind Facilities in relation to residential areas and the protection of prime agricultural land. These restrictions were additional to the siting restrictions included in the REA and EASR.

As the FIT and microFIT programs will no longer be accepting applications by the end of 2017, this proposed regulation would be required to ensure the appropriate siting of renewable energy generation facilities in relation to residential areas and prime agricultural land.

Enhancements to Ontario’s net metering framework

The Province’s 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) commits to enhance Ontario’s net metering framework to give customers new ways to participate in clean, renewable electricity generation. In accordance with this commitment, the Ministry of Energy intends to expand net metering eligibility to include new ownership models and to ensure appropriate consumer protection provisions and siting restrictions are in place.

Legislative amendments to the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, required to expand the scope of eligible net metering ownership models, were tabled on November 14, 2017 through Bill 177, Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017. Pending the passing of the proposed legislative amendments, the Ministry of Energy intends to propose regulatory changes to enable these new ownership models, as well as other regulatory measures in support of an expanded and enhanced net metering framework, as follows:

  • Enable third-party ownership of net-metered generation facilities and virtual net metering demonstration projects;
  • Adapt and enhance the existing energy consumer protection framework to support the introduction of third-party ownership arrangements; and
  • Ensure that prescribed types of renewable energy generation facilities are sited appropriately.

The Ministry of Energy invites input on this regulatory proposal and corresponding regulatory proposals (posted separately and linked in the Additional Information section of this posting) to inform changes to Ontario’s net metering framework.

A plain language description of the proposed regulation follows:

Ensuring appropriate siting of renewable generation facilities

The Ministry of Energy is proposing a new regulation to be made under the Electricity Act, 1998, to ensure that prescribed types of renewable energy generation facilities are sited appropriately.

The proposed regulation, to be made under the Electricity Act, 1998 (EA) would specify siting restrictions for Non-Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Facilities and Wind Facilities. A facility that is captured by these regulatory restrictions would not be permitted to be connected to the distribution system or the transmission system.

A Non-Rooftop Solar PV Facility is a renewable energy generation facility located anywhere other than on the roof or wall of a building at which one or more solar photovoltaic collector panels or devices use light to generate electricity.

A Wind Facility is a renewable energy generation facility at which wind is used to generate electricity through the use of one or more wind turbines.

The proposed regulation is intended to complement siting restrictions under existing environmental regulation, which would remain in force.

Regulatory requirements

  1. Under the proposed regulation, the following types of renewable energy generation facilities would not be permitted to be connected to the distribution system or the transmission system.
    1. Non-Rooftop Solar PV Facilities proposed to be sited less than 15 metres from the facility property boundaries.
    2. Non-Rooftop Solar PV Facilities and Wind Facilities proposed to be connected to a residential dwelling.
    3. Non-Rooftop Solar PV Facilities over 10 kW proposed to be located on properties within prime agricultural areas, as defined in the Provincial Policy Statement and designated in an official plan.
    4. Non-Rooftop Solar PV Facilities over 10 kW proposed to be located on a property that is not captured by an official plan for which the prime agricultural area designation process has been completed.
  2. Generators would be required to provide confirmation to the distributor or transmitter, signed by a relevant professional (e.g. a surveyor licenced by the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors), that the renewable energy generation facility meets the property boundary setback requirements (1a, above).
  3. Generators would be required to provide confirmation to the distributor or transmitter, signed by a relevant professional (e.g. a member in good standing of the Canadian Institute of Planners who is a registered professional planner in Ontario), as evidence that a renewable energy generation facility meets the prime agricultural area siting requirements (1c and 1d, above).
  4. In recognition of the authority of band councils elected under the Indian Act (Canada) to make decisions regarding land use on reserves, it is the policy of the Ministry of Energy to defer to band councils in relation to the use of reserve land for power generation purposes. As a result, the proposed siting restrictions for renewable energy generation facilities would not apply to reserve land.

Transition requirements

  1. The proposed siting restrictions would not apply to:
    1. Any Non-Rooftop Solar PV Facility or Wind Facility that has been constructed as of the in-force date of this regulation; and
    2. Any Non-Rooftop Solar PV Facility or Wind Facility that has received a microFIT, FIT, or Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) Contract (whether or not that facility has been constructed as of the in-force date of this regulation).

Purpose of regulation

The purpose of the proposed regulation is to ensure the appropriate siting of renewable energy generation facilities in relation to residential areas and prime agricultural land.

Public consultation

This proposal was posted for a 50 day public review and comment period starting November 29, 2017. Comments were to be received by January 18, 2018.

All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.

Other public consultation opportunities

The Ministry of Energy is not planning any additional public consultation outside of this posting.

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from November 28, 2017
to January 17, 2018

Connect with us

Contact