Amendments to the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation (Ontario Regulation 359/09)

ERO number
013-3800
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision Updated
Decision posted
Comment period
December 4, 2018 - January 18, 2019 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

Update Announcement

This notice was originally published on September 21, 2018, for a 45-day comment period ending November 5, 2018. In response to the feedback received from stakeholders, we updated this proposal and re-opened the comment period for another 45 days. The update provides additional details regarding the criteria proponents would have to meet to be issued a renewable energy approval. The ministry will take all comments, including those we got during the first comment period, into consideration when deciding on next steps.

June 11, 2019

This consultation was open from:
December 4, 2018
to January 18, 2019

Decision summary

We have amended the Renewable Energy Approvals regulation to add eligibility requirements related to electricity demand. The amendments also prohibit a renewable energy approval from being issued for large wind projects if their power purchase agreements were cancelled by the Independent Electricity System Operator.

Decision details

In Ontario, you need a renewable energy approval for large wind, solar or bio-energy projects. The Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation (Ontario Regulation 359/09) outlines criteria for applicants to get a renewable energy approval.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) operates the electricity market and directs the operation of the electrical system in the province. Their recent system planning work shows that Ontario has enough electricity resources for the near future.

On July 13, 2018, the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines directed the IESO to wind down over 750 renewable energy contracts for projects that had not yet reached significant development milestones.

On December 6, 2018 the government passed the Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018 - Bill 34. This legislation:

  • repealed the Green Energy Act, 2009 and re-introduced conservation and energy efficiency initiatives in the Electricity Act, 1998
  • changed the Planning Act to restore municipal authority over siting renewable energy projects; and,
  • enhanced authority in the Environmental Protection Act to prohibit issuance of renewable energy approvals including where demand for electricity is not demonstrated

Given Ontario’s strong supply situation, the government’s position is that if an applicant for a renewable energy approval cannot demonstrate that there is demand for the electricity they propose to generate, then the renewable energy approval should not be issued.

The changes to the Renewable Energy Approvals regulation mean that current and future applicants for renewable energy approvals will need to show that the proposed project fulfills a need for the electricity produced. They must do so by meeting one or more of the following scenarios:

  • Using the electricity on-site for their own use
  • Using the electricity on-site and distributing excess into the distribution system for a credit, via a net metering arrangement with their Local Distribution Company
  • Having an agreement to supply the electricity for a term of 10 or more years with one or more persons
  • Intending to sell the electricity at market rates into the IESO administered electricity market as a market participant
  • Intending to participate in an IESO procurement

In addition, the amended regulation prohibits renewable energy approvals for Class 4 wind facilities from being issued if:

  • The facility had an agreement with the IESO as part of the Large Renewable Procurement process
  • That agreement has subsequently been terminated by the IESO
  • A stop work notice was issued

The requirement to show a need for the proposed electricity applies to new renewable energy projects as well as existing projects if they propose to increase their nameplate capacity and expand onto a new parcel of land.

These changes apply to all applications for renewable energy approvals that are currently under review by the ministry.

This notice is linked to several others related to the Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018:

  • 013-3832 – Repeal of the Green Energy Act, 2018
  • 013-4288 – Amendments to Ontario Regulation 274/18 – Siting Restrictions for Renewable Energy Facilities
  • 013-4040 – Amending the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation to help restore municipal zoning
  • 013-4265 – Proposed regulation under the Planning Act to prescribe transitional provisions

Comments received

Through the registry

89

By email

32

By mail

1
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

Public consultation took place on this notice from September 21, 2018 to November 5, 2018 (45 days) and from December 4, 2018 to January 18, 2019 (45 days).

In total, 122 comments were received.

Effects of Consultation

In response to feedback received on the first posting, the proposal was updated to include additional details regarding proposed criteria proponents would have to meet to be issued a renewable energy approval. It was re-posted for another 45-day consultation.

We received comments from a range of interested stakeholders, including members of the public, municipalities, environmental non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups, and industry associations.

Commenters both supported and opposed the proposal.

We considered all of the comments received during the Environmental Registry posting and decided to proceed with the amendments with the following changes:

  1. We included another demand criterion related to future IESO proponents
  2. We included a prohibition on the approval of large (Class 4) wind projects where the IESO has terminated the power purchase agreement and issued a stop work notice. Given their large scale and the fact that their power purchase agreements were cancelled, the government has decided that it is not in the public interest for renewable energy approvals to be issued to these projects
  3. We added more detail to the demand criteria to provide clarity on how applicants must demonstrate that there is a need for electricity

Supporting materials

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Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Client Services and Permissions Branch
Address

135 St. Clair Avenue West
1st Floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1P5
Canada

Office phone number

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Original proposal

ERO number
013-3800
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Proposal posted

Comment period

December 4, 2018 - January 18, 2019 (45 days)

Proposal details

Description of Regulation

Renewable energy in Ontario

In Ontario, you need a renewable energy approval for large wind, solar or bio-energy projects.

The Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation (Ontario Regulation 359/09) outlines criteria for applicants to get a renewable energy approval.

The Independent Electricity System Operator operates the electricity market and directs the operation of the electrical system in the province. Their recent system planning work shows that Ontario has enough electricity resources for the near future.

On July 13, 2018, the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines directed the Independent Electricity System Operator to wind down 758 renewable energy projects that had not yet reached significant development milestones. They did this as the benefits to ratepayers of winding down the contracts outweighed the associated costs.

The Independent Electricity System Operator is also conducting an electricity market renewal initiative. This initiative:

  • should provide market signals for any future investments needed in Ontario’s electricity system
  • may include opportunities for renewable energy resources to be purchased in a way that ensures value to Ontario electricity ratepayers and the electricity system

Renewable energy approvals and the environment

Renewable energy projects (as with all construction and human activity) may impact the environment.

Projects could impact:

  • natural heritage (e.g.animals, birds, insects, trees, and vegetation)
  • noise
  • groundwater
  • surface water

We require project developers to reduce these effects through the renewable energy approvals process so that the benefits of the energy outweigh the impacts to the environment.

Proposed regulation amendment

This proposal reflects the government's position that because Ontario is in a strong supply situation, renewable energy projects should not proceed unless the project developer can show that there is a demand for the electricity, even where potential impacts are reduced.

This regulatory amendment would affect future renewable energy approval applicants and those whose applications are under review when the regulation comes into force.

It would not affect:

  • renewable energy approvals that have already been issued unless certain amendments are required, or
  • renewable energy projects that do not require a renewable energy approval

Draft criteria for demonstrating demand

We are proposing that in order to be issued a renewable energy approval, proponents must demonstrate demand by submitting documentation showing that they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • having an agreement to supply electricity to one or more persons. This would include having a contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator
  • proposing to generate the electricity for their own use
  • having a net-metering agreement with their local distribution company
  • proposing to sell the electricity generated at market rates in the Independent Electricity System Operator-administered market

These criteria would also apply when a project is being changed if there is both:

  • an increase in the facility’s nameplate capacity, and
  • a change to the infrastructure or equipment at the facility

Demand would need to be shown only for the new capacity.

Purpose of Regulation

This proposal would require a project developer to show that there is a demand for the electricity they will generate in order to get a renewable energy approval.

The proposed approach is consistent with our government's decision to wind down long-term contracts for electricity that the system does not need at this time.

Other Information

Proposed Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018

The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines introduced the Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018. If passed, the act would:

  • repeal the Green Energy Act, 2009
  • make amendments to other existing legislation with the goal of helping consumers lower their energy costs.

If passed, the act would also amend the:

  • Environmental Protection Act – to enhance the government’s authority to prohibit issuing renewable energy approvals, including when the demand for the electricity has not been demonstrated
  • Planning Act – to restore municipalities’ planning authority related to siting renewable energy generation facilities.

We are consulting on a separate proposal to add further eligibility criteria to the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation to align with the restoration of municipal authority under the Planning Act

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Client Services and Permissions Branch
Address

135 St. Clair Avenue West
1st Floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1P5
Canada

Office phone number

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from December 4, 2018
to January 18, 2019

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