Amending the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation to help restore municipal authority

ERO number
013-4040
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
December 4, 2018 - January 18, 2019 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

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

Decision summary

We decided to amend the Renewable Energy Approvals regulation to add eligibility requirements so that only projects with the appropriate municipal zoning can be issued a renewable energy approval.

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.

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  • repealed the Green Energy Act, 2009 and re-introduced conservation and energy efficiency initiatives in the Electricity Act, 1998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

We have amended the regulation to require project developers to submit written confirmation from local municipal authorities indicating that the proposed use of land at the project location is not prohibited by a zoning by-law or zoning order under the Planning Act.

Applicants will need to provide this confirmation to be eligible to apply for or receive a renewable energy approval. The written confirmation must be prepared by:

  • each local municipality where the project is located, or
  • each planning board that has jurisdiction in the area, or
  • the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH), if the project location is situated in an area without municipal organization or a planning board.

These changes apply to new renewable energy projects as well as existing projects if they propose to expand their facility onto a new parcel of land.

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

These changes are consistent with the proposed amendments to the Planning Act and reflects our commitment to restore municipal planning authority over the siting of renewable energy projects.

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
  • 013-3800 Amendments to the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation
  • 013-4265 Proposed regulation under the Planning Act to prescribe transitional provisions

Comments received

Through the registry

35

By email

15

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

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

In total, 50 comments were received.

Effects of 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.

Many of the comments were generally supportive of the changes.

Some comments suggested requiring municipal support resolutions before a project can proceed.  We did not make this change, as municipal confirmation of zoning is the most appropriate tool for restoring municipal authority over the siting of renewable energy projects. Municipalities can show support or opposition for renewable energy projects by adjusting their zoning accordingly.

Some commenters requested additional flexibility by allowing confirmation of municipal zoning to be made by a professional planner or an alternate third party. This change was not made. As the government’s intent is to restore municipal authority over these projects, confirmation of municipal zoning should come directly from the municipality or appropriate planning authority.

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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Client Services and Permissions Branch
Address

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

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Original proposal

ERO number
013-4040
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Proposal posted

Comment period

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

Proposal details

Description of regulation

Proposed regulation amendments

In Ontario, you need a renewable energy approval for the construction, operation and maintenance of 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.

We are proposing to amend the regulation to require project developers to submit written confirmation from local municipal authorities indicating that the proposed use of land at the project location is not prohibited by a zoning by-law or zoning order under the Planning Act.

Project developers will be required to provide this confirmation to be eligible to apply for or receive a renewable energy approval.

The written confirmation must be submitted by the project developer as part of their application or as otherwise requested by the ministry, and prepared by:

  • each local municipality where the project is located or by each planning board that has jurisdiction in the area, or
  • the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, if the project location is situated in an area without municipal organization or a planning board.

This would apply to:

  • initial applications for a renewable energy approval
  • applications the ministry is already reviewing
  • applications to amend a renewable energy approval where the proposed change would take place in a different location than the original project

This proposal is consistent with the proposed amendments to the Planning Act and reflects our commitment to restore municipal planning authority over the siting of renewable energy projects.

Project developers would not be required to make the municipal confirmation available to the public before final public meetings.

Purpose of regulation:

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, and amend other existing legislation with the goal of helping consumers lower their energy costs
  • amend the Planning Act to restore municipal planning authority related to the siting of renewable energy generation facilities

We are proposing to amend the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation to align with these changes.

Other information:

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is also proposing a regulation to address transition issues related to restoring municipal planning authority.

The proposed regulation would:

  • establish the transition rules for grandfathering existing renewable energy projects, as these projects may not comply with municipal planning documents and would require regulatory protection to continue
  • provide that, despite its repeal, section 62.0.2 of the Planning Act would continue to apply to specific renewable energy projects in specific circumstances.

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
Environmental Assessment and Permissions Division
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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