New regulation under the Planning Act to prescribe transitional provisions for the Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018

ERO number
013-4265
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
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

A new regulation was made to address transition rules related to the restoration of municipal planning authority resulting from changes made to the Planning Act by the Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018.

Decision details

Decision on regulation

The new regulation allows renewable energy projects that are already built, and those with existing contracts with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) or renewable energy approvals that are in-development to continue without the need for local planning approvals. It also allows other, mostly small-scale, projects that are in development to continue without the need for local planning approvals, assuming these projects are complete before August 31, 2019.

Types of Undertakings Impacted

The types of renewable energy undertakings that are impacted include built facilities and eligible projects that are in-development. These could range from large scale wind, solar, and hydroelectric projects to smaller scale bioenergy, hydroelectric, or ground-mounted solar projects.

Expansion of Existing Projects

Going forward, if an existing renewable energy project subject to a renewable energy approval or IESO contract undertakes a change involving a geographic expansion onto an adjacent property (beyond that set out in the approval or, in its absence, the contract), the project change would be subject to municipal planning authority.

For any (typically small-scale) project not subject to an IESO contract or renewable energy approval, but subject to another government approval, registration or permit that proposes to expand onto a parcel of land other than the one it was originally installed or constructed on before August 31, 2019, the project expansion would also be subject to municipal planning authority.

Comments received

Through the registry

36

By email

0

By mail

34
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

The government received 70 submissions to the Environmental Registry, from individuals, citizen groups, industry stakeholders and municipalities.

Summary of Submissions

The majority of comments supported the restoration of municipal authority over the siting of renewable energy generation facilities.

There were a number of concerns expressed regarding existing wind turbines, including potential health and environmental impacts, and a lack of government regulatory enforcement over these types of projects. These comments are out of scope for the regulation.

Some of the submissions requested changes to the proposal, including:

  • Extending the project completion date beyond June 1, 2019
  • Transitioning projects where a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) application has been submitted but a decision has not been made, or where a REA has been issued, but no energy contract exists
  • Expanding municipal authority over any type of project change, including expansion, upgrading or temporary construction
  • Proposed rules and clarity around major project changes (e.g. permanent infrastructure vs. temporary structures) and when municipal authority would apply

As a result of feedback received, the government included an additional transition rule for projects that have been issued a REA (and not had it revoked) by June 1, 2019. The project completion date was also extended to August 31, 2019, to allow for a 90 day transition period for other, mostly small-scale, projects not requiring renewable energy approvals.

Supporting materials

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Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Provincial Planning Policy Branch
Address

777 Bay Street
13th floor
Toronto, ON
M5G 2E5
Canada

Office phone number

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Original proposal

ERO number
013-4265
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Proposal posted

Comment period

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

Proposal details

Description of Regulation

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is proposing a regulation to address transition issues related to the restoration of municipal planning authority resulting from the Planning Act amendments under the proposed Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018. The proposed regulation would establish the transition rules for operational and in-process renewable energy undertakings which may not comply with municipal planning documents. The proposed regulation would provide that, despite its repeal, section 62.0.2 of the Planning Act would continue to apply to specified renewable energy undertakings, or in specified circumstances.

The Need for a Transition Regulation

If passed, the proposed Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018 (Bill 34) would amend the Planning Act to restore municipal planning authority related to the siting of renewable energy undertakings, allowing local governments to accommodate renewable energy proposals as willing hosts, where proposals align with local planning objectives. With municipal authority restored, new renewable energy undertakings would be subject to municipal planning instruments, in addition to any environmental and other approvals that may be required.

In the absence of any transitional provisions, operational and in-process facilities would be subject to municipal planning documents, and may not be in compliance with local zoning by-law requirements, triggering the need for planning amendments. Providing transitional treatment for operational and in-process renewable energy projects recognizes the substantial investments that may have been made by proponents (ranging from homeowners to large facility owners) to date.

Proposed Regulation

The proposed regulation would provide transition rules around operational and in-process renewable energy undertakings as these projects may not comply with municipal planning documents. The proposed regulation would provide that, despite its repeal by the proposed Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018, section 62.0.2 of the Planning Act would continue to apply to renewable energy undertakings, as described below:

  • Renewable energy undertakings (e.g., solar, wind, bioenergy and waterpower projects) that are subject to an existing Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) contract on the date the proposed transition regulation is filed; or
  • Renewable energy undertakings where the construction or installation commenced (e.g., contracts for construction were awarded or construction or installation began), on or before the date the proposed transition regulation is filed, and is completed by July 1, 2019.

Further, if a government-approved renewable energy project undertakes a major change involving a geographic expansion (i.e., expansion onto adjacent property) the project change would be subject to municipal planning authority.

The types of renewable energy undertakings that would be captured by the circumstances described above would generally fall under the following regulatory instruments or categories:

  • Renewable Energy Approval (REA) – O. Reg. 359/09 under the Environmental Protection Act;
  • Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) – O. Reg. 350/12 under the Environmental Protection Act;
  • Projects approved under previous regulatory regime (e.g., O. Reg. 116/01 under the Environmental Assessment Act);
  • Siting Restrictions for Renewable Energy Generation Facilities – O. Reg. 274/18 under the Electricity Act, 1998;
  • Class Environmental Assessments for Waterpower Projects; and
  • Projects exempt from regulatory approval (e.g., rooftop solar).

Purpose of Regulation

The purposes of this Notice are:

  1. To inform the public, stakeholders and municipalities that the province is considering a new regulation under the Planning Act;
  2. To provide the basic outline of the proposed new regulation; and
  3. To provide 45 days for the public, stakeholders and municipalities to comment on the proposed content of a new regulation by directing their written concerns to the contact persons noted below.

Other Information

Proposed amendment of Ontario Regulation 274/18

The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines intends to amend O. Reg. 274/18: Siting Restrictions for Renewable Energy Generation Facilities.

A separate proposal notice has been posted for public consultation.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Provincial Planning Policy Branch
Address

777 Bay Street
13th floor
Toronto, ON
M5G 2E5
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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Contact