Proposal for a declaration order to exempt Stelco Inc’s proposed 262.5 kilovolt transformer station from the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act

ERO number
019-2724
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision Updated
Decision posted
Comment period
February 17, 2021 - March 19, 2021 (30 days) Closed
Last updated

Update Announcement

On June 8, 2021 this notice was updated to include a link to the declaration order issued.

June 8, 2021

This consultation was open from:
February 17, 2021
to March 19, 2021

Decision summary

A declaration order has been issued to exempt a proposed transformer station at the Lake Erie Works steel plant in Nanticoke from the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.

Decision details

The ministry’s priority is to support healthier communities and economic prosperity through stringent environmental rules and requirements for businesses.

On May 20, 2021, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks issued a declaration order allowing Stelco to proceed with a proposed 262.5 kilovolt transformer station without having to meet the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.

The Minister is satisfied the proposed transformer station will have minimal impacts on the environment and surrounding area during its construction and operation. Stelco’s Lake Erie Works site is regulated by several permits and approvals that set strict environmental requirements the company must meet to legally operate in Ontario.

The proposed transformer station is a critical part of an electricity generation facility project at Stelco Inc.’s Lake Erie Works steel plant in Nanticoke. The declaration order applies to the planning, designing, establishing, constructing, operating, changing, expanding and retiring of the transformer station.

As part of this evaluation, we considered the potential environmental effects that could be caused by the proposed transformer station and determined that granting the declaration order is in the public interest. Overall, the proposed electricity generation facility would have a positive impact by:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
  • growing the economy and creating additional jobs, and
  • reducing the demand on the provincial electricity grid during peak hours at the Lake Erie Works site.

Environmental considerations

The proposed electricity generation facility and transformer station would be constructed on Stelco’s Lake Erie Works property, which is regulated by several permits and approvals.

Construction impacts are expected to be minimal while considering distance to the nearest residence and that the site is accessed by the existing road network. As a result, the proposed project is expected to have minimal negative environmental effects associated with its construction and operation.

Currently, by-product gas produced at the Lake Erie Works site is flared off. The electricity generation facility would collect that by-product gas and use it to produce electricity to help power Stelco’s operations and reduce its reliance on the provincial electricity grid.

After reviewing the declaration order request, we are satisfied the environmental effects associated with the proposed transformer station would be minimal. Requiring the completion of the requirements of the Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities is not necessary considering that potential impacts can be managed with routine mitigation measures and that other processes are in place (e.g. environmental compliance approvals, permits and spill prevention plans) to further reduce the potential for off-site impacts.

Additional Considerations

The declaration order reduces unnecessary delays to the construction schedule for the proposed transformer station. Stelco has already begun construction on other components of the electricity generation facility. If the relevant Class Environmental Assessment process were required, it could take up to 27 months to complete, delaying environmental and economic opportunities for Stelco, the local community and the Province.

Comments received

Through the registry

3

By email

0

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

We received three comments in response to this proposal. All three referenced concerns with relieving Stelco from the requirements of the Act. The ability to make a declaration order is provided for in the Act and is a tool the ministry has used when a proposal is in the public interest, where potential environmental effects are likely to be minimal and where environmental impacts are already being adequately addressed.

We are satisfied that the following groups had the opportunity to participate in the consultation process:

  • members of the public
  • Indigenous communities
  • government agencies.

All comments received were considered in making this decision.

Supporting materials

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-2724
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Proposal posted

Comment period

February 17, 2021 - March 19, 2021 (30 days)

Proposal details

Stelco Inc. (Stelco) plans to build a new electricity generation facility at its existing Lake Erie Works facility (i.e.,steel plant) in Nanticoke, Ontario. It would:

  • use already produced by-product gases to create electricity for Stelco’s steel plant
  • include a new 262.5-kilovolt transformer station

The planning, designing, establishing, constructing, operating, changing, expanding and retiring of the 262.5-kilovolt transformer station (the proposed project) would typically be subject to the requirements of the Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities (Class EA).

If this proposed declaration order is approved, it would allow Stelco to proceed with the proposed project without having to meet the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act as set out in the Class EA.

Purpose of the proposed project

The proposed project would be located at the site of the existing Stelco Lake Erie Works facility located towards the western border of Haldimand County, along the shore of Lake Erie in Nanticoke, Ontario.

The purpose of the Stelco’s proposed electricity generation facility is to:

  • recover by-product gases at its existing Lake Erie Works site 
  • generate electricity for use at the steel facility

Currently, the by-product gas produced at the Lake Erie Works site is flared off. The proposed transformer station is a critical component to the by-product energy recovery electricity generation process.

The proposed transformer station would transfer power generated by the by-product energy recovery electricity generation system to a form that could be used by other facilities on the Stelco Lake Erie Works site. Without the transformer station component, the energy recovered by the electricity generating facility would not be at a voltage that would be usable at the Stelco Lake Erie Works site.

Declaration considerations

If the proposed declaration order is approved, it would reduce unnecessary delays to the construction schedule for the proposed transformer station. Stelco has already begun construction on other components of the electricity generation facility. If a Class EA process were required, it could take up to 27 months to complete. Construction of the proposed transformer station is anticipated to begin in Spring 2021.

Potential environmental impacts

Stelco has identified that the potential environmental impacts associated with the new transformer station may include:

  • short-term construction related impacts, including spills
  • noise

The proposed transformer station would be located within the boundaries of Stelco’s Lake Erie Works site, an already heavily industrialized area. The company has identified that it will implement a Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan, which would be in place during the construction period. For these reasons, the proposed transformer station is expected to have minimal potential impacts on the environment and surrounding area.

Overall, the proposed electricity generation facility would have a positive impact by helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the site. The electricity generation facility would also help Stelco to:

  • grow and create additional jobs
  • reduce the demand on the provincial electricity grid during peak hours at the Lake Erie Works site

If Stelco’s request for a declaration order is approved, all requirements under the Environment Assessment Act would be removed. No conditions are anticipated in the proposed declaration order, since the impacts of the proposed transformer station are expected to be minimal.

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.

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from February 17, 2021
to March 19, 2021

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