OSEA's Municipal Green Energy Brief

The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association has created this blog specifically to help municipalities get honest information about their powers and responsibilities when it comes to renewable energy development. Municipalities are key partners in helping Ontario become a clean energy leader. The municipal role in renewable energy development can include participating as a developer, encouraging projects for economic development purposes, establishing renewable energy policies and targets, providing comments and input on project design via the consultation process, authorizing the use of municipal property, entering into agreements with developers and enacting by-laws affecting projects, or any combination of these roles. We hope you find this resource useful and that you will visit us at ontario-sea.org to learn more about how we are working with communities across the province to make Ontario a cleaner, greener and more prosperous place.

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Posts tagged "municipalities"

Description: Form used to apply for a consultation for a renewable energy approval.

Ontario’s feed-in tariff or FIT Program is North America’s first comprehensive guaranteed pricing structure for renewable electricity production. It offers stable prices under long-term contracts for energy generated from renewable sources, including:

The FIT Program was enabled by the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009which was passed into law on May 14, 2009. The Ontario Power Authority is responsible for implementing the program.

By encouraging the development of renewable energy in Ontario, the FIT Program will:

  • help Ontario phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2014 - the largest climate change initiative in Canada
  • boost economic activity and the development of renewable energy technologies
  • create new green industries and jobs.

For an overview of the FIT Program, please click here.

The Green Energy and Green Economy Act triggered the creation of the Renewable Energy Approvals process under the Environmental Protection Act. A Renewable Energy Approval ensures projects meeting Ontario’s standards to protect human health and the environment - standards that are among the strictest in North America, including a 550-metre setback for wind turbines and a 40-decible noise limit.

Click the title above to review the Renewable Energy Approvals regulation in full.

The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) is one of the five Tribunals within the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario cluster. The ERT is committed to conducting timely, fair, efficient and impartial hearings that protect the environment and are consistent with the governing legislation.

The ERT functions as a quasi-judicial body, subject to the rules of natural justice and the requirements of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act.

The ERT primary role is adjudicating applications and appeals under various environmental and planning statutes.

The ERT hears applications and appeals under the Clean Water Act, 2006, the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Pesticides Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, leave to appeal applications under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, and matters under the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001, and the Greenbelt Act, 2005.

The Environmental Review Tribunal also functions as the Office of Consolidated Hearings to hear applications made under theConsolidated Hearings Act and as the Niagara Escarpment Hearing Office to hear development permit appeals and Niagara Escarpment Plan amendment applications under the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act

Anyone can appeal the approval of a proposed renewable energy project. The Environmental Review Tribunal will have six months to assess whether or not the proposed project will cause serious harm to human health or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment.

This balances the need for certainty and timeliness of approvals with the need for legitimate concerns to be heard and addressed.

For more information on the Environmental Review Tribunal and how to appeal, please visit www.ert.gov.on.ca

The Renewable Energy Approvals processed managed by the Ministry of the Environment for all renewable energy projects.

The Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) regulation requires project applicants (developers) to engage the public, municipal governments and Aboriginal communities in consultation about proposed energy projects.

In their application packages, developers must document concerns that have been raised by local groups and individuals, and they must describe how these concerns have been addressed.

See the diagram of the consultation process by clicking on the title above.

Empirical studies have underlined the contribution of community ownership models of wind farms to social acceptance. A comparative study conducted in Germany by researchers from the University of Amsterdam reached the conclusion that the social acceptance of wind power is very high in general, and even higher when community members are directly involved.

Province wide standards like the Smoke Free Ontario Act make sense.  If something is good for all Ontarians (or bad) we should all have access (or be protected).  When considering the health, environmental and social impacts of energy generation it should be recognized that our Chief Medical Officer along with the Ministry of the Environment have invested significant resources into gathering and reviewing the best science available.  They continue to do so.  Do not be misled by misinformation and those with vested interests.