Ontario to give municipalities more control of siting large wind projects

by Dianne Saxe on June 3, 2013

Ontario will increase local control over future renewable energy projects, as previously promised by Premier Wynne.

Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, announced major changes to the planning and procurement of renewable power generation in the province, in his speech to the CanSIA Solar Ontario Conference. His press release:

“Working with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and municipalities, the province will develop a competitive procurement process for renewable projects over 500 kilowatts (kW). The new process will replace the existing large project stream of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program and better meet the needs of communities. It will require energy planners and developers to work directly with municipalities to identify appropriate locations and site requirements for any future large renewable energy project.

To further strengthen municipal participation and support communities, Ontario will:

  • Revise the Small FIT program rules for projects between 10 and 500 kW to give priority to projects partnered or led by municipalities.
  • Work with municipalities to determine a property tax rate increase for wind turbine towers.
  • Provide funding to help small and medium-sized municipalities develop Municipal Energy Plans – which will focus on increasing conservation and helping to identify the best energy infrastructure options for a community.

Ontario is also renewing its commitment to small renewable energy projects by making 900 megawatts (MW) of new capacity available, between now and 2018, for the Small FIT and microFIT programs. This fall, the OPA will open a new procurement window for both programs, and starting in 2014, annual procurement targets will be set at 150 MW for Small FIT and 50 MW for microFIT. These measures are expected to create 6,400 jobs and produce enough electricity each year for more than 125,000 homes.

Engaging municipalities is part of the new Ontario government’s plan to build strong communities, powered by clean, reliable energy.”

The changes are not retroactive. A copy of his speech is attached: Minister Chiarelli – Keynote

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