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Posted in: Ontario | Practice & Procedure | Facilities | Climate Change / Renewables

Sep 15, 2016

MOECC Proposing Changes to Ministry's Technical Guide to Renewable Energy Approvals

On September 1, 2016, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) released a proposal (the Proposal) relating to a number of revisions and updates to the Ministry's Technical Guide to Renewable Energy Approvals (Technical Guide). The purpose of the Technical Guide is to provide an explanation of the requirements to complete an application for a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) in accordance with O. Reg. 359/09 under the Environmental Protection Act.

The Proposal is intended to provide additional guidance in support of the regulatory amendments which came into effect on May 1, 2016 by way of EBR Decision Notice 012-4493, and which we covered in a previous post. The May 1, 2016 changes were implemented to address advancements in wind turbine technology and to incorporate the most recent 2013 CSA standard for wind turbine acoustic noise measurement.

The Proposal affects a number of chapters in the Technical Guide. A detailed list of the changes is available from the MOECC.

The changes in the Proposal include aligning the Technical Guide with the regulatory amendments which came into effect on May 1, 2016, clarifying the transition rules which take into account projects that are already significantly underway, and providing clarity and aligning with the Large Renewable Procurement process (LRP) developed by the Independent Electricity System Operator in 2015.

As previously discussed in one of our posts, the LRP is now in its second phase (LRP II) as a result of the Ministry of Energy's directive of April 10, 2016. The Ministry of Energy has since then expanded the scope of LRP II through a further directive issued on June 10, 2016, which raised the previously set procurement target for LRP II from 930 MW to 980 MW of renewable electricity.

In addition, there are changes in the Proposal relating to approvals under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 and permits under the Conservation Authorities Act, as well as changes related to consultations with municipalities, Aboriginal communities and consultations undertaken in connection with projects on the Environmental Registry.

With respect to wind turbines, there are also changes related to:

  • measuring setback distances for wind turbines;
  • the wind classification table regulatory amendments;
  • equipment specification in noise studies for wind facilities; and
  • requirements of the "Wind Turbine Specifications Checklist" to be submitted as part of the REA application.

These are only some of the proposed changes to the Technical Guide. As mentioned, a more detailed list of changes is available from the MOECC.

The Proposal has been posted for a 60 day public review and comment period starting September 1, 2016. Any comments on the Proposal must be received prior to October 31, 2016 to be considered as part of the decision-making process by the MOECC.