THUNDER BAY – Ontario is changing the rules on who gets to decide where and what wind energy projects go where in the province. “Ontario is committed to building clean, reliable energy to support our families, businesses, schools and hospitals”.
“It’s also clear that we need to make changes to increase local control over the siting of renewable energy projects. These changes will give communities and municipalities a stronger voice, more options and new tools when it comes to renewable energy,” Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy.
Wind Farm Rules Changing
Ontario is increasing local control over future renewable energy projects to support municipalities and secure the province’s clean energy future.
This should balance the concerns of local municipalities and wind energy projects. It is not known how the new rules will impact the proposed Big Thunder Wind Farm. The Municipality of Neebing has opposed the project.
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.
In a media release from the Ontario Minister of the Energy, Minister Chiarelli says, “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”.