Overview of Ontario's Green Energy Act

Nov 19 2009

Prepared by Richard D. Lindgren

Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act (Bill 150) received Third Reading and Royal Assent on May 14, 2009

The Act is part of the Ontario government’s overall Climate Change Action Plan, and is intended to promote energy conservation/efficiency; create “green” employment/investment; and facilitate the development of projects using renewable energy sources such as: water, solar, wind, biomass, biogas, etc.

Key features of the Act include:

  • establishment of a “Feed-in-Tariff” program (allows persons and companies to sell renewable energy to the provincial grid at guaranteed rates);
  • creation of a new streamlined approvals process for renewable energy projects (see below);
  • establishment of domestic content requirements for wind and solar projects; and creation of the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office.


The Act amends or repeals over a dozen provincial laws (i.e., adds new Part V.0.1 to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) to create an integrated approvals process for renewable energy projects, and includes public/proponent rights of appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal)

A new regulation under the EPA (O.Reg. 359/09) has recently been passed to establish siting and noise standards, setback distances (e.g., 550 metres from residences for wind facilities over 50kW), natural heritage protection, public/First Nation consultation requirements, documentary requirements (e.g., bird/bat studies), and other approval-related matters (e.g., exemptions for small roof-top or wall-mounted solar panels)

For more information:

www.ontario.ca/greenenergy (GEA homepage)

www.ene.gov.on.ca (Ministry of the Environment)

www.cleanairalliance.org

www.greenenergyact.ca

www.ebr.gov.on.ca (see EBR Registry No. 010-6017 for Act and 010-6516 for Regulations)