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The Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources have released draft regulations  that could allow them to start issuing renewable energy approvals early next year. Comments will be accepted until July 24.

The Ministry of Natural Resources  proposed requirement document  is posted as Registry Number 010-6708.

The Ministry of the Environment has proposed a new regulation under Environmental Protection Act, plus amendments to five other regulations, all posted at registry number 010-6516. It is also seeking comments on a possible amendment to regulation 347, the regulation that governs waste disposal and recycling in Ontario.

The attached document outlines the proposed content of the new EPA regulation. It identifies the complete submission requirements an application for a Renewable Energy Approval would be required to meet, including plans, studies, consultation, and technology-specific requirements such as setbacks where applicable.

  1. Environmental Assessment Act, Ontario Regulation 116/01 (Electricity Projects)
    It is proposed that O. Reg 116/01 be amended to create an exception for most renewable energy generation facilities, as this term is defined in the Electricity Act, 1998. The result is that, going forward, this regulation and the Environmental Assessment Act will not apply to the establishment or change of these renewable energy generation facilities.

    This is subject to two exceptions: the establishment of hydro electric facilities 200 Megawatts (MW) or larger and expansions to existing hydro electric facilities that result in both a 25% increase in nameplate capacity and result in the facility having a nameplate capacity of 200 MW or more. For both of these situations, individual environmental assessments will be required.

    In respect to renewable energy generation facilities that have already been authorized under the Environmental Assessment Act, the exception is proposed to be crafted so as to require proponents that have already completed an environmental assessment, class environmental assessment or the Environmental Screening Process to comply with the construction, operation and retirement of their project as originally authorized and to comply with any documented commitments made to the public or government agencies.

    It is also proposed that the regulation be amended to clarify the application of exemptions for generation facilities by the Crown, Municipalities or public bodies.

  2. Environmental Assessment Act, Revised Regulations of Ontario 1990, Regulation 334 (General)
    It is proposed that Regulation 334 be amended to state that renewable energy generation facilities and renewable energy testing facilities that are carried out by the Crown, municipalities or public bodies are exempt from the Environmental Assessment Act.

    It is proposed that any undertakings of the Crown that are required to implement a renewable energy project or a renewable energy testing project (e.g. building an access road, a dock, a disposition of crown land, etc.) would be exempt from the Act.

    It is also proposed that undertakings by a municipality that are roads and water crossings by municipality that are required for a renewable energy project will be exempt from the Act.

  3. Environmental Assessment Act, Ontario Regulation 101/07 (Waste Management Projects)
    It is proposed that O. Reg 101/07 be amended to create an exception for most renewable energy generation facilities, as this term is defined in the Electricity Act, 1998. The result is that, going forward, this regulation and the Environmental Assessment Act will not apply to renewable energy generation facilities that are also a waste disposal site (e.g. a waste disposal site where biomass is disposed of through thermal treatment).

    In respect to renewable energy generation facilities that have already been authorized under the Environmental Assessment Act, the exception is proposed to be crafted so as to require proponents that have already completed an environmental assessment, class environmental assessment or the Environmental Screening Process to comply with the construction, operation and retirement of their project as originally authorized and to comply with any documented commitments made to the public or government agencies.

  4. Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, Ontario Regulation 681/94 (Classification of Proposals for Instruments)
    It is proposed that an amendment to O. Reg. 681/94 be made to classify the Renewable Energy Approval as a Class II instrument under theEnvironmental Bill of Rights, 1993. This would require the Ministry of the Environment to give notice of proposals for a Renewable Energy Approval in accordance with the Environmental Bill of Rights Act, 1993 and subject to any relevant exceptions.
  5. Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, Ontario Regulation 73/94 (General)
    It is proposed that an amendment to O. Reg. 73/94 be made to specify that the provisions of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 relating to leave to appeal do not apply to a proposal to issue, amend or revoke a Renewable Energy Approval. The leave to appeal process under the EBR is proposed to be replaced by an appeal as of right for third parties under the Environmental Protection Act.

    It is also proposed that the regulation be amended to reflect the current names of the following ministries:
    o Ministry of Economic Development
    o Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure
    o Ministry of Government Services
    o Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services

    It is also proposed that the regulation be amended to reflect the repeal of the Energy Conservation Leadership Act, 2006 and the Energy Efficiency Act. In addition, the regulation is proposed to be amended to prescribe the Green Energy Act, 2009 and the Ontario Heritage Act.

    Environmental Protection Act, Revised Regulations of Ontario 1990, Regulation 347 (General – Waste Management).

    The Ministry of the Environment is considering making complementary amendments to Reg. 347 to facilitate:
    • intermediate processing of biomass materials, if needed before being sent to a renewable energy generation facility to generate electricity, and
    • the use of biomass materials from processing agricultural products as green energy for purposes other than electricity generation, such as for energy in a manufacturing process.

    These regulations have not been developed or included here, but comments and suggestions concerning the nature of these possible amendments would be welcome through this Environmental Registry Posting. For example, comments and suggestions would be welcome on matters such as the following:
    • the types of biomass materials to be dealt with in the possible amendments,
    • possible rules and limitations on the handling, processing and use of these materials, and
    • possible changes to existing waste management approval requirements to facilitate the use of these materials.

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