Ontario Ministry of Environment posts amendments to Renewable Energy Approval Regulation

April 6, 2012

Following the release of the Government of Ontario’s two-year review of the Feed-in Tariff Program, the Ministry of the Environment has published proposed amendments to the Renewable Energy Approval Regulation and the Environmental Assessment Act. The amendments include changes to the heritage and archaeological assessment process, amendments to the determination of solar nameplate capacity to reflect energy lost through inverters, and guidance for dealing with project changes.

Specific changes of note include proposed amendments to the definitions of “noise receptor” and “odour receptor”, which would require a part of the renewable energy project to actually be constructed on a parcel of land in order for the exemption from the definition (and corresponding setbacks to apply); this is in contrast to the current definitions which require only that the land owner has entered into an agreement with the developer to permit development of their land. The proposed changes also include an amendment to the requirement that final letters from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport be made available prior to the public meeting. In response to feedback received from proponents that this requirement made it difficult to address concerns raised at final public meetings, these will now be required for a complete REA submission instead of prior to the final public meeting.

The proposed amendments are available for review and comment until May 17, 2012 on the Ontario Environmental Registry. All interested parties are encouraged to review and comment on the proposed amendments.

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