The Green Energy Act placed a priority on expanding Ontario’s use of clean and renewable sources of energy. Developing these renewable resources is a cornerstone of Ontario’s future prosperity and the government’s plan to combat climate change and phase out coal. In support of the Green Energy Act, the government is undertaking additional regulatory and policy work to provide further clarity and certainty to renewable energy proponents and the public on where renewable energy projects can be located and what technical requirements need to be fulfilled to ensure the protection of the environment and ecological sustainability.
On June 25 2010, the Ministry of the Environment(MOE) posted a policy proposal on the Environmental Registry that outlined a proposed approach for Renewable Energy Approval requirements for offshore wind facilities (Environmental Registry posting #011-0089). This policy proposal outlined considerations for regulatory amendments to the Renewable Energy Approval (O. Reg. 359/09) to provide clear, up-front provincial rules for offshore windpower facilities, including a proposal for a five kilometre shoreline exclusion zone for offshore turbines, measured from the water’s edge of the Great Lakes, other inland lakes (e.g. Lake St. Clair), and the major islands.
This MOE posting also identified that the Ministry of Natural Resources was undertaking a phased review of Ontario’s current process for making Crown land available for renewable energy projects. This review will include consideration of where, when and how the Government makes Crown land available for offshore wind projects, and may result in additional areas being constrained from offshore wind development.
To invite comment on potential offshore areas and criteria that should be taken into consideration which may constrain future development as part of the Crown land application process.
Areas that may be constrained from future development could include:
- Navigational lanes
- Areas of core commercial fishing activity
- Sensitive environmental and ecological areas and features
- Areas subject to important recreational activities
- Cultural heritage features
- Areas of natural gas activity
- Areas of inland lakes not subject to the proposed five kilometre exclusion zone
- Other inland waterbodies (eg Lake Simcoe, Lake Nipissing, Lake Nipigon, Lake of the Woods, etc)
- Other Great Lake specific considerations
Secondly, to invite comment on where, when and how the Government should make offshore areas of Crown land available for offshore wind development.
Information gathered as part of this policy proposal will inform the development of Crown land policy direction on where, when and how offshore wind applications would be considered by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
As the identification of areas constrained from development, and the application of the Ministry of the Environment’s proposed shoreline exclusion zone, may be applied to existing Crown land offshore applications, the Ministry of Natural Resources will defer the processing of any existing applications and will not be accepting any new applications until a decision about this proposal has been made.
Additional information related to the offshore windpower projects is available at:
Renewable Energy Approval Requirements for Off-shore Wind Facilities – An Overview of the Proposed Approach
Renewable Energy Approval regulation (Ontario Ministry of the Environment)
Approval and Permitting Requirements Document (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)
Additional background information on Ontario’s Green Energy Initiative is available at the following websites:
Green Energy Act website:
Renewable Energy Facilitation Office, (Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure)
Ministry of the Environment website:
This proposal was posted for a 47 day public review and comment period starting August 18, 2010. Comments were to be received by October 04, 2010.
All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.
Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.