The Bill would:
- repeal the Green Energy Act and re-introduce conservation and energy efficiency initiatives in the Electricity Act, 1998;
- change the Planning Act to restore municipal authority over siting renewable energy projects; and,
- put authority in the EPA to prohibit issuance of REAs including where demand for electricity is not demonstrated.
Further detail on what the amendments would do is given below:
CONSERVATION AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Provisions related to certain conservation and energy efficiency initiatives would be repealed when the Green Energy Act is repealed, but would be re-introduced in the Electricity Act, 1998:
Promoting Energy Conservation: Permits the use of designated goods, services and technologies despite restrictions that may prevent their use. Through this initiative, outdoor clotheslines and clothestrees can be used in a residential context even in cases where, for example, the rules of a condo corporation prohibit them.
Energy Efficiency Standards: Regulates energy and water efficiency standards for appliances and products in Ontario and harmonizes Ontario’s requirements with the highest available minimum efficiency standards in North America.
Customer Access to Data: Establishes a framework to introduce a common data standard for energy data. With such a standard in place, Ontario homes and businesses would have consistent access to their energy data and the ability to share their data with apps and software of their choice to analyze their energy use and identify energy efficiency opportunities.
Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking: Allows building owners to review a building’s energy and water use to compare it to its own past performance and the performance of other similar buildings. Ontario building owners of commercial, industrial, multi-unit residential and other building types that are 50,000 square feet or larger are required to report their building’s energy and water consumption, and greenhouse gas emission data annually.
Broader Public Sector Energy Reporting: Municipalities, municipal service boards, universities, colleges, schools and hospitals are required to report annually on their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and publish the reports on their websites. They are also required to develop and publish on their websites a conservation plan every five years.
Override on Restrictions on certain Renewable Energy Projects: Designates roof or wall-mounted solar projects, roof or wall-mounted thermal air and thermal water projects and ground-source heat pumps. By being designated, these projects are exempt from many legal restrictions.
RESTORE MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY
The Planning Act would be amended to repeal exemptions that currently exist for renewable energy undertakings from most land use planning instruments. This would restore municipal planning authority regarding the siting of renewable energy generation facilities. In addition, the proposed legislation would:
- Establish regulation-making authority for transitional matters;
- Provide immunity from litigation arising from the restoration of municipal planning authority;Remove the ability to appeal municipal refusals of, and failures to make decisions on, applications to amend official plans and zoning by-laws to allow a renewable energy undertaking (except by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing).
Environmental Protection Act
The Environmental Protection Act would be amended to give the Lieutenant Governor in Council the authority to make regulations to prohibit the issuance or renewal of Renewable Energy Approvals. This would include circumstances where the demand for the electricity that would be generated by the renewable energy project has not been demonstrated.
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is currently consulting on a proposal to amend Ontario Regulation 359/09 – Renewable Energy Approvals under Part V.0.1 of the Environmental Protection Act. The proposed changes would require anyone planning a renewable energy project to demonstrate a demand for the electricity they will produce in order to be eligible for a Renewable Energy Approval. See Renewable Energy Approval regulation amendment for more details.