Ontario Liberals change rules for wind, solar projects
Municipalities to get more say over green energy projects
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Ontario’s Wynne-Liberal government announced changes to its controversial green energy program, granting municipalities more say over future wind and solar projects.
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says that wind and solar developers will now have to go through a new process and will be required to work with municipalities before they can apply for approval from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).
The feed-in-tariff (FIT) program is being replaced by a competitive procurement process. Developers who successfully partner with a municipality will be given top priority for approval, while others who are unsuccessful in swaying municipalities to be willing hosts will be less likely to be granted approval.
Prior to this announcement, the FIT program allowed developers to apply directly to the OPA, with communities having little to know say into the project approval process – which has caused a rift between several municipalities and the province. While the changes will give municipalities a greater voice over industrial wind and solar projects, they won’t be granted veto power.
The province still aims to have an additional 900 megawatts worth of green energy projects installed over the next four years. Chiarelli will formally announce the new changes Thursday at a solar and energy conference in Niagara Falls, ON.
The Liberal’s green energy policy costs them seats in rural Ontario, when they were reduced to a minority government in the 2011 election.