Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation
Prepared by Joan E. Dunlop, B.A., LL.B.
Part XIII – Environmental Law (Ontario) – Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation
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XIII.1 – Ontario Environmental Protection Act
XIII.1.(a) – General
§516 The purpose of the Environmental Protection Act's
renewable energy provisions is to provide for the protection and conservation of the environment.
XIII.1(b) – Renewable Energy Approval
XIII.1.(b).(i) – General
§517 A renewable energy approval issued by the director is required for any renewable energy project that involves engaging in any of the following activities: (a) a plant or production process requiring an environmental compliance approval; (b) a waste management system or disposal site requiring an environmental compliance approval; (c) the taking of more than 50,000 litres of water a day requiring a permit; (d) the construction of a well in a designated area requiring a permit; (e) the use, operation, establishment, alteration, extension or replacement of new or existing sewage works requiring an environmental compliance approval; (f) a provision prescribed by the regulations requiring an approval, permit or other instrument
; or (g) any other activity prescribed by the regulations. An application for the issue or renewal of a renewable energy approval must be prepared in accordance with the regulations and submitted to the director.
XIII.1.(b).(ii) – Director’s Powers
§518 The director may, if in his or her opinion it is in the public interest to do so, issue or renew a renewable energy approval, or refuse to issue or renew a renewable energy approval. The director may impose terms and conditions, alter the terms and conditions, impose new terms and conditions, or suspend or revoke a renewable energy approval. The minister may, in writing, issue, amend or revoke policies in respect of renewable energy approvals.
XIII.1.(b).(iii) – Hearings
§519 Where the director refuses to approve plans and specifications, requires a condition precedent to the giving of approval, refuses to issue or renew a renewable energy approval, or suspends or revokes a renewable energy approval, notice must be served upon the applicant or holder, together with written reasons, and the applicant or holder may, by written notice served upon the director and the Environmental Review Tribunal within 15 days after the service of the notice, require a hearing by the tribunal. An Ontario resident who is not entitled to a hearing under the preceding circumstances may, by written notice served upon the director and the tribunal within 15 days after a day prescribed by the regulations, require a hearing by the tribunal in respect of a decision made by the director to issue or renew a renewable energy approval, impose or alter terms and conditions, or suspend or revoke a renewable energy approval. A person may require such a hearing only on the grounds that engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the renewable energy approval will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. The holder of the renewable energy approval is a party to the hearing. The tribunal shall review the decision of the director and shall consider only whether engaging in the renewable energy project in accordance with the renewable energy approval will cause serious harm to human health, or serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life or the natural environment. If the tribunal determines that engaging in the renewable energy project will cause harm, it may revoke the decision, by order direct the director to take action,
or alter the decision of the director and, for that purpose, the tribunal
may substitute its opinion for that of the director.
XIII.2 – Green Energy Act, 2009
XIII.2.(a) – General
§520 The Green Energy Act, 2009
provides that the government may designate renewable energy projects, renewable energy sources or renewable energy testing projects to assist in the removal of barriers to and promote opportunities for the use of renewable energy sources, and to promote access to transmission systems and distribution systems for proponents of renewable energy projects. A person is permitted to engage in activities with respect to a designated renewable energy project, a designated renewable energy source or a designated renewable energy testing project in such circumstances as may be prescribed, despite any restriction imposed at law that would otherwise prevent or restrict the activity, including a restriction established by a municipal by-law, a condominium by-law, an encumbrance on real property or an agreement. The government may also designate goods, services and technologies in order to promote energy conservation.
XIII.2.(b) – Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plans
§521 Public agencies and prescribed persons may be required to prepare and submit an energy conservation and demand management plan. A public agency's plan must include a summary of annual energy consumption for each of its prescribed operations, a description and forecast of the expected results of current and proposed activities and measures to conserve the energy consumed by its prescribed operations and to otherwise reduce the amount of energy consumed, a summary of the progress and achievements in energy conservation and other reductions since the previous plan, and such additional information as may be prescribed.
§522 Public agencies may, by regulation, be required to consider energy conservation and energy efficiency in their acquisition of goods and services and when making capital investments, and to comply with such requirements as may be prescribed for that purpose. The Minister of Energy may enter into such transactions, arrangements or agreements as are necessary to promote energy conservation and energy efficiency and the transactions, arrangements or agreements must conform to such requirements as may be prescribed. In constructing, acquiring, operating and managing government facilities, the Government of Ontario shall be guided by the following principles: (a) clear and transparent reporting of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use associated with government facilities; (b) planning and designing government facilities to ensure the efficient use of energy and water; (c) making environmentally and financially responsible investments; (d) using renewable energy sources to provide energy for government facilities; and (e) using technologies, services and practices that promote the efficient use of water and reduce negative impacts on Ontario's water resources. The minister may issue directives establishing standards and requirements relating to energy conservation, energy efficiency, water conservation, the adoption of renewable energy technologies, and the adoption of technologies and services that promote the efficient use of water and reduce negative impacts on Ontario's water resources.
XIII.2.(c) – Renewable Energy Facilitation Office Plans
§523 The Renewable Energy Facilitation Office created under the Act has the following objects: (a) to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects; (b) to work with proponents of renewable energy projects and other ministries to foster the development of renewable energy projects across Ontario and to assist proponents with satisfying the requirements of associated approval processes and procedures, including providing proponents with information in respect of interactions with local communities; and (c) to work with proponents of renewable energy projects to alert them to potential requirements imposed by the Government of Canada. The Renewable Energy Facilitator is authorized to collect, directly or indirectly, and share information about the proponent of a renewable energy project, the proponent's project and the process or
processes associated with the approval by any ministry of the project.
XIII.2.(d) – Energy Efficiency
§524 Under the Green Energy Act, 2009
, no person shall offer for sale, sell or lease a prescribed appliance or product unless it meets the prescribed efficiency standard or requirement with respect to the appliance or product, and a prescribed label or other prescribed marking that confirms compliance with prescribed efficiency standards or requirements is affixed to the appliance or product or provided with the appliance or product in the prescribed manner and under the prescribed circumstances. This does not apply to an appliance or product that is manufactured on or before a prescribed date and that is sold or leased on or before a prescribed date, or a person who is not in the business of offering for sale, selling or leasing appliances or products.