Energy Minister directs IESO to be clear on municipal support for power projects

Wind turbine in Milford ON: municipality opposed, and the project was eventually cancelled, this turbine demolished. “Local voices” should have a say: municipal support should be mandatory

December 23, 2022

Late this afternoon (just a day and a half before Christmas, and in the middle of Chanuka), the Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO announced that changes have been made to the Long-Term Request for Proposals, with regard to municipal support requirements.

The announcement referred to a letter from the Hon. Todd Smith, Minister of Energy.

In the letter, dated today, Minister Smith notes that the government had significant feedback from Ontario municipalities on the lack of clarity in the current RFP.

He wrote:

Our government’s Green Energy Repeal Act in 2018 gave powers back to municipalities
regarding how land use for renewable energy is regulated and approved in Ontario,
including restoring municipal siting authority under the Planning Act over new proposed
projects.
In recent months, as project proponents look for sites to develop approximately 4,000
megawatts of generation and energy storage, I have heard from multiple municipal
councils and other stakeholders that they would like the IESO to be explicit that
municipal council support is required for the approval of projects proposed on sites that
are located within their boundaries.
For years, our government has been fully supportive of this stance, and I ask that the
IESO also be clear as it moves forward on the Expedited RFP Process, LT1 RFP and
other upcoming competitive procurements
.

As Wind Concerns Ontario has already posted here, the current IESO process was not at all clear, and in a December 7th presentation, senior managers said that municipalities “have a fair bit of say” in the approval process.

That is not what then Energy Minister Greg Rickford said in 2019. He said, “Local voices will have final say.”

IESO managers also said that the IESO would accept the issuing of building permits as “evidence” of municipal support.

Issuing building permits is an administrative function and is in no way indicative of support from a municipal council.

In addition to comments from municipalities, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario or AMO commented on the issue of municipal support. Wind Concerns Ontario sent formal comments to the IESO and participated in engagement activities, including the December 7th webinar.

Questions about the murkiness were asked, but not answered satisfactorily.

Clarity was needed: earlier this week St Clair Township council voted to support an Enbridge proposal to this RFP for three battery storage projects. The township’s CAO said they might as well support the proposals because if the IESO gave approval, it wouldn’t matter what the township did or didn’t do.

That is not correct.

So, we have clarification now on this issue, and also an assurance that this government stood by their pledge to municipalities. We hope.

Read the letter from the Energy Minister here:

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

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