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 September 24, 2009
Ontario Tables New Rules for Renewable Energy

 The Government of Ontario has introduced new regulations it believes will lead to thousands of new jobs in the new green economy under Ontario’s Green Energy Act.

Solar, wind, water, biomass, biogas and landfill gas producers, including individual homeowners, will all be eligible to sell their power to the provincial grid under the program, one of the four final components of the Ontario Green Energy Act announced by Premier Dalton McGuinty.

The major components of the Green Energy Act rules that were announced include:

  • A Feed-In-Tariff program, which allows individuals and companies to sell renewable energy -- like solar, wind, water, biomass, biogas and landfill gas -- into the grid at set rates.
  • Domestic content requirements, which would ensure at least 25 per cent of wind projects and 50 per cent of solar projects be produced in Ontario -- requirements for solar will increase by January 1, 2011 and wind will increase by January 1, 2012.
  • A streamlined approvals process and a service guarantee to bring developers greater certainty.
  • Regulations for setting wind turbines certain distances from houses, roadways and property lines.
  • A new Ontario Renewable Energy Facilitation Office -- a one-stop shop to help renewable energy projects get off the ground faster.

Feed In Tariff 

The new rules establish North America’s first comprehensive feed-in tariff program:

  • Rate range (10.3 to 80.2 cents), the lowest for landfill gas projects larger than 10MW and the highest rates for residential solar rooftop projects of 10 kilowatts or less.
  • "Price Adder" component, for the development of alternative energy in aboriginal communities, for buying-back excess energy for the grid.

Domestic Content

With respect to domestic content requirements for alternative energy projects, the new rules require:

  • For wind, the requirement will start at 25% and increase to 50% on Jan. 1, 2012.
  • For micro solar PV (10 kW or smaller), the requirement will start at 40% and increase to 60% on Jan. 1, 2011.
  • For larger solar PV, the requirement will start at 50% and increase to 60% on Jan. 1, 2011.

Renewable Energy Facilitation Office

A newly created Renewable Energy Facilitation Office (REFO) will serve as a one-window access point for information on renewable energy project requirements, and will connect Ontarians with the appropriate resources to assist them in navigating through the approvals and Feed-in Tariff processes. 

Renewable Energy Approval (REA)

The Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process becomes law effective September 24, 2009, and is designed to ensure that renewable energy projects are developed in a way that is protective of human health, the environment, and Ontario’s cultural and natural heritage.

Set Back Restrictions

The rules for minimum setbacks for wind turbine projects require that Wind farms of five turbines or less must be 550 meters away from the nearest homes, the setback requirement will increase according to the number and noise level of turbines (largest in Canada, US, and 8 European countries).

Premier Dalton McGuinty said Thursday that the new rules concerning wind turbines will be the toughest in North America but "will not unreasonably deter new investment, so that we can together create jobs in this new green economy."

The regulations will also prohibit large-scale solar panel projects from prime agricultural lands.

Ontario’s new regulations provide a stable investment environment where companies know what the rules are -- giving them the confidence to invest in Ontario, hire workers, and produce and sell renewable energy.

Green Jobs

The government believes more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created under the Act. Investments in new renewable energy projects already in place or under construction in Ontario since 2003 exceed $4 billion.

Read more about the major components of Ontario’s Green Energy Act

For More Information: Government of Ontario