April 23, 2009
If Bill 150 (the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA)) passes, renewable energy approvals would allow green energy projects to be built regardless of zoning and building code restrictions, subject to provincial regulations on setbacks.
"In principle, it’s a real opportunity for new renewable generation and the transmission required to get that energy online," says Valerie Helbronner. "One of the biggest issues is making all the consultation processes work in parallel under a tight timeline."
Bill 150 is currently in committee hearings and will go to its third reading in May. Before it takes effect in June, it must be reviewed by the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Power Authority (OPA), Hydro One and other distributors. Consultations with multiple stakeholders and the public will also be required.
To further complicate the process, Valerie points out one noticeable absence in the queue of consultants: the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). "As an independent regulator, it has an impossible role to play," she says. "It has to specify transmission."
According to the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, it will cost C$60 billion to expand and reinforce the Ontario grid and bring on new generation. Yet to be decided are the parties who will build the new lines and those who will pay for them.
Bill 150 also stipulates that developers will need to consult with First Nations, says Valerie: "The principle behind it is really important, but I’d like to know where aboriginal consultation fits into the streamlining process."
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