In response to the growing public demand for cleaner, sustainable sources of energy, and the proliferation of renewable energy technology improvements, the Green Energy Act was developed by the Government of Ontario to promote and expand the generation of renewable energy in the Province. In addition, Ontario Regulation 359/09 for Renewable Energy Approvals under the Environmental Protection Act was developed to ensure that the new “green” energy does not come at the expense of other adverse impacts to communities and the environment, and to provide a dedicated framework to assess environmental impacts of renewable energy projects that is separate to other infrastructure projects.
The requirement for an REA is dependent on the type of fuel to be used, and the nameplate power generating capacity of the proposed facility. In short, an REA is required for:
Note that facilities not categorized above may be subject to other permitting requirements such as registration with the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR), municipal building permits under the Building Code Act, or in the case of any waterpower facility, approvals under the Environmental Assessment Act.
Note also that facilities subject to the REA requirements may also require approvals from other ministries and approving bodies such as from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Transportation, Conservation Authority, and Niagara Escarpment Commission.
While the complete submission package is dependent on the specific project conditions, the following core reports are required for all projects:
Additional site specific studies may also be required, such as impacts to archeological and heritage resources or natural heritage features.