07/12/2013

A short summary of energy related activities and consultations occurring this summer.

With all the energy related activities and consultations occurring this summer, we thought it would be useful for AMO members to have a short summary for your reference.

OPA IESO Regional Energy Planning Process:
In May 2013, the Ontario Minister of Energy asked the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to recommend a new integrated regional energy planning process that would focus on improving the way large energy projects are sited in Ontario. The OPA and IESO will provide joint recommendations to the Minister by August 1, 2013. The consultation process has now ended.

AMO staff has been in discussions with OPA asking questions about connecting regional energy plans to official plans. These include:

  • How are the principles of good land use planning reflected in siting large energy generation infrastructure?
  • How will these regional energy plans connect to the Long Term Energy Plan?
  • How will the variations in municipal goals, capacities, and infrastructure be accommodated in this planning process?
  • How will conflicting goals be dealt with?
  • How will meaningful dialogue between municipalities, the public, the energy sector and the province be achieved?
  • How will the competitive process for developing generation be fitted into regional energy plans?
Long Term Energy Plan Review and changes to Large FIT program:
The Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) is a guiding document that is the basis for more detailed planning by the Ministry of Energy, its agencies, Local Distribution Companies, municipalities and others.  

This plan includes targets for the amount of energy needed, conservation and the mix of energy needed (hydro, gas, nuclear, green). The changes to the Large Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program will be considered within this framework. The process will address how much of which type of energy will Ontarians invest in over the next 20 years. One consideration is that the cost of transmission is expensive; generating energy regionally is an alternative. Municipalities need to begin to consider where energy fits into Official Plans. If growth is anticipated, where can energy generation take place?  Some municipalities are working in clusters to develop Municipal Energy Plans (see below) which can assist in transferring this technical information into the Official Plan.

A series of roundtables for invited stakeholders will be held throughout the Province followed by evening public open houses, including a session in Ottawa on the afternoon of August 21 following the AMO Annual Conference:

St. Catharines - July 22   London - July 23              Windsor - July 25           
Toronto - July 30 and 31   Thunder Bay - August 7   Sudbury - August 13   
Barrie - August 15   Ottawa - August 21  

To RSVP, please click https://www.research.net/s/8DNHRV8 or call 1-855-440-4041.

AMO’s LTEP response will be prepared after receiving direction at AMO’s August Board Meeting. In the interim, municipalities may wish to consider how energy fits into local economic and growth scenarios. What conservation efforts are achievable in your municipality? What types of energy make sense in your region, who are your partners in this type of planning, what are the consequences of not having energy locally available? Here is a link to a provincial guide which can inform your deliberations: http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/docs/en/making-choices-en.pdf

Other Initiatives:

Municipal Energy Plans (MEP)
The province has announced funding to help small and medium-sized municipalities develop Municipal Energy Plans - which will focus on increasing conservation and helping to identify the best energy infrastructure options for a community. The definitions are small (<50,000) and medium (<150,000). The program will formally launch in the next couple of weeks.

MEPs will require the participation of major community stakeholders including: municipal officials and politicians; municipal departments (planning, energy, infrastructure, zoning, permitting, and sustainability/environment offices); electric and gas utilities; major users of energy in a community; local economic development office(s); business improvement association(s); local non-governmental organization(s) involved with energy issues.

Ontario Energy Board (OEB) communications survey:
OEB is looking to improve their website to make it more user friendly. They invite stakeholders to fill in a survey. Here is the link. http://web.cicic.net/wix/p3140582.aspx?__sid__=Z-ykQMvHofXOEgZa7sr-_WtqAqjtlTGtERbaNjOotQqybsJJctI-chb93NRL_Nu60

Additional information on all the energy-related consultations can be found on the Ministry of Energy website: http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/consultations-and-engagement/

We will continue to provide updates to members as new information becomes available.