08/06/2014


A number of energy initiatives are moving forward this summer. This is your AMO update on the status of these developments so you can stay aware of these changes that may impact your municipality.

Large Renewable Energy Projects

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has been consulting on a revised method of awarding large green energy projects which includes community acceptance.  This will be a two-step process where first a list of qualified proponents of these projects would be developed.  Then a request for proposal (RFP) process will take place which has emphasis on local municipal and community input.

The OPA has been consulting, including meeting with the AMO Energy Task Force, to shape this process.  In the spring the draft Request for Qualified (RFQ) proponents’ process was released and refined including many AMO recommendations.  Now the OPA has released for comment the framework for the RFP.  The Energy Task Force offered feedback including the need to re-word the community engagement clauses (Section 15) to clarify that this is an invitation for councils to articulate their planning concerns and work with developers to meet local expectations regarding siting, type and scale of the proposed project.  It was also recommended that the engagement process use an established public process rather than developing new, untried or ad hoc methods.

The draft RFP Framework is open for comment until September 2, 2014. 

Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) – Project Green Light

The electricity distribution sector continues to be under review by the Province of Ontario.  In a proactive move, the EDA has been exploring ways of optimizing recommendations to restructure the sector.  This initiative is called Project Green Light.  A business model, based on the efficiencies of a shoulder-to-shoulder approach, will be under development over the next number of months.  Stay in touch with your local distribution company for updates on this significant initiative.  The EDA Board will next review progress on Project Green Light in mid-August.

Materials with an overview of Project Green Light are available on the EDA website.

Environmental Commissioner Report on Climate Change

The latter part of this report looks at the infrastructure impacts of extreme weather events.  It highlights the need for updated flood plain mapping and restrictions on building in flood prone areas.  The inundation of drainage, storm water and also sewage systems results in considerable environmental damage.  Wind related damage, including damage to energy distribution lines, is cited as a major insurance concern.  While municipalities cannot control many aspects of climate related damages, infrastructure can be planned to mitigate against many weather related impacts.  Many municipal best practices examples can be found across North America and Europe.  AMO will be reviewing current municipal practices in anticipation that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change will want to support local efforts to mitigate against climate and weather related damage.

Natural Gas Conservation Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF)

In March, the Minister of Energy directed the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to develop a new conservation framework for natural gas utilities – one that would enable utilities to achieve cost-effective conservation.

A draft framework is expected on the OEB’s website in early August, at which point stakeholders will be invited to submit comments. This letter provides information on how to participate in the OEB’s formal consultation process.

To support the development of an effective new framework, TAF has commissioned five papers on key issues relevant to implementing the Minister of Energy’s directive.

Ministry of Energy announces further funding for Community Energy Planning
 

If your municipality is considering developing or updating a community wide energy plan which partners with  non-municipal organizations and business, this funding may be of assistance.