Alyssa Cates Ministry of the Environment Environmental Programs Division Modernization of Approvals Project 135 St

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Alyssa Cates Ministry of the Environment Environmental Programs Division Modernization of Approvals Project 135 St Powered By Docstoc
					Recommended amendments to O.Reg. 359/09 Renewable Energy
   Approval, Reg. 334 and revisions to the Technical Guide to
      Renewable Energy Approvals (EBR No.: 011-5932)


                Submitted: May 17, 2011

                       416-977-4441
                   info@ontario-sea.org
                   www.ontario-sea.org




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          OSEA recommended amendments to 359/09 REA, Reg. 334 and the Technical Guide




Alyssa Cates
Ministry of the Environment
Environmental Programs Division
Modernization of Approvals Project
135 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 1P5


Dear Ms. Cates


Please find below the recommendations of the Ontario Sustainable Energy
Association in response to the Ministry of the Environment’s proposed amendments
to O.Reg. 359/09 Renewable Energy Approval, Reg. 334 and revisions to the
Technical Guide to Renewable Energy Approvals (EBR No.: 011-5932).


Proposed amendments to O.Reg. 359/09 (Renewable Energy Approvals), Reg
334 (General)


1. Streamline the Renewable Energy Approvals process and complete a
comparative analysis


While it is clear that significant effort has been made to clarify the regulations, there
remains significant concern among our members, stakeholders and partners, that
both community and commercial proponents of solar, wind and biogas projects will
continue to find the REA process unduly restrictive and burdensome. Examples
include:


      The number of stakeholders who now are required to be informed has
       increased to include oil and gas pipeline operators, Transport Canada, etc.
      Vacant lots with residential zoning but without building permits are now
       considered noise receptors (but not odour receptors)
      The number of reports and studies has remained the same


For this reason we recommend first and foremost that further efforts be made to
streamline the REA process, the reporting requirements and coordination with
other agency timelines in the overall project development process.         This
recommendation echoes the Ministry of Energy’s Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff

                                                                                       2
            OSEA recommended amendments to 359/09 REA, Reg. 334 and the Technical Guide


   Program: Two Year Review Report1 that emphasized the need for streamlining
   processes and job creation.


   2. Complete a comparative analysis of the REA, Class EA and EA processes and
   requirements for generation development and refurbishment


   We recommend the completion of a comparative analysis for the following
   processes:


        Renewable Energy Approvals for solar, wind and biogas;
        Class Environmental Assessment for hydro projects; and
        Environmental Assessment for nuclear refurbishment, new build and new
         natural gas plants

   A comparative analysis will ensure that the same level of transparency, rigour, risk
   management, consultation, accountability and environmental protection is being
   applied across the board for all forms of generation.


   3. Revert to the current exemption rule for odour and noise receptors with an
   amendment regarding the requirement for property Title Real Covenants
   We recommend that the rule change regarding odour receptors or noise receptors is
   reverted to the current definition with an amendment that a Real Covenant be
   required to property titles that are not host to part of the facility. This Real
   Covenant would be a requirement of any owner who enters into an agreement
   through a Collaborative Land Lease or Land Pooling Lease respective of whether a
   facility is sited on the property.




Section                                     Black-lined
                                         recommendation
1(6)      (6) For the purposes of subsections (4) and (5), an odour receptor or noise
          receptor does not include a location on a parcel of land if all or part of the
          renewable energy generation facility will be located on that parcel of land once
          the facility is installed, constructed or expanded in accordance with the



   1 Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff Program: Two-Year Review Report available at
   http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/docs/en/FIT-Review-Report.pdf
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          OSEA recommended amendments to 359/09 REA, Reg. 334 and the Technical Guide


       renewable energy approval.

       (6) For the purposes of subsections (4) and (5), an odour receptor or noise
       receptor does not include a location on a parcel of land that,

       (a) is owned by a person who proposes to engage in the renewable energy
       project from which the noise or odour is to be discharged, if all or part of the
       facility is to be located on that parcel of land; or

       (b) is owned by a person who has entered into an agreement with the person
       mentioned in clause (a) through a Real Covenant amending the properties Title
       to permit all, part or none of the facility to be located on that parcel of land. O.
       Reg. 359/09, s. 1 (6).

       NOTE: The above amendment would ensure that participating neighbours (who
       have an equity or other interest in the project) have the ability to waive the
       setback while protecting future owners of the property by attaching a Real
       Covenant to the title. We believe this will promote the use of the Collaborative
       or Land Pooling leasing model, wherein community and commercial developers
       form a social contract with landowners in an area prior to project development.
       The agreement ensures that whether a project is sited on their property or
       somewhere else within the “Land Pool” all participants receive some benefit
       and/or opportunity to own equity in the project. A good example of this
       approach is the Val Éo model which is available on the OSEA website at:
       http://www.ontario-sea.org/Storage/38/2988_The_Val-Éo_Business_Model_-
       _November2007.pdf.




4. Timely notification of review status and adherence to 6-month service
standard
Should changes (minor or significant) be made by Ministry staff it is critical that the
Ministry notify the applicant of the review status within a reasonable
timeframe during the project change process (i.e. If the technical review is
stopped). Further, the Ministry should be held to the 6-month service standard
for reaching a decision on REA applications where an applicant provides timely
responses to Ministry queries.


Further to our own submission, OSEA supports the following recommendations put
forward by our colleagues at the Ontario Biogas Association:


5. Spill containment around transformer substations

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          OSEA recommended amendments to 359/09 REA, Reg. 334 and the Technical Guide


The proposed amendment maintains the requirement for secondary containment
measures where a project includes a transformer substation. Secondary
containment measures are reasonable where large transformers are installed;
however, there is no experience or practical application for secondary containment
of smaller transformers (i.e. <1MVA or pole-mounted). The proposed amendment
should be revised such that projects with transformer substations less than
1MVA are exempt from secondary containment requirements.


We further support the Ontario Biogas Associations submission regarding the
proposed amendments to the Technical Guide to Renewable Energy Approvals
- Chapter 10


Minor versus Significant Changes
Clarification on process and requirements when undertaking project changes are
important to applicants, however there needs to be reasonable provision for
flexibility throughout project approvals and operations. For biogas projects,
feedstock variability is an inherent reality to the industry where specified volumes
or type of materials defined in a biogas application are subject to change yet remain
within the existing schedules of regulated materials.
It is recommended that a biogas applicant be able to propose annual upper limits
and maximum storage requirements for the proposed inputs in its application that
translate into the approval, thereby providing the flexibility of the biogas facility to
manage this variability in the project.
There is currently no definition for ‘minor’ or ‘significant’ in the Technical Guide.
The current examples listed for bio-energy projects are restrictive and likely to
subject an applicant or operator to continuous review or re-submissions to the
Ministry. The following list identifies revisions to “minor” and “significant” changes
based on amendments to annual upper limits and maximum storage requirements
for inclusion in Chapter 10 as it relates to bio-energy projects:

     Minor Changes                            Significant Changes
         addition of fencing to control         increase in quantity of biomass /
          litter;                                 source-separated organics / farm
                                                  material above an annual upper limit;
         change in building size;
                                                 increase or decrease in storage
         change in quantity of biomass /         capacity of the facility beyond the
          source-separated organics /             maximum storage limit
          farm material below an annual
          upper limit;                           change in type of biomass / source
                                                  separated organics / farm material that
         change in type of biomass /             are outside of existing schedules of
          source-separated organics /
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         OSEA recommended amendments to 359/09 REA, Reg. 334 and the Technical Guide


         farm material within existing          regulated materials;
         schedules of regulated
         materials;                            change in model or location of odour
                                                control unit(s);
        change in storage capacity of
         the   facility  within    the         moving storage and/or treatment unit
         maximum storage limit;                 or structures to a new location within
                                                the proposed project location pending
        moving storage and/or                  the degree of environmental impact;
         treatment unit or structures to
         a new location within the             change in the make or model of the
         proposed project location              generator set if the noise emission is
         pending the degree of                  greater;
         environmental impact;
                                               change in the number of generating
                                                units



Being a good neighbour is incredibly important for broad based acceptance
and the advancement of Sustainable Energy in Ontario. For this reason we
recommend that some of the recommendations in Chapter 11: A good
neighbour approach in the Technical Guide to Renewable Energy Approvals
become a REQUIREMENT.
We recommend raising the bar for those developers who are doing the bare
minimum and undermining the rest of the sector. We recommend that the following
be required not simply recommended:
   1. Early engagement
   2. Establishment of a formal complaint resolution process
   3. Maintenance of a website with project reports, reports and notifications to
      ensure the community is aware of what is going on
   4. Maintenance of a customer service standard
   5. Conduct site visits
   6. Provide ongoing educational opportunities for local community
      groups/schools
   7. Pro-actively provide a code of ethics to the community
   8. Document a good neighbor approach and make it publicly available to the
      local community




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