On May 6, 2013, Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli
directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Independent Electricity
System Operator (IESO) to consult with stakeholders across the
province and jointly develop recommendations for a new integrated
regional energy planning process which would focus on improving how
large energy infrastructure projects are sited in the Province.
Among other matters, the Minister sought recommendations on how to
improve the involvement of municipalities and Aboriginal
communities in the development of regional energy plans.
Stakeholders were consulted both in-person and on-line during
June and July, including First Nations and Métis,
municipalities, local electricity distribution companies, energy
stakeholders and the general public. Feedback from stakeholders
indicated a need for increased transparency in planning,
procurement and siting of facilities, education as to who makes
which decisions and meaningful early involvement in the planning
process before procurement and siting decisions are made. First
Nations and Métis representatives indicated the need for
in-person consultation early in the planning process, which would
not however supersede the duty to consult. A review of how other
jurisdictions make energy infrastructure siting decisions was also
The OPA and the IESO recently issued a joint report entitled "Engaging Local Communities in Ontario's
Electricity Planning Continuum" that recommends a number
of preliminary process improvements. The cover letter to the
Minister notes that the recommendations would benefit from further
review and comment by other Ministries, agencies, association and
other stakeholders and proposes a further report to the Minister in
September with more detailed implementation proposals.
A notable recommendation speaks to the establishment of regional
electricity planning Advisory Committees consisting of elected
officials, elected First Nations and Métis community
representatives, economic development officers, and other
Another recommendation of note is intended to address the
current disconnect between planning for energy infrastructure and
the municipal land use planning process. Amendments are proposed to
Ontario's Provincial Policy Statement, 2005
(PPS) which sets out the Province's policies for land use
planning. Ontario's Planning Act requires that all planning-related
decisions of municipal councils including Official Plans, planning
boards, Ministries and ministry boards, commissions or agencies of
the government, including the Ontario Municipal Board, be
consistent with policy statements issued by the Province. The
effect of the recommended amendments to the PPS would mandate that
where need is defined for electricity infrastructure, such
decisions be consistent with an Electricity Plan which is broadly
defined to include "an Integrated Regional Resource Plan
(Transmission System Code), a Regional Infrastructure Plan
(Transmission System Code), an Integrated Power System Plan (Electricity Act,
1998) that identifies the need for electrical investments (e.g.
conservation and demand management, generation, transmission
facilities, and/or distribution facilities) on a province-wide or
region-wide basis". The proposed definition also states that
an Electricity Plan may also identify conceptually preferred
locations for electricity infrastructure.
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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