CanREA welcomes Ontario Minister of Energy and Minister of Agriculture’s New Joint Letter to the IESO 

June 10, 2024

The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) supports greater clarity on the siting of renewable energy and energy storage in Ontario, as expressed in a joint letter issued yesterday to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) by the Ontario Minister of Energy and the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  

“This ministerial joint letter provides siting clarity for CanREA members, as well as for project stakeholders and rights holders, such as Indigenous communities, municipalities, landowners and farmers,” said Leonard Kula, CanREA’s Vice President of Policy—Eastern Canada and Utility Affairs.  

CanREA and its members worked with leaders in both ministries, as well other key stakeholders, to support the development of this positive outcome. 

“Clean-energy projects are needed to meet Ontario’s growing needs. This siting clarity will encourage their development in optimal locations to minimize impact on agricultural lands across the province,” Kula said. 

The ministerial joint letter provides clear planning considerations for agricultural areas and ongoing electricity procurements. Specifically:  

  • For clean-energy projects located outside prime agricultural areas, such as on rural lands or lands designated for commercial or industrial purposes, an Agricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) will not be required.  
  • Solar energy projects will be restricted in prime agricultural areas, as defined in municipal official plans.  
  • Wind energy and energy storage projects may be sited in prime agricultural areas if they complete an AIA and receive municipal council support.  

“We have been advocating to the government to uphold local municipal decision-making authority for the siting of clean energy projects,” said Eric Muller, CanREA’s Director for Ontario. “We are pleased to see this reflected in this ministerial joint letter, which aims to ensure that municipal councils actively approve the siting of energy-generation resources, ensuring that communities are adequately informed and involved.” 

There are still details to sort out regarding the siting of projects under development, such as the process for developing and approving an AIA. CanREA will continue to work with the Ontario government and CanREA members to achieve clarity on such details. 

“This is an important step forward,” said Kula. “Affordable clean energy has a key role to play in Ontario: With the support of rural municipalities, and in partnership with Indigenous communities, properly sited wind energy, solar energy and energy storage projects can extend Ontario’s clean-electricity advantage and support our economic growth.” 


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