Ontario plans public engagement to foster regional energy plans

The new Ontario government is improving how the Canadian province plans and builds large energy infrastructure projects going forward. To ensure that Ontario builds energy infrastructure in a process that respects communities, the government has asked two key agencies to develop a new regional energy planning process based on formal input from municipalities, communities and the energy sector.

The government recently announced a six-month review of Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan, to determine the best energy supply mix for the province over the next 20 years. The review will be based on public consultations.

Since 2003, Ontario has built or renewed over 7,500 kilometers of transmission lines. Ontario has modernized or rebuilt over 11,500 MW of clean energy since 2003 — enough electricity to power over 2.8 million homes.

Regional energy plans will rely on public consultations and municipal input to ensure that Ontario gets siting decisions right the first time — while recognizing that a strong electricity grid requires ongoing investments in clean, modern and reliable energy infrastructure.

The Independent Electricity System Operator and the Ontario Power Authority are expected to report back to the Minister of Energy with a joint implementation plan by August 1, 2013. The plan will take into account recommendations on energy project siting made by the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

Through public consultation, regional energy plans will lead to better decision-making — so that future electricity generation contracts place energy infrastructure in the right location from the beginning.

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