[If you're looking for REA application documents, please visit the Resources page.]
The Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) regulation sets out the strict environmental and consultative requirements for renewable energy projects. Each REA application is carefully reviewed by a team of ministry experts that includes engineers, scientists and technical experts. The review team ensures the application satisfies all regulatory requirements.
One of the goals of the regulation is clarifying the approvals process and its requirements. This helps Ontario's renewable energy supply grow safely and more quickly than it could in the past. At the same time, the regulation ensures renewable energy is developed in a way that protects human health and the environment.
In fact, of the first 38 applications received by the Ministry of the Environment, 22 were rejected because they did not satisfy all requirements.
For more detailed information on REA application requirements, see the Guide to Provincial Approvals for Renewable Energy Projects, the Checklist of Application Requirements (Supplement to Application for Approval of a Renewable Energy Project), and the note on solar nameplate capacity.
Project applicants must engage the public, municipal governments and Aboriginal communities in discussions about their proposed energy projects.
Notifying nearby landowners
At an early stage of project planning, applicants must notify all landowners near the proposed project location and place a notice in a local newspaper.
Talking to municipal governments
Applicants must consult with the municipality (or municipalities) in which their projects would be located. Municipal consultation must start at least 30 days before the applicant holds their first public meeting.
The ministry provides applicants with a form that outlines what to address with municipal officials. The form requests municipal feedback on matters related to:
The completed form must be included in the application package.
Engaging community members
Applicants are required to hold a minimum of two community consultation meetings, before submitting their applications to the ministry. To foster informed discussion, project documents must be made available to the public in advance of these meetings.
The Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) regulation is progressive in that it explicitly requires effective consultation with Aboriginal communities as a condition of approval to proceed with a project, and with local communities and municipalities.
The Ministry of the Environment has posted an interim guidance document entitled Draft Aboriginal Consultation Guide for preparing a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) Application to serve as interim guidance to assist proponents of renewable energy projects in consulting effectively with Aboriginal communities, and to give communities themselves some idea what to expect in the event they are approached by developers.
Once the ministry accepts an REA application and has confirmed that the application meets all requirements set out in the regulation, it will be posted on the Environmental Registry, which indicates that the application is under review.
This is another opportunity for community members to submit comments on the proposed project directly to the ministry. The ministry takes all comments received into account when making decisions on project applications.
Within 10 days of the notice being posted on the Environmental Registry, applicants must make all of their application documents available to the public on their company website (or a website dedicated to the proposed project).
Applicants must also place a notice in a local newspaper informing the public of the application submission and the opportunity to submit comments on the proposed project directly to the ministry via the Environmental Registry notice.