Renewable Energy Approvals

WndmillsWhen and how to get a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) for a project.

The law

By law, you will need a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) from the Ministry of Environment for most solar, wind or bio-energy projects in Ontario.

Exemptions

You do not need a Renewable Energy Approval for:

  • some classes of small-scale wind and solar and certain bio-energy projects which are exempt
  • water power facilities which are subject to the Environmental Assessment Act

Some types of renewable energy projects may be eligible for the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR).

Source law

You can find a complete set of rules related to Renewable Energy Approvals in:

Projects for approval

You need a renewable energy approval for:

Wind projects

  • Class 2 facilities with a name plate capacity over 3 kW but less than 50 kW
  • Class 3 facilities with a name plate capacity equal or greater than 50kW with sound power level less than 102 dBA
  • Class 4 facilities with a name plate capacity equal to or greater than 50 kW with sound power level greater than or equal to 102 dBA

Solar projects

Class 3 ground-mounted solar facilities with a name plate capacity greater than 10 kW

Bio-energy

  • facilities defined in the Renewable Energy Approval Regulation as:
    • anaerobic digestion
    • biofuel
    • biogas
    • thermal treatment facilities

Apply for a Renewable Energy Approval

At an early stage in planning your project, you are encouraged to contact the Environmental Approvals Access and Service Integration Branch to discuss what requirements will apply to your project.

You can contact:

Environmental Approvals Access and Service Integration Branch
Floor 12A
2 St. Clair Ave W
Toronto ON  M4V 1L5
416-314-8001
1-800-461-6290
Fax: 416-314-8452
E-mail: EAASIBGen@ontario.ca

You can also:

for detailed guidance for completing REA application requirements.

Application requirements for an REA depend on technology type and facility class, but most applicants will need to:

  • conduct site assessments and related studies
  • prepare detailed plans and reports
  • consult with municipalities, Aboriginal communities and the public

Other approvals

Depending on the location and nature of the project, you may also require approvals, permits and/or authorizations from other ministries and approving bodies including:

  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Transportation
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Food
  • Conservation Authorities
  • Niagara Escarpment Commission
  • Municipalities (i.e., building permits)
  • Electricity System Operators/Energy Agencies
  • Federal Government/Agencies

Submit an application

To submit an application:

Fees and refunds

You must pay an application fee based on the type and class of your project.

You are eligible to receive a partial refund, if your Renewable Energy Approval application is returned to you as incomplete.

Once your application is formally accepted for technical review by the ministry, you are not eligible for a refund, including for any application you have withdrawn.

If you wish to make a change to your project, there is a $300 fee.

Solar

  • Solar – Class 3 (solar PV installation, 500 kilowatts or less)
    • application fee: $1,000
    • refund: none
  • Solar – Class 3 (solar PV farm, over 500 kilowatts)
    • application fee: $12,844
    • refund: $8,990

Wind

  • Wind – Class 2 (small turbine, under 50 kilowatts)
    • application fee: $1,000
    • refund: $380
  • Wind – Class 3 (medium turbine, over 50 kilowatts)
    • application fee: $10,030
    • refund: $6,642
  • Wind – Class 4 (wind farm, 50 megawatts or less)
    • application fee: $40,000
    • Refund: $35,260
  • Wind – Class 4 (wind farm, over 50 megawatts)
    • application fee: $56,458
    • refund: $49,390

Anaerobic digestion

  • Anaerobic digestion – Class 1 (on-farm, farm materials)
    • application fee: $1,000
    • refund: none
  • Anaerobic digestion – Class 2 (on-farm, ‘green bin’, biomass & farm materials)
    • application fee: $1,000
    • refund: none
  • Anaerobic digestion – Class 3 (industrial facility)
    • application fee: $27,896
    • refund: $21,249

Biogas

  • Biogas (landfill gas)
    • application fee: $22,266
    • refund: $16,550

Biofuel

  • Biofuel  (liquids, bio-diesel)
    • application fee:$22,266
    • refund: $16,550

Thermal treatment

  • Thermal treatment – Class 1 (wood-burning)
    • application fee: $22,782
    • refund: $18,575
  • Thermal treatment – Class 1 (on-farm, wood-burning)
    • application fee: $1,000
    • refund: none
  • Thermal treatment – Class 2 (on-farm, wood and biomass burning)
    • application fee: $1,000
    • refund: none
  • Thermal treatment – Class 3 (commercial biomass burning)
    • application fee: $22,311
    • refund: $19,355

Consultation

Most renewable energy project developers must consult with:

As part of the application process, you must meet specific notification and consultation requirements.  You are encouraged to go beyond the minimum requirements and work with local communities as much as possible.

Refer to the Municipal/Local Authority consultation form and Technical Guide to Renewable Energy Approvals for more details about the consultation requirements.

Environmental registry posting

When the Ministry of the Environment receives a complete Renewable Energy Approval application, it posts a proposal notice on the Environmental Registry, indicating the application is under technical review.

This is an opportunity for community members to submit comments on the proposal directly to the ministry. The ministry takes all comments received during this period under consideration when making decisions on project applications.

Search for a notice on the Environmental Registry

Projects in your community

You can view renewable energy projects that have been submitted for approval online.

View: list of current renewable energy projects

This list includes applications/projects that:

  • have received approval
  • are under technical review
  • have been returned as incomplete or withdrawn
  • are currently being screened for completeness

You can contact the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office to help you find out information about renewable energy projects being developed in your community.

Learn more: renewable energy projects in your community

Wind turbine noise complaints

The ministry:

  • inspects projects regularly to ensure compliance
  • assesses all complaints about wind turbine noise
  • uses  a wind turbine specific measurement protocol to determine whether noise under various wind speed conditions is complying with noise limits

If inspections trigger the need for additional noise monitoring, the ministry will use the tools in the protocol to ensure wind facilities comply with noise limits.

Report a concern

If you believe that a renewable energy facility is not meeting legal requirements, contact:

Spills Action Centre
1-800-268-6060 (toll free)

If you have questions or concerns about renewable energy facilities where you live, you may want to contact your local ministry office.

Find your local office

If you're not sure which office to contact, call the:

Public Information Centre
1-800-565-4923 (toll free)

Updated: March 20, 2014