Following the break-up of Ontario Hydro in the late ‘90s, provincial energy policy migrated to the Premier’s office. This, tightly centralized decision-making is reminiscent of the circumstances almost a century earlier when Sir Adam Beck led protests at Queen’s Park. Beck’s cry for ‘Power for the People’ was a demand that an independent body take into account broad public interest when deciding provincial energy policy. Whether it is a wind, solar, nuclear, biomass or natural gas plant, energy facility plant developers and local communities compete for political decisions that will favour their interests.
Land-use and environmental planners play a significant role in the review and approval of electric power plants for most sources of generation. Their involvement can include completing environmental assessments as experts and reviewers, site selection, site plan approval, land use approvals and advising councils regarding the appropriateness of power plants as a land use. Over the last few years, policy, legislation and regulations pertaining to power plant siting have shifted.
Challenge of current relationships
As a proposed land use, all forms of energy generation pose challenges. While municipal approval requirements have largely been removed for wind and solar projects under amendments to the Green Energy Act, public concerns have not abated for some proposed developments. Traditional fossil and nuclear plants require approval under a range of municipal, provincial and federal acts and …..
Since 2008, Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited (HSAL) has been working with the Portlands Energy Centre on its communications, including its stakeholder relations, as well as its ecological sustainability strategy. This experience, prompted us to write the attached article.