In the run up to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario 2016 Conference this week in Windsor, mayors and municipal councillors from across Ontario, together with representatives from the Independent Electrical Systems Operator (IESO), attended a symposium on wind turbine development in the province.
They are calling on the Ontario Liberal government for a moratorium on the procurement of new renewable energy infrastructure, including solar.
Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff was the symposium’s moderator.
“For the past few years, municipalities from across the province have repeatedly raised their concerns over the procurement process of Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT) to the provincial liberal government. To date, the government has taken no actions to resolve these concerns,” said Quaiff. “As moderator, I witnessed the level of anger and frustration that other municipal representatives are feeling because of this issue. The message from the symposium was crystal clear: municipalities have had enough. Participants left with a unified sense of purpose and we are demanding immediate action from the provincial government.”
Quaiff said that while the provincial government has been unwilling to budge, in contrast, IESO representatives were responsive and amenable at the symposium, expressing interest in working with municipalities to find a middle ground. The problem, said Quaiff, is the IESO’s hands are tied by ministerial directives.
“A main area of contention is that municipalities would like to have a veto on proposed IWT projects in their jurisdictions, but the provincial government opposes this idea.”
Currently, 83 municipalities in Ontario have made it clear that they want municipal support to be mandatory for IWT projects to move forward.
“As a result, municipalities are asking the provincial government to impose a moratorium on the procurement of new renewable energy infrastructure until a compromise can be reached,” said Quaiff.
“This would allow municipalities and the Liberal government to sit down and collaborate on a process that is acceptable to all involved. A moratorium would allow time for consultation on the issues that are most pressing to municipalities, including: community vibrancy allocations, community and stakeholder engagement processes, wind turbine placement, compensation for lost property value and the availability of funding for municipalities to manage implementation.
“Without a moratorium, we are headed toward increased conflict between municipalities and the provincial government and an even greater risk of litigation going forward.”
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