Renewable Energy Development in Ontario: A Guide for Municipalities

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The Ministry of Energy’s Renewable Energy Development in Ontario: A Guide for Municipalities has been updated for 2015 to provide municipalities with a clear understanding of the renewable energy development process and to facilitate active municipal involvement in that process.

This updated guide will, among other things:

  • Describe how renewable energy projects are developed
  • Explain many of the key changes introduced under the new Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program and the updated Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program
  • Provide an overview of the regulatory approval processes involved in renewable energy development
  • Describe the active role that municipalities can play in these processes to help ensure that projects meet community needs
  • Discuss the decommissioning process for renewable energy projects
  • Highlight successful renewable energy projects that have been developed in municipalities across Ontario

Municipalities can use this guide to gain an overview of the renewable development process, or as a reference to find answers to specific questions they may have or that they may be asked by residents


  • 1. Overview
  • 2. Renewable Energy Development Process
    • 2.1 Municipalities in Various Roles
    • 2.2 An Overview of the Development Process
    • 2.3 Changes to Ontario’s Procurement Processes
  • 3. Large Renewable Procurement
    • 3.1 Overview of the LRP I Program
    • 3.2 Evaluation of LRP I Proposals
      • Stage 1 of Evaluation: Completeness Requirements for RFP
      • Stage 2 of Evaluation: Mandatory Requirements for RFP
      • Stage 3 of Evaluation: Rated Criteria
      • Stage 4 of Evaluation: Evaluation and Selection of LRP I Proposals
  • 4. Feed-In Tariff Program
    • 4.1 FIT Program Overview
    • 4.2 FIT Project Sizes
    • 4.3 FIT Prices
    • 4.4 FIT 4 Program Review
    • 4.5 The FIT Development Process
    • 4.6 FIT Program Eligibility Rules
    • 4.7 Opportunities for Municipalities
    • 4.8 microFIT
  • 5. Previous Procurements
    • 5.1 Existing Large FIT Contracts
    • 5.2 Green Energy Investment Agreement (GEIA)
    • 5.3 Hydroelectric Contract Initiative (HCI)
    • 5.4 Hydroelectric Standard Offer Program (HESOP)
  • 6. Regulatory Process
    • 6.1 Introduction to Regulatory Processes for Renewable Energy Projects
    • 6.2 Consultation and the Environmental Approval Process
    • 6.3 The Renewable Energy Approval (REA) Process
    • 6.4 Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR)
    • 6.5 Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects
    • 6.6 Approvals and Permits Administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)
    • 6.7 Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Approval
    • 6.8 Nutrient Management Act, 2002
    • 6.9 Federal Requirements
    • 6.10 Planning Act, 1990
    • 6.11 Municipal-Specific Regulatory Matters
    • 6.12 Transmission/Distribution Lines and Grid Connection
  • 7. Summary of Online Resources
  • 8. Glossary

Renewable Energy Facilitation Office

Ontario has established the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office (REFO) for individuals, communities and municipalities to obtain information and connect with the appropriate government and agency resources on developing renewable energy projects.

REFO advisors can be reached by e-mail at and by telephone at 1-(877)-440-7336 (toll-free) or (416) 212-6582 within the GTA.


The information in this guide is based on rules, regulations and policies as at July 27, 2015. This document is to be used for informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. The contents may be subject to change without notice. We recommend you confirm with REFO or the applicable government ministries or agencies if there have been any program changes.

Renewable energy contracts are administered and managed by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Please note that the former Ontario Power Authority (OPA) merged with the IESO on January 1, 2015. The IESO is the administrator of the procurement programs, and is the counterparty to all contracts. In the event of any inconsistency between the information presented in this guide and that supplied by the IESO, the IESO’s language will govern.

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