Ontario to launch request for new power projects next week
Is Ottawa ready? NO.
December 1, 2022
Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO will launch its Long Term-Request for Proposals (LT-RFP) next Tuesday, December 6th.
The aim of the LT-RFP according to the IESO is to: “seek resources that can be in service between 2026 and 2028 to address global and regional needs.”
Energy Minister Todd Smith issued a directive on October 7th:
11. The Expedited Process, Upgrades Solicitation, and L T1 RFP shall be open to all resource types that meet the mandatory criteria established by the IESO, which may include renewable energy, energy storage, hybrid renewable energy with storage, biofuels and natural gas-fired generation.
The RFP has been in development for many months, despite the continued assertion by former Ward 21 Councillor Scott Moffatt who insisted that there is no procurement process in Ontario. When he wrote to members of Ottawa’s Planning and Agricultural and Rural Affairs committees that there was no plans for new power procurement (to head off a presentation by Ottawa Wind Concerns), the IESO was in the final phases of implementing the RFP.
Now, Ottawa could see proposals for new power projects.
The process will be very quick: announcement of successful bidders will come in March of 2023, according to IESO documents dated mid-November.
But we’re not ready.
Ottawa has no new zoning bylaws in place to deal with new power proposals and in fact, the zoning bylaw process following the new Official Plan is stalled due to concerns about new provincial legislation.
As well, we know from the experience with wind turbines since 2009 and the Green Energy Act, there are lots of problems with these industrial-scale projects. Noise, damage to aquifers, and risk to wildlife including endangered species are impacts seen all over Ontario. But regulations for noise and setbacks have not changed.
When the Green Energy Act was revoked by the Ford government in 2018, planning powers were returned to municipalities, who are now able to set their own regulations for noise limits and setback distances.
But Ottawa hasn’t done that.
The solution? Recommended to us by our planning consultant, and as already done by several other Ontario municipalities, Ottawa could pass a motion that is a simple statement of policy intent, to the effect that until new zoning bylaws are approved, the City of Ottawa will not review or approve any proposals for power generation, including wind power.
City staff have already expressed concern about the speed of the LT-RFP process and the fact that municipal approval doesn’t seem to be mandatory, though the Ford government promised that it would be. Other municipalities are worried about this IESO process which, they say, doesn’t give enough time for proper public consultation, or for a full assessment of new power development proposals such as analysis of the effectiveness of the technology being proposed, and what impacts the project could have on the environment.
We met today with new Ward 21 Councillor David Brown, who shares our concerns about the IESO RFP. He is already taking action on it.
We hope that the new Council will act quickly to ensure that the City is not sandbagged by new power generation proposals that are not appropriate to our area, and specifically that Ottawa’s rural communities will be protected from industrialization by unreliable and noisy grid-scale wind turbines. We hope that any new power generation would be for power that is reliable and affordable, and actually does something for the environment and climate change. That’s not expensive, invasive, out-of-phase with demand wind power.
Ottawa Wind Concerns