COUNTY OF LAMBTON OFFICIAL PLAN UPDATE BACKGROUND REPORT NO.

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1 COUNTY OF LAMBTON OFFICIAL PLAN UPDATE BACKGROUND REPORT NO. 6 RENEWABLE ENERGY Image Source: (Word Clip Art Stock Photo, 2011) Date: May, 2015

2 BACKGROUND PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT SERVICES DEPARTMENT 789 Broadway Street, Box 3000 Wyoming, ON N0N 1T0 Telephone: Toll-free: Fax: In compliance with the Planning Act (RSO 1990, as amended), the County of Lambton Planning and Development Services Department is undertaking a review of the 1998 County Official Plan. This review is required at 5-year intervals to ensure Official Plans remain relevant to area demographics, land use changes and emerging topics in planning. Under the review, the County will also ensure the Official Plan is in accordance with provincial legislation including the Provincial Policy Statement (2014) and other documentation. Renewable energy/green energy initiatives can include but are not limited to wind, water, biomass, solar and geothermal energy. Since the adoption of the Provincial Policy Statement (2014), Ontario has provided new goals, regulations and legislation in regards to renewable energy/green energy practices within our communities. Ontario's "Long Term Energy Plan" and "Green Energy Act (GEA)" will help Ontario meet its electricity needs with clean, reliable energy sources for Ontario homes and businesses. The Green Energy Act was introduced in February 2009 and currently replaces the Planning Act with respect to Green Energy approvals. The Green Energy Act was implemented to boost investment in renewable energy projects and increase conservation and create jobs and promote economic growth in Ontario. The Green Energy Act: A Vision for the Future The Ministry of Environment has adopted the following green energy vision for Ontario's communities: "Ontario s Green Energy Act (GEA), and related amendments to other legislation, received Royal Assent on May 14, Regulations and other tools needed to fully implement the legislation were introduced through the month of September 2009, as Page 2 of 10

3 part of a ten-step plan to bring the GEA to life. This legislation is part of Ontario s plan to become a leading green economy in North America. The Province believes the Green Energy Act will: Spark growth in clean and renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and biogas, etc. in Ontario; Create the potential for savings and better managed household energy expenditures through a series of conservation measures; Create 50,000 jobs for Ontarians in its first three years." Despite the limited opportunity for local involvement in planning for green energy through the Planning Act; the County of Lambton Official Plan should recognize the need for renewable energy/green energy by providing opportunities and encouragement of renewable energy initiatives. The Plan should also address and encourage municipal and public consultation to ensure matters such as local concerns, land use compatibility and environmental impacts are appropriately addressed. RELATION TO PROVINCIAL POLICY STATEMENT (2014) The 2014 Provincial Policy Statement provides a framework for encouraging efficient energy use, conservation of energy and overall sustainability within our communities. The goal of the policy statements are to diversify our energy generating capacity to ensure a sustainable, reliable, and clean energy supply that meets the needs of current and future demands. The following excerpts from the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) identify renewable energy/alternative energy initiatives under Energy and Air Quality policies Energy Supply Planning authorities should provide opportunities for the development of energy supply including electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, to accommodate current and projected needs Planning authorities should promote renewable energy systems and alternative energy systems, where feasible, in accordance with provincial and federal requirements. 1.8 Energy Conservation, Air Quality and Climate Change Planning authorities shall support energy conservation and efficiency, improve air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change adaptation through land use and development patterns which: a) promote compact form and a structure of nodes and corridors; Page 3 of 10

4 b) promote the use of active transportation and transit in and between residential, employment (including commercial and industrial) and institutional uses and other areas; c) focus major employment, commercial and other travel-intensive land uses on sites which are well serviced by transit where this exists or is to be developed, or designing these to facilitate the establishment of transit in the future; d) focus freight-intensive land uses to areas well served by major highways, airports, rail facilities and marine facilities; e) improve the mix of employment and housing uses to shorten commute journeys and decrease transportation congestion; e) promote design and orientation which: 1. maximize energy efficiency and conservation, and considers the mitigating effects of vegetation; and 2. maximizes opportunities for the use of renewable energy systems and alternative energy systems; and g) maximize vegetation within settlement areas, where feasible. 1.1 Managing and Directing Land Use to Achieve Efficient and Resilient Development and Land Use Patterns Settlement Areas Settlement areas shall be the focus of growth and their vitality and regeneration shall be promoted; 1.6 Infrastructure and Public Service Facilities Infrastructure, electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, and public service facilities shall be provided and coordinated, efficient and cost-effective manner that considers impacts from climate change while accommodating projected needs. 1.7 Long Term Economic Prosperity Long term economic prosperity should be supported by: a) promoting opportunities for economic development and community investment-readiness; b) optimizing the long-term availability and use of land, resources, infrastructure, electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems, and public service facilities; c) maintaining and, where possible, enhancing the vitality and viability of downtowns and main streets; Page 4 of 10

5 d) encouraging a sense of place, by promoting well-designed built form and cultural planning, and by conserving features that help define character, including built heritage resources and cultural heritage landscapes; e) promoting the redevelopment of brownfield sites; f) providing for an efficient, cost-effective, reliable multimodal transportation system that is integrated with adjacent systems and those of other jurisdictions, and is appropriate to address projected needs to support the movement of goods and people; g) providing opportunities for sustainable tourism development; h) providing opportunities to support local food, and promoting the sustainability of agri-food and agri-product businesses by protecting agricultural resources, and minimizing land use conflicts; i) promoting energy conservation and providing opportunities for development of renewable energy systems and alternative energy systems, including district energy; j) minimizing negative impacts from a changing climate and considering the ecological benefits provided by nature; and k) encouraging efficient and coordinated communications and telecommunications infrastructure. CURRENT COUNTY OF LAMBTON OFFICIAL PLAN The County of Lambton Official Plan currently provides little direction for alternative energy/renewable energy initiatives. The County can work with Provincial legislation to promote alternative/green energy initiatives and help the Province reach its Green Energy Act goals and vision of improving environmental, conservation and economic development. Such endeavours must include dialogue with the County's local municipalities and must address their concerns. In promoting alternative/renewable energy projects, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages that are generally accepted and should be considered: Advantages of Green Energy: Cleaner and healthier air and water resources; Stronger economy/job creation and increased economic benefits; Minimal environmental and social impacts; Increased local control of energy production (i.e. private/home systems for personal gain); Renewable energy sources reap financial and environmental gain, depending on pay-back period; Renewable energy systems usually require less maintenance; Minimal waste production and environmental impacts; Page 5 of 10

6 Minimal carbon /greenhouse gas emissions; More diversity and less dependency on scarce resources which are not renewable; Disadvantages of Green Energy: Aesthetics; Potential noise pollution; Potential land use impacts; Concerns on the reliability of energy source; Reliability of supply due to unknown circumstances (i.e. weather conditions); Images Source: (Kellowin, 2010) Costs associated with start-up and implementation; Potential impact to drainage, soil conservation, productivity of natural resources, area demanded for production and land fragmentation or disruption. PROPOSED POLICY CHANGES TO THE OFFICIAL PLAN Although the County cannot override Provincial legislation, it should play an active role in planning alternative renewable energy initiatives. The Provincial Policy Statement and other provincial legislation are available to the County for promoting alternative/renewable energy projects. Some of the policies regarding renewable energy are discussed below. Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan- Ministry of Energy The Province of Ontario has set priorities for improving long term energy planning to ensure Ontario has clean air, reliable energy and a strong economy. The Province is planning for future energy generation that will focus on efficient, localized generation from smaller, clean sources of electricity rather than exclusively from large, centralized power plants. The Ontario long term energy plan will help Ontario meet its electricity needs until 2030 and build a modern, clean, reliable system that will provide energy to Ontario homes and businesses for generations to come. Renewable energy, including wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal and bioenergy are an important part of the diversity mix in future energy production. Key features of Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan include: Demand for energy will grow moderately (about 15 percent) between 2010 and 2030; Ontario's energy production will be coal free by 2014; Page 6 of 10

7 The government is committed to clean, reliable nuclear power remaining at approximately 50 per cent of the province's electricity supply; Ontario will grow its hydroelectric capacity with a target of 9,000 MW; Ontario's target for clean, renewable energy for wind, solar and bioenergy is 10,700 MW by 2018, accommodated through transmission expansion and maximizing the use of the existing electricity grid; Ontario will continue to grow the clean energy economy through the continuation of FIT and micro-fit programs; Natural gas generation for peak needs will be of value where it can address local and system reliability issues; Reducing emissions in Ontario's electricity sector; Over the next 20 years, estimated capital investments totaling $87 billion will help ensure that Ontario has a clean, modern and reliable electricity system. The primary goal of the policy is to uphold the Province's Green Energy Act policies while providing opportunities for the responsible development of alternative/renewable energy systems and the benefits of securing a more sustainable and stable energy supply. The implementing policies should provide opportunities to reach the goals of the Green Energy Act and develop renewable energy systems that are compatible with the existing character of the County of Lambton and its local municipalities. The updated Lambton County Official Plan can be used to reinforce the support and promotion of Green energy projects through the following: Policy and Management Framework: Provide a framework for municipalities to address local concerns, land use compatibility and environmental impacts; Encourage local Official Plans to incorporate consultation and background studies/reports; Promote long term sustainability and energy conservation; Respond to increasing threats of climate change, with measures to adapt now and to future cases through both mitigation and adaptation; Promote public awareness and education; Protect area resources, cultural heritage and natural features: Page 7 of 10

8 - Ensure systems (and supporting components and facilities) are designed and/or buffered where appropriate to protect sensitive land uses; - Renewable energy systems are not permitted in specialty crop areas, and are not permitted in prime agricultural areas unless there are no reasonable alternatives; - Restrictions apply where development is proposed in: endangered/threatened species habitat; provincially significant wetlands; significant woodlands, valleys, wildlife habitat; areas of natural and scientific interest; floodways and flood prone areas; Site specific restrictions will apply to developments depending on the location and type of renewable energy source that is proposed; The County should work towards sustainable practices and prepare a sustainability/green energy strategy; Recognize Ontario's long term energy plan and Green Energy Act goals; Implementation techniques: Promote and encourage developments that employ green development standards and sustainable development; Encourage green retrofit options to existing facilities and buildings (public and private); Conserve cultural /built heritage sites; Promote energy demand management initiatives and other forms of reduced energy consumption; - Minimized car use, i.e. increase forms of active transportation to reduce vehicle emissions; Encourage municipalities to implement green initiatives and energy efficient policies in building and landscape design (i.e. rain barrels, green spaces, green roof, wastewater system, community greens, building orientation, porous pavement, etc.); Work to encourage compatibility between green energy projects, existing uses, surrounding land uses, and built form; Plan and develop greener, complete communities and improve air and water quality; Employ measures of healthy communities and compact design; Page 8 of 10

9 Promote energy efficient programs, energy conservation and energy diversity; Promote aesthetics/urban design standards that encourage and support energyefficient buildings and other uses; Encourage required submissions to minimize public safety and health; Ensure that renewable energy sources/systems are appropriately buffered and/or separated from sensitive land uses to prevent adverse effects from odour, noise and visual impact, etc. SUMMARY Renewable energy/green energy sources are becoming more prevalent in our society. The Province of Ontario has taken a lead in improving current and future sources of energy production. Initiatives may have social, environmental and economic benefits within our communities. Although local municipalities have little control on regulations of alternative/renewable energy projects; Official Plan policies can be incorporated to encourage sustainable projects in and efficient manner and mitigate any negative environmental or social aspects. The following terms are defined for the purpose of this report and could be added to the Official Plan as new concepts: Alternative energy system: means a system that uses sources of energy or energy conversion processes to produce power, heat and/or cooling that significantly reduces the amount of harmful emissions to the environment (air, earth and water) when compared to conventional energy systems. Renewable energy source: means an energy source that is renewed by natural processes and includes wind, water, biomass, biogas, biofuel, solar energy, geothermal energy and tidal forces. Renewable energy system: means a system that generates electricity, heat and/or cooling from a renewable energy source. Page 9 of 10

10 For more information on this report, or the County of Lambton Official Plan Update, please contact the Planning and Development Services Department: 789 Broadway Street, Box 3000 Wyoming, ON N0N 1T0 Telephone: Toll-free: Fax: or visit the Official Plan Update Website at: Sources Ministry of Energy (2010). Green Energy Act (GEA). Retrieved from: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Provincial Policy Statement Retrieved from Ministry of Energy (2010). Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan - Building our Clean Energy Future. Retrieved from Page 10 of 10

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