Keeping the lines of communication open with Ontario municipalities
July 25, 2019
Good local government relationships essential to project success
Wind energy developers have to get a complex flock of proverbial ducks into a neat row in order to ensure project success – and a few criteria are absolute musts. A good wind energy resource is one, of course, along with a commercially viable sales agreement for the green energy produced. Also on the must-have list is a constructive relationship with the local community where a project is located.
And a good local-community relationship necessarily means a good local-government relationship. When the provincial government proceeded with the repeal of the Green Energy Act, CanWEA prioritized ongoing dialogue with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to ensure industry and municipalities were both engaged in the development of new processes for renewable energy development in Ontario. In my role as Ontario Regional Director at CanWEA, I will be attending AMO’s always-engaging annual conference next month, being hosted in Ottawa, which CanWEA is also pleased to sponsor.
Municipal governments in Ontario are entrusted – through their zoning and siting authority – with helping to ensure that renewable energy projects are right for the communities where they are situated. That’s part of the reason that a presence at the AMO conference, and the insight it gives us into municipal needs and priorities, is such an important priority for CanWEA and its members.
Our members understand the importance of local government and highly support our engagement with AMO. They also work to continuously foster and maintain constructive municipal relationships of their own, and to ensure community members are provided with relevant project-specific information, including the on-going commitments project operators have to social and economic benefits in the communities in which they operate.
CanWEA in turn supports these efforts on the part of our members with engagement best practices and frameworks, and with a wide range of market– and issue-specific wind-energy information accessible on our web site. We also have a full section of information addressing key topics that are often top-of-mind for local communities. We’ll be providing some key summary materials as part of the AMO conference delegate kits.
Last fall’s municipal elections saw a particularly large number of elected officials take office for the first time on councils across Ontario. I look forward to meeting many of them – along with their re-elected colleagues – in Ottawa next month. For CanWEA, this is an important part of our effort to keep the two-way dialogue open with Ontario’s local governments.
To learn more about the best practices wind energy developers in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada follow during project planning, permitting and development phases, see our: Wind Energy Development Best Practices for Indigenous and Public Engagement guidance document.
Ontario Regional Director at the Canadian Wind Energy Association