Ontario Great Lakes rules 'setback for offshore'

CANADA: Ontario's proposed new setback rules for wind turbines in the Great Lakes threaten the viability of several offshore project proposals, says the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

The province’s environment ministry recently issued draft regulations governing offshore developments on the Canadian side of the lakes. These include a requirement that turbines be at least five kilometres from shore.

The ministry said this "would be comparable with proposals by many US states that border the Great Lakes."

However, CanWEA president Robert Hornung said a five kilometre exclusion zone is inconsistent with past policy signals the industry received from the province, which has implemented a feed-in tariff of C$0.19/kWh for the output of offshore turbines.

Hornung said: "Encouraged by the Ontario government to explore offshore wind energy opportunities, companies have been making significant investments to develop wind energy projects in areas that would now be excluded from development under the proposed regulation."

The draft regulations are open to public comment for 60 days after their release. The ministry also plans to hold a series of public and industry consultation sessions starting in the fall.

CanWEA is in the process of reviewing the proposal in detail to determine what changes it would like to see made, says Hornung. He added, any potential solution needs to be developed with a view to maintaining investor confidence in the market.

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