Ontario government calls on municipalities to integrate wind in planning process

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Municipalities in Ontario are getting a message from the provincial government that wind and other renewables should be factored into their planning processes. In a new provincial policy statement, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing lays out "clear ground rules" for the direction municipal decisions should take. The statement says planning authorities should make land use choices that "maximize the use of alternative or renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy" and provide opportunities for electricity generation facilities, including renewables, to accommodate current and projected needs. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and other groups pushed for the provisions, pointing to the government's goal of having 10% of electricity generated by renewable sources by 2010. "If you are really serious about pursuing renewable energy targets you have to send a signal to municipalities that this is a priority of government," says CanWEA president Robert Hornung. The ministry has also released a greenbelt plan that will permanently protect more than 4046 square kilometres around the western end of Lake Ontario from urban sprawl. The plan specifies that renewable energy systems are an appropriate use of the greenbelt.

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