The Green Energy Act, 2009 places a priority on expanding Ontario‘s use of clean and renewablesources of energy such as wind, water, solar and bioenergy. Developing these resources is a cornerstone of the province‘s plan to reduce the impacts of climate change and to build a greener economy for Ontario.
A key element of the Green Energy Act is a coordinated provincial approval process for renewable energy projects. This new process integrates into one process all provincial Ministry requirements for the review and decision making on proposed renewable energy generation facilities. The requirements are outlined under the Ministry of the Environment‘s Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation (O.Reg. 359/09) and the Ministry of Natural Resources‘ (MNR) Approval and Permitting Requirements Document for Renewable Energy Projects.
The Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation describes the requirements for wind power projects related to significant natural features, including significant wildlife habitat. Birds are important to Ontario‘s biodiversity, and their habitats are identified as significant wildlife habitat (SWH) under MNR‘s Significant Wildlife Habitat Technical Guide.
This Guideline provides guidance on identifying and assessing bird habitat and addressing potential negative effects on birds and bird habitats during the planning, construction, and operation of onshore wind power projects in Ontario. This Guideline supports the Renewable Energy Approvals Regulation and is applicable to both Crown and private land.