Even though it was a brief meeting on November 13th, it was nice to see that City Council had a few renewable-energy related items brought forward in their meeting. Most notably, it included the support for feed-in-tariff program applications for mounted solar projects (item 3) and a motion that was later put forward regarding municipal government having a voice regarding the implementation of wind farms established by the Province.
City Council has agreed to the formal request of more solar panels in the city of Ottawa. According to reports, on November 4th, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) began accepting applications for ground mounted solar green energy projects under the provincial feed-in-tariff (FIT) program, with a deadline of December 13th, 2013. The Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee recommended that City Council approve of this request for these ground mounted solar panels at four different locations, which included: Concession 6-Lot 11, 3234 Torchwood Drive, 6079 McVagh Road, and 6105 McVagh Road. Ecology Ottawa is pleased to see that this motion was passed unanimously by Council, but encourages the city to look into more areas that would benefit from this program while this window of opportunity is available.
During the meeting, Councillor Moffatt brought forward a motion that requests the City to ask the Province of Ontario to make the necessary legislative changes to give municipalities more of a role in deciding where wind power projects would be implemented. This was in response to the North Gower community's petition declaring that they were not willing to host the wind farm project in their community, additionally protesting that the communities where these projects were being implemented felt like they had no say in the matter. While it is commendable that Council wants to increase community engagement regarding renewable energy projects, Ecology Ottawa hopes that City Council will not use this as an excuse to indefinitely postpone the growth of wind turbine farms in the Ottawa region when the Province of Ontario has already committed to this vision.
On a more positive note, we commend Councillor Chernushenko for voicing his continued support for wind-generated and other renewable sources of energy.