Committee approves interim measures regulating renewable energy generation facilities

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal yellow stripe are in the foreground with " Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee update" in the centre.

The City’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee today approved a zoning amendment to establish interim measures regulating renewable energy generation facilities, such as large-scale wind or solar power facilities.

Under current rules, such facilities are considered utility installations and are permitted in almost all zones in Ottawa. The size of battery energy storage systems – which store energy from the grid when supply exceeds demand and discharge it when additional energy is needed – would also be limited, to help protect agricultural lands for agricultural uses.

The amendments are a precautionary measure as the City has no plan to install wind turbines, solar panels or battery systems in Ottawa, nor is it aware of any plans from private interests to do so. To prevent such facilities from locating in areas not supported by the Official Plan, the amendments would establish a new definition for renewable energy generation facilities in the Zoning By-law. Renewable energy generation facilities would not be permitted in any zone until a full set of zoning provisions to permit and regulate these facilities is brought to Committee for approval in Q4 2023. That way, until revised zoning is established through a report this fall, a zoning amendment would be needed to build such a facility.

The Richmond West Pump Station could soon be upgraded after the Committee recommended granting staff authority to sign infrastructure agreements with two local developers. The facility requires additional capacity to service the population projected in Richmond when two residential communities now under construction are eventually completed.

To ensure development pays for development, the City’s partners would pay to design and build the expansion of a drinking water reservoir at the pump station along with a third well. The cost is estimated at $3.9 million plus tax for the reservoir expansion and $2.8 million for the well. The City would lead the project team and procurement process, and also manage construction. The completed work would ensure water is provided reliably to residents should the largest of the two existing wells be out of service in the future.

The Committee also approved entering into an agreement with a developer to design and build the roundabout at Perth Street and Meynell Road. Council approved an earlier agreement in July 2021, but construction costs have since increased due to the final design, construction inflation and new provincial soil removal regulations. The Committee has recommended that Council approve an increase in the permitted cost by about $1.2 million to $5.21 million plus taxes. The roundabout and associated works will support a planned subdivision and lands in the western part of the Village of Richmond. Work is anticipated to be completed in Q3 of 2024.

The Committee moved to appoint Councillors to the boards of directors for the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) and South Nation Conservation Authority (SNCA). In accordance with the Conservation Authorities Act, one additional Member of Council is required to sit on each of the boards. Councillor Riley Brockington would be appointed to the RVCA, Councillor Allan Hubley to the MVCA and Councillor Matthew Luloff to the SNCA.

Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, July 12.

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