Proposal to identify and protect a corridor of land for future electricity infrastructure in the Greater Toronto Area
Bill or Act:
Summary of Proposal:
Halton, Peel and York regions are among the fastest growing regions in Ontario. As these regions continue to develop, new transmission infrastructure is anticipated to be required to meet the growing electricity demand over the long-term future.
We've identified a long-term need for electricity transmission infrastructure, but the technical scope of the transmission infrastructure required, and the timing of its need, may not be certain for many years.
Given the fast growth occurring in these regions, and the sensitive environmental features in the area, it is important to keep a viable transmission infrastructure option open by identifying a viable corridor today.
In June 2019, the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM) and the Province's electricity system planner, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) initiated the Northwest GTA Transmission Corridor Identification Study (hereafter "the study") to identify an appropriate corridor of land for use by future linear transmission infrastructure, if and when the need arises.
Early identification and protection of infrastructure corridors has many benefits for growing communities:
• It supports well-planned communities by ensuring electricity transmission infrastructure can be built to support growth.
• It minimizes impacts to the environment by preserving environmentally viable routes for infrastructure. In the absence of a preserved corridor, development may push electrical infrastructure into ecologically sensitive areas that could otherwise have been avoided.
• It preserves economically-viable routes. In the absence of a preserved corridor transmission would cost significantly more to build because of the need to take indirect routes or to be undergrounded through built up areas. A reserved corridor could lower infrastructure development costs, leading to savings for local electricity ratepayers.
• It provides certainty to municipal planners, landowners and developers as they plan for growth.
We are seeking feedback on a proposed study area, as well as input on the guiding principles we will consider in conducting the study.
While the study is underway, the study area is subject to protection under policies in A Place to Grow: Growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020 (in effect on May 1, 2020).
The outcome of the study will be a recommendation on land to be preserved for future transmission infrastructure and protected from development for other purposes.
Any future electricity transmission development in the area would be subject to Environmental Assessment Act requirements and other applicable regulatory approvals, including through the Ontario Energy Board.
March 24, 2020
Comments Due Date:
June 7, 2020