Sponsors: Peace River Regional District
NCLGA Executive Recommendation: No Recommendation
WHEREAS the placement of wind turbines on crown land that is adjacent to private property has effects on the private property and its owners;
AND WHEREAS the private property owners and other stakeholders such as local government expect proper consultation regarding placement and permitting of any large projects affecting them and their right to private enjoyment of their properties:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NCLGA and UBCM lobby the Provincial Government to require that local government land use regulations apply to all small scale energy generation projects, including wind energy projects, regardless of their location on public or private property to ensure proper consultation with affected landowners and local governments takes place in advance of construction of wind energy projects in the Province.
BC Hydro launched its current Standing Offer Program (SOP) in April of 2008. The program allows private or public proposals for small scale energy generation project (over 100KW and up to 15MW) to be ‘sold’ to BC Hydro who are then obliged through the “standing offer” program, to purchase the energy (if the proposals meet the predetermined criteria). Since the inception of the program, two public reviews have taken place, one in 2010 and a second in 2014. The feedback received through these engagements resulted in revised Standing Offer Program Rules and a Standard Form Electricity Purchase Agreement being released in March of 2016. Local government or adjacent landowner (stakeholder) consultation was not identified in the 2014 SOP.
Review Summary of Feedback themes. (https://www.bchydro.com/content/dam/BCHydro/customer- portal/documents/corporate/independent-power-producers-calls-for-power/standing- offer/standing- offer-program-april-2014-engagement-summary-of-key-themes.pdf)
Since the inception of the program, 25 projects have been approved, and an additional 11 projects are under consideration.
The size of these wind energy projects exempts them from Provincial or Federal Environmental Assessment requirements as well as any public consultation requirements. Local governments may establish procedures and information submission requirements for projects proposed on private land, and the private use of Crown land. However, selected energy projects located on crown land are exempt from local government land use regulations pursuant to the BC Utilities Commission Act. This exemption runs counter to the long standing principle that local government holds land use authority for the private use of Crown land. This exemption also means that the public consultation processes normally applicable to land use regulation decisions are not required, and affected residents and communities have no opportunity for input. Local governments across the Province are dealing with these small scale energy generation projects, as the Standing Offer Program applies not only to wind projects, but can include solar, tidal energy or run of the river projects as well.
The UBCM membership has consistently endorsed resolutions calling on the provincial government to ensure that local government land use regulations, as well as consultation with landowners and local governments, are considered when assessing proposals for new power projects in BC (2009-B40, 2009-B137, 2008-B39).
Specifically, resolution 2009-B137 in part called on the Province to develop “clear and measurable evaluation criteria to evaluate independent power production projects, and include as part of this criteria community social, land use and environmental values.”
In response to resolution 2009-B137, the provincial government confirmed that “existing federal and provincial processes assess the potential impact of proposals, including impacts on the environment, protected areas, existing land uses, recreational uses, other resource uses and First Nations’ asserted rights and title.”