In an attempt to facilitate investment and growth in Ontario's green energy economy, Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act (the Act) provides for a number of measures which reduce the traditional barriers and impediments to investment in green energy initiatives in the province. In particular, the Act provides for a streamlined process for securing environmental approvals for renewable energy projects and exempts green energy projects from the municipal land-use approval process. In addition, the Act has created the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects by working with proponents and other ministries in securing provincial and (if required) federal approvals. By doing so, the Act seeks to remove much of the red tape currently associated with the energy sector, and attempts to attract investment in order to rebuild Ontario's outdated energy capacity in a sustainable manner.
In addition to increased demand for project financing, the measures contained in the Act will result in decreased transaction costs and increased predictability in the government approval process. Furthermore, the introduction of the Act comes at a time when a large portion of Ontario's current energy capacity enters the final period of its lifespan. Current estimates suggest that within the next twelve years, Ontario will need to replace approximately 80 per cent of its current energy capacity. Therefore, the Act, as well as the need to replace much of Ontario's current energy capacity, will create significant opportunities for business investment in Ontario. In turn, these opportunities will lead to an increase demand for financing and related financial services. Overall, the introduction of the Act signifies a promising period of growth in Ontario's energy sector, and should result in increased opportunities for lenders.