OFA provides comments to the Transmission Policy, Ministry of Energy regarding supporting critical transmission infrastructure in Southwestern Ontario. OFA’s comments pertain to two parts of Ontario’s proposed actions. The first includes prioritizing certain transmission projects. OFA agrees with the IESO forecast for electricity demand growth in Southwestern Ontario, largely driven by the expanding agricultural greenhouse industry. OFA understands that the ministry views three projects as priorities and is considering a declaration to require OEB to accept that they are in the public interest during Leave to Construct reviews. We agree that these transmission lines are important for the agricultural sector and other industries in the area.
The second part includes requiring Hydro One to undertake early development work on future projects. In the interest of saving Ontario ratepayers unnecessary costs, OFA supports conducting early development work on these lines in concert with the projects you plan to declare as priorities. OFA continues to stress the need for mandatory Agricultural Impact Assessments (AIA) for projects that have a potential to impact agricultural land or operations including projects under regulated, comprehensive, or streamlined environmental assessment, and any projects exempted from these processes. To reiterate, OFA supports initiatives that save time and money while protecting the sustainability of agriculture. Undertaking AIAs ensures the sustainability of farming in Ontario.