The Offshore Renewable Energy Regulations Initiative

Status: Ongoing - 2023

The Offshore Renewable Energy Regulations (ORER) is an initiative led by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to develop modern safety and environmental protection regulations that will apply to exploration, construction, operation and decommissioning activities related to renewable energy projects and power lines in Canada’s offshore areas.

Regulating offshore renewable energy in Canada

Offshore renewable energy technologies produce renewable energy from wind, waves or tides.

Canada has strong offshore renewable energy resources that represent untapped potential to further decarbonize Canada’s electricity supply while stimulating economic opportunities for coastal provinces, territories and communities.

The ORER initiative will ensure that operational safety and environmental protection regulations are in place to enable the development of Canada’s offshore renewable projects.

Why implement new regulations?

The regulations will support Part 5 – Offshore Renewable Energy Projects and Offshore Power Lines - of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, which came into force in August 2019. This legislation enables the Canada Energy Regulator to review and authorize activities related to offshore renewable energy in Canada’s offshore areas. These activities could include:

  • Site characterization activities, such as, resource surveys, geoscience and geotechnical studies, and environmental surveys; and,
  • Construction, certification, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of offshore renewable energy facilities and offshore power lines

The regulations will help the offshore renewable energy industry in Canada achieve the highest possible standards for operational safety and environmental protection while promoting competitiveness and innovation, and keeping administrative red tape low for industry.

How will we implement new regulations

We are proposing to use an outcome-based approach to ensure the regulations require the use of best industry practices over time as they evolve and encourage innovation in order to increase safety and environmental protection while reducing costs.

The initiative will build on Canada’s experience in regulating other sectors, such as offshore oil and gas, and incorporate best practices from other jurisdictions with established regulatory frameworks and experience.

Who is involved?

NRCan is leading the initiative. The Canadian Energy Regulator, as the lifecycle regulator responsible for enforcing these future regulations, supports the initiative and provides technical expertise.

NRCan will work to ensure the development of these regulations is coordinated with coastal provinces and territories to ensure they can serve as a model in any potential future joint management arrangements for offshore renewable energy projects.

Timeline

Pre-engagement on general approach (Discussion paper)
Fall 2020

Pre-engagement on technical requirements and policy intentions
Winter 2020/21

Pre-publication of the ORER in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette for public comments
Fall 2022

Final Publication of ORER / Entry Into Force
Fall 2023

How can you participate?

Government, stakeholder and Indigenous engagement is a key priority.

Engagement sessions and comment periods will occur at each phase of the ORER Initiative timeline. NRCan is open to hosting additional sessions upon request.

NRCan will consider comments provided throughout the process and reflect them where appropriate in the regulations. A summary of comments provided during each phase will be posted on this website for reference.

Discussion Paper: Pre-engagement on general approach

NRCan has drafted a discussion paper to provide an overview of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) projects and NRCan’s proposed approach to regulating these activities prior to engaging on the proposed technical requirements of the regulations. The paper covers the following topics:

  • Lifecycle overview of ORE projects and principle considerations to safety and the environment
  • Proposed guiding principles for the ORER
  • Proposed regulatory components to be addressed in the ORER
  • Project timelines

The paper will facilitate early feedback that we will incorporate where appropriate, in the proposed technical requirements. Please provide your feedback no later than January 8, 2021 (3 months after launch) by sending comments to the email below.

Contact us

At NRCan Offshore Renewables for more information about the process