Building Community Power CO-OPperatively: A Renewable Energy Summit

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Building Community Power Co-operatively!

The Hamilton Halton Energy Awareness Team (HHEAT) presents:

Building Community Power Co-operatively!

In this introductory workshop you will learn about the benefits of renewable energy (solar, wind, bio-energy and hydro).

You will also be introduced to the idea of Community Power (locally-controlled, decentralized energy systems) and begin exploring the potential for local, community-owned renewable energy co-operatives.

Find out how you can invest in renewable energy as collective investors.

Date: Wednesday 16TH NOVEMBER, 2011.

Location: Landscape Ontario, 7856 5th Line South (between Steeles Ave. and 401), Milton

Time: 7.00 - 9.30pm

For more information contact Anuja at 647-880-4656 or

Friday, 28 October 2011


What: A neighbourhood Solar Tour of three Milton properties.

Who: Anyone who is interested in renewable energy and solar power!

Where: Three different residential solar installations across Milton, starting point will be the northwestern corner of Derry Road and Ontario St. N.

When: 1.00pm-4.00pm on Sunday 6th November, 2011.

Cost: FREE!

Contact: or 647-880-4656, Halton Environmental Network

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Frequently asked questions about green energy in Ontario.

Frequently asked questions about green energy in Ontario

Published Sept. 20, 2011

By Tim Weis

Ontario has taken the laudable step of closing down its entire fleet of coal-fired power plants — a move supported across partisan lines. This, however, is but one of the many changes that is coming to Ontario's electricity system.

Tim Weis, director of renewable energy & energy efficiency, answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the role that renewable energy could play in the future of electricity generation in Ontario.

Learn more


Renewable is Doable!

Latest Updates

August 2010

Green energy key to avoiding steep nuclear costs in Ontario: report

Ontario's Green Energy Plan 2.0 shows value of investing in green energy

Green Energy Plan 2.0

Renewable is Doable's latest report outlines how Ontario could save money by replacing the retiring Pickering nuclear station with green energy options such as wind power, solar and biogas.

Last summer, Ontario suspended its purchase of two new replacement reactors when their cost reportedly topped $26 billion — $20 billion more than expected in 2007.

This report, Ontario's Green Energy Plan 2.0, shows that a mix of green energy technologies and conservation acquired through the government's Green Energy Act would be 12 to 48 per cent cheaper than buying new reactors to replace the aging Pickering nuclear station, which is set to close in 2020 due to high maintenance costs.

Read the media release.

Download the report [PDF].


Thursday, 20 October 2011

HHEAT at the Dundas Town Hall

Close to 40 people came out to the "Building Community Power Co-operatively" workshop on Tuesday night. Jeff Harti gave a presentation that inspired many ideas, questions and interest in pursuing the co-op model for generating locally generated energy and decentralising energy production in Ontario.

Again, like in the previous meets, participants requested more examples of how co-ops actually work.
Their wish shall be fulfilled at upcoming workshops slated to take place in the new year.

In the mean time, keep checking this blog for workshops pertaining to community power.

Environment Hamilton is partnering with OSEA to deliver a workshop called
Community Power Roadmap to Success

When:Wednesday, November 9, 6:30 - 9:30 pm

Where:Central Branch - Hamilton Public Library

55 York Boulevard

This is a hands-on experiential workshop where you will be walked through a prospect for a project that will give you the basic tools required to get a community solar power project started in your own community.
No previous experience required other than a desire to be part of Ontario's renewable future.

Experts will guide you through an interactive discussion.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Liberals re-elected-GEA lives on in Ontario.

Liberals re-elected in Ontario: Green Energy Act and feed-in-tariff program live on

Happy to report that the re-election of the Ontario Liberal government last night means the province’s landmark Green Energy Act, which gave birth to the continent’s first comprehensive Euro-style feed-in-tariff program, has survived its first major challenge. The opposition Progressive Conservative party vowed to scrap the FIT program if elected and neuter the green energy legislation that has brought billions of dollars of investment to Ontario, thousands of jobs, and a new economic pathway for a province that needs to reinvent itself for the 21st century.

The election outcome means the admittedly far-from-perfect FIT will remain and the legislation protected, at least for a few years — enough time for these ambitious initiatives to prove their worth to Ontarians. In many ways, the fact Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals were left 1 seat short of a majority government is a good thing, as it forces the government to consider and take seriously some legitimate concerns with how the FIT has rolled out and the lack of attention paid to energy conservation initiatives. The New Democratic Party of Ontario, which won 17 seats, are generally supportive of both the GEA and the FIT, but the fact they hold the balance of power could — and should — nudge the Liberal government to improve its approach.

1. The NDP has been rightly critical of the Liberals for their lack of attention to energy conservation programs, so perhaps now they can light a fire under the Liberals, which have done some important things on conservation but recently have only paid lip-service to it, despite the fact it’s the best and most permanent way — from both a cost and environmental perspective — to create jobs and reduce the province’s dependence on fossil fuels.

2. Expect the NDP to also force the government’s hand on the nuclear file — specifically plans to build two new reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. Can we afford it? Does it make sense? Would the money be better spent on deep energy conservation efforts and programs to help low-income Ontarians deal with the energy transition taking place in this province?

3. The NDP’s idea of putting all the power back in the hands of a re-constituted Ontario Hydro is flawed beyond belief, but certainly one can envision a new role for Ontario Power Generation. Why not let OPG develop renewables such as wind, particularly in the far north, in a way that still respects the need for independent power developers and the partly competitive market we currently have? It won’t be easy, but certainly the question should be asked. Letting OPG put some flesh in the game could also change the dialogue with the Power Workers’ Union, which has bashed the McGuinty green energy plan partly — if not mostly — because it threatens the jobs of its unionized workers at coal and nuclear plants.

4. I would hope the Liberals, backed by the NDP, also put pressure on Hydro One, which many believe has purposely dragged its feet when it comes to upgrading transmission and distribution to accommodate green energy projects, in hopes the PCs would win the election last night. Sorry folks — your wish didn’t come true. Time to deliver on what your shareholder has asked you to do. And if Hydro One can’t do it, perhaps the government should consider the idea of permitting merchant lines in Ontario, allowing private-sector transmission developers to enter the game to fill a vacuum left behind by our public utility.

5. Finally, the NDP did seem to emphasize a need to listen to the concerns of municipalities more closely. The Liberals were too dismissive of local concerns when the GEA and FIT were launched, declaring they would have no tolerance for NIMBYism. Well, obviously that wasn’t an issue when it came to natural gas power plant protests, so the Libs have exposed themselves as hypocritical on this file. Some of those protesting wind farms in rural Ontario are extreme, and they will never be pleased. But many have more legitimate and addressable concerns that need to be heard and, when possible and reasonable, acted on. The government needs to show more goodwill in this area, otherwise it will never get the rural buy-in that it desperately needs for Ontario’s green-energy future to remain bright.

Anyway, these are just some of my initial thoughts. Please consider this an open thread. I’m interested in hearing other views out there.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Community Power Fund

Welcome to the Community Power Fund
The Community Power Fund (CP Fund) was established in 2007 to support project development activities of Ontario-based community organizations pursuing local renewable energy projects, through the provision of a number of financing instruments to support community power, including grants, loans and investment equity.

These instruments include the Community Power Fund grant program, the Community Energy Partnerships Program, and Community Power Capital. For more information, please visit the CP Financing page.

Corporate Structure
The Fund is incorporated as a non-profit, co-operative corporation. The Community Power Fund is governed by a 10 member Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for hiring and managing the CPF Executive Director, selecting the Technical Evaluation Committee members, and making the final approval decisions on the applications received.

The Fund was founded by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) and three of its founding and current Directors are Directors of OSEA. Each of the Fund Directors has a three-year term. Directors wishing to continue beyond that term must be approved by the Board.

Community Power Fund

OSEA'S Community Power Services Group!

The Community Power Services Group (CPSG) is OSEA's service wing. We assist community groups and individuals in developing their own renewable energy projects.

We understand that community-based organizations and individual residents may not have the financial or human resources to perform all the feasibility, design & development activities involved in building a renewable power project. Therefore, in addition to our wide range ofservices, we start by helping our clients to secure grant funding to cover project development costs. The main funder of community power projects in Ontario is the Community Energy Partnership Program (CEPP).

Our team and our network are determined to provide the capacity needed for your renewable energy project to become a success! Please feel free to view our community projects to get a better idea of our experience and focus.

For more information on our services please take a look at our brochures:

  • Individual community members should examine this brochure:
    • Individuals typically include farmers, small buisness owners, landowners or any other resident of Ontario.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Solar PV rapidly becoming the cheapest option to generate electricity

By Kees Van Der Leun
For a long time, the holy grail of solar photovoltaics (PV) has been "grid parity," the point at which it would be as cheap to generate one's own solar electricity as it is to buy electricity from the grid. And that is indeed an important market milestone, being achieved now in many places around the world. But recently it has become clear that PV is set to go beyond grid parity and become the cheapest way to generate electricity.

Whenever I say this I encounter incredulity, even vehement opposition, from friends and foes of renewable energy alike. Apparently, knowledge of the rapid developments of the last few years has not been widely disseminated. But it's happening, right under our noses! It is essential to understand this so that we can leverage it to rapidly switch to a global energy system fully based on renewable energy.

Solar cells.A hundred solar cells, good for 380 watts of solar PV power.Photo: Ariane van DijkWorking on solar PV energy at Ecofys since 1986, I have seen steady progression: efficiency goes up, cost goes down. But it was only on a 2004 visit to Q-Cells' solar cell factory in Thalheim, Germany, that it dawned on me that PV could become very cheap indeed. They gave me a stack of 100 silicon solar cells, each capable of producing 3.8 watts of power in full sunshine. I still have it in the office; it's only an inch high!

That's when I realized how little silicon was needed to supply the annual electricity consumption of an average European family (4,000 kWh). Under European solar radiation, it would take 1,400 cells, totaling less than 30 pounds of silicon.

Of course, you need to cover the cells with some glass and add a frame, a support structure, some cables, and an inverter. But the fact that 30 pounds of silicon, an amount that costs $700 to produce, is enough to generate a lifetime of household electricity baffled me. Over 25 years, the family would pay at least $25,000 for the same 100,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity from fossil fuels -- and its generation cost alone would total over $6,000!

At a very large scale, the cost of manufacturing anything drops to just above the cost of its base materials. As scale goes up, per-unit costs come down. This is known as a "learning curve" -- the price per unit of capacity comes down by x percent for every doubling of cumulatively installed capacity. For solar PV modules, the learning rate has been exceptionally high, averaging 22 percent for the past two decades. The cost of the "balance of system," i.e., all other components needed, follows this trend line closely. So this is what we see happening now in PV:


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Building Community Power Co-operatively

Next HHEAT meetings for Hamilton (these two meetings are the same as the one at Laidlaw):

Tuesday, October 18th-Dundas Town Hall 7-9pm
60 Main St, Dundas

Wednesday November 2nd- Beasley Community Centre
145 Wilson St, Hamilton

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Ontario's Path to Green Prosperity

Just 20 years ago, nearly all of Germany’s electricity was generated by coal, oil and nuclear power. Today, renewables such as wind and solar provide more than 20 per cent of the nation’s power. Clean energy production has become a major source of jobs and investment. It has been a real success story for the economy and the environment.

Ontario is now embarking on a similar path. It is building a global reputation as an emerging clean energy leader in North America. To drive this change, Ontario is using a feed-in-tariff program (providing price incentives for green energy) that is very similar to the one we have used in Germany. This program has been the key to our success, and should produce similar results in Ontario.

Germany’s feed-in tariff (FiT) was introduced in 1991 by a conservative federal government. (So it is surprising to hear some Canadian politicians describe this as a “left-wing” or “liberal” idea.) That conservative government understood that coal and nuclear power posed serious health and environmental threats, and that clean energy was likely to drive the economy of the future. The FiT included two parts: an obligation for electric utilities to purchase renewable electricity from independent producers, and a tariff that set a premium price to be paid to producers of this electricity.

Early experience led to refinements in Germany’s pioneering feed-in tariff — many of which I brought in as environment minister (from 1998 to 2005). These included a 20-year price guarantee, which was critical to attract investment in this start-up technology, with uncertain future prices. Also, purchase prices came to be based on production cost — which meant different prices for wind, solar, biomass and geothermal power. These prices were designed to decline annually (for new facilities), based on expected cost reductions for clean energy production — an approach known as “tariff degression.”

In addition to boosting renewables to 20.8 per cent of Germany’s power supply by mid-2011, the FiT is credited with helping to create an estimated 370,000 new jobs. According to one study, employment in Germany’s green energy sector is projected to surpass employment in its automotive sector by 2020. The FiT has helped make Germany a leader in the fast-growing global market for clean energy technology — which saw a record $243 billion in new investment in 2010, of which German firms secured $41 billion (second only to China).

The feed-in tariff has proven to be among the most effective policy tools for accelerating the deployment of renewable energy, and has now been adopted by more than 46 jurisdictions worldwide — including Ontario.

Ontario’s feed-in tariff, adopted as part of the 2009 Green Energy and Green Economy Act, is North America’s first comprehensive pricing program for boosting renewable energy. Ontario’s approach seems well-designed, and is modelled on the lessons learned from Germany.

It starts by paying a premium price to producers of clean energy, including farmers and homeowners. This guaranteed price is necessary to kick-start investment in this new technology, as we learned in Germany; but as efficiencies of scale reduce production costs (as with most new technologies) this price premium can decline, and clean energy can eventually compete on equal footing in the market. Accordingly, Ontario’s program will reduce the price for renewable power over time, as it becomes more cost-competitive.

Since the Green Energy Act came in, renewable power production has increased rapidly; it now provides 5 per cent of Ontario’s electricity capacity, and is projected to reach 13 per cent by 2018. That’s enough to power 1.9 million homes. Moreover, Ontario’s feed-in tariff has already attracted more than $26 billion in private sector investment, and generated an estimated 20,000 new jobs. Those figures are consistent with the kinds of results we have seen in Germany.

Just as Germany’s feed-in tariff will enable our nation to break its ties with nuclear power by 2022, so Ontario’s FiT is making possible the province’s plan to phase out coal-burning power plants by 2014. Turning off Ontario’s coal-fired power plants is the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiative in North America: one that will also save thousands of lives and billions in health-care costs.

The world is shifting to a clean energy future. The places that move first in this direction will reap the economic rewards, as we have seen in Germany. Ontario is on the right path. Now it must stay the course.

J├╝rgen Trittin was Germany’s minister for the environment from 1998 to 2005.

Source: The Star

An opportunity to invest in Community Power!

As an Ontario resident who cares about the development of solar in this
province, we are pleased to let you know about an exciting new offer to invest in local community solar projects.This is a great opportunity to get involved in a community project for a lower financial commitment. Homeowners with their own solar panels can also take their commitment further and join our members in further supporting renewable energy.

TREC has launched the SolarShare Co-operative to allow allOntarians to participate in the province's burgeoning new energy sector. TREC/SolarShare is a new co-op that currently owns 18 solar PV installationsacross Ontario. All sites are generating power and revenue from solar electricity fed-into the grid. SolarShare offers the public a simple way toparticipate in Ontario's solar energy economy and benefit directly from the province's Green Energy Act and Feed-in Tariff program.

You can become a SolarShare member and purchase a community solar bond thatwill earn you a 5% return. Bond sales are currently limited to one per member. In the next few months, multiple bonds will be available and will be eligible for filing in an RRSP/ RESP or TFSA self directed account.Details of Community Solar Bonds:· 1 vote per member in the SolarShare Co-op· $1,000 bond available per co-op member (temporarily)· 5% annual return· 5-year term. For more information about how to join the co-op and invest, visit or say hello at

FTR Living Green with Green Venture