Building Community Power CO-OPperatively: A Renewable Energy Summit



Wednesday, 5 September 2012

HHEAT WORKSHOP: Marketing Your Renewable Energy Co-operative



Learn marketing strategies, develop a sales pitch and attract members and investors to your renewable energy co-operative
(including next steps to following up with interested but not yet committed individuals).
 
Monday, September 17th at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)  7-9pm. Rooms 1 and 2.

The OPA has finally released FIT 2.0. and the opportunity for community power has never been better!   
Hamilton Halton Energy Awareness Team (HHEAT) invites you to an engaging and fun workshop on tips and direction for generating sustained interest and new members as you move forward with your co-operative. A panel of marketing and sales experts will lead the workshop. These include:
 
Glen Marshall from Greening Marketing inc.
McMaster Innovation Park

Paul Charbonneau
Paul@EnergyAdvocate.ca


Matt Zipchen, B.Com., M.P.P.
Project Manager – SolarShare and LakeWind | TREC Renewable Energy Cooperative 


Workshop is FREE. Please RSVP.
Beatrice: hheat@environmenthamilton.org or 905 549 0900
Andrea:   hheat@haltonenvironment.ca  or call 416-726-3671

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Final Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) Rules Out


The final FIT Program Rules, Contract and other program documents have now been posted on the FIT Program website.  
The application window for small FIT projects is anticipated to open on October 1, 2012, and remain open until November 30, 2012. If your FIT project is a small FIT project (typically 500 kW or smaller), then you must submit your electronic application form during the application window to be considered under the FIT 2.0 Program. The OPA anticipates awarding 200 MW of small FIT contracts.
The OPA recommends that you review the final versions of the program documents carefully to ensure you understand how the FIT Program has changed. In addition, there have been several revisions made to the draft version of the Rules as a result of feedback received. 
In order to retain their original time stamp, those who had previously submitted a small FIT project application must submit a revised electronic application form during the small FIT application window, followed by a hard copy submission within five business days. 

New small FIT project applications will also be accepted during this same window. All applications received during the window will be reviewed according to the new FIT Program Rules for compliance and for the prioritization of applications. Where projects have the same number of priority points, the time stamp will be used to determine the order in which projects will be tested for available transmission and distribution capacity. As indicated above, the OPA expects to award 200 MW of small FIT contracts under the first application window for small FIT projects.
Once FIT contracts have been offered to successful applicants, any FIT applications that do not receive contracts will be terminated and their time stamp will be lost. Application Security will be returned.
Pre-existing small FIT applications that are not resubmitted during the first application window for small FIT projects will also be terminated. In this case, the time stamp will be lost and the Application Fee will be returned. These projects can reapply with a new application within the next small FIT application window.
The timing for the large FIT project application window will be communicated once details are finalized.
The OPA has posted a list of questions and answers about the revised program, which can be found here.
If you still have questions about this process after reading the OPA’s website, please contact the OPA’s customer service centre at 1-888-387-3403 or email FIT@powerauthority.on.ca.
    

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

City powers its treasury with big new solar project



1,400-panel plan will feed energy to grid

The city has given the go-ahead for solar panels to be installed on the central Hamilton building which houses its operations centre.

The city has signed an agreement with Horizon Energy Solutions to allow the company to install a 1,400-panel, 250-kilowatt solar power system on top of 330 Wentworth St. N., which is north of Barton Street East.

Horizon Energy is a local developer of renewable energy projects that is 79.9 per cent owned by the City of Hamilton. It will be a tenant of 330 Wentworth.

Horizon will pay rent to the city, which is expected to generate $250,000 over the course of 20 years. The city will also be paid dividends, but Horizon will not reveal its revenue projections for competitive reasons.

The project will use about 50,000 square feet on the building's 250,000-square-foot roof, said Tom Chessman, manager of energy initiatives for the City of Hamilton.

He said the panels will most likely be installed next spring.

The Wentworth site was chosen because of its location, structural stability, and how it is situated, said Horizon Energy vice-president Scott Knapman.

Horizon is responsible for the installation and operation of the panels.

“We install these systems and then the power we produce off them, we sell back to the Ontario Government under the Feed-in-Tariff program,” Knapman explained.

The Feed-in-Tariff program from Ontario Power Authority was introduced in 2009 by the Green Energy and Green Economy Act as a way to reduce coal-fired electricity and boost the renewable energy business.

According to Horizon Energy's annual report for 2012, last year the city reaped more than $8.9 million in dividends from the company, said Sheri Ojero, spokesperson for Horizon Utilities Corporation, sister company to Horizon Energy Solutions.

Revenue from the Wentworth project rent will go to the energy reserve fund, which pays for salaries for the city's office of energy initiatives.

The office pursues projects and initiatives that save the city money on its energy costs, Chessman explained.

The city's energy initiatives webpage says projects and initiatives in Hamilton's corporate facilities have saved taxpayers $23 million since 2006.

scrosier@thespec.com

905-526-3390 | @stephatthespec

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Renewable Energy Co-Operatives - Open for Business?






On July 11th, 2012 the Minister of Energy directed the Ontario Power Authority to continue with and to make modifications to the Feed-in-Tariff ("FIT") Program.

Why is this directive so important for Renewable Energy Co-Operatives ("RE Co-Ops")?

RE Co-Ops are one of the primary beneficiaries of the directive.  The Minister directed that renewable energy projects that have a fifty percent (50%) ownership interest by a RE Co-Op where 50 or more members of the RE Co-Op are local property owners are first in line (with aboriginal groups) when allocating grid capacity.  With respect to remaining projects, a renewable energy project where fifteen (15) to fifty percent (50%) of the project is owned by a RE Co-Op and where 50 or more members of the RE Co-Op live in the municipality where the project is located get 3 priority points for grid access.  This is the most priority points for any category.  Amended FIT Rules incorporating the foregoing are expected to be issued any day. The 50 members referred to above becomes 35 for a Small FIT Project.

Why is Priority for Access to the Grid so important? 

Because it appears there is not enough capacity on the grid to connect all projects seeking connections.
What will be the result of this development?
It can be expected that many other project developers who are not RE Co-Ops will be seeking to join forces with RE Co-Ops to secure grid access. 

How will these developers be "joining forces" with RE Co-Ops?
They won't be forming a new corporation.  The RE Co-Op has to have a direct ownership interest in the project with the developer.  It can be expected that the RE Co-Op and developer will be entering into an agreement regarding how they will own and operate the project together.

Sounds great! Are there any issues?
There are several uncertainties that will have to be addressed, including: any issues arising out of the final FIT Rules and completing the projects within the time prescribed to validate FIT contracts

What's this about timing?
The FIT Rules provide that project proponents have a certain amount of time to build their projects to validate their contracts.  There are also key milestones that must be met at various points during project development.  In order for the project to proceed, the parties will have to:
enter into an agreement governing the terms and conditions of their relationship,
have the required equity and financing in place, and
have the prescribed 50 land owners from the local municipality as members of the RE Co-Op
This will take time.  The Financial Services Commission of Ontario ("FSCO") governs co-operatives.  These new FIT Rules will be new to FSCO as well.  It can be expected there will be a learning curve for them.

Where do we go from here?

Hopefully the new FIT Rules will provide further guidance.  The next several months will be both challenging and promising for the renewable energy sector.  Stay tuned for further developments.


Mr. Shewan is a partner with the law firm of Lerners LLP and the Practice Group Leader of their Business Law Group.  He may be reached at ishewan@lerners.ca or 519.640.6334.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Federation to Solve Ontario’s Green Energy Struggle


Federation of Community Power Co-operatives (FCPC)  to solve Ontario’s green energy struggle
From the press release
Despite the best intentions, Ontario’s Feed-In tariff (FIT) program has resulted in contentious debates over energy in then province.  Community participation in projects was suggested as a solution but community power proponents have had limited success to date. A new Federation of Community Power Co-operatives intends to change all that under new FIT rules anticipated any day. By unifying the co-op sector under one umbrella and sharing resources, the Federation expects to support at least 100 MW of community-controlled projects by 2015.  

Debates over land-use, energy prices and the impact of renewable energy have been a challenge for Ontario’s Green Energy Act and Feed-in-Tariff program. With these struggles at the forefront of green energy news, an innovation developed by Ontario citizens to engage more communities in renewable energy - the community power co-operative - has been overshadowed despite its increasing popularity.  

“The FIT program has been controversial because people don’t feel they’re taking part in the current energy transition,” says Deb Doncaster, head of the Community Power Fund.  “Co-ops are attractive because every community can now have a direct economic stake in local projects, and thus in the program as a whole.” 

Under the new rules of the Feed-in Tariff Program (“FIT 2.0”), community power co-operatives and aboriginal power projects are acknowledged as key to gaining wider support for green energy in Ontario. However, co-operatives have had limited success to date given the intense competition for FIT contracts and grid capacity in the province. 

FIT 2.0 prioritises community projects through a “points” system and “set-aside” of 10% capacity for renewable energy projects that are majority owned by co-ops and aboriginal communities. 

A new umbrella organisation has been formed – the Federation of Community Power Co-operatives (FCPC) – to facilitate co-op led project development at the highest possible standards by sharing collective experiences, expertise, knowledge and tested development tools and resources. 

By forming a Federation, community power co-ops will have a common voice to negotiate with government and private developers. Co-ops will also work together and share their resources, tools and knowledge to help the sector meet its community power set-aside. 

“In forming the Federation of Community Power Co-operatives, the sector is practicing one of its core principles, co-operation among co-operatives – a fitting development in this, the International Year of Co-operatives” says Peter Cameron of the Ontario Co-operative Association. The goal is to work collectively towards maximising the set-aside allocation, creating efficiencies and best practices and in the long run, putting community power on the map in a way we have seen in places like Denmark and Germany where citizens own up to 50% of all renewable energy generation. 

Judith Lipp, Chair of the FCPC, says the Federation is eager to help other co-ops and proponents of renewable power, and encourages them to join the conversation. “Community power has a great future if we work together to make it happen,” she adds. 

Media contacts:

Judith Lipp, Chair of FCPC, jlipp@trec.on.ca / 647 701 6032


Friday, 27 July 2012

Capacity Building Tools and Workshops at TREC

TREC's capacity-building templates, tools and workshops are designed for groups who have the internal capacity to self-organise, self-educate and move forward with their projects. TREC’s capacity building services help groups overcome very common, but challenging barriers and reduce the typical legal and consultant costs incurred in getting your co-op and project started. This includes templates for leases, legal agreements, business plans and financial models. TREC also offers workshops run by one of our staff to help you use our templates to their full potential.
Check it out:
http://www.trec.on.ca/services-resources/tools-and-templates

Toolkit:
http://www.trec.on.ca/services-resources/toolkit

Friday, 20 July 2012

Final microFIT Program Rules, Contract and other program documents have now been posted on the microFIT website.

A key change from the draft to the final version of the microFIT Rules is on the timelines for the microFIT process. Applicants will be required to seek an Offer to Connect from their local distribution company (LDC) within 30 days of the OPA confirming that their application is complete.  This will be followed by a 90-day period during which the applicant must receive an Offer to Connect. This change is to provide sufficient time for LDCs to process Offer to Connect requests from microFIT applicants.
The window for microFIT applications is now open.  Existing microFIT applicants (those who applied on or after September 1, 2011) will be subject to the revised microFIT Program Rules and pricing and need to resubmit their applications by August 10, 2012. If they do so, they will maintain their original timestamp, and their application will be processed in the order in which they were originally received. New microFIT applicants will need to be patient, as their applications will not be processed until after all resubmitted applications from existing applicants have been processed. 

Say NO to stalling wind power progress



Say NO to stalling wind power progress

Wind power has been lived with for decades in Europe and the USA. This is your chance to keep the development of the clean energy we need to begin to address global warming and rebuild our manufacturing economy.
There is currently a poll on CBC on whether a moratorium should be imposed while the Health Canada study is completed. If you can take the time to respond to the poll, please do so. Also, please pass along this information to others.


Friday, 13 July 2012

Renewable Energy Article in the Spec.com


Laidlaw Memorial United Church, was among the first in Ontario to sell electricity generated by rooftop solar panels
Think of it as a chance to buy shares in the sun.
A Hamilton group is seeking residents interested in joining the city's first renewable energy co-operative.
The goal is to pool enough cash to install a 55-kilowatt solar project — enough to power four or five homes — on one or more rooftops above the city.
“Lots of people like the idea of solar panels … but not a lot of people can afford to do it on their own,” said Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko, project co-ordinator for the Hamilton Halton Energy Awareness Team. “This is a chance to make green power accessible for the community.”
The upfront cost of the project could range between $275,000 and $300,000, she said. Solar panels vary in size and efficiency, but Ekoko said early research suggests the project might need more than 200 panels, each as tall as a person. Co-op organizers are still calculating the “minimum investment” needed to join the co-op, but Ekoko said a successful effort probably requires 200 members.
So far, the group has around 50 people who have expressed interest in taking part. All co-op members would share in decision-making as well as any profits, Ekoko said.
“We think we can make money from it, but it's primarily attractive for people who want to make a personal investment in a sustainable future,” she said.
Ekoko said organizers estimate they can pay back the capital cost over eight years — provided the province keeps paying top dollar for electricity from small green projects through the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program.
A revamped FIT program, which provides cash incentives for renewable energy projects such as solar, wind and hydro power, is scheduled to be launched by the Ontario Power Authority later this year with extra priority placed on community projects, said spokesperson Tim Butters. Under draft rates published online by the OPA, rooftop projects like Hamilton's would earn nearly 55 cents per kilowatt-hour by feeding the provincial power grid.
“We do really depend on the FIT program to make a venture like this possible,” said Ekoko, who estimates the project could produce $34,000 worth of power every year.
Organizers hope to nail down a large, structurally sound south-facing host rooftop in time to apply for an anticipated round of new FIT contracts.
The local group grew out of a partnership between Environment Hamilton and the Halton Environmental Network.
A similar effort dubbed Bright Sky Power is also heating up in Burlington, while several Hamilton-area churches are already reaping the benefits of a sunnier outlook on life, including projects at Laidlaw United, Central Presbyterian and Melrose United.
905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Some things you should know

 FIT 2.0 Released with Minister Directive
OSEA is pleased to provide its members with the following:

Top Ten things our members should know about the FIT 2.0 directive

  1. The microFIT rules/contract and application window will be available on the OPAs website this week – as early as tomorrow;
  2. The application window for small FIT will open at the same time as the rules/contract are posted. The OPA is committed to completing this task before the end of the month;
  3. Greater clarity provided on the prioritization of contract capacity set-aside for projects with greater than or equal to 50% community or aboriginal equity participation. OPA shall prioritize within any FIT window these projects over any other applications that obtain prioritization points;
  4. Definition of community from April 5th remains unchanged and the focus remains on co-operatives and First Nations;
  5. Further clarity on project readiness as well as points awarded for projects that applied on or before July 4, 2011 or on or after July 5, 2011;
  6. Directive introduces a “cure period” for FIT contracts that default on priority points awarded;
  7. CEPP to allocate $1,000,000 for education and marketing;
  8. Greater flexibility provided for ground-mount PV in protecting agricultural lands.
  9. Working Group to be established for project siting concerns; and
  10. Set-aside established as part of a pilot project for rooftop solar projects on un-constructed buildings.
These are highlights from the directive. OSEA will provide a more detailed overview of the FIT 2.0 when the final rules are released towards the end of July as committed by the Minister.

We will work in your interests to ensure that this commitment is met.

Regards,
the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association

Related Links

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Britain's supply of green energy soars


Britain is being powered by record levels of green energy, after a surprise increase in electricity generated from wind, sun and waves. Renewables accounted for 11 per cent of the UK's electricity in the first three months of 2012, compared with 7.7 per cent from January to March 2011.
There were big rises in power from onshore wind farms, while generation from hydroelectric and bioenergy plants also rose sharply, putting Britain much closer to meeting its legally binding commitment to get 15 per cent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. The increases could also go some way to solving the looming energy crisis, as decades-old nuclear, coal and gas power stations are taken out of service.
The latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that gas accounted for 27 per cent of electricity generated in the first quarter of 2012, its lowest level in the past 14 years. High gas prices were blamed. Coal accounted for 42 per cent, up by a fifth, while nuclear fell from 19 to 17 per cent.
Onshore and offshore wind generation was up by around 50 per cent year-on-year. Hydroelectricity output was 43 per cent higher between January and March 2012 than a year earlier, and thermal renewables rose by 20 per cent. Solar, wave and tidal grew by more than 800 per cent, but remain the smallest renewables sector with most technologies still in their infancy.
Gordon Edge, of the trade body RenewableUK, claimed the figures were proof that "green growth is beginning to take hold". Read more here.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Hamilton Association For Renewable Energy (HARE).



A group has emerged from the efforts of the HHEAT project. They are the Hamilton Association for Renewable Energy (HARE) and they are working to set up a solar co-operative in Hamilton. It's all very exciting.
Here's the Mission: To promote renewable energy projects in the City of Hamilton.


Vision: Enable co-operative and other forms of community owned renewable energy projects to be developed in Hamilton to reduce our environmental footprint and attain greater sustainability through;
1. Implementation of a renewable energy project
2. Providing support for, and collaboration  with,  others in the pursuit of renewable energy projects
3. Education of the public regarding the benefits of community power.

The web site is hamiltonhare@wordpress.com and the email address is hamiltonhare@gmail.com.
If you would like to get involved, don't hesitate to email or call 905 549 0900 and ask for Beatrice!



Wednesday, 13 June 2012

June 10th, Renewable Energy HHEAT Summit Slide Presentations Now Available
Please see the side bar and the click links under HHEAT SUMMIT.
You can also access the slide presentations on the Environment Hamilton website.

Monday, 11 June 2012

The HHEAT Summit

The Renewable Energy Summit was a great success! It was great to see that there are so many people interested in community renewable energy co-operatives.  Here are some pictures from the event.







Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Building Community Power CO-OPeratively: Renewable Energy Summit
EVENT TO BE HELD AT THE FOLLOWING TIME, DATE, AND LOCATION:
Attend Event
Sunday, 10 June 2012 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (PT)
Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)
680 Plains Rd West
Room 1
Burlington, Ontario L7T 4H4
Canada

The Hamilton Halton Renewable Energy Action Team (HHEAT) presents:   Building Community Power CO-OPperatively: A Renewable Energy Summit   Doors open at 12pm.   Workshop from: 1-5pm with sessions featuring:   Greetings from Burlington’s Mayor...
Read More

Share this event on Facebook and Twitter

We hope you can make it!

Cheers,
Hamilton Halton Energy Awareness Team (HHEAT) 
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Friday, 4 May 2012

Measuring the Co-operative Difference

Here's a neat site that readers will find useful. We have added it to the resource section as well.
They offer all sorts of free webinars.
http://cooperativedifference.coop/page/4-Events-Opportunities#Past%20webinars
People-Power-Profit: The Emergence of Renewable Energy Co-operatives in Canada
March 14, 2012 
This webinar toured the audience through renewable energy development across Canada, celebrating the successes and articulating the challenges of this exciting new co-op sector. The webinar also featured a few case studies in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The session also created space to discuss the following questions: What are the policy and regulatory contexts? And how do we build stronger cohesion across the country?
Featured presenters:
Judith Lipp is the Executive Director of the TREC Renewable Energy Co-operative, a position she has held since 2008. TREC is a a non-profit, co-operative that incubates, builds and administers renewable energy co-operatives in Ontario and educates the broader public about the importance of renewable energy, energy efficiency/conservation and the community power model. Judith has worked in the renewable energy sector since 1998 and has extensive related policy, research and project development experience.
Judith Lipp,Executive Director 
TREC Renewable Energy Cooperative 
Email: jlipp@trec.on.ca
Phone: 416 977 5093 
www.trec.on.ca
J.J. McMurtry is an Associate Professor in the Business and Society Program at York University. Professor McMurtry's areas of specialization include co-operative theory and practice, alternative economics, the Social Economy, and social and political thought. He is one of the founders of Green Campus Co-ops and is on the National Research Cluster for the Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network CURA.
J.J. McMurtry, Associate Professor
Business and Society Program, York University
Email: jmcmurtr@yorku.ca
Phone: 416 736 2100 ext. 77820
Wayne Groszko, Ph.D. is currently president of the Community Energy Co-operative (New Brunswick), an organization working at the community level to facilitate the transition to renewable energy. He has nine years experience in the field of renewable energy assessments, education, consulting and community-based social marketing. He teaches courses in environmental sciences at Dalhousie University and has published and presented several times regarding renewable energy.
Wayne Groszko, Community Energy Co-operative
Email: wayne@communityenergynb.ca
Phone: 902 482 8817
Toll-free: 1 866 315 9201
Wayne's Presentation - Community Renewable Energy in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Community Feed-in Tariff Program

Nova Scotia COMFIT Guide

Friday, 27 April 2012

FIT and MicroFIT Workshops

We held the FIT and Micro FIT Basics workshop in Hamilton (April 23rd) and Halton (April 24th) and we were quite surprised by some of the new recommendations. For example, the portion that says that members of a co-op must be property owners.
Community Projects
• Small FIT - need 35 Members who are Property Owner
in Community
• Large FIT - need 50 Members who are Property Owner
in Community
Property Owner defined as:
“a natural person that, as of the date two years prior to the
date of an Application, and at the date of such Application
still is, the registered owner of real property in a Municipality
in which a Project described in such Application is (in whole
or in part) located.”

Leasing and Renting seem to be Excluded!



Deadline to Submit your feedback to the OPA on the draft FIT 2.0


April 27th is the deadline to submit your feedback to the Ontario Power Authority on the draft FIT 2.0 rules, contract and definitions. 
Do you want to help improve the program? Then get your input in to the Ontario Power Authority to ensure that they have your great ideas on how to improve the program.
Haven't had time to go through everything yet? OSEA has pulled together helpful documents that can assist you based that include the following:
  1. Priority recommendations
  2. Secondary recommendations
  3. Black lined edits in support of the priority recommendations (already inserted into the OPA reporting form for easy copy and pasting).
You can download the full document here:
DownloadOSEA Submission on the Draft FIT 2.0 Rules (PDF)
Here is their summary slide deck of the Priority recommendations which can be downloaded here:
7 things to make FIT 2.0 a success - Minister of Energy and OPA briefing notes(PDF)

They have also left the Appendix containing the black lined recommendations in word format using the OPA's form for easier editing here:
DownloadDownload the Priority recommendations (Word doc)
The Appendix provides the black lined specific edits to the rules that OSEA is recommending in support of the Primary Recommendations. You will need to cut and paste the comments into your own form which is available athttp://fit.powerauthority.on.ca/comments-welcome-draft-fit-program-rules-and-contract for the FIT and http://microfit.powerauthority.on.ca/results-microfit-program-review-now-available for the MicroFIT programs respectively.  

Email your submission to to the Ontario Power Authority at FITsubmissions@powerauthority.on.ca and CC Minister Chris Bentley at christopher.bentley@ontario.ca

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Environment Hamilton's Annual General Meeting

Come on out tonight and meet some of the folks behind the HHEAT project as well as hear from the Environment Hamilton staff about their projects. We will also be hearing from eco-youth across Hamilton and  their involvement with local environmental initatives.
April 19th, 7pm-9pm at the Hamilton Public Library (Central). 55 York Blvd. Hamilton.

Monday, 2 April 2012

HHEAT Guidebook

The HHEAT Guidebook is now available!

This guidebook is for the development of wind, small hydro, solar, and biomass projects in Hamilton and Halton communities under Ontario’s Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program.

Launched in October 2009, the FIT program makes the vision of a decentralized, community owned power grid much more viable. Ontario’s FIT Program provides long-term fixed price contracts - called Power Purchase Agreements or PPAs - for the energy generated by various types of renewable energy technologies.

This guidebook is divided into three sections. From project conception and development, identifying information and contacting the right groups, we’ve provided links to relevant web sites, resources and reports in three sections:

1. Starting Your Renewable Energy Co-operative
2. Financing Your Renewable Energy Co-operative
3. Co-op Administration and Promotion 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

FIT and MicroFIT : Point system

New FIT and Micro FIT Rates

Ontario Moving ahead with Green Energy

McGuinty Government Takes Steps to Ensure Successful Renewable Energy Program

Ontario is moving ahead with its clean energy program, taking immediate steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of renewable energy while creating more jobs, lowering prices and giving communities a greater say.

Following the first review of Ontario's signature Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Program, the government will act quickly to implement all the recommendations, which include:

Creating more jobs sooner by streamlining the regulatory approvals process for projects while maintaining the highest environmental protection standards.
Reducing prices - for solar projects by more than 20 per cent and wind projects by approximately 15 per cent.
Encouraging greater community and Aboriginal participation through a new priority point system, which will also prioritize projects with municipal support.
Reserving 10 per cent of remaining capacity for projects with significant participation from local or Aboriginal communities.
Developing a Clean Energy Economic Development Strategy to leverage Ontario's significant expertise and strengths to become a global leader in the sector.
Ontario's clean energy strategy has attracted significant renewable energy development, leveraging more than $27 billion in new investment and economic opportunities. More than 20,000 clean energy jobs have been created and the province is on track to create 50,000 jobs, while helping build a healthier future for all Ontarians.

Monday, 26 March 2012

March 22nd: Building Community Power Co-operatively Workshop

Forming, managing and promoting your renewable energy co-operative.

A dynamic group, we learned the principles behind the internal structure of the co-op, including building the steering committee and the board of directors, and the role of members.
Shane Mulligan,(Community Power Consultant; Project Manager for LIFE Co-op; President of Community Renewable Energy Waterloo) lead this part of the workshop.
Shane had participants create a mock board of Directors- which was really useful as we discussed what were some of the qualities that make for a director.
Graham Flint, HHEAT Specialist talked about how to sustain your community power Co-op, how to devise a marketing plan for your co-op and maintaining your co-op’s momentum and progress over time.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Ontario Sustainable Energy Association welcomes FIT Review decision expected this week

Interview Opportunity - Kristopher Stevens, Executive Director, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) is neither surprised nor concerned that electricity prices from renewable sources under the Feed-in tariff (FIT) are expected to drop by at least 25%.

The Government of Ontario has demonstrated leadership by passing the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA) and should aggressively leverage its smart investment, maximizing ratepayer benefit while strengthening the emerging green economy.

The prices paid for renewable energy under the FIT are based on a "cost plus a reasonable return on investment" model. The scheduled two-year review of the FIT program was always intended to transparently adjust prices as costs fell.

By 2014, Ontario will phase out all of its remaining coal and by 2016, 25.62 TerraWatt hours (25,620,000,000 kWh) of power will need to be replaced as four of the province's 20 nuclear reactors come to the end of their lives. There are options for replacing this power generation and almost all are cheaper than rebuilding Darlington nuclear facilities.[i]

A portfolio of sustainable energy, options including: conservation, FIT procured renewables, combined heat and power (CHP) and potentially water power imports from Quebec, represents a real bargain both environmentally and economically.

The two-year review and revitalization of the FIT program has always been in the cards. It shouldn't be delayed - it is time for Ontarians to move forward and seize the opportunity!

Mr. Stevens can address questions such as:

How can renewables contribute to making our electricity grid more distributed, scalable, agile, reliable and smart?

How can we get the biggest bang for our electricity buck as we invest in the future of Ontario?

How can we maximize local control and benefits and address legitimate local concerns about development in their back yards?

How can OSEA's Community Power tools and resources help accelerate community and First Nations participation under the FIT?

How can a portfolio of sustainable energy mitigate high costs associated with other alternatives like nuclear?

Are there really new manufacturing and development jobs in solar, wind, water power and bio-energy?

How can we mitigate the cost of electricity bills for homeowners, businesses and industry with the new generation of nuclear plants costing much more than the supply we are replacing?

Background - How and Why Renewable Energy is critical to affordable energy

Contrary to rhetoric espoused by some, a portfolio of sustainable energy (conservation, CHP, water power imports and FIT procured renewables) is the cheapest option as we rebuild and reinvest in our long neglected electricity grid and replace our retiring coal and nuclear. For electricity buying Ontarians, more important than the FIT review is challenging the assumption that an expensive rebuild of our nuclear plants is necessary.

In just over two years Ontario's FIT, combined with growing global demand for renewable energy has driven down the cost of renewable energy generating technology.

Renewable power under the FIT program with its fixed twenty-year contract will keep the average price of power lower in Ontario as we begin to invest and to pay for fuel costs associated with new natural gas and nuclear power.

To ensure this investment in the future is not burdensome, Ontarians need to continue building upon their conservation efforts - after all the lowest cost power is the power we don't use. A renewed focus on energy conservation will lead to businesses, homeowners and industry consuming less and saving on their bills.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Renewable Energy in Halton and Hamilton

This HHEAT presentation put together by speaker Martin Ince discusses Renewable Energy in Halton and Hamilton as well as Opportunities for Co-Operatives Technology and Site Selection. It has been split into two parts to accommodate size. In Part 1 you can gain an overview of the electricity market as well as take a look at renewable wind energy technologies. In Part 2 you can take a further look at other renewable technologies. You will also be exposed to provincial programs and the basics of Ontario's Feed-In-Tariff. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Come out to the HHEAT's Building Renewable Energy Co-operatives 2012 Workshop Series!


Dundas Town Hall, Council Chambers Feb 23rd
Lots of great questions at this workshop. People learned about the various ways to finance a renewable energy co-operative and to secure the money that is necessary for project start-up.
Harry French from Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA)lead this part of the workshop.

Graham Flint, our Technical Specialist with HHEAT, did a fantastic job of explaining creating a business plan formation and the risks associated with a project and how the co-op model can address them.
Thirty plus people attended this workshop.

Monday, 27 February 2012

HHEAT Business Plan

In this HHEAT presentation, you can learn about what a business plan is and the purpose it serves within a co-operative. You can also learn about how these plans can be structures and gain an insight into each section of a plan from the executive summary right down to the marketing and operations planning section in addition to relevant resources and references to other related subject material.

What is the HHEAT Project?

In this HHEAT presentation, you can gain a snapshot of what the HHEAT project is and what it is striving to achieve in Hamilton and Halton. You can also gain an introduction to renewable energy in Ontario, Community Power and next steps that you can take with regards to awareness, advocacy and education within your local community. 

Co-op Financing Mechanisms and Business Plans

In this HHEAT presentation, you can learn about co-op financing mechanisms and strategies. You can learn about the various ways to finance a renewable energy co-op, explore the differences between non-profit and for-profit models so that you can see which model can suit your co-op better in addition to what an Offering Statement and how it can be used at phase of co-op development.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

An Introduction to Co-Operatives

In this HHEAT presentation, you can learn about how the basics of co-ops and co-op formation, how the community renewable energy co-operative business model works and the basics of renewable energy installation technology and site selection.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

HHEAT Community Power Presentation

This HHEAT presentation has been split into two parts. In Part 1 you can gain an overview of the HHEAT project's goals and learn more about renewable energy in Ontario. In Part 2 you can learn about renewable's energy's relation to community power and the co-operative business model. You will also be exposed to the basics of co-operative structure and formation, Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act and the funding/technical assistance that is available to help you get your own community renewable energy co-operative started. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Ontario green energy prices under review behind closed doors

Province quietly reviewing

In closed rooms at Queen’s Park, bureaucrats and policy-makers are poring over submissions about how much you should pay for renewable energy.

Many of the submissions have not been publicly released.

And while the policy-makers labour in private, discussion among non-government officials has also been muted.

For example, a coalition of green energy groups assembled dozens of like-minded “thought leaders” for a discussion of Ontario’s renewable energy policy late last year. They decried the lack of public understanding of energy policy — then agreed that their own discussions should remain private.

Even the name of the closed-door process is obscure to most people; the feed-in tariff (FIT) review.

But its outcome will be very real, as it will determine the prices to be paid for much of the power generated by wind, solar and biomass, and the rules governing who is eligible for the program.

The newer forms of renewable power still makes up a relatively small component of Ontario’s power grid — less than 4 per cent of the electricity generated in Ontario in 2011.

Nevertheless, they’ve garnered a disproportionately high amount of attention, because of the relatively high prices they attract.

The regulated consumer price for power is in the range of 6.2 to 10.8 cents a kilowatt hour. But the two big renewable sources (other than water-generated hydro power) receive more: 13.5 cents for wind and solar from 44.3 cents up.

When the program was set up in 2009, however, the government promised to review it, including prices, in two years. That’s the process now under way.

Energy Minister Chris Bentley says the closed-door approach is appropriate.

“There may be some that have written some things that they’d rather not read about, out there, in the attempt to give us the best possible advice, and I’m respecting that. But what we say is going to be publicly available.”

Peter Tabuns, energy critic for the New Democratic Party, disagrees.

“Those who are involved in the industry, and the public, need to know what the ideas are that are on the table,” says Tabuns. “An open process serves us better than a closed one.”

Conservative energy critic Vic Fedeli thinks the whole feed-in tariff program is wrong-headed and beyond fixing.

But he, too, thinks that at least the ideas submitted should be public:

“I’d like to read what people have to say.”

What, exactly, are feed-in tariffs?

When first announced in 2009, the feed-in tariff system was designed “to provide guaranteed prices for renewable energy projects,” according to a government release.

Along with guaranteed prices, producers get guaranteed access to the power grid for all the energy they produce, plus a long-term contract.

Most FIT contracts in Ontario are for 20 years.

But the Liberal government did decree that the initial prices paid for renewable power would be reviewed after two years — the process now under way. The new prices will apply to contracts going forward, not to those already signed.

How long will the review take?

The Energy Ministry asked for public submissions, which were due in early December.

“I said I’d like it to finish in the first quarter, by the end of March,” Bentley said in an interview.

“We got thousands of submissions, almost 3,000,” he said. “And they weren’t one-liners. Some of the submissions ran to dozens or hundreds of pages. So the people who’ve been working on this review have been working hard.”

The review doesn’t just cover price. It looks at the whole program, including what kinds of projects are eligible for the program, and who owns them.

Will the review scale back on renewables?

Not a chance, according to Bentley.

“I’m very committed to renewable energy, to green energy. I think the public would like to know what shape that’s going to take in the future.”

“I think those in the industry would like to be reassured that we have not lost our enthusiasm, and would like to know what the rules are.”

Fedeli of the Conservatives has a sharply different point of view. He blames high power prices — in part driven by the FIT program — for driving jobs out of Ontario.

“I’ve found wind and solar to be more social engineering than good energy policy,” says Fedeli. The Tories would scrap FIT.

What sort of prices are being discussed?

With many of the submissions under wraps it’s hard to know, but some groups have been public about their recommendations.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association argues that the current wind power rate of 13.5 cents a kilowatt hour is “cost competitive” for big turbines. It recommends a schedule of higher rates for smaller turbines.

But there’s a general consensus that rates for solar power will decline, as the cost of solar panels keeps dropping.

A coalition of green energy groups has made a detailed submission suggesting solar rates ranging from 38 cents to 59 cents a kilowatt hour (the current range is 44.3 cents to 71.3 cents) It suggests giving a small bonus to solar developments on reclaimed industrial sites.

They suggest leaving the overall price of wind power about the same, but introducing a new system that over time would scale back the rate for larger turbines to 8.2 cents a kilowatt hour.

Is price the only topic up for grabs?

By no means.

There is a lot of discussion about who owns renewable energy projects.

Some critics think the current scene is dominated by big corporate players. They think renewable power projects — especially wind turbines — would be more readily accepted if they were more broadly owned.

“What I hope would come out of the review would be a far greater emphasis on community and public ownership,” says Peter Tabuns, energy critic for the New Democrats.

“That’s needed to address political issues. But it’s also needed to ensure that more of the money that goes into the electricity system stays in Ontario.”

Toronto Star

10.8 cents

The top end of the regulated price consumers pay for one kilowatt hour

13.5 cents

The price companies are paid for one kWh of generated wind power

71.3 cents

The top end of what companies are paid for one kWh of solar power