Building Community Power CO-OPperatively: A Renewable Energy Summit

Thursday, 26 January 2012

HHEAT Building Community Power Workshop Series 2012 in Halton Region!

Building Community Power Co-operatively Workshops 2012!

The HHEAT kicked off the first of a series of workshops for 2012, on Tuesday the 24th of January at the Oakville Town Hall. It was an engaging workshop with much discussion and interaction amongst attendees, the speakers and the HHEAT members.

Mr. Bill Thompson of Blue Green Canada, delivered the first half of the workshop where he reinforced the ideology of community power and it’s relation to renewable energy. He also spent some time explaining the principles and requirements of co-op development, making connections and had a lot to share from his professional background at Blue Green Canada and Environmental Defence. The second half of the workshop was presented by Mr. Martin Ince, a local Project Developer of M.K. Ince and Associates Ltd. His presentation was more focused upon how a working group can choose their potential site using both solar and wind examples and calculations to demonstrate his rationale. How to determine the suitability/feasibility of your site, site control and available technology and economics as well as the provincial legislation and acts that govern these actions were also looked at in depth via the use of some local maps and areas that were familiar to the attendees of the workshop.

At the end, there were much questions and concerns from the workshop attendees and each of the speakers and the HHEAT members, were able to address them accordingly. We encourage all participants to attend all workshops if possible so that they can learn as much as they can and truly benefit from this overall process. For 2012, we have four more workshops (two in Hamilton and two in Halton) left to come:

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

Financing Mechanisms & the Co-operative Model/ Business plan formation.

Learn about the various ways to finance (capitalize) a renewable energy co-operative and to secure the money that is necessary for project start-up. Harry French, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA).

Learn business plan formation and the risks associated with a project and how the co-op model can address them.Graham Flint, Technical Specialist, HHEAT.

Halton: Tuesday, February 21st, 2012. Burlington Central Library from 6.00-9.00pm.

Hamilton: Thursday, February 23rd, 2012. Council Chambers Dundas Town Hall from 6.30-9.30pm.

Principles of Co-op Promotion & Maintenance

Learn the basics of developing the internal structure of your co-op’s team and the formation of the steering committee, members and the board of directors.
Learn also about co-op incorporation in Ontario, how to devise a marketing plan for your co-op and maintaining your co-op’s momentum and progress over time.

Peter Cameron, Co-op Development Manager at the Ontario Co-operative organization and Bill Thompson (Blue Green Canada).

Halton: Tuesday, March 20th 2012. Milton Sports Centre from 6.30-9.30pm.

Hamilton: Thursday, March 22nd 2012. Beasley Community Centre from 6.00-9.00pm.

If you have an idea or suggestion as to what you would like to see or learn more about within the HHEAT workshops, feel free to contact us directly. You can contact the Project Coordinator Anuja at for more information or visit our HHEAT blog at

Friday, 20 January 2012

A Co-operative Approach to Going Solar

by Energy Matters

A growing number of people are starting renewable energy schemes in their communities through co-operatives and other forms of collaboration.

A recent report from Co-operatives UK and The Co-operative Group states 43 communities are in the process of or already producing renewable energy by investing money to install solar panels, large wind turbines or hydro-electric power in their area.

£16 million has been invested by over 7,000 people in these schemes, which include a £2 million wind farm and a 98kW solar photovoltaic installation on the roof of a brewery.

The report says green economy co-operatives are the most rapidly growing part of the UK co-op sector, jumping 24% since 2008.

In addition to these co-operatives' efforts seeing clean, renewable energy being supplied to their communities, there is also a financial return to participants through the sale of electricity produced.

The co-operative approach covered in the report basically works like this:

- A core group establishes the feasibility of a project, a process that may be assisted by a grant or the advice from other co-ops or non-profits.

- A share prospectus outlining the business plan, expected return on investment and other benefits is published and marketed locally.

- All investors become members of the co-op.

- Once sufficient funding is raised, which may also involve a bank loan, the facility is constructed.

- Members receive a return and decide how profits will be allocated.

Paul Monaghan of The Co-operative Group says the potential for a community-led clean energy revolution in the UK is huge.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

AGRIS Co-operative Returns $786,000 to its Farmer-Owners!

AGRIS Co-operative Ltd.

AGRIS Co-operative Ltd.

January 16, 2012 12:56 ET

AGRIS Co-operative Returns $786,000 to its Farmer-Owners

CHATHAM, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 16, 2012) - An income before tax of $1.7 million for 2011 was reported by AGRIS Co-operative Ltd. board president, Larry Pajot to the co-operative's shareholders at its annual meeting held at Club Lentinas, in Chatham. Based on these results, Pajot announced that the board of directors has declared a patronage of $375,000 in addition to the $411,000 paid on interest bearing investments.

In his year-end report, Larry Pajot told owners that, "In 2011 AGRIS has been celebrating 90 years of serving its owners. Our owners are technology savvy, aggressive and competitive. With our net income we re-invest a large portion to modernize our operations." It was also reported that with direction from its owners, AGRIS Co-operative sponsored a new sister co-operative, AGRIS Solar Co-operative. "This is now a standalone company and the largest solar co-operative in Ontario," Pajot added.

AGRIS Co-operative general manager Jim Campbell reviewed the operational highlights of 2011 for owners. Campbell highlighted that during its first full five years of operation, sales have increased significantly. "More importantly, profitability has been positive during these past five years allowing us to distribute more than $1.5 million in patronage back to our owners," says Campbell. Retained earnings have nearly doubled to $10.3 million with AGRIS owners investing $8.7 million in the co-operative, an increase of 35 per cent since 2006. "This increased owner investment and retained earnings has allowed the AGRIS board of directors to have aggressive capital spending budgets, increasing our grain storage capacity, custom application capabilities and overall maintain and expand our physical assets," added Campbell.

GROWMARK Ontario region manager, Claude Gauthier was a guest speaker who did a presentation on "2012 The International Year of Co-operatives," being celebrated around the world. "AGRIS owners should be proud of their contributions to agriculture and the community," says Gauthier. "AGRIS is a key member-owner of GROWMARK, the 54th largest co-operative in the world," added Gauthier.

The owners of AGRIS Co-operative also acknowledged the service and contributions of Pat Vanheule and Ken Barrette who are leaving the board with a commemorative plaque. The election of five directors for the co-operative was held and re-elected to a three-year term was Kim Fysh from the Thamesville area, Jim Maw from Mooretown, Stan Towers from Glencoe and newly elected was Stan Gillier from Chatham and John Nooyen from Kent Bridge. The board of directors met immediately after the meeting and conducted the election of officers. The following were elected; as president- Larry Pajot, vice-president - Jim Maw and secretary - Paul Repko.

AGRIS Co-operative Ltd. is a one-hundred-per-cent farmer-owned grain marketing and farm-input supply company that serves 1,200 farmer owners in 14 locations in Essex, Kent, Elgin, Middlesex and Lambton Counties. It is a leader in precision farming technology, seed, agronomy and petroleum services. The co-operative is a partner of Great Lakes Grain, a grain merchandising company. AGRIS Co-operative is a member-owner of GROWMARK, Inc. and markets products and services under the FS banner.

Visit and for more information.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Here's to the year of the co-op!
We have many workshops for you in the upcoming months. Here's a start:

HHEAT Workshop Outline 2012:
3 specialized workshops between Jan-May (excluding the summit).

1) Overview of Co-ops and other models, Selection of Technology and Site Selection.
Halton: 24/01/12, Oakville Town Hall, 1225 Trafalgar Rd. 6.30-9.30pm
Hamilton: 25/01/12 Laidlaw United Church, 155 Ottawa St. Hamilton 6.30-9.30pm

-Bill Thompson, Director of Blue-Green Canada.
-Martin Ince- Project Developer, M.K. Ince and Associate Ltd, Renewable Energy and Environmental Consulting

2) Financial Considerations and Developing a Business Plan
Halton: 21/02/12, Burlington Central Library,2331 New St.. 6-9pm
Hamilton: 23/02/12 Council Chambers Dundas Town Hall 6.30-9.30pm

-Harry French- Director, Community Power Services Group, OSEA
-Graham Flint, HERE group/Solar and Technical Specialist

3) Co-op Administration and Promotion
Halton: 20/03/12, Milton Sports Centre,605 Santa Maria Blvd. 6.30-9.30pm
Hamilton: 22/03/12 Beasley Community Centre,145 Wilson St, Hamilton. 6-9pm
-Bill Thompson, Director of Blue-Green Canada
-Peter Cameron, Co-op Development Manager, Ontario Co-operative Association