Building Community Power CO-OPperatively: A Renewable Energy Summit

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

Monday, 6 February 2012

Powerful - Energy for Everyone!

Powerful - Energy for Everyone! A documentary by David Chernushenko Thu Feb 9, 2012, Milton, ON

Flick the switch, turn the key, press the button and then pay the bill. Multiply that by six billion and you’ve got a picture of energy consumption on Earth today. We’re hard-wired to a conventional energy system that drives our transportation, powers our communications and is the lifeline to industry and commerce. Despite the benefits, we know that this system is regrettably depleting our resources, polluting our air and affecting global climate change. Guaranteed access to energy is no longer being taken for granted and the quest for “energy security” has become the buzz-word behind global trade relations and even a justification for conflict.

For more information, go to-

Thursday Feb. 9th at 6:30 pm, DOORS OPEN 6:00 pm
At: South Side Community Church 7480 Derry Rd. (S. side), W. of Ontario St.

Rsvp miltongreen.ontario (at) 905-878-0995

Presented by MiltonGreen Environmental Association
(sustainable solutions to preserve Milton’s environment)in collaboration with partners Hamilton Halton Energy Awareness Team (HHEAT), Halton Environmental Network (HEN) with funding from Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.


"This project has received funding support from the Ontario Power
Authority through the Community Energy Partnership Programs. Such
support does not indicate endorsement by the Ontario Power
Authority or the Province of Ontario of the content of this material."

For more information:
E-mail: here.anujar (at)
Powerful: Energy Security for Everyone - a documentary by David Chernushenko



Ready to join a working group? If you’re feeling inspired and want to take action from the ‘idea’ stage and on to the next step, then you might want to get a working group going in your own community. The HHEAT team can get help get you started by providing you and your group members with ideas, resources to support you all throughout this group development phase.
*A working group can be defined as a group of two or more individuals that work together."

Your first task is to seek other like-minded individuals from within your community.
To start a renewable energy co-operative you need at least five members that are 100% committed, but to initiate the start up of a working group, there is no set limit! Obviously, the more people you have interested in your co-op idea the better.

Start talking to people you think might also be interested in a renewable energy project. It could be anyone in your community like someone from your sports group, a local interest club, the workplace, a religious group, your friends and family.

The HHEAT Team can help walk you through this process and address any questions or concerns that you may have.
Be sure to attend the upcoming HHEAT workshops for free advice, on the spot consulting about co-op development.
We will have resources and information, and an opportunity to round up some members to form your community working group.

Note that there are already people gathering in your community to get a feel for the level of interest out there to get a renewable energy co-operative going.
HHEAT will be facilitating the meeting of interested persons!

For more information contact the Halton Project Coordinator Anuja at or the Hamilton Project Coordinator Beatrice at
Visit our HHEAT blog at