Building Community Power CO-OPperatively: A Renewable Energy Summit

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Case Studies on the CEPP website

Check out case studies of renewable energy projects here in Ontario. Who qualifies, who is already online, who is getting there.
Fit Grant Recipients

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A dead heat - crematorium to sell power for National Grid (UK).

Durham Crematorium wants to install turbines in two of its burners, which would use the heat generated during the cremation process to provide the same amount of electricity as would power 1,500 televisions.
A third burner is to be used to provide heating for the site's chapel and its offices.
The scheme would be the first of its kind in the UK but industry experts say that it could be followed by other similar projects.
Many crematoria are currently replacing their furnaces, to meet government targets on preventing mercury emissions from escaping into the atmosphere.
Read more here.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Mohawk College lands $2.2m energy boost

Mohawk College is getting $2.2 million over five years from the federal government.
The grant is part of a $13-million program being handed out to 18 community colleges across the country.
Under the Innovation Enhancement Grant it will support a new research centre in energy technology at the college.
The centre will undertake an applied research project aimed at solving the problem of connecting small scale locale power generation technologies like solar panels and wind turbines to the existing power grid.
The project will include construction of a micro-powered grid to test generation distribution and protection systems.
The college will work with Horizon Utilities, General Electric and McMaster University among others.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Burlington:Our Energy Future


HHEAT Building Community Power Co-operatively Workshop in Burlington!

THE HHEAT 3rd and final introductory workshop will be part of the Burlington Green's AGM.

FREE event: November 30 @ Central Public Library (2331 New St., Burlington, ON).

•6:00 pm: BurlingtonGreen Annual General Meeting (Public welcome)

•6:30 pm: Visit Clean Energy Vendors

•7:00 pm: Why Renewable Energy? (multi-media presentation) What is Community Power? (Keynote by Burlington Mayor) Take ACTION & reap the benefits ! (H.H.E.A.T.)

In this introductory HHEAT workshop you will learn about the benefits of renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro and bio-energy). You will also be introduced to the concept of community power (locally-controlled and decentralized energy systems) and begin exploring the potential for locally-owned, community renewable energy co-operatives. Find out how you can invest in renewable energy as part of a collective of investors.

•8:30 pm: Closing Comments & FREE raffle

For more information about HHEAT, please contact Anuja at 647-880-4656 or

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Minister of Energy delivers keynote for Community Power Awards

Minister of Energy delivers keynote for Community Power Awards

Nov 15th, 2011 3:28 PM

Media Release

(TORONTO, ON November 15, 2011) The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) 2011 Community Power Awards were presented last night during the Green Connection banquet & awards ceremony. The award winners are individuals who have made significant contributions to the Community Power movement in Ontario and globally.

The award presentation followed a keynote speech by Chris Bentley, Ontario's Minister of Energy.

The awards were presented by Kristopher Stevens, the Executive Director of OSEA.

The 2011 award winners are:

Community Power Leader
Award winner: Mike Brigham, President of TREC Solar Share

International Community Power Leader
Award winner: Stefan Gsänger, World Wind Energy Association, Secretary General, since WWEA's foundation in 2001

Urban Community Power Leader
Award winner: Farrah Khan, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Aboriginal Community Power Leader
Award winner: Byron LeClair, Director of Community Development, Pic River First Nation

Rural Community Power Leader
Award Winner: Don McCabe, Vice-President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

The Community Power Conference 2011 is Ontario's single largest annual gathering of Community Power producers, proponents and supporters. Together with the Power Networking Centre trade show, the conference attracts industry regulators, commercial and Community Power generators, farmers and First Nation and Métis delegations.

For more information, contact: Nicole Risse at or (416) 977-4441 ext. 5205

The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA), works to initiate, facilitate and support the work of local sustainable energy organizations through membership services and province wide capacity-building and non-partisan policy work. It promotes the benefits of Community Power and renewable energy through advocacy, public outreach and capacity building.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

For More Solar Energy, Occupy Rooftops

Occupy Wall Street protesters may have been kicked out of Zuccotti Park, but the movement has inspired efforts around the country to fight back against economic injustice. One such effort is planned for this weekend, when communities who want to increase the prevalence of solar power can Occupy Rooftops.

The organization behind Occupy Rooftops, Solar Mosaic, is trying to revolutionize how communities fund solar. The idea of Sunday’s event is to show that “anyone, anywhere can start a community solar project to create jobs and clean energy in their community,” says Lisa Curtis, Solar Mosaic’s communications manager. Solar Mosaic helps communities fund solar projects, which are often unaffordable for organizations on tight budgets, by appealing for crowdsourced investments of $100. For Occupy Rooftops, the group has recruited partners including climate campaigners, solar provider Sungevity, and environmental powerhouses like the Sierra Club.
Read the full article here.

Friday, 18 November 2011

OSEA's Community Power 2011

Here is a report from the OSEA Community Power Conference 2012 that I attended on November 15th, 2012.

Moving Community Power forward: Setting the Agenda for 2012

This was a closed working session by invitation only. The morning started with key note speaker John Restakis, executive director of B.C. Co-operative Association and author of Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital.

The presentation was absolutely inspiring and gave us as pause to reflect on the following themes: community mobilization, public accountability going beyond simply the production of energy.
Restakis who is the director of the B.C. renewable Energy Co-operative talked about the co-operative city (of which Vancouver hopes to me one). Check out this essential document:

The cooperative city BCCA co-op and how municipalities can team up with the community.

Restakis talked about the relationship to municipality. I was excited by his ideas of a co-op as a structural mechanism to deliver a larger frame of reference-that is, including political bodies like municipalities.
In Italy (Amelia, Umbria) the AGACC Co-op consists of members who are municipalities. They have combined to create a region-wide association. Orders of cooperation become larger and larger when cities know how to work together.

Co-ops extend responsibility for sustainable energy. In promoting a sustainable city, co-ops bring an educational component (a key co-op mission)beyond simply the production of energy.

Beyond Capital: Co-ops add value to the city. It's social capital, enhancing the community connection, community mobilization and public accountability.
Co-ops promote community interaction and reciprocity.
The concern is that there is a growing sense of isolation, disconnection and disengagement-both on the personal and social front.
Co-ops demand that people work together around social goals, regenerate reciprocity, co-ops build community. Link it to the recreation and building of community. Basically, if the city wants to build sustainablity that is going to last, it has to think about how it is going to engage its citizens. It has to think about systems that can outlast political agendas. How do you build in the institutional supports that will carry through? is the question Restakis asks.
We need community base and infrastructure with deep community roots.

Groups participating in the conference were asked for their vision for renewable energy in 2018.
One group suggested we look at the German example where Community Power (CP)is institutionalized. That means prioritizing CP, facilitating its financing, making CP product RRSP eligible and so on.Other suggestions included getting connected as neighbourhood hubs/energy hubs and tying Community Power in with local food movement.
After this we heard from Judith Lipp (ED of TREC) and JJ McMurtry of York University on the topic of Measuring the Co-op Difference (sshrc/cura funded).

CP groups include co-ops, educational institutions, municipalities, First Nations. We were asked for our input into the social advantage and market advantage of community owned versus commercially owned projects as well as the disadvantages of each.
Some advantages of community owned include localized economic development, less 'nimbyism' while with the commercial projects more jobs, capacity building, purchasing power, security.
Co-ops have a much higher survival rate- built in democratic process.
Some challenges: for CP the regulatory process in daunting, FSCO,CIA,OPA)

We heard in one group that Infrastructure Ontario for non profit organizations has funding available.

Afternoon session:
Community power public offerings and community power project finance.
We heard from various co-op directors including Andrew Clarke from Agris Solar Co-op (100% owned by farmers). Sparksolar runs and manages the co-op.
Also Mark Labbe from Options for Green Energy who is helping to facilitate Halls Pond solar co-operative (a 7.5MW system with a $26 million capital cost, 8 million community bonds and 600-8000 members).
Labbe talked about his work with Guelph Solar Community co-operative ( 20-40 members). We heard from Mark Powell: Waterpower Projects 15% Renewable Energy Co-op, Radicle Consulting and St Agatha Wind Project with LIFE in Kitchener Waterloo.
We learned about early stage financing, what investors like to see, how lenders think and the financial challenges for a CP project.
According to the OPA, there is only 1000W-2,000W available on the grid.

Putting more wind in offshore project’s sails

Putting more wind in offshore project’s sails
Lisa Grace Marr. From the Tue Nov 15 2011

Several large Hamilton companies such as McKeil Marine and Bermingham Foundation Solutions have joined a larger Lake Ontario consortium to encourage the development of offshore wind power projects.

The consortium is called LOON — Lake Ontario Offshore Network — and includes a group of regional manufacturers and suppliers with the qualifications and skills specific to building large offshore wind power projects.

The aim of LOON is to put pressure on the provincial government to withdraw its moratorium on offshore wind projects, a move it made in February, suggesting that more scientific research is required.

The Ministry of Energy issued a statement suggesting it would be monitoring a freshwater project in Sweden and a pilot project in Ohio before lifting the ban.

It caused a tailspin for several green energy companies including Windstream Energy which had the only feed-in-tariff contract for a project to build 100 three-megawatt turbines in the Wolfe Island area outside Kingston. Each would stand 100 metres tall.

An economic impact study for Windstream last December said the total project investment would be $1.36 billion, of which $700 million would remain in Ontario. It would also generate about 1,900 jobs during the five-year construction phase and 175 operational jobs over 20 years.

Randi Rahamim, a spokesperson for Windstream, said the time has come to gather forces to get the government to lift the moratorium.

“New York, Ohio and other places in Ontario are also looking at building these offshore projects. These are beginning to move quickly and it’s whoever is first wins. This is to get the experience and the expertise to do these and turn around and sell that expertise to New York and Ohio. Ontario desperately needs jobs.”

Paulo Pessoa, VP business development, projects, at McKeil, said the company worked in 2008 and 2009 with Windstream, transporting equipment to Wolfe Island for a land wind power project.

He said the new larger project would likely mean employment for about 45 to 60 employees over three years to transport goods to the construction site.

“Offshore wind energy has lots of potential as an industry,” said Pessoa. “Everybody was disappointed about the moratorium on the project. We could realize so many jobs out of this.”

Pessoa said if the government lifts the moratorium; it could be several years before the project could start due to the need for studies on the environment and other factors.

“We need to work together and stick together. (The wind turbine project is) not going to be around other people, it’s not going to be an eyesore, it’s in the middle of the lake.”

Rahamim said the economic impact of the project would be significant for Hamilton in the number of jobs created and in generated revenue.

Other local members of the consortium include steel fabricators Walters Inc. for its underwater welding of towers, McKeil for transporting towers and cranes, Bermingham for foundation drillings, the Hamilton Port Authority for assembly and trans-shipment space and Samuel, Son & Co. as steel providers.

Rahamim said Windstream has requested a meeting with the premier to discuss the issue, hopefully before the end of the year.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

HHEAT Community Meeting in Milton!

The Hamilton Halton Energy Awareness Team hosted its second introductory community power workshop at Landscape Ontario, Milton on Wednesday 16th November, 2011.

There was a high level of interest among local people as they came out, enjoyed the presentation and had many specific questions for HHEAT's Technical Specialist: Jeff Harti.

Of the top concerns for the night were the FIT and MicroFIT program review and predictions, questions about the content for the 2012 Workshops, solar logistics, requests for more information and follow-up meetings.

The next Halton 'Building Community Power Co-operatively" Workshop will be held on Wednesday 30th November, 2011 at the Burlington Central Library from 6.00-8.30pm in conjunction with local hub Burlington Green. For more information please contact Anuja at or call 647-880-4656.

Boys and Girls Club of London, On

Check out this video and see how this co-operative got a 138 KW project on their roof top.

Monday, 14 November 2011

FIT and MicroFIT Review Deadline

Ontario is moving forward with its commitment to review the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Program. The review will consider a range of issues, including but not limited to:

· FIT price reduction
· ensuring the long-term sustainability of clean energy procurement
· continuing to build on the success of Ontario-based manufacturing
· consideration of new technologies and fuel sources
· local consultations and the renewable approval process (REA).
As a result of this review, new prices and rules for FIT contracts will be carefully developed to balance the interests of ratepayers with the need to encourage investments in new clean energy in Ontario. Ontarians can provide feedback by answering an online survey or making a written submission at until December 14, 2011.

The microFIT Program review was announced on October 31. Consultations will continue until December 14, 2011. During this period, microFIT applications will continue to be accepted and time-stamped, but they will not be processed until the new version of the Rules and pricing schedule are available.

Rule change for new microFIT applications

The OPA has made a rule change that applies to all microFIT applications submitted on or after December 8, 2010. Applicants will need to obtain an offer to connect from their local distribution company before the OPA issues a microFIT conditional offer of contract. As a reminder, if you have submitted a microFIT application, it is very important for you to speak to your local distribution company about connecting your project to the grid before proceeding with your project.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Community Power Roadmap to Success: OSEA Workshop Nov 9th 2011

Join us for a hands-on experiential workshop where we walk you 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.

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

Where:Central Branch - Hamilton Public Library
55 York Boulevard