The Power of Community

How community-owned renewable energy can help Ontario create a powerful economic advantage

About the Report

When it comes to maximizing the economic benefits and public support for clean energy sources like wind and solar, community participation and ownership matters.

Worldwide, community owned renewable energy projects are creating a multitude of benefits in comparison to commercially developed projects, including higher job creation, stronger economic impacts and better social license to develop projects.

With the Feed-in Tariff program under Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act, community participation of renewables in Ontario has increased dramatically since 2010.

This report outlines the environmental, social, and economic benefits of locally owned and operated renewable power.

Every $1 we spend on community power projects results in over $2 in economic activity

Community-owned renewable energy projects generate twice as many jobs

Community-based projects increase grid resiliency and reliability, reducing the need for costly transmission

 

Community participation increases public support for renewable energy – 78% of Ontarians support Community Power

 

Take Action

Worldwide, community owned renewable energy projects are creating a multitude of benefits in comparison to commercially developed projects, including higher job creation, stronger economic impacts and better social license to develop projects.

With the Feed-in Tariff program under the Ontario Green Energy and Green Economy Act, community participation of renewables in Ontario has increased significantly since 2010, but recently, Ontario started moving away from supporting community power.

To further continue the growing success of community power, please share our recommendations with the Ontario government and opposition MPPs.

Make your voice heard! Send an email to the Ontario Minister of Energy, Premier and your local MPP.

Write a Letter

Report Recommendations

Maintain the FIT program for qualified community organizations...
Including co-ops, First Nations, Métis, municipalities, public utilities, school boards, non-profit institutions, religious organizations, and other authentic community-based entities.
Introduce a FIT for community wind that allows community groups to lead projects...
In 2014 the FIT for wind projects over 500 kW was cancelled and replaced with a competitive procurement process called the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP). The LRP is only open to bidders with deep pockets and extensive experience and therefore not inclusive of community proponents, even while community ownership has been proven to decrease local resistance. While the LRP does encourage Indigenous participation, there are no incentives for developers to work with co-ops. The community power sector needs a level playing field to participate in wind projects. A FIT for wind up to 20 MW can address the current imbalance introduced by the LRP.
Raise the capacity cap for FIT projects to 1 MW...
to help increase economies of scale, to increase local distributed power supply and therefore local grid resiliency in the face of increasingly erratic weather patterns, and to benefit from new technology trends such as energy storage.
Provide provincial loan guarantees for co-op and other non-profit projects...
With actual technology costs falling rapidly, one of the largest cost barriers for community-owned renewable energy projects is now the cost of financing. Community co-ops, in most cases, cannot borrow at the same rates as large established companies. Provincial loan guarantees could quickly reduce the cost of raising funds for co-op projects while adding little financial risk for the province thanks to the depth of experience co-ops have developed over the last decade in project deployment. As Joe Romm, the former assistant secretary of U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, has written “Low or zero-interest loans and loan guarantees can leverage money 50-to-1” (since default rates are 2 percent or less)
Help to export community expertise....
With a number of other provinces and U.S. states now looking to rapidly increase use of renewable energy, Ontario can share the lessons it has learned around the benefits of community power development while creating new opportunities for Ontario-based suppliers and co-ops. Working with the federal government, Ontario could emulate the National Community Solar initiative 20 developed by the Obama administration in the U.S. to share technical knowledge, advance new financing approaches, and improve project planning and management at the community level.

Learn More

We invite you to watch a webinar presentation about the new The Power of Community report in which the report authors, Dr. Judith Lipp and Dr. Brett Dolter shared the results of their research into the economic impact of community-owned renewable energy projects in Ontario.

Watch the Webinar

Help us Spread the Word!

Post the word on social media that Community Power can help us build more renewable energy!

Or share these graphics on social media

#Renewables are our future. Tell #Ontario community participation and ownership is the way to go http://ow.ly/rOZ1301Ly60 #ONClimate

Community participation and ownership provides the maximum economic benefits and public support for clean energy. Tell the province to keep investing in community power: http://ow.ly/rOZ1301Ly60

For Facebook and Instagram

For Twitter