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Funds to Help Ontarians Develop and Own Renewable Energy Projects

The Community Power Fund announced the disbursement of $1,1 million in grant money toady to community groups for the development of local renewable energy projects.

The Community Power Fund was founded in 2007 by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) with $3 million in seed money from the Government of Ontario. The Community Power Fund's goal is to ensure communities wanting to develop and own local renewable energy projects have access to financial resources through all stages of project development.

Once completed, the projects will represent over 170 MW of community-owned renewable energy.

Projects include:
  • 80 MWs of First Nations wind projects located in northern and southwestern Ontario;
  • a Toronto housing co-operative solar thermal initiative;
  • a northeastern Ontario small-hydro project, and;
  • a project involving 13 southwestern Ontario farm families working together to develop over 50 MW of wind on their land.
The Ontario government's Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program provides homeowners, farmers, First Nations and community organizations with the ability to develop and own projects through a 20 year purchase contract for the sale of green electricity they produce for the grid. This program, North America's first, was introduced by the Government of Ontario in March 2006.

"We are excited to announce today the approval of 15 grants to 15 different community power groups, representing a diversity of technologies, geographical regions and cultural backgrounds", said Deborah Doncaster, the Community Power Fund's Executive Director. "We are working with the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association in their efforts to build capacity and the right policy environment for community developed and owned projects. Often what proponents are lacking is financial support - that's what the Community Power Fund is here for."

"Germany is a great model, as it is a leader in both renewable energy development and community power. About 35 percent of Germany's installed wind capacity of over 22,500 MW is owned by local communities," said Joyce McLean, Chair of the Community Power Fund. "It is remarkable the extent to which community power can motivate people with a clear vision for the future, and, particularly in the case of First Nations and rural communities, a sense of economic renewal and sustainability."

The community power sector is key to facilitating a transition away from fossil fuels and nuclear power to a renewable and conservation-based energy economy. When Ontario communities have the ability to own and develop their own natural resources, Ontario will be on the path to sustainability.

The Community Power Fund and the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association aim to support the development of at least 10,000 MW of community-owned renewable energy, about 50 percent of Ontario's stated renewable energy goal, by 2025.

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