Advocates hold meetings on energy co-operative

PARIS – Green advocates are trying to spark public interest in establishing a co-operative to produce and market renewable energy.

The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association is partnering with Brant Renewable Energy to establish the green co-op with a series of three public workshops to be held in the very buildings that will house roof-top solar panel installations.

The workshops will be held:

-- Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Burford Community Centre;

-- Wednesday, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the South Dumfries Community Centre in St. George;

-- Nov. 28, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Brant Sports Complex.

More information about the workshops is available at

The co-op is being established to take advantage of the FIT – Feed In Tariff -- program under the Green Energy Act, which encourages the development of such renewable energy sources as solar, wind, water and biomass to replace coal for the production of electricity by 2014.

The program sets a fixed price incentive to get the technology off the ground. IN the FIT program, a guaranteed payment for electricity generated makes renewable energy a profitable investment.

County council has agreed to submit applications to the Ontario Power Authority for the installation of three rooftop solar projects on municipal buildings, said Peter Black of Brant Renewable Energy.

“These projects will be partially owned by the residents and businesses” if they set up a co-op, said Black.

In the seminars, advocates say participants will learn how they can joint with their neighbours to create a more sustainable environment for their children and grandchildren.

They will also learn how the Ontario government through the FIT program has prioritized community co-ops as the preferred instrument for community-owned renewable energy generation; and how others have found success for their communities.