World's First Publicly Owned Electricity
Many Ontarians may not be aware that electricity was first conceived of and developed in this province as a communally owned resource. Ontario Hydro was the first publicly owned electric utility in the world. The electric sign lit by the newly created hydro system to celebrate its inauguration in 1906 read: "Power to the People". What's more, this system was not paid for by tax payers. It was funded through the sale of community bonds to individuals who believed in the importance of keeping electricity in public hands.
Given this history, it is especially fitting that as many Ontarians as possible have been given the opportunity to participate in the creation of green energy under the 2009 Green Energy Act. Green Timiskaming, is pleased to play a part in making this possible in partnership with other renewable energy coops throughout the province.
The Green Energy Act was designed to encourage the development of green energy in Ontario in order to meet the government's stated goal of eliminating coal from the energy mix in the province by 2014. As of early August 2012, almost three years in to the Ontario Feed-in-Tariff program, 440MW of new clean power was online, and another 4.2GW had been awarded contracts and was awaiting notice to proceed. Bruce Nuclear Generating Station – Ontario’s largest – currently delivers almost the exact same amount, but took almost two decades to be completed.
The Feed in Tariff (FIT) mechanism provides a price incentive to produce green energy. These prices currently range from 10.3 cents per kilowatt hour for large landfill gas plants up to 54.9 cents per kilowatt hour for small roof-mounted solar systems. (The full range of prices for each kind of green energy is available on the Ontario Power Authority's website: MicroFIT and FIT 2.0 price schedule ).
The FIT provides a fixed contract at these rates for 20 years. This allows Green Timiskaming to predict the revenue stream and design a reliable business plan around it, and ensure the return on your loan.
The legislation is more or less a carbon copy of the highly successful program in Germany which has been in place for 20 years and has catapulted Germany to the forefront of both green energy development as well as creating a "green" manufacturing industry that now export its products worldwide. A similar situation has now begun to be seen in Ontario, with many clean power equipment manufacturers choosing to locate their North American operations in the province.
In Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, community owned renewable energy is a commonplace investment. We hope to make it the same here in Ontario!