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Green Energy Act would boost community power generation

 An organization in Ontario is holding meetings around the province to garner support for a Green Energy Act.


 An organization in Ontario is holding meetings around the province to garner support for a Green Energy Act.

The non-profit Ontario Sustainability Energy Association represents 1,500 individuals who support community power projects and renewable energy. Members include farmers, First Nations, municipalities, labour groups and environmentalists who would like to see a Green Energy Act make it easier for them to generate power locally, and at a small scale.

Jane Story of OSEA says their goal is to have the government pass an act similar to laws in European countries such as Germany, where green energy legislation has boosted renewable generation projects. So far, no state or province in North America has such an act.

The groups who would benefit from a Green Energy Act, says Story, include farmers and First Nations are interested in wind power. Farmers are also interested in the possibilities of generation from biodigesters  (manure). Labour groups such as laid-off steelworkers would like to see new renewable technologies being made in Canada as a potential source of employment for skilled workers.

Ideally the Green Energy Act would include four main components, says Story.  First, it must have “Feed-in tariffs,” that is, it would ensure that premium prices are paid for renewable energy. Those financial incentives would ensure that anyone investing in renewable energy technologies would have a fair return on their investment.

Second, the act would guarantee the generator access to an electricity grid.  She admits that it would be more difficult to do that economically in Canada than in Europe because of the greater land distances here.

Third, energy conservation would be mandated, and would be improved.

Fourth, “priority purchase” would be guaranteed. That is, the law would prescribe that renewable energy be purchased before purchasing power from coal or nuclear stations.

Storey’s organization has been making recommendations to the Ontario government and she’s hoping the government will make an announcement at the end of February.  However, she’s not sure that any draft Green Energy Act would include all the components she would like to see.