Follow us on
facebook @ontariosea linked in youtube
ClearPath Ad (Left)
News & Updates
Related News

TORONTO, ON - The Clean Economy Alliance urges the members of the Standing Committee on General Government to cooperate on passing the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act.

A Q&A with AMPCO's Adam White.

Regarding the letter, ‘Wind energy claim that it’s clean not true in Ontario context’ (Sarnia Observer, Sept 25).

A claim was put forth that substantial CO2 was produced from the operation of wind turbines. It further suggested these emissions would double between 2016 and 2032. There are spurious accusations that do not meet the test of fact.

(Wyse) today announced an exclusive partnership with Park Property Management Inc. (Park). Wyse will deliver SyNERGY, its comprehensive utility expense management solutions, across Park's complete building portfolio. As a trusted partner, Wyse will process, organize and analyze volumes of Park's bulk utility expenses & information into one online portal. The transition to cutting-edge and transparent SyNERGY solutions is a game-changer for Park - Wyse has a stellar record of generating significant cost savings and efficiency gains.

A summer special to new and existing OSEA members is now available. Sign up today and get the most out of your membership/sponsorship dollars.

The economics of wind power are surrounded by confusion – often nurtured and used by the opponents of wind the better to dismiss it. Even the basic economics of energy markets are often misinterpreted by commentators.

On Co-op has released a member update you on their work to have changes made to key areas of Ontario's 40-year-old Co-operative Corporations Act and the corresponding regulations - the legislation that governs almost all co-operative business enterprises which are incorporated in the province of Ontario. If you are a Co-op that may be affected by the proposed changes, please provide your input. 

Zata Omm's newest dance production, vox:lumen, is its most bold and innovative yet. Choreographed by Artistic Director William Yong, and presented in partnership with Toronto's Harbourfront Centre, vox:lumen is a self-contained production, powered by its performers and viewers. The work reminds us that we are stewards of a planet whose resources are being consumed at an unprecedented rate. Year after year, environments across the globe and thousands of species face increasingly dire futures. Through virtuosic form and ground-breaking technology, vox:lumen responds as both a call to action and a message of hope. It explores and discovers our connections and responsibility to the environment and sustainability.

Horizon Wind expresses frustration over lack of 'clear rules of engagement'.

"Ready... Set... Drill!" Will that be the call that starts the United Brotherhood of Carpenters' 22nd annualNational Apprenticeship Competition in Toronto this August? The event, to be held at Roundhouse Park, will run from August 21 to 23 and offers a packed schedule. The practical part of the exam, in which the apprentices will be evaluated on their trade skills, should also be the fun part, and that will be open to the public.

Montreal, June 11th, 2014. Tuesday night, Helmut Herold, Senvion's CEO for North America, was awarded Personality of the year by the Quebec wind industry. The award gala and ceremony were part of the 4th Conference of the Quebec Wind Energy Industry in Gaspé, Québec. With the award, the industry recognizes Mr. Herold's achievements as CEO North America in the past five years.

Local candidates in the provincial election campaign shared their thoughts on the sustainable energy sector in a discussion Thursday.

Candidates were asked by visiting members of the Toronto-based Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) how each party would ensure sustainable energy remains a part of Ontario’s energy supply moving forward, how important they feel the sustainable energy sector is in job creation, and what role they see for green energy in the province’s economic and energy landscape.

By Scott Rosts
ST. CATHARINES - Provincial candidates from St. Catharines had their say on its party's position on the sustainable energy sector in one of the first opportunities to publicly debate issues.

May 9, 2014

By Paul Gipe, Bakersfield, California

In 2009 Ontario leapt to the forefront of energy policy in North America when it introduced the Green Energy and Green Economy Act.

For those south of the Canadian border it was a surprising turn of events. Accustomed to thumping our chests and shouting to the rooftops how we are the "first" in this or that policy, Ontario forced some of us to turn to our atlases to find it on a map. No, it's not a suburb of Los Angeles, we learned, but the most populous province in Canada and the country's industrial heartland.

- World market for small wind turbines sees dynamic growth and total capacity reaches 440 MW 
- More than 330 manufacturers of small wind turbines can be found in 40 countries all over the world  
- More supportive policies could boost the small wind market

The Table of Contents of the full report can be downloaded here

By: Gerard Wynn

Nov 27 (Reuters) - A shift towards renewable power in Germany is seeing ownership of generating assets move to households, farmers and small businesses, away from utilities which are losing out on the advantages of wind and solar in a continuing trend.

European utilities are suffering from weak power demand and falling wholesale prices.

The Independent Electricity System Operator's annual release of supply, demand and price data highlights three trends that helped shape the management of Ontario's power system in 2011: increasing production from renewable resources, reduced dependence on coal-fired units, and a more active role for consumers in managing their consumption.

Read the full article...

An estimated $400 to $500 million worth of greenhouse construction is expected to happen in the next few years in Essex county. A perplexed Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has lit a fire under provincial hydro officials who shelved plans for a power line needed for job-generating greenhouse expansion.

German Solar Industry Association, December 31, 2010, states that more than 150,000 jobs have been created in Germany thanks to solar technologies.
[Article in German. No translation available yet.]

Google is pioneering a new plan for the Atlantic Ocean... it will lay a cable about six feet under the sea-bed and for about 550 kilometres along the coast of the United States. It could cost as much as 5-Billion-dollars. And some are asking if this signals a sea change for wind power.

Kensington Market will be home to North America's greenest hostel complete with geothermal heating/cooling and solar power.

Readers of this column will know I have been a champion of Ontario's feed-in-tariff program since its early inception, and to this day I believe it's the right way to go over the next few years to get green energy on the grid and stimulate investment in the province.

More invested for second year in a row in renewable power generation in U.S., Europe than in conventional plants run on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

From the wolfe island wind farm to your own backyard—it appears the sustainability movement is gaining grassroots momentum. Environmental consultant Paul Charbonneau speaks to individuals in Kingston about green power.

If every windfarm company pledged 10% of its income to the local community, many more would be approved

Sault Ste. Marie is entering the North American solar panel supply chain market in a big way using some leading-edge European-style technology.

A new solution to supply solar hot water to renters is springing up in pockets of the United States: community solar arrays.

A new study of wind integration... argues that the capacity value of windmills could be improved by building even more of them, spreading them out geographically, and connecting them with a strong grid. The reason is that the wind is always blowing somewhere, and if it can be averaged over a bigger area, the minimum amount of energy available will rise.

There will be high expectations and key milestones for clean technologies in 2010, which kicks off a decade that will witness large-scale transformation of the world's energy sector.

Close to home, thousands of homeowners and businesses will be looking to install solar photovoltaic systems to take advantage of Ontario's new feed-in-tariff program.

While other companies worry about wasting energy, the team at the Sudbury-based Renewable Resource Recovery Corp. is fine with seeing it go down the drain – literally.

Of course, it’s only because they can take it back with their @Source-Energy Pipe, a special reinforced pre-cast concrete storm or sanitary sewer pipe capable of recovering the heat of whatever flows through it.

Nipissing First Nation, just west of North Bay, has unveiled plans for a small wood pellet mill with a target of producing 24,000 tonnes of material annually.

Robert Horning, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said consolidation makes sense in an industry where it is crucial to have strong financial backing for capital intensive projects. Often, power contracts end up going to the companies with the least expensive financing, and "larger players generally have access to cheaper financing than smaller players."

That may be less of an issue in the future, Mr. Hornung said, if governments change the way they award renewable power contracts.

Ontario's new Green Energy Act, for example, with its "feed-in tariff" that provides guaranteed high prices for renewable power generated over a 20-year period, should make it easier for smaller entities to get financing for wind projects, he said.

If the Alberta government really wanted to prove to the world that it's serious about climate change without sending the sacred oilsands cow to slaughter, it could easily follow in the footsteps of Ontario by announcing a coal phase-out strategy. It could even tie that phase-out to oilsands growth. That is, the faster the province phases out coal the more it loosens the reins on oil-sands expansion.

An international renewable energy developer is trolling for a partner this winter to bring life to a fast-moving northwestern Ontario wind farm project near Thunder Bay. 

Renewable Energy Systems Canada (RES Canada), a Montreal-based wind farm developer, plans to begin construction spring 2010 on its 100-megawatt Greenwich project in Dorion township, 75 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

Ron Callahan says he's been paying taxes all his life and now he's going to try to get some of his money back.

The Frankford homeowner is having solar panels installed on the roof of his house so he can sell the energy they produce to the Ontario's power grid through a provincial incentive aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here's how.

Executives say subsidies are crucial for attracting investments, urge need for program to remain stable over the long term.

Ten-year survey of house sales in US finds wind turbines have no negative affect on market price despite public fears.

Wind turbines have no widespread impact on house prices, according to the largest ever survey of residential properties in the US.

The analysis, funded by the US Department of Energy, looked at the sale of almost 7,500 homes situated within 10 miles of 24 wind farms in 9 different US states over a ten-year period. The closest home was 800 feet from a wind turbine.

Ottawa, December 8, 2009 – The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) today released a new report showing the federal government can jump-start its national climate change strategy by partnering with municipalities on cost-effective, community-based projects.

Ontario has dramatically increased the incentive available to organizations that install solar hot water systems.

The Ontario Solar Thermal Heating Initiative (OSTHI) will now provide up to $400,000 per project -- an increase of five times over the previous $80,000 maximum. Matched by the federal government, applicants can now obtain up to $800,000 -- important support for projects that can cost as much as $1.5 million or more.

There are moments in history where the world can choose to go down different paths. The COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen is one of those defining moments. We can choose to go down the road toward green prosperity and a more sustainable future. Or we can choose a pathway to stalemate and do nothing about climate change leaving an enormous bill for our kids and grandkids to pay. It really isn't that hard a choice.

The future of humankind is at the tipping point. That is why the global union movement has coined the cautionary phrase: "There are no jobs on a dead planet."

Solar module maker Canadian Solar Inc. is preparing to establish a manufacturing facility in Ontario that will create 500 direct jobs to take advantage of a provincial green-energy program that mandates local content.

After abandoning the commitments the previous government made under the Kyoto Protocol, ensuring that Canada will be the only signatory to wildly miss its targets, the Harper administration is now sabotaging the climate talks that will culminate in Copenhagen next month.

In the race to harness green energy alternatives, Canada is decades behind other G20 nations. A look at some of the brightest lights in the clean-tech firmament, at home and abroad. 

Here’s a recent headline in the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business (Nov. 6), "As recessionary darkness passes, dividends rise and shine.” The conclusion: the recession is over and things are looking good again.

Tell that to the more than 1.6 million Canadians who are “officially” unemployed and the additional 800,000 who have given up looking for jobs or to the 130,000 forestry workers who lost their jobs over the past six years.

Prince Edward County Farmers spoke out at Shire Hall Tuesday night in favour of wind energy and it appears municipal council heard them loud and clear.

UK energy company promises to use gas from food waste and sewage to provide homes with 'green' gas supplies.

If it's true that Canadians and Americans have become less concerned about the potential impact of climate change, and that more consider global warming a hoax, some blame can certainly be directed at the news media.

"Greening" is not a fad, but rather a fundamental change, KPMG report says.

On the eve of major UN climate change talks next month in Copenhagen, a major survey of Canadians has found that more than three quarters of the public feel embarrassed that the country hasn't been taking a leadership role on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Dealing with climate change is extraordinarily difficult because it does entail serious costs and painful change. But the International Energy Agency, in its latest World Energy Outlook, puts the climate challenge front and centre because we don't really have a choice.

The Community Preservation Corporation, a 35-year-old nonprofit lender that specializes in issuing mortgages to landlords of small buildings and properties receiving public subsidies, is offering $1 billion in credit to New York State apartment building owners. The group’s new “green financing initiative” offers mortgages or refinancing to landlords who fix wasteful energy and water systems in their buildings.

Carbon capture and storage would do well for Ontario and Alberta, but who is going to pay for this technology?

An overwhelming majority of Canadians agree that climate change is a pressing issue that demands immediate action. On Nov. 7, over 600 participants -- trade unionists, social justice activists, environmentalists and youth -- came together for the Good Green Jobs Conference to start building a green future that is economically viable, environmentally sustainable, equitable and just for all.

Objections to wind turbines, speciously citing 'democratic reasons', have a historical precedent – and they were wrong then, too.

After years of discussion, planning and false starts, Sudbury’s Cambrian College is finally looking to make its $6-million Xstrata Nickel Sustainable Energy Centre a reality in the spring of 2010.

Buildings consume enormous amounts of energy, even more than cars, accounting for about half the world's carbon emissions. That includes the manufacture of their composite parts (think of the heat required to produce concrete and steel) as well as the energy needed to build and operate tall towers.

It's remarkable to think that hotels, like most any tall tower in North America, still rely on 50-year-old building technology.

Switching to decentralised renewable energy doesn't just mean a new source of power - it means a revolution that will be both social and economic.

After persistent lobbying by OSEA, those early pioneers of renewable energy who signed contracts under the now defunct Renewable Standard Offer Program will be eligible for the new feed-in tariff program with its higher rates. OSEA has long argued that those who answered the government’s early call to generate renewable energy, especially homeowners who installed solar panels, should not be penalized by being excluded from the more generous FIT program. Projects 500 kilowatts or less will now be moved into the FIT program.

The Star - Second chance for solar pioneers

Carbon markets are not working and UK and US government policy is not encouraging investment in renewable energy, says a leading bank

A report from Deutsche Bank's Asset Management division (DeAM) says that the carbon market is not likely to contribute to significantly cutting emissions, 'for the foreseeable future.'

It says that governments should focus on introducing stronger incentives like feed-in tariffs if they want to meet emission reduction targets by 2020.

Most states could meet their demand for electricity with renewable energy sources inside their own borders, according to a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit group in Washington that advocates for local sustainability solutions.

The report, called Energy Self-Reliant States, examined the commercial potential for wind, rooftop solar, geothermal and small-scale hydro projects.

Thirty-one states, mostly west of the Mississippi, could meet all their electric demand, and all states could generate at least 25 percent of their demand using these in-state resources, the authors of the report suggest. Of the 36 states with current renewable energy goals or mandates, all could meet these goals by relying on in-state renewable fuels, the report found.

A new long-term forecast of electricity use in Ontario shows the government should have little problem shutting down all coal plants by 2014.

It also confirms there’s no rush to build a new nuclear power plant in the province.

Today the Ontario Legislature is to debate a resolution – put forward by Progressive Conservative MPP Bill Murdoch – calling for a moratorium on wind turbines until there are assurances that they "do not have any adverse health effects on people who live near them."

Ontario's new Green Energy Act could pump as much as $4.5-billion into the hands of the province's renewable energy companies, utilities and power distribution firms.

The conference also paraded some diametrically opposed views on biomass from district heating concept espoused by Ambrose Raftis, an official with the Green Temiskaming Development Corporation to Ontario Power Generation's more centralized plan to transport and burn wood pellets at provincial generating stations.
“Community energy is smart energy because it is produces energy where it is needed,” said Raftis, who wants to roll out these heating plans to towns across the North to create energy self-reliant communities and local jobs.

Doubling green taxes would boost employment and help the UK meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets by 2020, says a new study.

The final assessment from The UK Green Fiscal Commission, set up two years ago to look at the consequences of a major shift towards green taxes, says the UK should seize the need to reduce the national debt by raising revenue through green rather than conventional taxes.

An oil industry that at one stage inspired talk of Scotland as “the Kuwait of the West” has already outlived most predictions, having enjoyed a hydrocarbon heyday of almost five decades. As it prepares for the end of oil, Aberdeen is remaking itself, putting its hopes in renewable energy and tourism.

The self-styled oil capital of Europe fears the slowdown is not simply cyclical.

British homes could soon be heated by gas produced from cow manure and sewage slurry, under plans being considered by Centrica, the owner of British Gas.

The company, which has 16 million UK customers, is drawing up plans to build a plant that would use organic waste to produce biomethane that could be injected directly into the national gas network. National Grid has estimated that such biogas could supply 18 per cent of total UK demand for gas — or 18 billion cubic meters of the approximately 100 billion total consumed in Britain every year.

Denmark's minister for climate and energy says inaction must be overcome if a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol is to succeed.

Taiwan's biggest power company, telecom operator and IT firms are designing metering and communication systems to link air conditioners and lighting systems with computers and mobile phones. Efficiency gains from the scheme could save millions of tons of carbon emissions.

The technologies will enable property owners to set "energy budgets" for their buildings, send electricity price change updates to consumers via cable TV or mobile phone, and let telecoms firms start providing power optimisation services. These systems are likely to be crucial to recently announced moves in Britain, the US and China to build "smart grids", because Taiwan develops and manufactures many of the world's electronic chips and components.

Two new reports say existing forest and ocean systems offer the most cost effective way to capture and store carbon - far cheaper than industrial Carbon Capture and Storage technology.

Inside a building on West 84th St. and Columbus Ave. in Manhattan's Upper West Side, high school students are getting a head start on the careers of the future.

Launched in September, the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers is believed to be the first of its kind in North America. Its objective is to prepare students for either a post-secondary program related to environmental studies or a job in the burgeoning eco-industry.

US Department for Energy competition aims to demonstrate that solar powered homes can be sleek and cheap.

From listening to the headlines about the report from the Committee on Climate Change, you might think that a wholesale switch to electric cars over the next few decades would magic away our carbon emissions from transport. Many politicians would dearly like that to be the case: switch to electric cars, extend the use of biofuels, make conventional cars more fuel-efficient and we can all carry on driving as much as we like.

Take the technological route to solving our carbon problems, and ministers won't have to make any hard decisions about policies to make us use our cars more wisely. Senior civil servants who enjoy driving and can't imagine getting on a bus won't have face up to their own unsustainable behaviour. Instead, they can take refuge in the comforting notion that it's impossible to change our collective travel behaviour, and thus not really worth even trying. Best of all, it will be the next generation of ministers and civil servants who will take the rap if it all goes wrong.

University teams from around the world are busy constructing sustainable houses at this year's U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition. 20 teams were selected to come to the National Mall in Washington D.C. to compete against one another in designing, building, and operating the best solar-powered, energy-efficient house. The houses are judged based on 10 competitions, which range in point value, from architecture to lighting design to comfort zone. Check out the houses we've featured and vote for which one you want to call home!

The Green Energy Act – here’s our chance to get free of dirty nukes and faraway Big Energy. Let’s grab it and turn T.O. into a clean powerhouse.

Electricity operator National Grid believes that with the right Government incentives, renewable gas could be produced from our waste and fed straight into the mains.

Ontario is positioning itself as one of the "greenest" locations in North America, and investors are starting to take note of its rich incentives for renewable power projects, analysts say.

Taking a page from Europe's playbook, Ontario launched the most comprehensive and generous set of feed-in tariffs in North America this month. The incentives guarantee sellers of electricity produced from the sun, wind, water and biomass fixed, above-market prices for 20 years.

A subsidiary of industrial giant Samsung Group plans to develop 600 megawatts of wind and solar power projects in Ontario as part of a multibillion-dollar investment in the province, the Star has learned.

Paul Gipe, author of 'Wind Energy Basics' tells how Canadian province, Ontario plans to close all its coal power plants by 2014, how people in Vermont wanting to own their own energy sources pushed politicians into instituting feed-in tarriffs, and much more. And a warning for Australians: Beware FITINOS - Feed-in Tarriffs in Name Only!

Adding 10p per kilowatt hour (kwh) to the 36 pence proposed for 'clean energy cashback' scheme would create 30,000 jobs.

Tapping Ontario's potential as a source of cleaner energy has improved the relations between energy giants and aboriginal groups with land rights in key green energy areas. The result is a meeting of minds in brokering deals that aim to benefit all.

Tokyo is hoping to win the 2016 Olympics bid with its sustainably oriented plan, use of solar power, renovation of existing facilities and compact layout of the Olympic Village.

Tim Short knew the province was getting ready to launch a program that paid a rich premium for solar electricity, so he eagerly went ahead earlier this month and installed solar panels on the roof of his home.

Like many homeowners and organizations throughout the province, including the City of Toronto, Short figured he could get the physical work out of the way and fill out the paperwork later, allowing for a quick and easy connection to the power grid.

Then he was blindsided. The Toronto resident found out last week that the McGuinty government's new feed-in tariff (FIT) program comes with a requirement that small rooftop solar systems meet a 40 per cent local content requirement. Large ground-mount systems must achieve 50 per cent.

Ontario's green-energy Klondike is spreading offshore, and in a big way.

Canadian Hydro Developers Inc., the country's largest independent developer of wind-energy projects, said on Monday it plans to erect enough wind turbines in Lake Erie to power two million homes.

That works out to about 880 offshore wind turbines scattered across the shallowest of the Great Lakes.

An extra 10p on the level of the proposed tariff given to small-scale renewable energy producers would be enough to kick-start a solar power sector in the UK, say industry groups.

Earlier this summer the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) finally agreed to introduction of a long sought-after feed-in tariff (FIT) under which households and businesses will be paid an above-market rate for every unit of electricity they generate and feed back to the grid.

The Ontario government is in advanced negotiations with South Korean industrial and electronics powerhouse Samsung Group about manufacturing wind turbines and other green-energy gear – including solar panels – in the province.

Samsung is considering a multibillion-dollar investment that would stimulate the creation of several hundred direct jobs and, indirectly, potentially thousands more. The province, lead by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, has been in talks with Samsung subsidiary Samsung C&T Corp. for the past year, the Star has learned.

Ontario expects to cover the total cost and provide "a reasonable rate of return" for investments in green energy projects through decades-long contracts with fixed electricity prices.

The government said it is the first program of its kind in North America.

Solar, wind, water, biomass, biogas and landfill gas producers, including individual homeowners, will all be eligible to sell their power to the provincial grid under the program, one of the four final components of the Ontario Green Energy Act announced by Premier Dalton McGuinty Thursday.

Calling a Michigan-based company's decision to open a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Windsor, a "real page-turner for the local economy," Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello said it could be just the beginning of additional economic investment in the region.

"This is big and it's great news for the community," said Pupatello. "There could be many other similar opportunities in the future because of this."

WindTronics, a division of Muskegon-based EarthTronics, is expected to confirm plans today to take over a former Magna International plant on the city's far west side to begin production of small residential and commercial wind turbines.

Here on the sun-drenched and windy Iberian Peninsula, Spain thinks it has an answer: create new jobs and save the Earth at the same time.

Green jobs have become a mantra for many governments, including that of the United States. But few nations are better positioned -- or motivated -- to fuse the fight against recession and global warming than Spain. The country is already a leader in renewable fuels through $30 billion in public support and has been cited by the Obama administration as a model for the creation of a green economy. Spain generates about 24.5 percent of its electricity through renewable sources, compared with about 7 percent in the United States.

The McGuinty government is making sure that any green-energy revolution in the province is, to a large extent, made in Ontario by Ontarians.

New rules that require wind and solar projects to have a certain percentage of Ontario labour and product content were welcomed yesterday by industry groups, which cautiously described the targets – set initially as 25 per cent for wind and 40 to 50 per cent for solar – as workable.

The Ontario government fired the starter's pistol today for thousands of homeowners, farmers, community cooperatives and energy developers eager to become generators of green power for the province.

Premier Dalton McGuinty formally launched the province's new feed-in tariff (FIT) program, through which electricity generated from the wind, sun, biomass and water can be sold into the grid at a premium - from as low as 10.3 cents for generating power from landfill gas to 80.2 cents for the electricity that comes from a small solar rooftop system.

When the Winter Games get under way in Whistler, the gathering spot for Austrian athletes, media and Olympic officials will be a simple, two-storey, A-frame house that might be the most energy-efficient dwelling in Canada.

When the Games are done and the Austrians go home, its designers will leave behind the dwelling, which uses a whopping 90 per cent less energy than a regular Canadian home. It will be wrapped, like a gift, in swaths of sturdy insulation and heated largely by triple-paned, floor-to-ceiling windows.

Amid a growing split in the business community over climate policy, Pacific Gas and Electric, a major California utility, is withdrawing from the United States Chamber of Commerce, citing “fundamental differences” with the chamber’s approach to global warming.

“We find it dismaying that the chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on globalwarming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored,” Peter A. Darbee, the chairman of PG&E, wrote in a letter to the chamber.

Excerpts of the letter, written last week, were published on PG&E’s blog on Tuesday.

Ontario's power grid is getting a $2.3 billion makeover as part of an ambitious, three-year effort to create 20,000 jobs and bring more green electricity to homes and businesses across the province.

Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman said yesterday that Crown-owned Hydro One has been told to move quickly on a plan to expand and fortify the province's vast network of power-carrying transmission and distribution lines, many of which run through aboriginal territories and reach as far north as Kapuskasing and Kenora.

In all, 20 projects are slated to go ahead. Some will boost capacity of existing transmission corridors, while others involve construction of "enabler lines" that branch out from corridors and tap into areas with rich wind and hydro potential.

The province has directed crown-owned Hydro One to get to work on 20 transmission projects that over the next three years are expected to create 20,000 jobs at a cost of $2.3 billion.

Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman said the projects are aimed at spurring "green job" creation across Ontario while unlocking hydroelectric, wind and other renewable-energy resources that are currently unable to connect to the power grid.

"This is an investment in the transmission system that will serve Ontario for decades and decades," said Smitherman, who made the announcement this morning at the Canadian Wind Energy Association's annual conference in Toronto. He called it a "historic step forward" for the province. "Ontario intends to be North America's leader in renewable energy."

Green buildings outperform their non-green peers in occupancy and rental rates and, as a result, have significantly higher building valuations. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings command rent premiums of $12.25 per square foot over their non-LEED peers, enjoy 4.1% higher occupancy and sell for $184 more per sq. ft., a CoStar Group study says.

Put on the shades. The RBC Centre harvests daylight, collects rainwater and uses Deep Lake Water air conditioning. Now that's cool

Sunny days will be the key driver for generating income in a new solar energy investment vehicle in Canada.

Toronto-based Solar Income Fund Inc. plans to launch a fund tomorrow that will invest in projects that generate and sell solar energy power to local utility grids in Germany under a feed-in tariff.

The concerns expressed today regarding the impact of widespread deployment of distributed renewable energy resources, also known as Distributed Generation (DG) on utility operations parallel anxieties expressed by AT&T when the first third-party telephone instrument and the first computer with modem were sought to be attached to their network. AT&T’s Bell system, having overall responsibility for the regulated, end-to-end network, asked: “A computer with a modem connects to the telephone network. Should it therefore be regulated? Should all computers be regulated?” Further it wondered, “How to distinguish between harmful and nonharmful interconnection … to protect the ratepayers’ network?” Will customers be “casting blame on the telephone company from the Bell system” should something go wrong?

Substantially reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in Canada is not a technology problem, but it is a people problem, according to a new report from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.

It argues there are plenty of proven technologies and products on the market today, the bulk of them focused on energy conservation, and they could reduce emissions in this country by at least 60 per cent by 2030. Finding the skilled workers to deploy these technologies and overcoming social and institutional barriers represent the biggest challenges.

Rural electric co-ops have lagged behind other utilities in shifting to alternative energy. That's about to change.

The feed-in tariff, or FIT, has proven to be a powerful tool to create managed economic incentives that yield meaningful results in system deployments, job creation, cost reduction and market development — yet many policy makers, especially in the U.S., continue to rely upon renewable portfolio standards, investment tax credits, low interest loan guarantees and other mechanisms to reduce fossil fuel dependency. The solar industry in the U.S. should take pride in achieving recent legislative and funding victories, but also must recognize the powerful role that FITs can bring to rational and responsible energy policy.

Simply speaking, a capless FIT offers any producer of solar power a pre-determined rate for any kWh of electricity produced, regardless of the own consumption. If this rate is guaranteed for e.g. 20 years, and set in order to allow a decent return on investment for the owner of the system, it mobilizes powerful market forces towards rapid implementation of growing amounts of solar energy.

The proposed three-building facility, to be located on Bethesda Road at Hwy. 48, will utilize indigenous and water-efficient plantings, have lockable storage for cyclists and preferred carpool parking spaces as well as be constructed with energy efficient roofing materials. The buildings will utilize natural light, have carbon dioxide sensors and low-flow water fixtures. Rain and clean storm water will be used to wash vehicles, while exterior/interior building shading will be used to control heat gain throughout the year. All building materials will be considered based on recycled content as well as local production and durability.

The true global cost of adapting to climate change is likely to be many times greater than official United Nations' estimates: in 2030 alone, the world could be spending more than three times the annual budget of the NHS, a study has found.

The Danish island of Samso has completely eliminated dependence on fossil fuels, and now exports electricity to the mainland.

The plant building is being designed to include a number of 'green' energy efficient features.

A solar thermal wall which will pre-heat outside air will feed the boiler. Roof-mounted solar photovoltaic collectors will meet electrical needs for the building and floor-to-ceiling windows will provide natural daylighting to further cut power costs.

The building will be topped by a green roof to grown vegetables, reduce heating and cooling costs, and collect storm water run-off.

Not long ago, most homeowners saw their roofs as simply something to keep the rain out. Now they see them as a source of electricity. Despite the bad economy, or maybe because of it, the rooftop-solar industry is booming, as Americans become increasingly intrigued by the idea of turning their roofs into mini power plants and cutting their electric bills. In 2008, 33,500 rooftop solar systems were installed in the United States, a 63 percent increase over the amount of capacity installed in 2007. In California, the solar capital of country, the increase was 95 percent.

Meanwhile, the outlook for the other side of the solar industry—the large, centralized power plants—isn't so sunny. These megaprojects—think acres of desert landscape covered in thousands of solar panels sending electricity through transmission lines—controlled mostly by utility companies that have had a monopoly over the country’s electricity grid since the turn of the last century, were supposed to be the key to the future of the solar industry. So far, they're getting vastly outpaced by the decentralized rooftop approach. According to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's 2006-08 count, consumers added 522 megawatts to the grid; whereas utility generated sites added just 96 megawatts.

A number of lenders and government agencies are offering mortgage deals to people who borrow money to make their homes more efficient, or who buy homes that already meet high efficiency standards. The programs work in a number of ways. Some offer a discount—often $500 or more—on the closing costs for a refinancing or new mortgage. Other plans offer a lower interest rate on the loan, sometimes a half-point or more below the current market rate.

“I’ll never get my money back; it’s too expensive”.  

Greg and I heard that again recently. I’m constantly amazed that people continue to think insulating their homes and buildings is too expensive. But it’s indicative of how we’ve been trained over the past decades. Energy continues to be astronomically cheap and subsidized both directly and indirectly. What’s more, the markets clearly don’t work.  

The markets don’t work? But doesn’t every MBA student in the country know markets are supposed to be efficient?

Maybe therein lies the problem. Theoretical abstractions repeated until mantra collide with this little thing called reality.



Public opposition is a formidable hurdle for any project developer. Around one quarter of all wind projects in the U.S. are delayed or stopped because concerns over project siting and general distrust of the developer. In this podcast, we'll look at a couple elements for success that companies and communities need to think about when building out a project.

The Pic River First Nation have acquired full ownership of the Twin Falls hydro-electric plant near the Lake Superior Ojibway community.

The community acquired full ownership in the five-megawatt hydro plant that has been generating power for the Ontario grid for eight years.

One of the misconceptions that has had a lot of legs but which has started to shatter of late is the idea that the green economy – energy efficiency, renewable energy, organic agriculture, the local living economy movement  – is “too expensive”.   

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.  The problem is that massive pricing distortions have created conditions at a structural level under which the polluting economy – the grey economy – is priced in such a manner as to be artificially cheap.

Biogas - a methane-rich fuel made from rotting food waste or sewage - has huge potential as a clean, green fuel for the UK. But a perverse web of subsidies, rules and contracts could mean UK councils are about to kiss goodbye to the real power of waste...

Global wind energy potential is considerably higher than previous estimates by both wind industry groups and government agencies, according to a Harvard University study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

After months of deliberation, the UK government has announced a range of illustrative figures for feed-in tariffs (FITs), which it's calling a Clean Energy Cashback scheme. FITs are fixed payments made to the owners of small generating stations for the electricity that they export to the grid. Micro-generators need high payments to justify their expensive investment in buying and installing green generation.

The clean energy cashback is a more user-friendly term for what are called "feed-in tariffs (FIT)", which other countries have used so successfully to promote small as well as large-scale renewable energy production.

They work by financially rewarding owners of wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels for the clean energy they produce.

A majority of "construction ready" wind projects in Ontario won't go forward if the province passes regulations that keep wind turbines a minimum distance from residences, roads and railway lines, warns Canada's wind energy association.

The time for that choice is now. Do we allow our health to suffer by continuing to rely on coal? Do we gamble on nuclear? Or do we choose a less harmful path toward renewable energy? How do we compare a simple annoyance and obstructed views with the suffering of hundreds of thousands? Our diagnosis is clear - Ontario needs renewable energy, including wind turbines.

A study by energy expert David Milborrow found there was no technical reason why a significant amount of energy generated by wind could not be used to supply the National Grid.

The grid was already designed to manage fluctuations in demand and supply, while variations in wind power were considerably less than other demands caused by the weather or even TV programmes, said the report.

Milborrow, who has worked in the energy industry for 30 years, said: "Utilities worldwide generally agree there is no fundamental technical reason why high proportions of wind cannot be assimilated without the lights going out."

The mix of feces and toilet paper we flush down our toilets every day could soon be a major source of renewable power in the city's east end.

Toronto Hydro is awaiting final approval on a project that would take the biogas produced at the century-old Ashbridge's Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant and use it to generate up to 10 megawatts of power, or enough green electricity for 6,000 homes annually.

Developers of large solar farms in Ontario are bracing for new rules that would forbid construction on prime farmland, a move they say would scare off investment and many of the "green collar" jobs being sought by the McGuinty government.

The solar industry argues that such farmland tends to be flat, free of obstruction, inexpensive and close to distribution lines, all factors that improve the economics of their projects. Farmers should have the right, they say, to lease or sell their land for solar development just as they do for growing corn for ethanol.

But some rural groups, backed by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, say it would be a mistake to have prime farmland used for generating electricity instead of growing crops.

Launched officially in January 2009, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) aims to promote the interests of renewable energy. The agency will advise industrialized and developing countries on how they can reduce their dependency on fossil fuels by promoting the rapid adoption of renewable energy worldwide. By helping countries with policy design, technology transfer and training, IRENA stands to play a powerful role in its ability to fill current knowledge gaps and empower its members with the expertise needed to bring about a new industrial revolution powered by sustainable energy sources.

The country's solar and wind industries, with support from federal opposition parties, are calling on the Harper government to sign up Canada to a new international agency created to promote renewable-energy technologies.

They argue that international cooperation is crucial if Canada is to take advantage of the boom in green-energy development and innovation taking place around the globe.

[Many] complex issues arise with cap-and-trade systems, such as determining allowances for new facilities and the phasing out of old ones. Offsets are notoriously difficult to monitor at an international level. And, as the Europeans have learned, utility companies engaged in different technologies, such as hydro, nuclear and coal-fire electricity, can profitably expand all forms of production, since they are in a net credit position.

On the other hand, as many experts now agree, a carbon tax or levy such as that adopted in British Columbia and in a different form, in Alberta, is in principle more efficient and fair. It gives more price certainty to businesses and is less subject to the complexities involved with the implementation of trading systems.

A carbon tax can be applied on all emitters, as well as yielding substantial revenues to governments so as to reduce other taxes or fund technologies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nancy Olewiler of Simon Fraser University and I have estimated that Canada could collect almost $20-billion in revenues by imposing a $40 carbon tax on all energy sources, similar in value to the existing federal fuel excise tax of 10 cents a litre on gasoline. This proposal was adopted as part of the Liberal Green Shift, and soundly rejected in the last election.

Politically, a cap-and-trade system with auctioned credits looks like a tax on “dirty” industries, not on consumers or employees working for the businesses. Yet the effect of any carbon pricing scheme is to force up prices. A tax makes the cost much more obvious. That in itself is a virtue.

The building boasts environmental features which earned the school Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design status -- the only school so designated in North America by the Green Building Council. There will be no boiler, solar panels and wind turbines will provide electricity and heating, most lighting will be natural and collected rainwater will be used for toilets. A living wall of plants will be included to scrub the atmosphere.

Leftovers from restaurants. Spoiled fruit from grocery stores. Animal renderings from slaughterhouses. Trimmings from food-processing facilities.

They're just examples of the organic waste that streams daily out of the businesses and industrial facilities surrounding Pearson International Airport, including the airport itself. Most of it eventually ends up in landfills or composting facilities, where it rots and releases methane – a greenhouse gas that's 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

For biogas company Yield Energy, letting that methane escape is akin to throwing money into a massive fire heating our planet's climate. The Toronto start-up has other plans. It wants to collect all that slop, speed up its decomposition in a contraption called a digester and burn the resulting methane in a turbine that generates clean electricity for the grid.

The ‘Greenest city in Europe’ is not some sun-soaked southern village covered in solar panels, nor a windy costal town surrounded by a forest of wind turbines, but rather the city of Växjö, nestled in the forests of Central Sweden.

The city gained the bragging rights to such a title in 2007, when it was awarded the Sustainable Energy Europe Award by the European Commission for its work to reduce its CO2 emissions by 32 per cent per capita between 1993 and 2007, greatly exceeding Kyoto requirements. They were able to achieve such impressive reductions by using the most locally available source of energy, biomass for nearly all of their heating needs, and much of their electrical energy needs.

America's emerging clean energy economy produced new jobs at more than twice the rate of more traditional industries in the years leading up to the economic downturn, a new study released today claimed.

Sault Ste. Marie will be one of six public consultation sites for the design of the province’s approval process for renewable energy projects.

The proposed requirements will form the basis for the approval process and will include regulations about setbacks for wind, solar, hydro, biogas and biomass projects.

The Sault was chosen as one of sites because of the city’s interest in renewable energy, said Kate Jordan, spokesperson with the Ministry of Environment.

The Sault session will take place June 24 at the Croatian Hall from 7 to 9 p.m.

Homeowners have a very rare, albeit time-limited opportunity to triple-dip on some federal and provincial government assistance programs designed to stimulate the economy while reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and your heating, cooling and electrical bills.

Later this summer, Ohio Cooperative Solar (OCS) will begin installing solar panels on the roofs of the city’s biggest nonprofit health, education, and municipal buildings. These institutions will lease their roofs to the employee-owned energy co-op, and in turn will purchase electricity from OCS. Within a few years, OCS and its worker/owners will own and reap the income from the largest installation of solar panels in the Midwest. The long-term goal is to develop a workforce capable of carrying out similar installations throughout the state.

Why small-scale, local power -- the microgrid -- could be the answer to our energy crisis. And why the big utilities are fighting it with all they've got

M. J. Laforest Electrical Contractors Ltd. is very proud to announce the launch of Laforest Eco-Solar Systems, a division dedicated to providing green energy solutions in the residential and commercial market. As an established electrical contractor serving the Kingston area for the past six years, owner Marc Laforest has seen a dramatic increase in the demand for alternative energy systems from his customers. And with the recent enactment of the Ontario government's Green Energy Act, Laforest feels that there is no better time to go green. 

A German town will become the first in the world to be powered by animal waste when it launches a biogas network this year.

Lünen, north of Dortmund, will use cow and horse manure as well as other organic material from local farms to provide cheap and sustainable electricity for its 90,000 residents.

Biogas is already used around the world – it will power buses in Oslo from September – but Lünen claims to be the only town to build a dedicated biogas network.

Innovation Park at Queen's University opened in June 2008, but I only had a vague idea of its purpose and involvement in alternative energy and environmental research fields.

I was also intrigued by the growing presence of alternative energy enterprises locating in Kingston and the area -- the $475-million Wolfe Island wind farm, the announcement Everbrite Solar had selected Kingston as the site for a new state-of-the-art, high-efficiency photovoltaic manufacturing facility, plus a host of smaller startup companies in the green energy field locating in Kingston.

If the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (Bill 150) is passed as expected in May 2009, Ontario will become the first North American jurisdiction with an incentive system modeled after German feed-in tariffs (FITs), according to incentive expert Paul Gipe. With proposed tariffs of up to 80.2 CAN cents/kWh (US$0.64/kWh, €0.47/kWh) for solar power generation, fixed and guaranteed for 20 years, the province would have the most favorable incentives currently available worldwide for roof-mounted systems below 100 kW. More lucrative, even, than current German incentives under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

A new renewable source of energy is all around us just waiting to be capitalized upon: Biomass plant material, vegetation, chipped wood and agricultural waste is a permanent natural resource in Northern Ontario.

Lakeshore is hoping to become the first county municipality to tap into a $348.9-million federal community adjustment fund to diversity local economies and create new jobs.

Administrator Ruth Coursey got council support Tuesday to put $35,000 into developing the job creation program.

Becoming a green energy-manufacturing centre focusing on wind turbines or solar panels could be one approach for Lakeshore, Coursey said. Helping local industries to retool for the future is part of the strategy, she said.

Town council approved rezonings Monday for a $30-million wind turbine project that received no objections from neighbours and could be under construction by the fall.

The St. Joachim Wind Farm is being developed by Wind Prospect Inc. north of County Road 42, between County Road 22 and County Road 31.

Wind Prospect CEO Helen Plowman was optimistic about a fall start on the six turbines with approvals already received for connection to the hydro grid and for payment of the power generated under the standard offer program of the Ontario Power Authority.

Town planner Tom Storey said a small airstrip is located northwest of the turbine project, but no formal objections were received.

The wind turbine that Graham Findlay wants to put in his Island Park-area backyard has been described as “comparable to a flagpole” in terms of noise and appearance. So why all the fuss?

It’s fair to ask about safety, noise and esthetics, but even in the case of backyard turbines, it’s hard to believe that these are insurmountable obstacles.

Remember those massive wind turbines shipped through Windsor for three months last spring on convoys of flatbed trucks escorted by police?

The 44 turbines, bound for a $200-million wind farm in Chatham-Kent, were made in Europe. But they could be made here, in our shrinking factories, by our laid-off skilled workers, providing jobs and revenue and diversifying our economy.

Wales today laid out radical plans to make it one of the most energy- and resource-efficient countries in the world within a generation.

The government development plans, which are legally binding, are far in advance of anything planned for England or Scotland and would see it become energy self-sufficient in using renewable electricity within 20 years and reduce waste to zero by 2050.

St. Basil-the-Great College School is a step closer to building a windmill on its front lawn after the Ontario government announced it is providing $50 million to help schools go green.

The money will encourage school boards to cut down heating, cooling and energy bills by installing technologies such as solar panels, geothermal systems and small-scale wind projects, Energy Minister George Smitherman said yesterday at St. Basil's in North York.

Schools that go green will not only save money on energy and natural gas bills, they can also make money by selling electricity back to the grid through feed-in tariffs, he added.

The $50 million committed yesterday is in addition to the $550 million announced in April to retrofit schools – especially older buildings in need of new boilers and windows – to save energy and create nearly 5,000 temporary jobs.

Taiwan recently finished construction on an incredible solar-powered stadium that will generate 100% of its electricity from photovoltaic technology! Designed by Toyo Ito, the dragon-shaped 50,000 seat arena is clad in 8,844 solar panels that illuminate the track and field with 3,300 lux. The project will officially open later this year to welcome the 2009 World Games.

On days where the stadium is not being used, the Taiwanese government plans to feed the extra energy into the local grid, where it will meet almost 80% of the neighboring area's energy requirements. Overall, the stadium will generate 1.14 million KWh per year, preventing the release of 660 tons of carbon dioxide into atmosphere annually.

The Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation on Tuesday celebrated the first stage of its plan to turn a series of modest yellow and brick homes green -- helping the environment and fixed-income families deal with otherwise rising energy bills.

"The practical approach taken to conserving energy in this first home is innovative in its simplicity," Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation CEO Jim Steele said.

"We expect to see a reduction of almost 60 per cent in energy use and several tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions."

Manufacturers in the Niagara Region, convinced that the Great Lakes will become the centre of an offshore wind-development boom in the coming years, have already started marking their turf.

The Niagara Industrial Association is expected to announce this morning that it is working closely with a consortium of offshore wind developers to establish a local supply chain for manufacturing and assembling components for offshore wind turbines.

Toronto schools will soon become "private generators" as part of a plan to retrofit empty rooftops with solar panels starting this summer.

By September, 50 solar panels will cover the roofs of Hillcrest Community School and William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate – the first step toward an ambitious plan to implement a renewable energy grid across the city's 558 public schools.

"We have schools in virtually every neighbourhood in the entire city. You have this vacant space on all the rooftops. These would be the perfect locations to really create a green grid across the city," said Toronto trustee Josh Matlow, who will announce the project's launch at a news conference today.

[In] Missouri, wind farms don't seem to stir up much debate as in Ontario, where some Toronto residents oppose a Toronto Hydro plan to put a string of wind turbines in Lake Ontario about two kilometres offshore from Scarborough.

Just outside Rock Port's city limits, another 100 turbines sit on farmland and feed power to the rest of the state.

The towers have generated little opposition. They're no "different than a radio or cellphone tower. No one has said anything negative about the way they look," Seaman said.

"I think anything can detract from the landscape, but I don't think (the wind farm) is truly offensive."

In Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, delegates from 79 countries will meet next month to choose a home, a director and a preliminary work program for the International Renewable Energy Agency, which was set up this year to lead a global drive to accelerate and expand the development of renewable energy resources.

The agency grew out of a conference in Bonn on Jan. 26, which was sponsored by the German government, with support from Denmark and Spain. Of the 192 United Nations member states invited, 125 sent delegations and 75 European and emerging countries signed on to the final agreement establishing the agency, also known as IRENA.

More than 200 households in Milton got to test drive the future of power management last year and the results show that homeowners, given the right tools and motivations, are more than capable of conserving energy.

Old mine sites and tailings ponds often earn a bad environmental reputation.

These "brown fields," however, are cultivating two locally grown ideas to create sources used to make bioethanol and biodiesel.

Local researchers have experimented with growing crops at Vale Inco's Copper Cliff operation and at Goldcorp's Porcupine mine in Timmins.

"The first goal was to see if it would grow. If you seeded these crops, would anything take and, more importantly, would it then produce something that was usable," explained Ashley Scott, a technical director at Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corp. (MIRARCO).

"The answer was yes. It looks very promising."

April 2010 could be a major milestone in the UK's attempts to deliver a low-carbon economy. Assuming all goes well, that is the date when the government will introduce new "feed-in tariffs", where a price premium is paid to homeowners, schools and businesses for every unit of electricity they generate from small-scale renewable technologies, such as solar photovoltaics (PV), wind and micro hydro power.

Researchers from Holland's University of Groningen and Gothenburg University in Sweden conducted a mail-in survey of 725 rural Dutch residents living 17 metres to 2.1 kilometres from the nearest wind turbine.

The survey received 268 responses and, while most acknowledged hearing the "swishing" sound that wind turbines make, the vast majority – 92 per cent – said they were "satisfied" with their living environment.

Perhaps most telling is that those most annoyed by turbine noises had a negative view of wind turbines to begin with, while those least annoyed gained economically by having turbines on their land or owning shares in a community wind-turbine venture.

The study also concluded there was "no indication that the sound from wind turbines had an effect on respondents' health."

The study's findings suggest that those drawing a link between their health and the nearness of an unsightly and annoying wind turbine may be suffering from a nocebo effect. Just as the placebo effect makes a sick individual feel better after taking a sugar pill disguised as medication, the nocebo effect would make a healthy individual feel sick after taking a sugar pill disguised as medication with supposed side effects.

The effect has been studied as it relates to people living near cellphone towers or hydro lines. French newspaper Journal de Dimanche wrote in April about a household in Paris that blamed three recently installed cellphone antennas in the area for causing headaches, nosebleeds and a metallic taste in the mouths of some residents. It would be a plausible explanation, but for one detail: The antennas were never activated.

When residents of the village of Fintry in Stirlingshire first heard about plans for a wind farm in the hills above them, their reaction took the developer by surprise.

Instead of opposing the scheme, the villagers asked the company to build an extra turbine and sell it to them to try to make the community one of the greenest in the UK.

The Fintry turbine has now been operating for more than a year, and has already earned £140,000 for the villagers, money that has been put aside for energy efficiency schemes. Around half of the 300 households have already had roof and cavity wall insulation fitted, and some residents have seen their heating bills cut by hundreds of pounds a year. When the loan on the £2.5m turbine is paid off, Fintry could be making up to £500,000 a year from the electricity its turbine feeds into the National Grid.

Over the last year, Markham Theatre staff has gone retrofit crazy by converting 747 light bulbs without the help of an upscale stylist. The extensive retrofit, completed last fall as part of the ongoing renovation that began in 2007, provides a refreshing interior appearance in time to usher in the much-anticipated silver anniversary season launch, to be announced soon.

After years of barely concealed antipathy, the RSPB and the wind energy industry have today put the symbolic seal on their recent cessation of hostilities with the installation of the first RSPB wind turbine.

The small-scale 15kW turbine has been installed at the RSPB's Rainham Marshes visitor centre in Purfleet, Essex, and together with a solar array already located at the site is expected to provide enough energy to meet the centre's requirements, cutting its carbon footprint by 9,000kg a year.

"The RSPB is often most visual when objecting to wind turbine proposals," he said. "However… wind power has a valuable role to play in contributing towards the UK's renewable energy needs, and can do so without harming wildlife. The wind turbine at Rainham Marshes is an excellent example of this."

The move comes a month after the RSPB released a study calling on the government to accelerate the rollout of onshore wind farms, and urging it to develop a wildlife sensitivity map that it argued would make it easier for wind developers to select sites that pose minimal risks to bird life.

The study was interpreted in some quarters as a declaration of peace to the UK wind energy industry, which has been repeatedly frustrated by the conservation group's opposition to numerous wind farm developments.

Geothermal pipes loop down into the Earth and transfer heat in winter, cool in summer

Large, flat rooftops are ideal locations for solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, and sports fields are excellent places to install geothermal systems for heating and cooling.

The energy consumed in schools can also be managed more efficiently. Occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors can cut down on non-essential lighting, and smart thermostats can do a better job of balancing heating and cooling requirements. Major work can be done with minimal disruption during summer break.

The Ontario Power Authority has conducted a renewable energy supply survey to better understand the near-term development potential of renewable projects. The survey results indicated a potential of 15,128MW of renewable energy supply, which is more than half of Ontario's total electricity supply.

Next week, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre will play host to Discovery 09: a gathering of thousands of high-tech researchers and business types, all looking for ways to take the latest ideas - as organizers are fond of saying - from "mind to market."

The global recession presents a golden opportunity to go green, says a British economist known for his clear-eyed analysis of the costs and benefits of tackling global warming.

Now is the time to invest in technology and make deep cuts in carbon emissions, amid a growing body of scientific evidence pointing to dire consequences without urgent action, says Nicholas Stern, head of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics. "The arrival of the recession actually strengthens the argument," Lord Stern said in a phone interview from Washington. "At times of recession, it's cheaper to invest, because there's less pressure on resources."

As some European cities have learned, citizen buy-in is key. Copenhagen’s Middel­grunden offshore wind farm, located just off the city’s harbour, has been remarkably well received, thanks to a strong public information campaign and an innovative ownership strategy. When they first heard about the project, residents were worried about their view of the harbour, the farm’s impact on aquatic life, low-frequency noise pollution and potential disruptions to the shipping industry, among other things. To alleviate their concerns, the city undertook a comprehensive environmental assessment and included residents in every step of the process. They even organized a field trip to another wind farm, which eliminated fears about noise. (Later studies also dealt with the concern about migratory birds—which, clever beings that they are, tend to avoid wind turbines, as do ships.) It was eventually agreed that the turbines would be placed three kilometres from shore and laid out in an arc, thus mirroring the shape of the historic defences surrounding the city.

Today the Middelgrunden farm is co‑owned (with the municipal utility company) by 8,500 Danes, who bought 40,500 shares at 568 euros each. The project provides clean, renewable energy to more than 40,000 homes. This model is common across Denmark, a country that derives 20 per cent of its total energy mix from wind; approximately 70 per cent of all turbines there are owned by private investors.

Natural gas utility Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. and green electricity retailer Bullfrog Power Inc. have teamed up on a pilot project that aims to install 1,200 residential solar hot-water systems in Ontario within the next two years.

The two companies will launch the project in Ottawa today in partnership with Natural Resources Canada and solar-thermal equipment maker EnerWorks Inc. of Dorchester, Ont.

While some Ontarians are complaining that their proximity to wind turbines are having negative health impacts on them, no health complaints have been filed locally, officials say.

Noise and vibrations from the massive structures are reportedly causing sleep disruptions and other health problems for residents living near wind farms in other parts of Ontario.

But with one of the largest commercial wind farms in Canada at the Sault's doorstep, the Brookfield Power Corp. $400-million farm doesn't appear to be creating havoc for area residents.

So is this just crazy talk or is there something to it? Mr. Wellinghoff didn’t seem to be saying that renewable energy like wind and solar power would exactly replace baseload generation like nuclear and coal the way electricity is generated and distributed today. He pitched for more distributed power, that is, more local generation and consumption of energy. And future demand for power should be less, if energy-efficiency measures are implemented, he said.

In that sense, renewable energy can become more like baseload power, Mr. Wellinghoff said. By making the power grid smarter, able to juggle different levels of supply and demand, it can overcome some of the intermittency associated with clean energy such as wind and solar. When the wind blows in one place, that power can be sent to the doldrums, for example. Same with solar power.

Storage is considered the "holy grail" of clean technologies, especially as it relates to the deployment of renewable energy. If we truly want to clean up the grid and make it smarter, all kinds of storage technologies will need to be considered. In this podcast, [Stephen Lacey takes] a look at a couple storage methods that will enable the transformation of the electricity delivery system.

The "smart grid" is a vision of what the future system could be: a multi-directional flow of electricity and information, where individuals and businesses could feed electricity back into the grid as well as receiving it. A variety of different technologies, from sensors and monitors to automation and communications technology, could improve the reliability and safety of the system (for instance avoiding major blackouts), help incorporate renewable electricity generation (such as solar and wind) into the grid, and allow consumers to make informed decisions about their electricity use.

Mr. Goldberg is especially proud of the work he's done on rooftop solar projects - he created a neighbourhood group called the West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy to make it easier for residents to get solar systems installed easily, at a good price. In all, 100 systems were purchased in Mr. Goldberg's immediate neighbourhood.

Wind, sun, biomass and water power could provide up to half of the province's electricity supply over the next few years based on the number of green projects currently on the drawing board, according to results of an industry survey released yesterday by the Ontario Power Authority.

The province's electricity system planning agency found that there are 150 energy developers with 381 projects in various stages of development. Those projects, it calculated, represent 15,128 megawatts of renewable energy supply that has "near-term development potential."

Ontario's energy minister says he understands some people are opposed to alternative electricity projects in their areas, but that the provincial government is committed to green energy, and these projects are going to happen.

George Smitherman made the comment Friday at an Energy Ottawa hydro generating station where he was talking up the province's Green Energy and Economy Act, which is designed to encourage new large and small renewable energy projects and create jobs.

Asia's largest maker of wind turbines is seriously sizing up the Ontario market as a potential home for new manufacturing, citing what it considers the right combination of policies, infrastructure and local activity.

Tulsi Tanti, founder and chair of Suzlon Energy Ltd., told the Star in an exclusive interview yesterday that the Ontario government's proposed Green Energy Act is a "very strong" initiative that helps set the province apart from other jurisdictions in North America.

The decision to enter Canada, he said, could come soon. "Based on our analysis, 2010 is the right time for us to start business operations in the Canadian market."

New generating stations are in the works for three locations on the Upper Mattagami River including the Sandy Falls site, the Wawaitan site, the Lower Sturgeon site and one other station, the Hound Chute site on the Montreal River.

Project manager Ed Dobrowolski said the capacity of the four generating stations today is 22 megawatts. Following redevelopment, those stations will be pumping out 44 megawatts of electricity

Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman downplayed concerns Wednesday municipalities will lose authority over planning applications for renewable energy projects under proposed new legislation.

Smitherman, in North Bay to promote the province's proposed Green Energy Act, acknowledged municipal concerns that the standardizing of project approvals under the bill will leave cities and towns without a say in matters of land use planning for renewable energy projects.

But Smitherman said the province, through the act, is trying to establish a single standard in Ontario, while doing away with the patchwork" that currently exists. And he suggested municipalities will ultimately see that their fears are unfounded.

More than a dozen regional groups and individuals provided comment at the Standing Committee on General Government public hearings at Algoma's Water Tower Inn into the government's plan to attract investment into renewable energy.

How serious is the Ontario government about creating 50,000 green-collar jobs within three years?

That's the question many power developers are asking now that details of a proposed green-energy purchase program are beginning to emerge. They say the program's draft rules make unrealistic assumptions about the cost of financing projects and stray too far from the European model it's attempting to emulate.

The UK risks missing out on tens of thousands of jobs in the offshore wind industry unless the government gives greater support to the sector, a report warned today.

The study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said the UK must rapidly expand its offshore wind capacity or it would fail to meet the legally binding target of sourcing 15% of energy from renewables by 2020.

With wind expected to meet the lion's share of that target, there is an opportunity to create up to 70,000 long-term jobs in the industry in parts of the country where they are most needed, the report said.

A city councillor says that if Kingston is going to tout itself as a sustainable city, it should look at building renewable energy-generating facilities to power city-owned buildings.

Building one large facility or several smaller ones could end up saving the city money in the future, Councillor Mark Gerretsen said.

If the idea is successful, the city sells excess energy back to the province and generate revenue, he said.

"With the rebates and programs out there ... we can pay off the capital investment and, in the end, it can come at no cost to the taxpayer," Gerretsen said. 

As we debate a new energy future, we need to remember that nature provides this incredible range of economic services — from carbon-fixation to water filtration to natural beauty for tourism. If government policies don’t recognize those services and pay the people who sustain nature’s ability to provide them, things go haywire. We end up impoverishing both nature and people. Worse, we start racking up a bill in the form of climate-changing greenhouse gases, petro-dictatorships and bio-diversity loss that gets charged on our kids’ Visa cards to be paid by them later. Well, later is over. Later is when it will be too late.

The environmental plan for Exhibition Place has several components, including a wind turbine, a trigeneration plant, a green roof and photovoltaic plant on the Horse Palace roof, a geothermal heating and cooling system for the Press Building, and a number of building retrofits. The idea is to reduce energy consumption in three ways: one third through on-site power generation; one third by installing new technologies and equipment such as absorption chillers; and a final third by optimizing and controlling the energy used in operating the facilities.

The U.S. needs a high-voltage transmission system to deliver plentiful energy from wind and sunshine to power-hungry cities. At least one plan has emerged.

The best use of biomass is for heating, not electricity production. To produce electricity using biomass and then using the electricity to produce heat or hot water is not an efficient process. Instead, it's better to produce the heat and hot water directly using biomass.

Only reserving incentives for electricity, not heat, ignores the huge opportunity to replace fossil fuels that are currently used for producing heat and hot water. And focusing on electricity artificially promotes biomass cogeneration plants to be less efficient because plants are the most efficient when they are able to use all of the heat produced, not just the electricity generated.

Germany is accelerating its efforts to become the world's first industrial power to use 100 percent renewable energy -- and given current momentum, it could reach that green goal by 2050.

A new Roadmap published by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment sketches out the route the world's largest exporter plans to take to switch over completely to renewable energy, and add 800,000 to 900,000 new cleantech jobs by 2030 as it does so.

When the older wind turbines at Marienkoog were replaced by fewer more powerful models, the local community was offered a third of the shares in the ‘repowering’ project. Altogether, in the Galmsbüll Bürgerwindpark (Citizens’ wind farm), of which Marienkoog is part, a total of 240 residents invested €5 million. This represented 40% of the district’s adult population.
One result has been general acceptance of the new taller wind turbines in the landscape of this mainly farming region close to the North Sea coast. The local council also receives income from the business tax paid by the wind farm.

A portion of the gas that heats your home and cooks your food could one day come from landfills, sewage treatment plants, and "digesters" that convert animal manure and other organics into "bio-methane."

The federal government sweetened its home-energy retrofit incentives yesterday by 25 per cent to spur more economic activity during the downturn, a move Ontario said it plans to match.

Homebuyer demand for energy efficient and "green'' new home features is escalating rapidly, according to a new study released by the EnerQuality Corp.

According to the Energy Efficiency/Green Building Study, nearly nine of 10 homebuyers (87 per cent) value energy efficiency when making a new home purchase decision. Cost savings was the main reason cited by 92 per cent of respondents as to why energy efficiency is important.

The Green Energy Act is a signal that the Ontario government is serious about getting down to the business of First Nation partnerships," said Isadore Day Wiindawtegowinini, Chief of Serpent River First Nation. This bill focuses on respecting the environment, and providing Ontario and other consumers with a secure source of energy, not one that will leave us in the dark. We must commend Premier (Dalton) McGuinty and Minister Smitherman for this new Green Energy Act that now gives call to strategic partnerships in the private sector, First Nation community and government."

If Ontario’s new Green Energy Act passes, paying $300 for a home energy audit will be a tax only if you wait until you sell your home. The system will work in your favour if you do your audit now and make energy improvements.

Four entrepreneurs from Toronto announced an ambitious plan yesterday to build a $500-million solar module manufacturing facility in Kingston, an investment expected to create 1,200 direct and indirect "green-collar" jobs in the area.

As the world searches for greener, cleaner energy sources, Durham College is creating two new programs to address the anticipated demand for skilled workers in the alternative-energy sector.

The one-year Energy Audit Techniques certificate program will teach students how to conduct energy audits on homes and buildings, and how to improve energy efficiency.

The two-year Renewable Energy Technician diploma program will teach students how to install, repair and maintain renewable energy systems such as wind turbines, solar panels and ground-source heat pumps.

Going green has never been more popular or lucrative than it is now.

And with recently announced government proposals and initiatives, going green has the potential for some pretty powerful green teeth to back it up, making the concept more than just a convenient marketing tool or noble, yet unattainable, pipe dream.

The Green Energy Act, currently before a standing committee for public input, and the Region of York's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building rating are just two examples of recently proposed legislative change and policy initiative with an eye to conservation and cutting costs through environmental efforts.

With the current green wave sweeping the province, local builder and carpenter Mark Moritz believes now is the time for his prototype, SuperEco Home.

With Petro-Canada's passing, we now need 21st-century “public interest” ownership: non-profit, enviro-energy entities controlled by provincial and federal governments and co-operatives, with rules of incorporation mandating them to wean consumers off fossil fuels and encourage them onto renewable alternatives.

Canada's electricity sector needs to hire 25,000 engineers and skilled trades people within the next six years to keep the country's electricity system operating reliably, according to a 2008 report from the Electricity Sector Council. Within the next four years alone, 29 per cent of the workforce is expected to retire.

What if a community owned its electric utility cooperatively, rather than paying a for-profit company? Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative could be a model. Energy Services manager Jessica Nelson describes how this locally owned, democratically governed non-profit serves the good of the community. Besides lower rates, customers benefit from incentives to conserve electricity, install geothermal heating/cooling systems, and solar panels (photovoltaics). The coop's dream? To not only distribute power but to generate it -- through a wind turbine project.

The new solar-panel cross on the front of St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School in Woodbridge not only stores energy from the sun – at least enough to run a microwave oven – but also will remind students and passersby this weekend to unplug for Earth Hour, says Norman Vezina, the York Catholic District School Board's senior manager of environmental services.

A solar-panel maker has announced plans to create a $500 million, high-tech manufacturing facility in Kingston.

Everbrite Solar, a subsidiary of an electrical contracting firm headquartered in Toronto, said yesterday it had selected Kingston as the site of its new manufacturing operation.

The factory will use robots to construct "thin-film" solar modules. These are considered to be the next generation of solar panels, as they are efficient enough to capture solar energy and produce power even on cloudy days.

Riverbank Power sees underground pump stations as key to large-scale energy storage

Central to the GEA is the idea that the supply of energy to every corner of Ontario must be efficient, reliable, smart and clean. To that end, we must build a “smart grid” today. So, instead of a grid that is but a one-way street from massive power plants to consumers, we open a two-way street where even the smallest producer — a homeowner’s rooftop — can become an electricity generator. This diversifies supply, promotes the production of renewables and creates a culture of entrepreneurial activism and an instinct for conservation.

Ontario's power authority has proposed paying 80.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour it buys from a residential rooftop solar system.

That's rich. It amounts to an 82 per cent increase over the previous rate offered under the province's standard offer program, which was launched two years ago but failed to stimulate large-scale deployment of rooftop systems that was envisioned.

Ontario's proposed new Green Energy Act is fairly well-timed. A few years earlier would have been better, and then the sustainable-energy wheels the provincial government wants to turn on might already be creating a new "green" industry to help replace thousands of lost jobs in the province's once thriving manufacturing sector. But better late than never. It's the way of the future, the only way. That's obvious, or should be. The old fossil fuel-based industrial paradigm is obsolete. The development of a new "green" paradigm is the only way the economy is truly going to bounce back. And there's no more time to waste.

Making it possible for low-income Ontarians to participate in our new culture of conservation is a positive move, but steps must be taken to ensure public money doesn't merely improve balance sheets for landlords, by ensuring the savings are passed through to tenants for whom affordability is key.

Ontario, which is committed to ending its reliance on coal-fired generation, refurbishing its nuclear fleet and adding wind, must begin to make wise choices as it upgrades its infrastructure to include renewable energy.

A coming green-energy law and the promise of long-term incentives for producers of renewable power have put Ontario on the radar of some big-name solar companies looking for certainty in a volatile marketplace.

“The Green Energy Act is a signal that the Ontario government is serious about getting down to the business of First Nation partnerships,” said Isadore Day Wiindawtegowinini, chief of Serpent River First Nation. “This bill focuses on respecting the environment, and providing Ontario and other consumers with a secure source of energy, not one that will leave us in the dark. We must commend Premier McGuinty and Minister Smitherman for this new Green Energy Act that now gives a call to strategic partnerships in the private sector, First Nation community and government.”

But too much has happen over the past six months to make that deadline, the power authority argued in a letter sent last week to the Ontario Energy Board. The agency cited the introduction of the government's Green Energy Act, or Bill 150, as an example a "fast-evolving policy environment" that is adding complexity to the planning process.

Today, in the toughest economic environment faced in many generations, we cannot rest. We must keep moving forward. Ontarians have made it clear that the environment matters now more than ever, and that we must act to create green-collar jobs and opportunities, build a stronger and greener investment climate and establish a culture of conservation. If passed, the Green Energy Act will revolutionize the very way we create, deliver, conserve -- even think about energy. It is a comprehensive strategy to rebuild every corner of Ontario's energy needs, production and consumption. It is the product of years of careful consideration, informed by the proven best practices from around the globe. We are proud of this initiative, as it can and will drive Ontario into global leadership on one of the issues that will define our generation.

The gauntlet has been thrown down. Is Haliburton County ready to define itself as the province’s first green community? Are we willing to build up such a critical mass of green initiatives – solar paneling on houses, wind and water energy, the production of biofuels, sustainable buildings, production of our own food – that Haliburton County will become a destination for people from around the world who want to see how it’s done?

People have been saying for decades that Haliburton County needs “light industry” that will not hurt the environment and provide jobs for our young people. Could green energy be it?

In the fifteen years since its founding, the Exchange (known familiarly as the "OBW" program) has exchanged almost 1500 university students between the universities of the Province of Ontario in Canada and the Land Baden-Württemberg in Germany.

Communities have their own differences and unique needs and a top-down approach doesn't always work. Give local utilities a little more say over the destinies of their own communities and there's a better chance, it's reasonable to assume, of reaching provincial green-energy and conservation goals.

Renewable energy in Ontario got a massive boost Thursday with the proposal of a fixed-price plan that, by June, could see the province paying out generous premiums to large and small generators of green power.

The goal of the [Green Energy] Act is to push Ontario into a leadership position in renewable energy, to reduce our pollution and greenhouse gases, to create meaningful jobs in Ontario and to enhance community economic development for First Nations, remote and rural communities.

Regional council is reviewing criteria for new building in York Region which will make the kind of communities, in which most of us live, a thing of the past.

TORONTO, March 11 /CNW/ - George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister
of Energy and Infrastructure, and Colin Andersen, CEO, Ontario Power
Authority, will discuss details of the proposed feed-in tariff program for
renewable energy projects contemplated under the Green Energy Act.

Company's 'energy czar' has a daunting mission: make the Internet juggernaut a cleaner, greener computing machine

Bill 150, Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009 (the "Act") passed first reading Monday, February 23, 2009 in the Legislature of Ontario. As expected, the proposed Act is broad in scope and ambitious in the extent of legislative change it will implement. The Act has the potential to affect virtually everyone on the province, whether you are a homeowner, a renewable project developer, a local distribution company, a municipal planner, or a member of an First Nations community.

Ontario's leader explains bold proposal that stakes the province's economic future on renewable energy

The town of Essex, Ontario, has rejected a moratorium on green energy development - a move that was applauded by the Green Energy Act Alliance.

Businesses were getting fired up in North Bay on Thursday over potential opportunities associated with wood pellets.

Spain set a new record for wind power generation yesterday as gales blew across the country, with more than 40% of the country's energy needs being covered by wind turbines at one stage.

Open letter to energy minister George Smitherman

This is a news webcast for the Ontario Green Energy Act update

With council chambers overflowing with an equal mix of supporters and opponents of wind turbines, an attempt Monday to temporarily halt all projects in the Town of Essex failed in a 5-2 vote.

A proposed solar panel farm near Lake Ontario in Hamilton Township and a proposed gasification plant at Wesleyville are among two area alternative energy projects that could benefit from the Liberal government's new Green Energy Act, says local riding MPP Lou Rinaldi.

Explain to any child that we need to adjust and improve the way we use our resources so we better protect our planet and they'll ask you what you're waiting for.

The new act, announced by Energy Minister George Smitherman on Monday, February 23, marks a stunning victory for the idea of decentralized distributed energy production and the possibilities that efficiency can bring. It displays an admirable depth of thinking about eliminating obstacles currently in place and promotes many of the key practices needed to clear the way for clean energy.

According to a wind power study conducted by Guy Holburn and Charles Morand from the Richard Ivey School of Business, Ontario's Green Energy Act doesn't go far enough because it fails to include long-term targets for renewable capacity and leaves decision-making to ministers.

Here’s a pressing question about freshwater offshore wind farms: what about the winter ice?

[Home] energy auditors bracing for an eight-fold increase in business in coming years, thanks to new rules requiring that all houses being sold get such an inspection, are recruiting some of those hurt by the economic downturn.

"I am very excited about this. We have a real opportunity to create some green-collar jobs, if I can call them that," says Vladan Veljovic, president of Greensaver, one of Ontario's oldest energy auditing firms.

Today's tough credit environment poses a significant challenge for renewable energy projects. The GEA proposes a feed-in tariff, a program for renewable energy projects which guarantees a fixed price for the electricity these projects supply. Given how difficult it is to arrange financing now, the tariff will need to do more than make projects economically viable for developers. It will need to be high enough to ensure an attractive return on investment for equity investors and lenders

Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman says a major cultural shift across Ontario's power-system agencies is needed if the province is to become a North American leader in renewable-energy development.

Jobs related to transmission and distribution upgrades are only part of the government "green-collar" work strategy. The proposed legislation is also expected to create 13,500 jobs related to smart-grid development, 8,500 jobs for installers and manufacturers of renewable-energy systems, and 7,500 jobs for energy auditors, engineers and contractors that help home owners and businesses owners use energy more efficiently.

Ontario’s recently proposed Green Energy Act could add as many as 50,000 jobs and help decrease energy use, said supporters of the Canadian provincial measure.

Industry groups – from distributors of electricity to developers of renewable energy systems to manufacturers of steel – heaped praise on the McGuinty government yesterday for proposing new legislation aimed at transforming Ontario's electricity system while promising to create 50,000 green-collar jobs.

McGuinty says forcing people to conduct audits is a good idea because it will allow buyers to know what their energy costs will be.

An ambitious plan to attract investment in renewable energy to Ontario will mean slightly higher energy bills for consumers, mandatory energy audits for residents selling homes, and more solar panels and wind turbines dotting the province’s roofs and landscape.

The global shift to green energy recognizes that the old, centralized power systems that helped to build the postwar world are no longer suited to the imperatives and priorities of the 21st century. Worse yet, these old systems can even work against modern green solutions.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and the region most severely affected by declining exports to the United States, introduced a sweeping package of energy related legislation on Monday.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said while he understood a switch from making cars to making wind turbines may not be easy for workers in Ontario, green technology was key to boosting the province's economy.

On Monday, the Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty will unveil its highly-touted Green Energy Act for Ontario.

Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman, speaking yesterday at the Toronto Board of Trade, said the patchwork of municipal guidelines that has evolved over the years has created a cumbersome process for energy developers. He compared it to the patchwork of municipal rules regarding public smoking before the province created an Ontario-wide standard. Similarly, the proposed Green Energy Act will create a provincial standard for wind turbine sites and a "one-window, one-permit" approach to approvals.

 The Emerging Opportunities with Wood Pellets forum, held by the city in conjunction with the National Research Council and Trade Northern Ontario, will be focused on increasing knowledge levels and awareness regarding the potential opportunities for the region in the emerging biomass and wood pellet industry.

There's virtually no health danger posed by wind turbines, although Ontario's new "green energy" law would set province-wide guidelines on how close they can be to populated areas, says Energy Minister George Smitherman.

The Green Energy Act is expected to spur the development of a green economy that protects the environment. The premier has already said the Act will prevent citizens from objecting to alternative energy projects unless environmental or safety standards are jeopardized.

Energy conservation measures save money. New lighting or better heating and air conditioning systems reduce the expense of running a building, and the money saved is just as good as money earned in any other way (or better, since it's tax free). The cost of such improvements should therefore be seen as an investment where the return usually begins immediately and often continues indefinitely.

On the eve of Obama's visit to Canada, green energy advocates say Ottawa's lack of policy support leaves the sector especially vulnerable.

Ontario, as yet, has no apparent policy or position on offshore wind development, nor any council of experts to accelerate its introduction. It's in the race, by default, but doesn't appear to be running very hard. Perhaps this will be addressed after McGuinty tables his Green Energy Act this week.

The recession and the environment will dominate the spring session of the Ontario legislature that starts Tuesday, as the Liberal government prepares to bring in a deficit budget and a Green Energy Act that it hopes will transform the province's ailing economy and create 50,000 new jobs.

At its first employee gathering Feb. 12, Smitherman called on [PowerStream Barrie Hydro] to be partners in implementing the Green Energy Act, which is to be introduced in the legislature in two to three weeks. It will address not only smart metering, but also wind farms and other clean energy sources.

Solar power installations on Toronto rooftops could generate more than 3,600 megawatts of electricity, according to a city report to be released soon.

Residents of Markham, Thornhill and Richmond Hill fear not, because you have a green shoulder to lean on and an organization to point you in the right direction -courtesy of Jonathan Maister, Lloyd Helferty and the Thornhill Solar Initiative.

New rules introduced yesterday by Ontario's energy regulator will now let operators of small-scale renewable energy systems skip the line altogether, a change that's expected to fast-track the approval of community and farm projects that generate electricity from the sun, water and biomass – including methane from cow dung.

Premier says businesses, workers and government all have a role to play to build a stronger economy.

The NIMBY response has become a given, a default position, an automatic reaction, a cliché. It's the same whether we're talking about highrise condos in north Toronto, narrowing Jarvis St. from five lanes to four, constructing a streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair Ave., rehabilitating the Wychwood Barns or trying to slow global warming to save the planet and this sorry ass of a city.

Many residents assume that to live in a neighbourhood confers the exclusive right to decide what should or shouldn't happen in it. In some cases, NIMBY opponents of homes for unwed mothers and the like have claimed the right to say who can live next door. The sense of entitlement behind such an attitude could sink a battleship.

Opponents of wind turbines off the Scarborough Bluffs have worked themselves into an "artificial lather" as the government prepares to force "green" energy projects on neighbourhoods, says Energy Minister George Smitherman.

Misleading, outdated information about wind turbines is causing unnecessary alarm.

The "not-in-my-backyard" syndrome that has created roadblocks for new energy projects will no longer be tolerated by the Ontario government, Premier Dalton McGuinty warned yesterday as he pitched his proposed Green Energy Act.

Only safety and environmental concerns will be legitimate objections to biofuel plants, solar panel fields and wind turbines under a green energy act to be proposed this month, the premier said yesterday in a speech on the economy.

The "not in my backyard" syndrome that has created roadblocks for new energy projects will no longer be tolerated by the Ontario government, Premier Dalton McGuinty warned Tuesday as he pitched his proposed Green Energy Act.

[Developing] a green-energy industrial strategy is now at the centre of Premier Dalton McGuinty's plan to lift the Ontario economy out of the doldrums while lowering the province's carbon emissions. On Feb. 17, or soon after, the government is expected to table a Green Energy Act that, in the words of the premier, will "unleash an explosion of new, green energy, and create more than 50,000 jobs over the next three years."

Prices being paid for electricity on the spot market are reported to have dropped by 11% as production looks set to increase relative to demand. Spanish energy companies are obliged to buy electricity produced from renewable sources before they turn to other sources such as coal, oil or nuclear plants.

A smart grid can do much more than manage energy demand; it allows renewable power to play a much larger role in the electricity mix, and through rapid integration of power generation from many small distributed sources, we open the door to revolutionizing the way we think about power production and distribution at the local level.

Ontario is planning to modernize its electricity transmission system to make it more reliable and more able to accommodate renewable power, Premier Dalton McGuinty said today.

A new Green Energy Act, to be introduced in the Ontario legislature later this month, would make Ontario a leader in North America in building renewable energy, encouraging energy conservation and creating green jobs.

The government is poised to introduce ambitious legislation that will profoundly shake up the province's electricity system by giving more scope for renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar and biomass generation. Environmentalists and others who are familiar with the discussions at the Ministry of Energy are excited that the Green Energy Act will make Ontario a world leader in encouraging alternatives to conventional fossil-fuel power generation. Some even believe that there will be such a rush of green energy on to the power grid that the government might have second thoughts about building new nuclear plants.

"What we should be doing is moving rapidly and taking a real lead in terms of systems, technology, software, all the way through the entire electricity system," said McFadden, who sat on the task force. He said such an investment fits perfectly with Premier Dalton McGuinty's plan to tie job creation to green-energy development, starting with the introduction late this month of a new Green Energy Act.

The Harper government has been trying to convince Canadians over the past few weeks that it has turned over a new green leaf, but Canada was nowhere to be seen last week when 126 countries gathered to found the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Premier Dalton McGuinty says a proposed Green Energy Act would help lead to more than 50,000 new jobs over the next three years.

The Green Energy Act, to be introduced in the Ontario legislature later this month, would establish Ontario as a leader in North America in building renewable energy, encouraging energy conservation and creating green jobs.

Dr. Hermann Scheer, General Chairmain
World Council for Renewable Energy
Part 1 - Length: 7:14 min, Size: 6.62 MB, Format: mp3
Part 2  - Length: 5:15 min, Size: 4.80 MB, Format: mp3
Full transcript

Wanted: a tenacious bureaucrat, skilled at cutting through bureaucracy, who is willing to work within public-sector processes without quitting in frustration.

Ontario's energy ministry is on the hunt for an assistant deputy minister whose prime duty will be to champion renewable energy and ensure projects don't get stuck in multiple layers of red tape.

The posting is the latest sign Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman is serious about expanding and speeding the deployment of renewable-energy projects that will add more "green" power to Ontario's electricity mix.

So why is the [German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)] so successful? The simple answer is that it has made it profitable for homeowners, farmers and commercial building owners to own and operate PV systems. Here is a summary of how the EEG works:

  1. A 1.2 per cent premium is added to all bills for electricity distributed by the utility companies. This premium is collected and managed by the roughly 900 utility companies in Germany in a joint system.
  2. The premium collected by the utilities funds the feed-in tariffs for the various renewable energies. For a residential PV system, the current rate is EUR 0.43 (C$ 0.70) per kwh delivered to the grid. No government funding goes into the feed-in tariff. This rate is reviewed every four years, as the cost level in the industry is expected to fall with increasing economies of scale. As a result of last year’s review, the feed-in tariff for 2009 was reduced by 9.5 per cent from EUR 0.48.
  3. Once a new PV system is connected to the grid, the current rate is guaranteed for 20 years in a contract between the producer and the utility company. This guarantee reduces the risk of investing in a PV system and makes it possible to obtain long-term financing for the investment.
  4. The EEG gives the producer an explicit right to connect his system to the grid (as long as the system is eligible within the defined technical standards). Likewise, the EEG stipulates an obligation for the utility company to connect the system.
  5. The producer sells all solar energy produced directly to the utility company (no net metering).
  6. The utility company must sell all the renewable energy produced before offering any conventional energy to the marketplace. This point guarantees that all the renewable energy produced will have a buyer. It also means that any new renewable energy delivered to the grid will displace conventional energy in the grid.

Those local renewable resources may eventually be very local. Groups in Ontario are urging the provincial government to pass the Ontario Green Energy Act which will allow small distributed sources of power to contribute to the grid while receiving an adequate return for their investments in green power. Farmers, municipalities, First Nations, and local owners of green energy projects all want to be part of the greening of Ontario.

Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy production not only reduces greenhouse gases, it can also provide quality jobs. Investing in public transit, co-generation (combined heat and power systems), retrofitting homes and buildings and improving the efficiency of electricity transmission can create a host of new job opportunities. The Alternative Federal Budget produced by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calls for $1 billion a year for the next three years and $8 billion over thirteen years in improving energy efficiency and implementing a renewable energy strategy.

Why not work with provinces, territories, municipalities and First Nations to build public regional grids for renewable power, integrated across provincial borders? Investments to expand green energy development in the public sector would create jobs in the research, design, construction and maintenance of renewable energy systems. The Canadian Labour Congress cites an estimate that two million new jobs could be created combating climate change over 15 years.

The bottom line for Canada, though, is that Obama's energy strategy is to sharply reduce oil consumption by massive investments in new energy technologies, strongly supporting the transition to renewable energies (25 per cent of electricity by 2025), electric plug-in autos (1 million on the road by 2015), smart electric grids, and other measures and by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by making the use of oil more expensive.

If Canada is to be credible, we should drop this notion that we have the Americans over a barrel because we are an energy superpower. We must deal with other Canada-U.S. issues on their merits rather than fantasies about oil power.

"The failure to take advantage of this opportunity to shift Canada's economy onto a more sustainable footing ... could have significant consequences for decades to come," warns a recent paper, authored by a team of researchers, including a former assistant deputy finance minister and a former deputy environment minister.

Ontario's power authority has signed long-term power purchase contracts that will see six more wind farms built in the province and the creation of 2,200 jobs.

Hydro One Networks has released details of its plans to change the procedures for connecting distributed generation to the electrical grid. In a meeting with generators on January 22 multiple challenges such as meeting provincial supply mix objectives without running up unreasonable costs, and priorization of connection work given the competitive nature of the generation business, were discussed.

In about a month, Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman will unveil his plan for Ontario's renewable energy future. Here's hoping he'll unshackle the program that's most likely to increase our supply of electricity from wind, solar, biomass and other alternative sources.

The McGuinty government is expected to announce today another $1.3 billion worth of renewable-energy projects, most of it wind, as part of its ongoing effort to "green" up the province's power mix, the Star has learned.

A group of students at York are hoping their solar electricity project has what it takes to win part of a $10-million prize through Google’s Project 10100 (pronounced Project 10 to the 100th) contest designed to elicit ideas on how to change the world by helping as many people as possible. The public gets to vote on the top 100 ideas starting Jan. 27 and the students hope York people will rally together and vote for their project.

To make Ontario less reliant on outside sources of energy and to bring back lost manufacturing jobs, the province must invest intelligently in a green energy economy, says New Democratic Party leadership candidate Peter Tabuns.

Borrowing a page from U.S. President Barack Obama's ambitious energy playbook, a diverse coalition representing more than 850,000 Canadians is calling on the federal government to work with provinces to create a $41 billion "green" stimulus package.

Some backup is needed to accommodate wind's fluctuations, but nowhere near the amount critics claim. Many insist, based on their interpretation of experience in Europe, that the reserve must be at least 60 per cent of the total wind capacity. Whittaker calls that number "categorically false." An Ontario study three years ago put the reserve requirement at less than 10 per cent.

Better equipment and weather forecasting, along with wider dispersal of wind farms, are smoothing the fluctuations or making it easier to predict and prepare for them. Variations in the wind-generated supply are now smaller than those in the demand for electricity, notes Charles Smith of the Virginia-based Utility Wind Integration Group, which develops engineering and operational solutions for adding wind to the grid.

True, Smith says, the wind doesn't always generate electricity when it's needed, but "once you know that, you accept it, and you move on with ... designing a reliable system, factoring in the contribution of the wind plant."

With a few bold moves, a green stimulus package could turn Canada into a global renewable energy powerhouse. We're talking tens of thousands of new jobs in things like turbine manufacturing, home retrofits, solar panel installation, wind farm construction and transit-line building. These are skilled, made-in-Canada jobs that feed families, build wealth and help communities grow and prosper.

In 2008, writes the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Ontario’s total electricity consumption fell by 2.3% and our total coal-fired electricity generation fell by 18% according to statistics released by the Independent Electricity System Operator today.  On a less positive note, Ontario’s net electricity exports doubled in 2008.  As a result, approximately 47% of Ontario’s coal-fired electricity generation was exported.  Click here to read the media news release.

This documentary about how people and communities using Renewable Energy provides hope that we will achieve a sustainable future. This hope is a natural result of the ability of renewable energy to replace non-renewables like fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Renewable Energy sets the stage for a world where political and social autonomy is possible, energy crises are history, climate change is halted, and oil/nuclear war is averted. See how it's possible to live an ethical existence today while providing hope for a better future for our children.

...the Ontario government is apparently working on a piece of legislation aimed at dramatically boosting local investment in renewable-energy projects by giving green power priority on the grid. Ideally, the Ontario act would mirror a similar piece of legislation that Germany introduced in 2001 and that turned the European country into a wind and solar powerhouse.

The impetus this time around is job creation. Ontario's manufacturing sector is getting pummelled, and one need look no further than the struggling automotive sector. Presumably, the goal of a green energy act would be to stimulate investment, not just in renewable-energy projects, but local manufacturing needed to supply product to those projects. The question is how far Premier Dalton McGuinty is willing to go? If he's bold, he'll get ahead in a race that an Obama administration is determined to run. Alternatively, he could stumble with another half measure. We'll find out this spring.

Ontario refunds the provincial sales tax on solar photovoltaic, or PV, equipment and under its standard offer program will pay 42 cents per kilowatt-hour if you want to feed your home-generated solar power into the grid.

These incentives help, especially if you consider the rate of return of investing $20,000 in a two-kilowatt solar PV system is equal to or slightly better than putting the same amount of money into a GIC.

Still, most people like to talk payback and it would typically take more than 20 years for a two-kilowatt system to pay for itself. For this reason, the only "economical" solar projects in Ontario are multi-megawatt solar farms that benefit from economies of scale.

Over the next two years, however, things could become quite interesting. There are high hopes that the Ministry of Energy will soon expand province-wide a zero-interest solar loan program currently offered in Peel Region.

The task of convincing policy makers of the multiple advantages of renewable energy requires bold-thinking, ‘can do’ attitudes, and innovative global initiatives. To achieve these goals, many are advocating the creation of a new international organization charged exclusively with the task of promoting renewable energy.

Ontario could power itself exclusively on renewable energy one day if it thought differently about the operation and design of its entire electricity system, says the chief architect of Germany's green-energy law.

Many wind farms ensure they are driven by local communities, with cooperatives encouraging local investment -- more than half of Westmill's investors, for example, live within a 30-kilometre (20-mile) perimeter.

"It's not a big company that planted a wind farm in the middle of our community," Burke said.

"It's actually ours, we own it".

Some fifty countries have signed up to join a new international organization aimed at spreading renewable energy technology around the world, but for now at least, Canada is sitting on the sidelines.

The decision not to join has left veteran diplomats mystified, while environmentalists and opposition politicians say this is just one more example of the Conservative government's lax environmental policy.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will be formally established at a founding ceremony in Bonn, Germany on January 26, 2009.

The engine of [Germany's] radical transformation is the single most effective climate policy measure yet devised: a straightforward law called a feed-in tariff that obliges power distributors to purchase electricity from renewable sources for a fixed time, at fixed rates above market prices. The German FIT (the Renewable Energy Sources Act, by name) sets the price for green power far higher than market rates — as much as seven times higher in the case of solar energy. 

Imagine how the political landscape might change if communities were allowed to be more self-sufficient, if individuals everywhere could sell to the grid, make cash, generate green power and decentralize what is now a bureaucratic, unresponsive power industry.

“It’s iconic of a larger fight we need to have,” says Stensil. “All Ontarians should have the option to be generators for the province. It should not be just the reserve of the big nuke boys and the fossil fuel lobby.”

The Vatican yesterday activated a new solar energy system and announced an ambitious plan that could one day make it an alternative energy exporter.

According to one theory, the pinnacle of civilization can be seen through the structures that humanity has built over the years.

Talks about wind energy fuels this debate on The Agenda, hosted by Steve Paikin.

With such a commitment to renewable energy, Chatham-Kent would have a strong position to entice green energy companies to locate here. From turbine part manufacturers to solar energy panel firms, and energy storage developers, there is no reason Chatham- Kent cannot be home to production and development facilities in such a growing industry. We could be a continental leader. The potential is there.

Despite rumors to the contrary in the Anglophone world, French wind energy development is continuing. In fact growth is accelerating according to data published by France Énergie Éolienne, the French Wind Energy Association.

Toronto Hydro says no other offshore sites in GTA are financially feasible locales for turbine project

After three years of effort, a $300 million wind farm that would have brought green power to Ontario has been cancelled. This is the latest casualty of a provincial planning process that just isn't up to the task of ensuring that the best interests of all Ontarians prevail.

The McGuinty Government emphasizes reliance on renewables and conservation. The core elements of the nuclear rebuild and coal elimination remain unchanged.

While other nations hunt for ways to wean themselves from fossil fuels, Germany is in the throes of a green revolution that has made it the global leader in solar- and wind-power generation.

The reason? A pioneering law that requires utilities to buy electricity from renewable sources at premium rates. This means anyone with a rooftop solar generator or a small water turbine can sell the energy they produce at a healthy profit.

Al Gore delivers an inspiring speech on the need to make the shift to 100% renewable energy in the next 10 years.

You may not have heard much about it, because the bulk of the projects are small to medium-scale, and attract little press attention. But a look at recent progress in biomass forestry projects shows a hive of activity.

New cogeneration projects are cranking up in Northern Ontario and Quebec. Biomass heat and power projects in Quebec and Ontario are also on the rise.

Most of Washington State's San Juan Islands don't have grid electricity. Many people have relied on generators, but these days, an increasing number are turning to solar. Renewables installer Eric Youngren discusses how net metering works to pay individual energy producers for power they put back into the grid, and other incentives for small-scale renewable "power plants". He tells us about "run of the river" hydro, powered by diversions rather than dams in creeks. A strong advocate for conservation and efficiency, Eric says we could be running everything in the home on a fraction of the energy we now use, just with rooftop solar.

A debate between advocates of distributed and centralized renewable energy systems is just beginning. It is overdue. Consideration of scale in renewable energy systems has been delayed in part because we first had to bring solar energy in all its forms to market, and in part because the distributed nature of renewable energy resources seemed inexorably to lead to their being harnessed in distributed fashio

European Union officials are currently debating the need for a voluntary renewable energy certificate trading scheme. Some countries that can't meet their renewable energy targets -- namely the UK -- are in favor of such a system, as it would allow them to purchase credits from countries that have excess generation capacity. However, many people are worried that a certificate trading scheme will undermine the feed-in tariffs already in place around Europe, hurting the distributed renewable energy market that is flourishing around the region.

The need to upgrade our outdated grid is getting more important each year. As renewable energy makes up more of the U.S. electricity supply and changes the energy landscape, the old, tired transmission and distribution system will have a hard time keeping up. In this week's podcast, we'll bring you three different stories on the transmission and distribution system as it relates to renewable energy.