• 09 Mar 2017 10:10 AM | Deleted user

    Energy, particularly, electricity, continues to be a hot button issue and polls suggest that electricity rates are expected to be a major issue in the 2018 provincial election. On the heels of intense public pressure, it did not come as a surprise when the government announced its “Ontario Fair Hydro Plan” last week.

    Our energy sector is undergoing a fundamental transition.  Is the "Fair Hydro Plan" the right solution?  Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the nuances in between.

    First, the good.  The plan seeks to transfer certain program costs to the tax-base. This structural change is beneficial as it addresses the responsibility that we have as a society to support those most vulnerable to high energy prices with limited means to adjust their consumption and costs.

    On the government’s plan to refinance the Global Adjustment, the benefits are less apparent. Didn’t we just remove the debt retirement charge from residential customers’ bills?  Now we are adding more debt.  Isn’t this Debt Retirement 2.0? The plan gives the illusion that we are paying less for our electricity, but in real dollars we will be paying more interest for the same amount of electricity.  By extending the financing term, we are also tied to OPG’s existing energy portfolio, which means less capacity on the grid for renewables.  Aren’t we repeating past mistakes by keeping up the illusion that energy is cheap? By doing so, we take away economic incentives for people to conserve and invest in energy efficiency.

    The transition to a clean, integrated, and decentralized energy system is inevitable.  In Ontario and around the world, it is driven by individuals and communities who want to take ownership and participate in their own renewable energy projects, and fueled by innovations in technology and reduction in costs.

    As we are moving through this transition, renewable energy has been unfairly blamed for the rise in electricity rates. But as Jake Brooks from APPrO and several journalists referenced in a recent article point out, there are several factors that have caused electricity rates to soar. Rather than looking for simple explanations and easy scapegoats, Ontarians would be well-advised to ask themselves a couple of fundamental questions: what kind of society do I want live in? And, what legacy do I want to leave for my children and grandchildren? With that in mind, they should take a good and long-term look at the driving forces behind electricity rates, as well as trends in technology advancements and costs.

    The Fair Hydro Plan is a band-aid, short-term fix.  At OSEA, we strongly believe that we need a boost in overall energy literacy to have an engaged public, able to work with local governments to find appropriate, local energy solutions that address climate change challenges and enable the introduction of a much more integrated and decentralized provincial grid. For what that can look like, see what is happening in Oxford County, Brant County, City of Guelph, City of Markham, City of Toronto, etc.

    Allowing for community participation and taking advantage of the opportunities to sustainably utilize local resources, creates good, quality jobs and resilient and economically vibrant communities.

    For further discussion on this topic, I invite you to participate in our online member discussion forum and to reply to our short member survey.

    - by Nicole Risse
    Executive Director, OSEA

  • 02 Dec 2016 3:32 PM | Deleted user

    Allison Annesley 
    VP of Energy Solutions 
    Efficiency Capital Corp.

    Savings Pay for Cutting Edge Upgrades 

    Most people recognize energy conservation is an effective way to reduce building operating costs while improving occupant comfort and reducing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. But according to the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, a third of Canadians blame cost as the reason they don’t invest in high-efficiency equipment and smart building envelope solutions. Energy efficiency is often seen as an expense but it’s actually an opportunity to earn an impressive return on your investment, especially in the face of rising utility costs. Performance contracting is a smart way to take advantage of this opportunity and transfer your risk to the financing company managing your efficiency upgrade.

    What is Performance Contracting?

    Performance contracting is an innovative way to pay for comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades based on future utility savings, with no upfront investment required. Projects can be financed using a non-debt instrument that doesn’t affect your borrowing power so you still have access to that money for other priorities. According to the Toronto chapter of the Building Operators and Managers Association (BOMA), half of all retrofits on the market fail to achieve their targets, so it’s important to protect your investment. The best contracts include third-party insurance to guarantee the energy savings promised. They also include ongoing monitoring, measurement and verification so you can track the performance of your upgrade and the actual energy savings.

    Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF), a non-profit climate change agency, has been involved in reviewing and monitoring more than 2,000 energy efficiency projects. Based on this experience, the organization reports energy savings are between 10% and 50%, depending on the age of the building, existing equipment and on the depth of the energy conservation measures. If you don’t want to miss out on those savings, performance contracting can remove cost as a barrier.

    Energy Audits Showcase Opportunities

    A comprehensive energy audit will reveal what your best conservation opportunities are, including technologies building engineers are flagging as cutting edge. Some companies promote particular products or brands, but what you really need is objective advice about how to approach your upgrade. Your audit should tell you which measures will save you the most energy and reduce the most greenhouse gas emissions, not push the company’s “house brand.”

    There are a few key technologies to be aware of though, including variable frequency drives or VFDs, which are also called variable speed drives. This technology dramatically improves the efficiency of motors used to power fans, pumps and compressors. By varying the frequency of these motors, VFDs control the amount of current supplied, which allows voltage to match demand, saving energy when less energy is needed.

    Building automation systems (BAS) are another important technology to consider. These systems allow facilities managers to monitor and control building functionality from a central location. A BAS can be programmed to shut off or power-down equipment automatically to promote energy conservation without compromising use requirements or occupant comfort. It can send alerts to facilities managers so equipment failures, leakage, or other anomalies can be identified and resolved quickly. The hard numbers a BAS provides on building performance can also be used as evidence to generate support for efficiency upgrades. Web-based building controls and monitoring can be added to a BAS, making it possible to track energy performance in real time.

    Advanced heat pump technology is re-emerging as one of the most energy efficient mechanical systems available. Depending on the type, heat source and operating conditions, heat pump systems can achieve efficiencies three to six times greater than conventional heating and cooling equipment. Ground source heat pump systems, also called geo-exchange, capture and release heat or cooling energy from below the ground’s surface while air source systems harvest this thermal energy from outdoor air. The renewable energy they harvest from air, soil or water provides space heating, domestic hot water heating and space cooling.

    The Ontario government’s plan to introduce energy and water reporting and benchmarking (EWRB) regulations for large buildings has created more urgency to act on efficiency opportunities. The new regulation is expected to be phased-in with more details available early in 2017. Energy and water performance will be publicly disclosed and ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software will be used to rank buildings against their peers. Property managers can use this information to prioritize investments and once building upgrades are complete, the improved performance will serve as evidence of green leadership. The most efficient buildings will be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification, proving they perform better than at least 75% of similar buildings.

    Research is already demonstrating the value of energy efficiency in the marketplace. A 2015 study by TD Economics and Minto showed condominium buyers are willing to pay significantly more for units with LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) certification on resale. The average premium paid for LEED Silver is approximately 6%, with LEED Gold units selling for between 12% and 15% more than their conventional counterparts. Reflecting the importance of energy conservation, there are more points awarded for energy efficiency under LEED Certification for Existing Buildings than any other type of measure.

    Even in large financial institutions, investment managers frequently overlook opportunities to earn attractive returns upgrading the efficiency of their own buildings. Performance contracting is a de-risked opportunity to capture substantial utility savings with no upfront cost for a better performing building. When it comes to energy efficiency, green leadership just makes sense.

    Allison Annesley is VP of Energy Solutions at Efficiency Capital Corp. You can reach her at 416-915-1321, .

    This article was originally written for Condo Manager Magazine
  • 02 Nov 2016 10:13 AM | Deleted user

    Last week I had the opportunity to meet with leaders from the bioenergy sector at the Biomass North Development Centre’s AGM & Forum in North Bay. It was inspiring to be in a room with people who understand the importance of bioenergy in the transition to a 100% sustainable and low-carbon energy system. Our communities use up to 80% of their energy to heat spaces and water and only 20% for electricity. Yet, when talking about energy, we (our Ministry of Energy included), all too often, concern ourselves only with the electricity portion, ignoring the much larger need for energy for heating our homes and water. By doing so, we ignore a tremendous opportunity and something that could be considered – Canada’s competitive edge – namely heat and electricity from biogas and biomass, most efficiently utilized in a Combined Heat and Power application.

    For years, OSEA members have tried to stress the importance of seizing the opportunities and break down the silos between electricity and heating and cooling, to allow for the most efficient and effective integration of these technologies and processes. Communities who can realize these opportunities through community energy plans are well-positioned to being self-reliant in the face of climate change and to developing economic opportunities, allowing their neighborhoods to remain intact and be re-vitalized.

    OSEA members are supporting this development with two exciting initiatives. One is the Green Heat Working Group’s white paper on sustainable heat – a policy brief defining green heat and outlining the opportunities and barriers as well as providing an overview of best practices from other jurisdictions.

    The second initiative is the Combined Energy Options Ontario study – a research project lead by a consortium of academic and industry partners to develop a model and simulation for a 100% sustainable, low-carbon energy system that is build on portfolios of sustainable energy technologies for power, heating, cooling, and transportation. OSEA members feel strongly that this initiative is essential to evidence-based, sound, long-term energy planning, detached from political ideology and partisan interests. It is our desire that this model will soon be able to inform the government’s long-term energy planning efforts.

    An effort that is currently under way again with the development of the new Long-term Energy Plan that is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2017.  I encourage you to get involved in the consultation by attending any of the government’s public consultation sessions (for details click here).

    In our pre-consultation submission, OSEA highlighted five main areas of concern based on feedback from our membership. I would appreciate it, if you could keep the following five points in mind and, if necessary, address them during the meetings you attend:

    • Any future Long Term Energy Plan should be based on publicly available, transparent, and full lifetime feasibility and cost analysis of the most sustainable technology options for all forms of energy, i.e. electrical, thermal and mobility.

    • Define clear, ambitious energy conservation and GHG emission reduction targets in the LTEP for all sectors and government agencies in line with Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.

    • Improve stability and predictability of renewable energy procurement programs for all participants.

    • Design the regulatory process to support and simplify the economic participation of the communities hosting renewable energy projects.

    • Change building codes to include mandatory and ambitious energy efficiency standards for new buildings, commercial and residential.

    See OSEA letter to the Minister for the pre-consultation:

    See OSEA pre-consultation survey report:

    If you need additional support or guidance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    I am also very excited to announce our upcoming Powering Prosperity Awards 2017. Once a year, we have a chance to recognize the champions in our sector who drive sustainability concepts and sustainable energy initiatives big and small. I hope you can join us on Thursday, February 2, 2017, for an evening of celebration and networking. And if you know anyone or any organization that deserves to be recognized, please note that we are receiving award nominations until November 21st, 2016. For more details visit

    Finally, I am happy to announce that OSEA’s board is looking to fill several upcoming vacancies. All OSEA members in good standing are eligible to run for director positions on the board. Serving as a director on OSEA’s board is a voluntary position. It is an opportunity to work with the other directors on the board helping to shape the direction of the organization and the sustainable energy sector at large. Click here for further details

    The month of November is busy with conferences, social events, public consultations, and meetings. I wish you a good month and look forward to seeing you around.


    Nicole Risse

    Executive Director

  • 28 Sep 2016 3:50 PM | Anonymous

    The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) is disappointed to hear that the Ontario government decided to suspend the second round of its Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program. While the program was certainly not the most effective in ensuring meaningful community participation and ownership opportunities, it was a program that allowed the province to move in the right direction as it pertains to meeting our climate change and emission reduction goals.

    The decision plays into the misinformed belief that renewable energy generation is expensive and nuclear power is cheap. Earlier this year, when projects were awarded contracts under the first round of the large renewable procurement, renewable energy developers proved that their projects can come in at highly competitive rates, even below the advertised rate of nuclear refurbishments. And while the prices for renewables continue to drop, the total cost implications of nuclear refurbishment are not yet entirely known. What we do know is that no nuclear power project in Canada has come in on time or on budget.

    This decision also stands in stark contrast to the government’s recently released Climate Change Action Plan that encourages the move towards a distributed energy system that is powered by renewable sources. This plan has led the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to release two demand forecast scenarios that foresee an increase in electricity demand of up to 40% due to the introduction of electric cars and the push towards the use of electricity for our water and space-heating needs. (See IESO Demand Forecast) Considering that the IESO forecast, that was released earlier this month, still factors in the supply from the 1000 MW that was going to be brought online under the second round of LRP, how is this additional demand going to be satisfied?

    It also begs the question why does the government continue to support a bulk electricity system when all the evidence shows that a decentralized energy system is more flexible, more efficient, less cost-intensive, and allows better engagement and involvement of the community?

    By sticking to the bulk electricity system, our government risks stranded assets that we, our children and grandchildren will have to pay for decades to come. If the government was truly concerned about the costs of our energy system, it would take a long-term, integrated (heating, cooling, electricity and transportation) and systematic approach to energy planning and be transparent about the process. This is why OSEA and its members have been developing the Combined Energy Options Ontario proposal for the past year. The proposal is for a holistic study of Ontario’s energy system to develop a model and simulation that would allow us to understand how we can build a low-carbon, sustainable energy system in the most cost-effective, efficient, and socially responsible way.

    While the news of the LRP suspension has certainly been discouraging, OSEA will continue to engage actively with the government on the development of the next long-term energy plan, championing the transition to a decentralized, integrated, inclusive and sustainable energy system that is built on portfolios of technological solutions that satisfy Ontario’s electricity, heating, cooling, and transportation needs and that puts the needs of Ontario’s communities first.

    - 30 -

    The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) is championing a prosperous Ontario with a thriving sustainable energy sector, good jobs, resilient communities and healthy environments powered, heated, cooled and moved by portfolios of sustainable energy by raising public awareness, advising decision makers and establishing forums for new market opportunities and collaboration. Find us on the web at
  • 12 Sep 2016 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    Sustainable energy champions and leaders in sustainability across Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia opened their doors this past weekend, showcasing their projects and sharing their experiences. More than 200 venues opened their doors, demonstrating a variety of technologies from solar, wind, and geothermal, to energy-efficient buildings, electric vehicles, as well as featuring different ways of living sustainably. 

    Over 10,000 visitors utilized this opportunity to learn and exchange ideas with homeowners, members of community groups, organizations, and business who are the trailblazers that lead the way for climate action. 

    A Personal Message from The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario (PDF)

    Visitors came from all over and even included people from abroad. Like Mr. Richard Hooker, a graphic designer and photographer visiting from the UK, who while researching sustainability in Ontario prior to his visit, came across the Green Energy Doors Open website. “I'm interested in learning what people are doing to advance sustainable practices wherever I go, and hope to be able to document these efforts one day. I was stoked to find out about Green Energy Doors Open and am glad that I was able to visit a few of the sites on my first day after arriving in Toronto.”

    “Climate change is a cause of concern for many and the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) is proud to be able to showcase solutions to our climate change challenge through this initiative. Green Energy Doors Open consists of the annual showcase and a blog with stories, videos, podcasts and case studies that enable people to share ideas and learn from each other all year round,” says Nicole Risse, OSEA’s Executive Director. 

    A Message of Support from The Honourable C. McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Video)

    "Buildings and transportation account for about 70% of greenhouse gas emissions in urban centres, so greening our buildings is essential. The good news is that it's doable. At TD, our green building program is the key reason we've been able to reduce GHG emissions from energy by 20% since 2008, despite occupying 26% more space," says Karen Clarke-Whistler, TD's Chief Environment Officer. "Green Energy Doors Open is a great opportunity to see a huge range of innovative green buildings. It's incredibly inspiring, and we are excited that the idea of Green Energy Doors Open is spreading and now includes other provinces, such as Alberta and British Columbia."

    “At Enbridge, we believe in sustainability and are concerned about the impacts of climate change. With and for our customers, we have worked for years striving to find innovative solutions to save energy and to improve the overall efficiency of their buildings. That is also why we started the “Savings by Design” initiative, which is a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach to gain maximum energy efficiency in new building structures. We are proud to partner with OSEA on this campaign as it gives us the opportunity to inform the public about this part of our business,” explains Shannon Bertuzzi, Manger, Residential Energy Solutions of Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.

    “Our members are very excited to be supporting this initiative again,” says Joe Mulhall, President of the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers. “Green Energy Doors Open hosts are teaching us that we can power, heat, cool and move sustainably, while building resilient and prosperous communities and acting responsibly to mitigate Climate Change.”

    For more information about Green Energy Doors Open and to read our blog, please visit our website ( and follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter ( 


    Green Energy Doors Open is a province-wide, year-round communications campaign and a showcase of individual, community and commercial sustainable energy projects organized and spearheaded by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. The initiative aims to showcase advancements in the sector, demonstrating that Ontario is already on the path to building a 100% clean and sustainable energy system. Green Energy Doors Open takes place in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.

    The Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) is championing a prosperous Ontario with a thriving sustainable energy sector, good jobs, resilient communities and healthy environments powered, heated, cooled and moved by portfolios of sustainable energy by raising public awareness, advising decision makers and establishing forums for new market opportunities and collaboration. Find us on the web at

    Green Energy Doors Open Press Package 

    Media Contact:                

    Nicole Risse, Executive Director, OSEA
    416-977-4441 ext. 3
    416-892-0559 (cell)

  • 28 Jul 2016 11:01 AM | Anonymous

    Last month, the Ontario Government finally released its long-anticipated Climate Change Action Plan. It is a 5-year plan to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions by 15% below 1990 emission levels by 2020, 37% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

    The Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) is multi-faceted, wide-ranging and does not leave a single person or sector untouched. What is exciting for us at OSEA is that in its breadth and depth, it relates very closely to our vision and mission of championing a more sustainable Ontario with a decentralised, integrated and inclusive sustainable energy system. A system that is built on portfolios of sustainable energy technologies to power, heat, cool, and transport our communities.

    The CCAP engages each person on an individual level, promising to create jobs and improve our quality of life. For OSEA’s diverse membership of individuals, public, private, and indigenous champions, the Climate Change Action Plan provides ample opportunities to create new business opportunities. Due to its diverse membership, OSEA is in the unique position to help its members identify those opportunities and to find the right partners to implement them.  In the following I am outlining these opportunities as I see them for each of our member segments and the industries represented within OSEA:

    For Communities


    Municipalities across Ontario have been grappling, to varying degrees, with impacts of climate change and climate change mitigation. They are also always looking for new opportunities to bring business to their regions to ensure good, sustainable employment opportunities for the members of their communities.

    Thanks to the CCAP, municipalities are now being given the tools to undertake or further advance their Community Energy Plans. They are also being urged to undergo Community Energy Mapping initiatives to better understand their own contribution to climate change. Furthermore, municipalities are supposed to reduce congestions, create low-carbon, walkable communities and encourage the transition to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles through improved city and land planning and regulations. Municipalities are further encouraged to work with the community to retrofit building stocks and set energy efficiency standards for new developments.

    The CCAP is also looking to increase biogas production providing municipalities with a first-class business opportunity for its municipal organic waste, landfill and sewer gas.

    For those municipalities who already have a Community Energy Plan with greenhouse gas pollution inventories a Challenge Fund or Program will be created to help match funding for projects to further reduce emissions, with the goal to “demonstrate best cost-per-tonne reductions”.

    Indigenous Communities:

    The government seeks to collaborate and partner with indigenous communities to address the challenges of climate change and to identify areas of collaboration and actions. Major areas of consideration are questions around how to transition remote indigenous communities to low-carbon energy options, how and whether to connect indigenous communities to the province’s electrical grid and whether and how to develop micro-grid solutions for remote, Northern communities.

    A fund will be established to help finance “community-level greenhouse gas pollution reduction projects and for community energy and climate action planning in First Nation communities, particularly to reduce emissions from buildings and infrastructure, and for the development of carbon sequestration projects.”

    Co-operatives and Community Organizations:

    Co-operatives and community organisations should seize the opportunity to work with their municipality to tackle the climate change challenge together. This could happen through the collaboration on projects to build out renewable energy generation and storage capacity, to finance energy efficiency retrofits, to develop low-carbon transportation options and to invest in and develop community spaces, such as parks and high-density living spaces, which reduce or sequester carbon emissions.

    Schools, Colleges, and Universities:

    Educational institutions are tasked with the important work of research and innovation as well as with establishing and delivering training programs to develop the expertise needed to fulfil the CCAP. In addition to that, educational institutions will be supported to upgrade and retrofit their own buildings and facilities and to include renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.  

    For Industry (in alphabetical order)

    Agriculture and Forestry:

    The CCAP aims to increase the renewable content in natural gas. This is great news for the agricultural and forestry sector for whom new business opportunities arise as producers of renewable natural gas for power generation, heating and transportation. Furthermore, the CCAP foresees to develop a land-use carbon inventory “to assess the potential of agriculture, forestry and other land uses, such as wetlands and grasslands, to emit, remove and store carbon.”  It, therefore, seeks to expand the Greenbelt and protect the province’s grasslands.

    Biomass, Water, and Wind Power:

    Biomass, water and wind power will be important elements of micro-grid solutions in communities that have an abundance of these resources, especially in remote, Northern communities.

    Building Sector:

    The building sector will see a drastic shift to improved energy performance and an emphasis on innovation for both existing buildings and new-builds. The government aims to introduce a new building code targeting net-zero emissions by 2030 and considers implementing initial changes by 2020.

    Energy Efficiency:

    Homeowners, large commercial building owners and managers, municipalities, institutional and industrial facilities are encouraged and will be provided funding for a wide-range of measures to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. Measures include upgrades to insulation, windows, boiler, chiller upgrades, as well as building automation systems.  

    Geothermal & Air-source Heat Pumps:

    Geothermal and air-source heat pumps will become viable options for home and building owners who are looking for low-carbon heating alternatives.


    Building owners/managers and homeowners alike are being encouraged to consider on-site, renewable generation to offset their energy consumption, with a goal of reaching near net-zero emissions. Solar power generation will also play a factor in the development of microgrid solutions.


    The transportation sector is with 35% the sector with the highest carbon emissions, posing the greatest challenges and opportunities. The CCAP puts forward ambitious targets for carbon reductions from this sector. Most notably, the CCAP seeks to increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs), hydrogen and plug-in Hybrid vehicles in the province, through a number of incentive programs, including rebates for EVs, and the aggressive build-out of vehicle charging infrastructure.  It further incentivizes the usage of low-carbon fuels by promoting fuel-switching, increasing the renewable fuel content in conventional fuels, and investing in public transit systems and short-distance railways.  

    For Individuals

    For the individual Ontarian, the CCAP has some very exciting things to offer. On the one hand, the CCAP seeks to introduce new (i.e. HER&D, Climate Change Tools) or improve existing (i.e. Green Button) programs and tools that provide accessibility to information on consumer behaviours as well as available choices to change these behaviours. On the other hand, it promises to support low-income individuals throughout the transition to a low carbon province and to generate new employment opportunities for the people of Ontario.  

    In Conclusion

    The Climate Change Action Plan is a bold and ambitious plan to ensure that Ontario can meet its emission reduction targets. It remains the concern that the majority of the actions in the plan are tied directly to the proceeds of the Cap and Trade Program which will come into effect in January 2017.  While we, of course, hope that the Cap & Trade Program will be successful right from the start, a less than satisfactory roll-out of the program could have negative effects on the implementation of the actions outlined in the Climate Change Action Plan.

    That said, the Climate Change Action Plan provides the people of Ontario with a tremendous opportunity to create new business opportunities and jobs. It also fosters collaborations between different sectors and stakeholders to ultimately build a better, more sustainable Ontario.  OSEA has long advocated for such an integrated, comprehensive, and systematic approach and we look forward to working with our members and the larger community to seize the opportunities of the Plan. Through its large and diverse network of stakeholders with different backgrounds and from different sectors, OSEA is in the best position to do so.  

    Written by Nicole Risse, Executive Director, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
  • 20 Jul 2016 4:30 PM | Deleted user

    By:John Connell (YSEC)

    Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) was the recipient of the Aboriginal Project of the Year Award for 2016. The award, presented by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, recognises the significance of the 500-kilowatt (KW) Oneida Business Park Rooftop Solar Project. This initiative not only provides direct environmental benefits through solar energy production but also shows how local leadership can create strong partnerships for smart energy solutions and offer a wide range of social and economic benefits.

    The Oneida Business Park Rooftop Solar Project came to fruition as a result of the historic 2009 Ontario Green Energy and Green Economy Act. It was ultimately the result of a partnership agreement between Six Nations of the Grand River and the County of Brant.  This agreement highlighted shared goals to develop sustainable community projects, draw attention to unresolved land matters, promote a stronger partnership between the two parties, and demonstrate Six Nations’ capacity as a viable and valuable business partner. SNGRDC holds a 90% ownership stake in the project and Brant County owns the remaining 10%.

    This progressive collaborative partnership is important for the future of these two communities. Chief Ava Hill said, “We are pleased to maximise the utility of land already developed at Oneida Business Park as an opportunity to demonstrate our on-going commitment to clean energy, and a much-needed source of revenue to help fund future community needs. We appreciate Brant County’s foresight in looking to Six Nations as an important partner within the region.”

    Ron Eddy, Mayor of Brant County shared his enthusiasm for the collaboration, by stating, “This partnership project is an excellent example of the economic, social, and environmental benefits that can be created when two communities work together for the common good.” He further echoed the shared sentiment that “We look forward to future partnership opportunities with Six Nations.”

    Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 10.29.42 AM

    The Oneida project generates 500-kilowatts of energy through 2,307 installed solar panels.  It can power approximately 77 homes per year (17% of homes in the region) while remaining carbon neutral. During its development and installation, members of Six Nations gained valuable employment opportunities and first-hand experience, which is one of the many direct benefits spurred through collaborative, community solar projects, such as this one.

    Over the lifetime of its FIT contract (20 years), the project will yield approximately $2.5 million in consolidated net cash flow to the community. The proceeds from it will be  allocated to the Six Nations of the Grand River Economic Development Trust (EDT), which will invest in projects that will positively impact the Six Nations of the Grand River community as a whole.

    SNGRDC has also entered into other partnerships developing a diverse portfolio of renewable generation facilities. This portfolio currently generates 860+ megawatts of renewable energy through 13 solar and wind energy projects.

    Renewable energy investments are not only sound energy alternatives, but they also open the possibility for a brighter and more holistic economic future. The collaboration between SNGRDC and the County of Brant represents a model for localised sustainable development. This model has the potential to pioneer avenues for collaborations between municipalities and their neighbouring Indigenous communities that will foster collaboration, mutual learning and understanding while yielding environmental and socio-economic benefits.

    SNGRDC and the County of Brant continue to seek opportunities to collaborate on future projects that will further strengthen the relationship between the two communities and will allow them to build a sustainable future together.

    Nicole Kohoko, Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation
    Matt Jamieson, Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation

  • 07 Jul 2016 9:30 AM | Deleted user

    By: Yvonne Ho 

    On Tuesday June 28th, OSEA hosted the Combined Energy Options Ontario (CEOO) Workshop. The study, aptly named “Combined Energy Options Ontario” - or CEOO - is in its initial planning stages. CEOO's goal is to model a 100% sustainable energy (electrical, thermal and transportation) system built on a portfolio of sustainable energy technologies, based on the needs and resources of Ontario’s different regions. The study will investigate how Ontario can cover the long-term energy needs while meeting its carbon emission targets and socioeconomic needs. The project is modeled after the Kombikraftwerk 2 project conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute IWES with great success and impact in Germany.

    Nicole Risse, Interim Executive Director of OSEA, started the day off by welcoming the workshop participants and giving a brief introduction of OSEA and the CEOO project. Workshop attendees comprised of OSEA members, academics and industry professionals, were then given a more in-depth overview of this project by the co-chair of OSEA’s board, Christine Koenig, who is also the principal instigator of this project. Christine explained that the timing is right for such a research project to be carried out in our province, since Ontario is currently at the point where it has to make important decisions about massive energy infrastructural changes. The CEOO project has a grand vision for Ontario to shift from its current centralized system, to a decentralized, integrated and inclusive energy system that is 100% sustainable by 2050.

    The CEOO Project

    One of the primary objectives of this project is to discover when and how such an energy system can be realized, and whether it is economically feasible. In addition, the project aims to investigate economic, environmental and social opportunities surrounding a combined energy system, while identifying technological and political barriers to its implementation. Christine mentioned that an important outcome would be for the project to lend itself to effective public communication and education of key stakeholders and politicians, by emphasizing the potential and opportunities of such an energy future. Christine and the CEOO team have already consulted with their German partners who were involved with the Fraunhofer project, with hopes of learning how to leverage European best practices and provide benefits for our province.

    Since this initiative is in its early stages, some of the proposed next steps include: in-depth project planning, creation of a project organization (consisting of a steering committee and 6 working groups), and the formation of a project consortium. The consortium, which will include the Fraunhofer Institute, would consist of a variety of Canadian partners who can bring expertise or experience to CEOO and help see it to completion, either by contributing in-kind support or funding to the project. A final deliverable of the project would comprise an educational video and an interactive map of the combined 100% sustainable energy systems in Ontario.

    The Fraunhofer Project in Germany

    The workshop participants also had the rare opportunity to learn firsthand about Germany’s Kombikraftwerk project suite from Dr. Stefan Bofinger, a representative from the Fraunhofer IWES (Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology). Stefan provided insight into the energy scenario in Germany, and the scope, structure and major outcomes of the study conducted by IWES. Ever since the renewable energy act was introduced in 2000, German households were able to install rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems through the government’s feed-in-tariff program. Germany has since seen a significant PV growth - from less than 5% to 37% between 2002 and 2016; comparably, wind energy grew from 12% to 40% in the same time period. Close to 30% of Germany’s electricity system is now supplied by renewable energy, with wind and PV contributing a large proportion to this mix.

    Some of the scientific modeling projects the IWES conducted include:

    1.     A German RES Power Plant project that scaled the energy demand in the entire country using real operations of RES power plants— demonstrating over a one-month period that their demands can indeed be met by these plants.

    2.     A simulation of a 100% renewable electricity future that models in detail the country’s future electricity generation and demands— using a mixed approach of PV, wind and biogas (determination of storage demand, generation peaks, surpluses from fluctuation and deficits were all included in this modeling).

    3.     The geographical analysis for possible renewable energy locations (i.e. wind, PV, bioenergy, and energy consumption sites), by evaluating a combination of criteria such as land use, land cover, topography, roads and infrastructure, characterization of offshore area, water depths, demography, and location of inhabitants.

    Outcomes of these studies implicated that it is highly possible for Germany to be powered with 100% renewable energy in the future. Stefan noted that Germany has a dense population, and the distribution and level of wind/solar energy potentials are less than optimal in many instances – therefore if such an energy future is feasible in Germany, it can be possible anywhere else in the world. He then proceeded to explain how this study can be made relevant to the Ontario situation, and elucidated how an ideal CEOO project should look like (i.e. one that adapts to the Canadian situation and involves all sectors – electricity, heating and cooling, transportation, and industrial processes).

    By the end of the workshop, OSEA members, academic partners and industry professionals were enthusiastic about the potential outcomes that the CEOO project would have for Ontario and the many opportunities for knowledge transfer between Canada and Germany. As Christine said, the time is ripe for our province to take charge and lead positive transformations in its own energy future. If our German counterparts can do it, so can we!

    For more information on the CEOO project, please contact Nicole Risse at or Christine Koenig at

  • 20 May 2016 10:44 AM | Deleted user

    Media Release

    To: Ontario Media Outlets

    Date: May 20, 2016

    North Bay, ON - The leak of Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change draft Climate Change Strategy last week is both cause for celebration and for swift criticism. While it is both necessary and valuable for the province to actually develop a strategy to meet its aggressive GHG emissions targets, the current strategy commits to end Ontario’s residential use of natural gas for heating while the Ministry of Energy is actively promoting the expansion of natural gas throughout the province. It includes a narrow solution set of geothermal and electric heat while the Ministry of Northern Development & Mines and the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry actively promote the use of underutilized biomass residues for bioheat. Its stated goal of converting Ontario residences to electric heat in a time when the citizens of Ontario are struggling under the burden of rising electricity costs is both tone-deaf and a non-starter in the north.

    It’s most glaring omission, however, is that bioheat from renewable wood residues, the optimal solution for heating homes in northern Ontario, is absent from the strategy. Bioheat, and combined heat and power using renewable sustainable biomass, is a key plank in the climate change strategies of virtually every country in the northern hemisphere, and every other province in Canada.

    “The irony of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate ignoring bioheat in a province with vast forests, and that is internationally recognized and respected for its sustainable forestry practices is frustrating for northern Ontario communities and businesses. It’s doubly ironic as this week Biomass North Development Centre leads a delegation of community leaders, academics, and industry partners to World Bioenergy in Sweden and a bioenergy trade mission in Finland this week with the message that Canada’s bioeconomy is open for business,” said Dawn Lambe, Executive Director of the Biomass North Development Centre.

    “At previous World Bioenergy events, Ontario has been referred to ‘the black hole of bioeconomy development’. We had hoped to report to the global community on the progress that Ontario is making to reduce the regulatory barriers to bioheat through modernizing combustion guidelines and streamlining permitting, work currently underway in another branch of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. However, our delegation will likely be asked how Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy can ignore the lowest hanging fruit of bioheat in a province with such huge biomass potential. We wish we had a logical answer to give them,” she added.

    Converting homes to renewable bioheat from sustainable forestry residues would be an optimal solution yielding multiple benefits:

    • Drastically reduce GHG emissions from residential heating compared to Business As Usual
    • Create thousands of high-value jobs in northern Ontario
    • Spur the manufacturing sector in southern Ontario
    • Reduce home heating costs in the north by up to 75%
    • Develop the infrastructure and supply chains for a robust bioeconomy
    • Spur innovation in higher-value bioproducts

    Contact: Dawn Lambe, Executive Director, Biomass North Development Centre


    Click here for the original media release

  • 18 May 2016 12:24 PM | Deleted user

    When reviewing infrastructure and resource development projects in Canada, government leaders need to follow decision-making processes that are transparent, democratic, rigorous, and advance sustainability.

    For decades, two closely linked procedural policy tools-environmental impact assessment and mechanisms for public participation in decision-making-were thought to possess these qualities, and to offer the potential to balance the often conflicting interests of stakeholders in development projects.

    However, Mark Winfield argues in A New Era of Environmental Governance in Canada: Better Decisions Regarding Infrastructure and Resource Development Projects that these tools have largely lost their legitimizing power due to government "streamlining" efforts that accelerate project approvals. As a result, affected communities and aboriginal peoples, non-governmental organizations, and even groups with economic interests in development outcomes no longer accept the decisions made using these processes. Rather than facilitating speedy approvals and moving project construction forward, streamlining has had the opposite effect, resulting in greater uncertainty and delay.

    Winfield's paper charts the emergence and decline of these two procedural tools, and offers clear recommendations for how contemporary policy makers and political leaders may restore public confidence in their environmental governance.

    A New Era of Environmental Governance in Canada is the first paper in the Metcalf Foundation's Green Prosperity series. Five papers will be released in the coming months, addressing a range of issues and opportunities in building a low-carbon, resource efficient, and resilient Canada.

    Download Report


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software