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  • OSEA: Local Citizens
    global warming and frustrated by the lack of government action many Ontario residents are taking steps to reduce their own carbon emissions One way they are doing this is by installing solar thermal and solar photovoltaic panels on their own homes But this can be a daunting task requiring individuals to learn about the technology meet a myriad of regulations obtain the necessary building permits and apply for government incentives and rebates In some municipalities rezoning is required while getting connected to the grid can be very difficult and time consuming On top of that many people feel uncomfortable choosing and buying a solar system and finding a reputable company to install the system Instead of tackling these hurdles on their own individuals have joined forces with their neighbours and friends who share their concern for the environment As well as pooling their knowledge residents that work together can enjoy substantial savings by buying solar systems in bulk Bulk buying also lowers the cost of installations because the installer can work on a number of homes all in the same vicinity This is what the residents of one Toronto neighbourhood did forming the group The West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy in the summer of 2007 The group provoked a lot of interest and initially 160 households requested an evaluation of their homes to determine their suitability for solar power Of those only 14 homes proved unsuitable By the fall of 2008 34 solar PV systems had been installed and 60 solar hot water systems installed or under contract Similar neighbourhood solar projects have since been initiated in Guelph Waterloo Mississauga and Brampton In Toronto is residents of Ward 30 are being offered 2 000 as an incentive to install solar hot water heaters as part of the city s

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  • OSEA: Municipalities and Local Distribution Companies
    the push by the Harris government of the 1990s to privatize public municipal utilities threatening to penalize them with taxes if they didn t submit to market forces Today municipalities are once again being given the opportunity become energy producers under the new Green Energy Act Under this legislation municipalities and local distribution companies are able to generate up to 10 MW of renewable energy without having to establish a separate corporation Big benefits for municipalities Municipal ownership of renewable energy generation has many benefits These include a new source of revenue for municipalities that feed their green power into the grid for a favourable feed in tariff Local ownership also means local control of generation whether that is from wind solar biogas or hydro Another benefit is that when power is produced and consumed locally there is less of a need to transmit the power long distances thereby drastically reducing line losses and the need to build expensive and often intrusive transmission lines Municipal ownership also results in more local economic benefits not only in terms of revenue but jobs as well Perhaps one of the greatest benefits however is not economic but social local ownership garners greater acceptance of renewables and raises the awareness of local people of the need for conservation Programs to help Cognizant of the many benefits of municipally owned renewable energy generation the Green Energy Act allows the minister to direct the Ontario Power Authority to develop programs that are designed to reimburse the direct costs incurred by a municipality in order to facilitate the development of renewable energy generation facilities transmission systems and distribution systems and the funding may include funding for infrastructure associated with or affected by the development of the facilities or systems The OPA has done this announcing the Municipal

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  • OSEA: First Nations / Metis members
    with First Nations and associated organizations at which barriers to past energy projects were identified and solutions discussed Working alongside its own First Nations members and acting in an advisory position OSEA also helped establish The First Nations Energy Alliance in 2007 which brings together nearly two dozen First Nations to promote self sufficiency and the sustainability of their communities by generating electricity from clean green sources To establish the Alliance OSEA was instrumental in obtaining funding from the Ontario Power Authority On a regular basis OSEA hosts a working group and its recommendations help formulate policy To develop policies that will foster sustainable development for First Nations and Metis members OSEA works with the government and its different agencies In a joint submission to the Ontario Energy Board OSEA and Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island called for changes in the cost of transmission which at present must be covered by the energy generator Instead OSEA is seeking to have the cost of lines and transformers covered by electricity consumers As well OSEA is advocating a funding program that would offer First Nations interest free loans to seed new projects Recognizing the benefits for First Nations of generating renewable energy as well as the obligation on the part of the province to respect First Nations territory the Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman in September 2008 directed the Ontario Power Authority to enhance its consultation process with First Nations and to consider opportunities to form partnerships with them to generate and transmit green electricity Several First Nations are already generating renewable energy while more are in the planning process M Chigeeng is in the final stages of securing funding for a 6 turbine 8MW wind energy project on Manitoulin Island Also on Manitoulin Wikwemikong is developing an initial project

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  • OSEA: Co-operatives
    fed into the power grid it is impossible for a co operative to deliver the electricity it generates directly to its members The Green Energy Act completely eliminates the business with members rule for renewable energy co ops which means they may generate and sell to the grid as much electricity as they can without regard to how much electricity their members are consuming And there s no limit on how much money a member might therefore invest in the co operative as a result Distribution of surplus Normally co operatives distribute their profits or surplus after expenses each year to their members in proportion to the amount of business each member has done with the co operative But if there s no business with members that can t happen As a solution the Green Energy Act allows renewable energy co ops to distribute their surplus in any way they choose as set out in their bylaws Many community owned projects may now opt for a co operative structure as its one member one vote feature best coincides with most communities values Co operatives are also attractive choices as only they are entitled to raise the money they need by selling shares in their communities using an offering statement approved by the Ontario government to provide the necessary background to allow prospective investors to make an informed decision A long history Co operatives have a long history in Ontario whether they are housing co ops farm co ops or credit unions In fact several energy co ops were founding members of OSEA The co op model has also been very successful in spurring the development of renewable energy in other countries such as Denmark Last Updated Thursday September 10 2009 at 11 29 56 AM Related Items Cawthra Mansions Cooperative

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  • OSEA: Educational Institutions
    www parentcentral ca parent article 636706 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 TheStar com Our schools can be leaders in energy efficiency http www thestar com article 628876 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 TheStar com Schools get 50 million green boost http www thestar com article 638522 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

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  • OSEA: Green Energy Definitions
    burned to release its stored chemical energy Research into more efficient methods of converting biofuels and other fuels into electricity utilizing fuel cells is an area of very active work Liquid biofuel is usually either a bioalcohol such as ethanol fuel or a bio oil such as biodiesel and straight vegetable oil Biodiesel can be used in modern diesel vehicles with little or no modification to the engine and can be made from waste and virgin vegetable and animal oil and fats Virgin vegetable oils can be used in modified diesel engines In fact the Diesel engine was originally designed to run on vegetable oil rather than fossil fuel A major benefit of biodiesel is lower emissions The use of biodiesel reduces emission of carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons by 20 to 40 Solid biomass Solid biomass is mostly commonly usually used directly as a combustible fuel producing 10 20 MJ kg of heat Its forms and sources include wood fuel the biogenic portion of municipal solid waste or the unused portion of field crops Field crops may or may not be grown intentionally as an energy crop and the remaining plant byproduct used as a fuel Most types of biomass contain energy Even cow manure still contains two thirds of the original energy consumed by the cow Energy harvesting via a bioreactor is a cost effective solution to the waste disposal issues faced by the dairy farmer and can produce enough biogas to run a farm Wood and its byproducts can now be converted through process such as gasification into biofuels such as wood gas biogas methanol or ethanol fuel although further development may be required to make these methods affordable and practical Sugar cane residue wheat chaff corn cobs and other plant matter can be and are used quite successfully Biogas Biogas can easily be produced from current waste streams such as paper production sugar production sewage animal waste and so forth These various waste streams have to be slurried together and allowed to naturally ferment producing methane gas This can be done by converting current sewage plants into biogas plants When a biogas plant has extracted all the methane it can the remains are sometimes better suitable as fertilizer than the original biomass Alternatively biogas can be produced via advanced waste processing systems such as mechanical biological treatment These systems recover the recyclable elements of household waste and process the biodegradable fraction in anaerobic digesters Renewable natural gas is a biogas which has been upgraded to a quality similar to natural gas By upgrading the quality to that of natural gas it becomes possible to distribute the gas to the mass market via gas grid Geothermal energy Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping the heat of the earth itself The International Energy Agency classifies geothermal power as renewable GeoExchange is the industry s term used to describe an alternative to traditional oil gas or coal fired heating ventilation and air conditioning HVAC systems GeoExchange systems have

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  • OSEA: Benefits of Renewable Energy
    not emit harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change Also they do not rely on non renewable carbon based fuel or produce harmful radioactive waste as nuclear power does Renewable energy technologies as the name would suggest rely on fuels that are renewable not finite The most common fuels that they harness for the generation of electricity are wind sun water and biomass such as wood chips wheat chaff manure and waste These fuels are abundant widely available and capable of supplying all of humanity s energy needs given the right technology to harness them The other great thing about renewables is that they require only a relatively simple process and very few conversions to make the energy useful For example Hermann Scheer details in his book The Solar Economy how many steps and conversions it takes to change a lump of coal to electricity The coal has to be mined refined transported to the generation plant where it is converted from chemical to heat energy by burning it The heat is then used to create steam the steam drives the turbine converting to mechanical energy and finally the mechanical energy is changed to electricity Finally the electricity is transported through high voltage lines over long distances and has to be stepped down to increasingly lower voltages to make it usable in the home These steps incur costs to both the economy and the environment as well as resulting in the loss of significant amount of energy In comparison solar energy is very simple to harness The fuel the sun is free and available at the generating site and the electricity created is used at the site The sunlight is converted into direct current by the photovoltaic cell and then needs only be changed to

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  • OSEA: Biomass
    possible One form of electricity generation being explored and even used for several different applications is to burn biomass directly in a similar way to how coal plants work In fact one of the benefits to this form is that old coal plants can be converted to burn biomass without too much trouble The biomass is burned to create heat energy which produces steam which drives the turbine which turns the generator which creates electricity The combustion of waste is not the only technology Other technologies have been adapted to make use of the methane emissions that result from the decay of biomass for example from municipal waste and manure Methane is also a greenhouse gas and by reducing and using it to generate electricity we can limit its release into the atmosphere The methane in landfills can be captured and used to generate electricity Methane is carried by pipes to a central point where it is filtered cleaned and then burned to power a turbine and produce electricity One of the most promising technologies for applications in Ontario is an anaerobic digester Both sewage and manure can be used as fuel In the absence of oxygen certain strains of bacteria are able to decompose organic matter and produce a combustible gas The gas produced is made up of mostly methane and carbon dioxide which can be cleaned and used instead of natural gas for electricity generation The leftover waste can also be used as an excellent compost How Can Biomass be Used Humans have been using biomass for heat energy since the invention of fire Wood has been used to cook food and warm our homes and manure is still burned for the same purpose in places around the world where wood is scarce Directly burning biomass has many larger scale applications and benefits For example much of the wood waste from the forestry and paper industries can be burned at the site of the mills to produce the power for the factories Similar applications are possible and indeed being used in the sugar industry The juice of sugar cane is extracted and used to make refined sugar but the leftover pulp is normally thrown out Increasingly however the pulp known as bagasse is being seen as a source of power since it can be burned to produce electricity for the sugar mill and surrounding area There are already several landfill gas generators in Ontario and three in operation under the Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program RESOP One is a 5 MW project that began operation at the end of January 2007 at the Trail Road Waste Facility Landfill Site and the adjacent closed Nepean Landfill Site in Ottawa For more information on landfill gas generation projects under the RESOP see the Ontario Power Authority OPA website Anaerobic digesters have huge potential for farmers and rural communities in Ontario The technology is well placed to make a significant contribution to electricity generation and Community Power in the province What

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