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The Community Power Report: April in Review

The Community Power Report: April in Review

Mümtaz Derya Tarhan
The Community Power Report
May 2, 2012

Spring is here (for the Northern Hemisphere, at least). And following the cold and dark days of centralized, conventional electricity generation, the nature welcomes the spring of community-owned clean power. 

Before I go further with my figurative writing, let me pace myself by telling you why I am so excited about the current situation and the future of the community power movement:

A. New Funding Schemes:

  • Scotland launched a £23.5 bridge loan scheme for community renewable energy projects. The Community and Renewable Energy Loan Scheme (CARES) will provide individual projects with loans of up to £150,000 to cover 95 per cent of agreed costs.  CARES is geared towards eliminating a major financial hurdle for community renewable energy projects by helping these projects deal with initial financial, technical and legal matters relating in sufficient detail for them to be able to access private finance and turn their project into reality. The initiative is a move towards Scotland meeting their 500MW community energy goal by 2020.

B. Community Power Project Updates

a. Community Groups

b. Local Institutions

Last month, the CP report featured a lot of news involving Municipalities, Hospitals, Schools, Universities, and other local institutions (mostly in the U.S.) undertaking renewable energy projects. I believe those projects have a great significance for educating the public, setting a good model for others and encourage distributed power generation. Such projects can definitely be improved through directly involving the public in their development and ownership:

i. Schools:

ii. Universities and Colleges:

iii. Hospitals:

iv. Municipalities/Counties:

v. Churches:

C. Feed-In Tariff Policy Updates
  • The draft of the new FIT rules for Ontario are now published and they feature very positive aspects for the community power sector -and especially for co-operatives in Ontario. The draft rules include a 10% capacity allocation for community projects and a new points system prioritizing renewable energy co-operatives. The finalized version of the new FIT rules will be announced on May 9th 2012, but it is highly likely that co-operatives will benefit greatly from the new paradigm. For a detailed explanation of how the new FIT rules may benefit renewable energy co-operatives in Ontario, please read Shane Mulligan’s latest article and our recent post.

D. Crowdfunding Schemes

Currently, perhaps the most notable actors in the community power sector are crowdfunding schemes. Based on the simple idea of involving ordinary citizens in the development and ownership of renewable energy schemes, these investment opportunities are getting a lot of praise and attention mainly due to the efforts of community solar gardens in the States, and organizations such as Abundance Generation and energyshare. The future is very promising for renewable energy crowdfunding, as they are inclusive, financially viable and their spreading and success will encourage other individuals, organizations and jurisdictions.

E. Community Choice Aggregation

The customer is always right, as goes the saying. Communities in the United States and United Kingdom make their preference of renewable power over polluting sources; and they are right. Through the strength of collective bargaining, communities are helping the transition towards a renewable sources, fighting fuel poverty, and paving the way to a future where individuals will be beyond solely customers, but also generators of power.

I hope now you all understand why I am very excited and hopeful for a community-owned green future, and hope that you can contribute to it by spreading the good news!

In solidarity,

Mümtaz Derya Tarhan
Founder, The Community Power Report 

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