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The Green Energy Act
The Green Energy and Green Economy Act was passed by the Ontario government in the spring of 2009 following an extensive campaign by OSEA and its alliance of environmentalists, farm organizations, community and labour groups and First Nations.
Prior to its passage, OSEA had been highly successful in persuading the government to establish its Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program in 2006, which, with its limited tariffs, was one of the most progressive pieces of energy legislation in North America in more than a decade, and a precursor to the Green Energy Act. However, the program did not go far enough to really spur the development of renewable energy, in particular by Community Power groups. What was needed was overarching legislation that would establish renewable energy as a priority and clear away many of the administrative and regulatory obstacles that were hindering the generation of renewable energy.
Germany’s Green Energy Act
Therefore, in the summer of 2008, OSEA founded the Green Energy Act Alliance and launched a campaign calling for legislation modeled after the Germany laws that made that it a world leader in renewable energy. Key to the success of the German legislation are the advanced renewable energy tariffs that offer different rates for renewable energy depending on the technology used, the intensity of the resource, the application and the location of the power generator. Assured by the legislation of a profit and a reasonable return on investment, people across Germany were encouraged by the feed-in tariffs to participate in the renewable energy sector by putting solar panels on their roofs and windmills in their field. German citizens now own more than half of all renewable energy generation. The legislation has also promoted the wide distribution and decentralization of power generation.
To convince the government to follow a similar route, The Green Energy Act Alliance brought over European experts on advanced renewable tariffs, and held several events at which high profile environmentalists, such as Dr. David Suzuki, reinforced the call for legislation similar to that in Europe. The Alliance also made numerous recommendations on what the legislation should include, particularly: advanced renewable tariffs, guaranteed access to the grid system and an obligation to purchase the green power produced.
Campaigning on the road
Working closely with its members, OSEA played a major role in this campaign taking it on the road to communities throughout Ontario to educate people about the need for such legislation and encouraging them to press their elected representatives to support a Green Energy Act. OSEA’s members and partners rose to the challenge issuing press statements supporting a Green Energy Act, petitioning the government and providing their input on what was needed in the legislation.
The OSEA road show was welcomed everywhere it went and the enthusiasm of the public for renewable energy was evident.
Once the legislation and its subsequent regulations were drafted, OSEA participated fully in the stakeholder engagement process, providing valuable insight derived from the experience of its members endeavoring to build renewable energy projects. Now that the Green Energy Act has been passed, OSEA will monitor how it is applied and its effectiveness, especially in supporting community power groups.
Last Updated: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 10:23:44 AM
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