Setting the Climate Change Action Bar

A coalition of, what was just last week, 55 Canadian environmental and social justice groups, has now grown to 75 – with Wintergreen Co-op as one of the signatories. The coalition  is demanding that federal, provincial and territorial leaders embrace the policy changes needed for Canada to meet its Paris climate change commitments.

climate changeIn a letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau and all provincial and territorial leaders, the groups spelled out expectations to be taken into account at the intergovernmental meetings on climate policy, which will likely be held on March 3.

Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-op members believe that the six suggestions contained in the letter constitute a good framework for the ongoing federal-provincial discussions leading to a national Climate Action plan. We are pleased to have signed on to this letter. Read the full article here.

The six suggestions are:

1. A new science-based emission reduction target consistent with a 1.5 degree temperature rise. Canada needs a new science-based emission reduction target consistent with keeping the rise in global temperatures under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Cutting our emissions as much as possible as soon as possible will set us on a path to achieving this goal, whereas delaying action may preclude any possibility of staying under a 1.5 degree rise.

2. A clear and measurable plan for a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Canada needs to transition to 100% low-carbon electricity by 2035 and strive for 100% reliance on renewable sources for all forms of energy by 2050. Investing in renewable energy creates up to eight times as many jobs as investing in oil and gas extraction.

3. An end to subsidies for fossil fuel industries and investments in a green economy. The 2016 federal budget is an opportunity to act on Canada’s 2009 promise to eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel industries and announce significant initiatives to support public transit, green infrastructure and clean technologies. Annual Canadian subsidies to fossil fuel industries averaged $2.9 billion over 2013 and 2014, with $1.7 billion of this from the federal government.

4. A carbon fee set at $30 per tonne and a commitment to increase it over time. The government must establish, in consultation with the provinces and territories, a national standard for pricing carbon emissions through a carbon fee set initially at $30 per tonne of greenhouse gases and increasing in steps to a level consistent with limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

5. A far-reaching, permanent regulatory approval process for assessing energy projects. A new, permanent regulatory approval process for assessing energy projects must replace the flawed National Energy Board process. It must respect Indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior and informed consent as required by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the government of Canada has promised to uphold, and it must account for the downstream carbon emissions of the projects.

6. A $4 billion annual contribution to climate adaptation and mitigation measures in the Global South. Based on precedents where Canada has contributed 3% to 4% of multilateral funds, Canada’s fair share of the $100 billion (U.S.) promised in the Paris decision document requires a contribution of $4 billion a year by 2020.

 

 

And now the real work begins…

Excited as we are about the Paris Agreement – imagine – 195 countries coming to an accord! – the work is only beginning.

work climate end of fossil fuelsAs noted by Eric Flanagan in a recent blog:

For the first time, all signatory nations have committed to a legally-binding agreement that recognizes the urgent threat of climate change. The agreement aims to limit global temperature increase to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels” and encourages all countries to “pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius”.

These temperature goals demonstrate a near-global consensus on the urgent need to transition to a low-carbon economy.

Read the full post here. It’s thorough, hopeful, and realistic.

Change in the Canadian Climate

Canadian climateThere is change in the air. With the new cabinet announced this week, Trudeau is sending a strong signal that climate protection is high on his agenda. Quoting an article from the National Post,

“As signals go, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has put a big green light on his Liberal government’s promised climate change agenda.

Catherine McKenna, an international lawyer with an eye-popping resume, was named the new minister of “environment and climate change” Wednesday at Rideau Hall as Trudeau installed his new Liberal cabinet.

But the signs of climate policy green shoots go well beyond a high-profile new MP and the semantics of a ministerial name change.

Former Liberal environment minister and party leadership climate advocate Stephane Dion is Canada’s new foreign affairs minister — a powerful post that will give him oversight on ensuring climate policy is integral to Canada’s foreign policy.

Dion was also named chairman of a new cabinet committee on “environment, climate change and energy.”

Read the full article here.

There have been many terrific posts about the new cabinet and the new government. Here’s another of our favourites:Canadian climateBetter yet, the Canadian public seems to be holding Trudeau accountable for his 184 election promises. The Trudeau Metre website (trudeaumetre.ca) shows us that two of his promises have already been fulfilled, the first of which was to name a cabinet with gender parity. Not bad for the first three days in office!Canadian climateSo now, we keep up the pressure, in the most forward-looking and positive ways possible. Join us for the march on Parliament Hill on November 29, organized by 100% possible. Because. It. Is. 100%. Possible. Now it’s up to us to make it so.

We’ll be talking more about how we can support this shift in the Canadian climate at our AGM on December 3. Mark the date!

This Changes Everything!

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.43.37 PMWhile turfing out the Harper Conservatives doesn’t change everything, it sure does change a lot. People who want to avert climate disaster and develop a clean energy economy now have a wonderful opportunity to persuade the brand new Trudeau government to take serious national action to avert a climate catastrophe and promote and facilitate democratic, community-based renewable energy development on a massive scale across Canada.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 1.05.37 PMThe Screening Room in Kingston will be showing Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ wonderful new film, This Changes Everything, on Wed Nov 11 and Thurs Nov 12. Both showings will be 7 pm. The management at the Screening room has agreed to allow Wintergreen and friends to have 30 minutes, after the showing and before the next scheduled film, for a discussion with the audience about a local campaign to support the Leap Manifesto and the 100% Possible Climate March in Ottawa on Nov 29. Learn more about the march by clicking here.

Here is a link to Democracy Now’s interview with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis. It features a trailer for the movie as well as a good discussion.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.48.15 PMWintergreen Co-op has endorsed the Leap Manifesto and will discuss a proposed campaign to build support locally for the Leap Manifesto at our upcoming AGM at the Central Branch of the KFPL in the Delahaye Room at 7pm on Dec 3. Non–members welcome.

(Don’t forget to sign the Manifesto!)

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.47.56 PMWe have a lot of ideas to build a campaign to support the Leap Manifesto’s call for a transformation of our energy system including a reading club to read Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything. We’re looking for lots more ideas and more community partners to build this campaign.

Please come out to an event or get in touch with us if you’d like to become more involved. I’d love to hear from you.

David Hahn, President (613-273-5545) dhahn@rideau.net

Community Energy Projects

A few exciting updates!

FIT 3 Projects

It looks like the 500 kw project we’re working on with SolarShare will be built early this winter and the second one on Abbey Dawn will likely be built next year.

FIT 4 Applications

The application for the Middle Road 500 kW ground mount has ben submitted and now we’re waitng for the IESO to announce the projects that will be offered contracts. Fingers crossed!

Oxford Community Energy Co-op

a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030_1This is the first community-owned wind project in Ontario ( fter the Windshare turbine at Exhibition Place in Toronto many years ago.)

Many of our members invested in Oxford Co-op’s 18 MW wind project in Oxford County near Woodstock. The appeal of the environmental approval by the anti-wind group has been rejected and construction is now beginning.

Doing Well While Doing Good: Raising Community Capital

community capital
Janice of OREC giving a presentation at a prior retreat.

On June 19th the Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-operative will be holding the 5th Annual Community Energy Retreat at Wintergreen Studios, along with long-term partners, Sustainable Eastern Ontario and the Community Energy Network of Eastern Ontario.

Event Summary:

This year’s retreat will feature case studies and examples of how community funds were leveraged for a variety of unique projects. As in previous years, the event will include a mixture of presentations, roundtable discussions and themed group discussions, and delicious food featuring local produce. There will be opportunities to network with like-minded colleagues throughout the day.

This day-long event is open to the public and to Wintergreen Co-op members. It will run from 9:30 – 4:00, and the fee includes workshop materials, a sustainability tour of Wintergreen’s facilities, snacks, tea, coffee, and lunch. The subsidized fee is $20, thanks to the contributing partners.

REGISTER HERE FOR THIS EVENT!

Annual AGM … and transparent solar cells!

MScreen Shot 2015-03-26 at 6.47.10 AMuch has been happening… so much, in fact, that we haven’t posted on the website for some time! (for almost daily postings, check our Facebook page). We held our Annual General Meeting on January 30, and learned all about “Zoo Poo” from Daniel Bida, Executive Director of ZooShare.  ZooShare is a sister co-op, engaged in building a very exciting biogas project at the Toronto Zoo using “Zoo Poo” to generate clean energy for Ontario. Zoo poo… who knew?

transparent solarPretty amazing technology is also around the corner with fully transparent solar cells – click here to read the full article. Or check FB!

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 6.51.54 AMAnd… mark the date… we’ll be holding the 5th Annual Green Energy Workshop at Wintergreen Studios on Friday, June 19. Thanks again to our long-time partner, Sustainable Eastern Ontario, for making it possible to host this event at Wintergreen.

Wintergreen Sister Renewable Energy Co-ops in the News

renewable energy co-opsOur sister co-ops, SolarShare and Oxford Community Energy Co-op are featured in this truly inspiring story about renewable energy co-ops in Ontario. As Michael-Allen Marion writes:

Green energy co-operatives are enjoying a renaissance in the Ontario power market.

In several cities and towns in southern and southwestern Ontario you’ll see large buildings or fields with solar-panel arrays, with some wind farms dotting the landscape.

Often those projects are the creations of co-ops. The fruits of their investments have increasing visibility in roof mount or field solar panel arrays in Toronto and its suburbs, and more recently in Guelph, Brant and Oxford.

Renewable energy co-ops have been around for years. One of the oldest is TREC Renewable Energy Co-op, which was founded in 1998 as a non-profit community power co-operative.

Wintergreen Co-op members and friends can invest in both of these co-ops. Contact David Hahn (dhahn@rideau.net) for more information.

 

Christmas Comes Early for Wintergreen Co-op

solarToday the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced the latest contract offers in its FIT program. The Wintergreen SolarShare collaboration has been offered a contract to sell electricity from a 500kW ground mount photovoltaic project on Unity Road in Kingston. This is the second Wintergreen project to be offered a contract by the OPA this year. We are intending to submit at least one more project in 2015. We will keep members up to date on developments.

So far this year our members have invested $447,000 in SolarShare bonds. The money that is raised from these bond sales will finance these and other co-op owned projects all over Ontario. Our investment campaign will continue through 2015. Remember the SolarShare bonds are for a five-year term and pay 5% interest on a semi-annual basis.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 6.58.15 PMWe thank all of our Wintergreen Co-op members for your support, and invite you to our AGM on Friday Jan. 30 at the Main Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library on Johnson Street at 7:00 pm. Our guest speaker will be Daniel Bida, the President of ZooShare, a sister co-op, engaged in building a very exciting biogas project at the Toronto Zoo using Zoo Pooh to generate clean energy for Ontario.

Put it in your calendar and stay tuned for more information.

Season’s Greetings to All
From Wintergreen Co-op