Ontario Co-op Association (OCA) has been facilitating regional meetings, the most recent held March 25, 2015 here in London.
Of interest was that Ian Shewan, lawyer from Lerners, commented about areas he and a committee have been working on for the province to make changes on. A position paper has been submitted to FSCO recently for response to allow renewable co-ops with constraints to become general co-ops and to remove the 50% rule (business with members).
TREC – Toronto Renewable Energy Co-op, gave an update that 80 renewable co-ops are registered with FSCO, of which 35-40 are active with projects. Thesse 80 co-ops memberships range from 50-800 members. Portfolios range from 0-250kw to over 5,000kw projects. IESO is the reporting agency. We asked about solar thermal but the situation remains that it does not fit the renewable co-op criteria for FIT programming. TREC would like to see changes to the co-op act which is now 40 years old as co-ops are subject to other industry legislation.
The example of the Niagara co-op network was presented which involves 12 municipalities and regional governments. An expo was organized in 2012 to celebrate co-ops and 31 groups came together. They now have a closed Facebook group and business page. All co-ops were added to Niagara’s formal research council’s listing to demonstrate co-op impacts in Niagara through yearly data. Attendees agreed to have their emails shared in moving a network forward. One member offered to create a Facebook group to start the process of a network.