Friday, May 7, 2010

Community Power

For those of us living in Ontario and interested in socially and environmentally responsible investment options, the Green Energy Act was a game changer. We now have more insight into some small cap American companies, as well as local publicly traded micro caps. And finally, we have new community investment vehicles appearing.

One such investment is Options for Green Energy, run by Michael Labbe of Options for Homes fame. The idea is simple, and with the Options for Homes track record behind it, infinitely do-able. Each interested investor puts down $100 and signs a letter of intent to commit a minimum of $5000, in increments of $5000. Investors are then grouped into cooperatives, which invest in green energy projects. These will initially be low hanging fruit like solar and wind, with 20 year guaranteed contracts through the Government of Ontario’s FIT program. As the co-ops grow, other investments like green buildings, or novel ideas such as using prairie grass for carbon sequestration could be considered.

Already up and running with approval in the first round of the FIT program in April, Pukwis will ultimately be a joint venture between the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nations and a community based co-operative, Pukwis Energy Co-operative. Project construction will be financed by equity raised through a co-operative share offering enabled by the Green Energy Act and by traditional commercial loans backed by a long term power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority.

These are just two of many co-ops and companies getting involved in green projects. Other ideas are being tossed around, including debt financing using community power bonds and hybrid vehicles. While some of these new investments are coming from the traditional capital markets, the Green Energy Act is also inspiring new ways of raising and deploying capital, energizing Ontarians in more ways than one.


  1. Thanks for this information on Green Energy ACT. Hoping to get more information. :)

  2. Also of interest for community power developers and financiers, a new grant program called Community Energy Partnerships Program (CEPP) that will provide up to $200,000 of funding to community-owned renewable energy projects in development in Ontario.
    Check for more details