Renewable energy cooperatives have been instrumental in expanding electricity generated from renewable sources in Ontario. By developing solar, wind and bioenergy renewable energy projects (REPs), renewable energy cooperatives contribute to supporting the Government of Ontario’s multifaceted approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Additionally, renewable energy cooperatives have delivered benefits to the communities within which they operate or situate their REPs. These benefits include providing opportunities to diversify financial investments, promoting social cohesion in some communities and increasing the level of awareness on environmental issues such as climate change. Furthermore, local energy production supports the local economy and prevents the outflow of financial capital in order to purchase energy from sources outside the region. Some of the challenges renewable energy cooperatives face include difficulty in raising capital to finance their REPs and, in some cases, obtaining Registered Retirement Savings Plan eligibility on their bonds. Despite these challenges, renewable energy cooperatives have been largely successful in contributing their quota through REPs to actualize the Government of Ontario’s plans for sustainable energy in the province.
Advancing Sustainable Energy in Ontario: The Case of Regional Renewable Energy Cooperatives
CIGI Paper No. 133