Community Power Co-operative Getting Started Guidebook

Community Power Fund

Year: 2013

This guidebook is written for communities and individuals interested in establishing a renewable energy co-operative or a co-operative intended to develop renewable energy projects, particularly for those involved in such co-ops in the early stages. Organized in nine sections, this book will introduce you to the basics of renewable energy in Ontario including the various technologies, the Feed-in Tariff program and the Green Energy and Economy Act. It will also summarize and direct you through the basics of co-op development, project development and long-term co-op and project maintenance. By reviewing this guidebook, you should gain a solid understanding of the time, dedication and resources required to build and maintain a renewable energy co-operative or co-op and renewable energy projects. Further depth of information on these topics can be found through CP Fund’s Capacity Building initiative.

Note that the electricity sector is complex and ever-evolving. A renewable energy project is a large undertaking, so it is advisable that your research doesn’t end here. Additional resources are referenced throughout the Guidebook to assist co-ops in continuing the research and planning required.

Download the Community Power Co-operative Getting Started Guidebook

Community power means renewable energy projects that are developed and owned in whole or in part by landowners and individuals, solely and collectively. Community power projects can take many forms including renewable energy co-ops, individual-citizen investment, farmer-owned projects, and projects purchased by neighbourhoods. Through this model of democratic and economic participation, the triple-bottom-line benefits (economic, social and environmental) of renewable energy project development are kept close to those who work, live and play in the communities that host infrastructure. By providing communities with decision-making power to participate in local projects that stimulate local economic development, community power increases quality of life while helping to diminish the environmental impacts of non-renewable energy generation.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Introduction to Renewable Energy
2.1 What is Renewable Energy?
2.2 What is Community Power?
2.2.1 Renewable Energy Technologies typically employed by Ontario co-ops
2.2.2 Electricity Sector in Ontario
3. Policy Framework
3.1 Green Energy and Economy Act
3.1.1 Feed-in Tariff Program
3.2 Ontario Co-operative Corporations Act
3.2.1 Renewable energy co-operatives and traditional co-operatives
3.2.2 Financial Services Commission of Ontario
4. The Co-operative Model
4.1 Co-operative Corporations
4.2 Why the Co-op Model?
4.3 For-profit vs non-profit
4.4 Types of securities
5. Co-op Development
5.1 Incorporation and Governance
5.2 Business Planning
5.3 Financial Modeling
5.4 Offering Statement
5.4.1 Co-op Offering Statement Exemptions
5.5 Sales and Marketing Strategy
6. Project Development
6.1 Project Initiation
6.2 Key Project Steps
6.2.1 FIT Application Process
6.2.2 Conditional FIT Contract Offer
6.2.3 Notice to Proceed (NTP)
6.2.4 Commercial Operation Date (COD)
6.2.5 Post COD Contract Management
6.3 % Co-operative Ownership
6.4 Partnership with Commercial Partner
6.4.1 Types of partnerships
6.4.2 Partnerships pre-development and post-development
6.5 Purchase of Project
6.6 Job Creation
7. Project Finance
7.1 Co-op Driven Finance
7.1.1 Pre-FIT Contract and Pre-Offering Statement
7.1.2 Pre-Project Construction and Post-Offering Statement Approval
7.1.3 Post-Construction and Long-Term Operations
7.2 Partner Driven Finance
7.2.1 Early-stage (Pre-FIT Contract and Pre-Offering Statement)
7.2.2 Mid Stage (Pre-Project Construction and Post-Offering Statement Approval, NTP)
7.2.3 Late Stage (Post-Construction and Long-Term Operations, COD)
8. Long-Term Considerations
8.1 Co-op Administration and Operations
8.2 Member Management
8.3 Long-term Project Management
8.4 Decommissioning and Repowering
9. Resources
9.1 List of Acronyms
9.2 Case Studies
9.3 Additional Resources
9.4 Additional Resources