| Jul 18, 2018

Until late last week, The Wintergreen Energy Co-op (WGC) had thirteen 250 kilowatt solar energy projects ready to proceed in South and Central Frontenac and rural Kingston under the Feed-in-Tariff (5) program. Not anymore.

The WGC projects are among the 758 green energy projects that were cancelled this week by the new Ontario government.

WGC President David Hahn said on Tuesday that the solar projects had been waiting for the final go ahead from Ontario’s Independent Electricity Service Operator (IESO), which was to come in the form a Notice to Proceed (NTP).

“My understanding is that all of the projects waiting for the NTP have been cancelled,” he said when contacted at his farm on Canoe Lake Road, “which would include our projects”.

Hahn said that Wintergreen itself was not facing a large financial loss as the result of the cancellations.

“We invested time and effort in it, and some money, but the way these work we don’t take ownership until the project is up and running. Our partner, SolarShare, and the contractor we work with, Soventix, as well as the landowners who will not be getting any benefit from the land leases, are all out of pocket for all the work and costs associated with getting approvals and arranging for the tie-in to the grid. They are all worse off than the co-op itself from these cancellations.”

Hahn said that projects were all set to create jobs locally and regionally, but “that is all gone by the wayside now.

For the WGC, the future is unclear as until now they had been promoting community based renewable projects under the soon to be scrapped Green Energy Act, but Hahn thinks it will continue to have a role to play.

“We will discuss this at our Annual General Meeting in the Fall, but I am hopeful that net metering projects will still be viable, and maybe we can do some of those on a community basis.

Net metering refers to small scale projects that feed energy back into the electricity grid, lowering or eliminating hydro charges to the customer who produces the power,

“If we can pool groups of homeowners to feed energy back into the system, hopefully that will still be something that will be acceptable to the new government,” he said.

The Wintergreen Energy Co-op was set up in 2012 to promote community based green energy projects in Kingston Frontenac and Lennox and Addington.

“We envision a region where our energy needs are met through renewable and clean energy technologies. Community ownership and participation provide the foundation for all Wintergreen Energy Co-op projects” is how its mission is described on its website.

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