From BC, to the Prairies and Quebec: 3 Renewable Energy Co-ops To Know About

Jan 27, 2016

Since Ontario has relatively supportive renewable energy policy such as the Green Energy Act, with a Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) that provides a guaranteed rate for clean energy projects over their contract period, it is a lot easier for renewable energy co-ops to get started in the province.

Yet still, renewable energy co-ops are popping up all across Canada. Individuals and community groups outside of Ontario are taking the future of renewable energy into their own hands by creating community power co-operatives. Here are three examples of renewable energy generation co-ops across Canada that are all doing remarkable things:

Peace Energy Cooperative

1. Peace Energy Cooperative, British Columbia
The Peace Energy Cooperative began accepting members in 2002 and later incorporated in 2003. Peace Energy’s motivation is to make renewable energy accessible and affordable for its members in the Peace Region of Northern BC. The Co-op has identified wind energy, geothermal heating, solar power, bio fuels and energy conservation as their focus. By investing $200, investors receive membership into the co-op, and a $200 share that pays dividends based on the profits generated by the projects. The co-op’s original shares helped to build a 102-megawatt wind park on Bear Mountain, BC. Members can choose to invest more and currently, shares purchased go towards various solar energy projects. 

Photo Credit: Peace Country Sun

SES_SOLAR_COOP2. SES Solar Co-operative Ltd., Saskatchewan
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society created the SES Solar Co-operative in order to develop renewable energy in the province by providing increased accessibility to those wanting to get involved in the transition. Members of the co-op purchase one common share ($50 membership) and one or more preferred shares ($950). Each member will effectively own part of the operation. Once the projects are built, the co-op will generate revenue from the sale of solar electricity to the grid and the average return on investment is 2+% and will most likely increase with time. The solar power projects will be in the Saskatoon area.

Photo Credit: SES Solar Cooperative Ltd.


3.Val-Éo Cooperative de Solidarite, Quebec
Val-Éo is made up of landowners, municipalities and citizens together supporting the development of a wind project. The community wind farm is in the development stage and will produce a total of 24 megawatts of electricity. Val-Éo’s objectives are to develop wind energy by giving control to landowners, supporting the equitable sharing of benefits, integrating the energy production with agricultural activities and creating the most possible local benefits including using and developing regional expertise.

Photo Credit: Val-Éo

No matter where you live across Canada, chances are there is a renewable energy co-operative near you. And if not, why not get involved in starting one?