Electricity Modernization = Economic Opportunity for People and Community Energy | Unpublished

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Ottawa, Ontario
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OREC exists to empower Ottawa residents to support the growth of the local renewable energy sector through responsible long-term investments that finance projects together as members of a democratic co-operative.

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Electricity Modernization = Economic Opportunity for People and Community Energy

May 21, 2024
Electricity Modernization = Economic Opportunity for People and Community Energy

The worldwide electricity system is facing change.  The problems we face today will not be solved by the solutions that created our present problems. Those solutions were addressing challenges of the past, specifically, our electricity system was originally designed to deliver cheap power to big factories and homes with lighting needs.

Today’s challenges are completely different.  We are undergoing a mass electrification of transportation, heating and cooling, and new industrial facilities—empowering just about everything in our modern life.  All of which grows demand at every point of the grid. This cannot be addressed by continued emphasis on BIG nuclear and gas plants at the far end of long transmission lines, and with massive subsidies of residential consumption (Ontario Electricity Rebate = $5.5Billion/year).

There are new opportunities for people to benefit from the coming energy transition.  It is well known that EV’s, heat pumps and computer centres will drive up the overall demand for electricity.  At the same time these technologies can offer new financial opportunities for people to benefit from the coming energy transition to distributed energy resources, i.e. renewables of all types (closer to demand), storage, demand management, etc. for energy consumers. 

Our relationship with electricity will change as many homes and businesses become electricity producers, as well as consumers of energy. Electricity can become a source of income for many consumers. 

At the same time, extreme weather events are threatening the long transmission and distribution lines. Accelerating the need to build a more localized electricity system. Where should people go to get the information to sift through all the options?

Renewable Energy Cooperatives

Renewable Energy Cooperatives are a means for citizens to ‘learn from friends with knowledge’. They offer members an efficient way to invest directly in community scale renewable energy projects. Keeping the electrons, jobs and profits local.  

This is a growing sector in the US (www.electric.coop), Europe (www.rescoop.eu) and now Canada (Community Energy Cooperatives Canada – www.cecooperatve.ca).   These national associations represent hundreds of cooperatives (with millions of members) in their respective countries.

In eastern Ontario, the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative (www.orec.ca) enables local residents to invest directly in the energy transition.  Since its creation in 2010, OREC has grown to over 1000 members and built a portfolio of 27 revenue producing community scale assets (solar, wind & energy efficiency); and we have a steady record of yearly dividends and capital repayments. 

If you are concerned about climate change, want to take concrete action, and are prepared to earn a return for your investment, consider joining a renewable energy cooperative near your community.  Your membership, and investment, will speak loudly to the politicians, regulators, and media about the strong demand from citizens for clear climate action.   And, you will earn a return for making this investment in the future we need.

Dick Bakker, Director Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative