Accelerating Renewable and Decentralized Energy

The cost of renewables continues to decline. Renewable energy and decentralized electricity generation will play an important role in helping Canada reach net zero. There are additional benefits if this new capacity is community financed and owned by local public utilities, co-operatives, Indigenous communities or community development funds. Local ownership means local support for new projects and climate initiatives, as well as local jobs and economic diversification, and increased local resiliency—as demonstrated by existing community-owned energy in Canada and around the world. People are more than ready to invest their savings in clean energy, if there is a reasonable return and investments are RRSP and TFSA eligible.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Total Recommended Investment:  $3.25 billion over five years

1. Federal Procurement to support community-owned renewables

•   Procure renewable electricity for federal facilities from community owned sources in provinces with grids of higher carbon intensity — Alberta, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan — and those where there is still significant on-going use of natural gas like Ontario. $50 million per year ($250 million over five years) [Public Services and Procurement Canada]

2. Support for Community Financing
Community financing means projects are financed through entities such as energy co- operatives or economic development funds through which local residents can invest and make a return.

A.  Fund a second round of the federal Smart Grid program, delivered by utility/ community financing partnerships, focusing on deployment of community renewable energy technologies such as community-scale storage and virtual net metering for community solar. $100 million over five years [NRCan, Clean Power Fund of the CIB]

B.  Provide “buy-down” incentives for community financed deep building retrofit projects (including net metered solar), to bring the payback period for these projects down to viable levels. $50 million over five years. [NRCan, ECCC, ISED]

C.  Provide incentives of up to 25% of the installed capital cost, delivered in partnership with the local communities in provinces that have a high carbon intensity, for renewable projects of 1MW to 10MW, including distributed generation projects that combine wind plus storage or solar plus storage. $250 million over five years. [ECCC]

3.  Financial support for rooftop (or distributed) solar

A.  Provide rebates towards the installed capital cost of net-metered large-scale rooftop solar (rebates of up to 40% to a maximum of $10,000 per household for about 70,000 homes, and of up to 40% to a maximum of $200,000 per project, for commercial, industrial and community buildings as well as agricultural producers). $1 billion over five years. [NRCan]

B.   Provide incentives of up to 65% of the capital cost of renewable energy projects in low-income and vulnerable communities that help reduce energy poverty. $250 million over five years [NRCan]

4. Planning, integration and  capacity building

•   Provide funding for regional dialogues, studies and models to expand inter-provincial transmission so as to support renewable energy integration, electrification of the economy and to displace fossil generation. $50 million over five years. [NRCan]

•   Support the development of and promote community investment options in renewable energy for individual citizens. Support the development of tools that improve the viability of community energy enterprises, including $50 million over three years [ISED, NRCan, INFC]

5. Remote and  Indigenous Communities

•   Task the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) with supporting feasibility studies and capital costs to enable projects in remote communities that displace diesel generation with renewables. $450 million over five years [CIB]

•   Capitalize an Indigenous Clean Energy, Technology, and Infrastructure Fund to increase Indigenous capacity and equity participation in clean energy projects while creating jobs. $300 million over five years [CIB]

6.  Spur the renewables plus storage projects

•   Building off of the success of EcoEnergy for Renewable Power program (2007-2011), develop an updated version of this program to spur the development of projects that combine wind plus storage or solar plus storage. $500 million over four years [NRCan, Clean Power Fund of the CIB]

CONTACT
Tom Green – tgreen@davidsuzuki.org