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Community ownership in renewable energy (RE) is currently not an issue on the political agenda in most of the country, with the exception of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with its COMFIT Program. While Ontario had generated the most community-owned RE across the country, the political agenda in the province has shifted away from community ownership and RE towards consumer choice and price fairness. The dominant majority of community energy activity in Canada has taken place in the only two provinces that enacted feed-in tariff policies with community energy-specific components or “set-asides”: Ontario and Nova Scotia. Consumer (co-)ownership has consequently been marginalized in policy and practice from the outset, and renewable energy followed by “choice” and “price fairness” has dominated the dis-course and government action. The concept most commonly used in Canada for referring to consumer (co-)ownership of RE is “community energy” (CE). The acceptance of this concept can be linked to the term “community” being widely used to frame broader social economy practice in Canada. Within Canada’s CE field, there are five ownership models that are most commonly applied to develop projects: (i) cooperatives; (ii) Aboriginal ownership; (iii) community investment funds; (iv) non-profit organizations; and (v) municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals (MUSH sector). While cooperatives are involved in numerous energy-related activities in all jurisdictions of Canada, over 70 per cent of them are RE co-operatives whose primary business activity is electricity generation. Community Investment Funds, or CIFs, are locally sourced and controlled pools of capital contributed to by individual investors within a specific geography or community.
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- Consumer (Co-)Ownership in Renewables in Ontario (Canada)
J. J. McMurtry
M. Derya Tarhan
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