Thanks to the jolt provided by the passage of Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act last year, a variety of newcomers have taken on leadership roles in bringing clean, green and distributed energy to the province. Chief among these varied groups is the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, which is a province-wide, member-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the development of Community Power projects and renewable energy. It includes an eclectic membership of private citizens, cooperatives, farmers, First Nations, businesses, institutions, consultants and municipalities. Though not necessarily a "newcomer" since OSEA was a key member of the Green Energy Act Alliance, it has most definitely expanded its role and influence since the Act was introduced.
OSEA is also responsible for putting on the only Community Power-focused conference in Canada, if not the world. The second annual Community Power Conference will take place November 14-16, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. It will bring together approximately 600 delegates from the above-mentioned groups along with a selection of international speakers and participants from such places as Australia, Brazil, Denmark and Japan. One of these special guests includes Fabio Rosa, who is a Brazilian social entrepreneur focused on promoting rural electrification and the use of sustainable energy sources. His inspirational story was featured earlier this year on PBS' series The New Heroes:
I am a proud supporter of OSEA and in order to demonstrate my commitment to grassroots energy generation, I have dedicated at least two days per week since mid-August to volunteering with the amazing folks planning the conference. The commitment and passion of OSEA staff, volunteers and advisors has given me hope that despite the learning curve and challenges of developing community power in Ontario that progress will continue to be made.
Our communities are already benefiting from ground-breaking work by groups such as the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-Operative, Pukwis Energy Co-op and the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, to name but a few. They have demonstrated despite the imperfections of the current Green Energy Act and Feed-In Tariff Program, that successful Community Power projects are possible in Ontario.
Thus, it is with great pleasure that I will be participating with OSEA's co-organizer, the Association of Power Producers of Ontario as a moderator for a panel in their Power Networking Centre. APPrO is holding its conference alongside OSEA which will be the 22nd Annual Canadian Power Conference. It will take place on November 16-17, 2010 and its theme is Making Green Sustainable: Responsibly Rebalancing the System.
If you would like to work with these groups or attend the conference, please contact me and I can plug you into the right people. It is only by working together and supporting one another that we will truly embed an ethic of conservation and renewable generation in our communities.