Ontario clears the way for 700 rooftop solar projects

OPA Feed-in-Tariff

Ontarians get the green light for 700 rooftop solar projects
Popular new program attracts more than 2,200 applications

Toronto, ON, December 16, 2009 – Seven hundred Ontarians from Ottawa to Windsor to Thunder Bay – including a member of the popular band Barenaked Ladies – will be celebrating a green holiday season after being the first to receive offers to generate renewable electricity under the province’s new feed-in tariff program.

The new microFIT program encourages the development of small-scale renewable energy (10 kilowatts or less) from a diverse range of producers, including homeowners, schools, farmers and small businesses. It is part of a broader Ontario feed-in tariff program (FIT), the most comprehensive program of its kind in North America. FIT is also aimed at encouraging community-owned and aboriginal-led projects.

“It’s a thrill to be able to power my own lights while at the same time contributing to my city’s electrical needs,” said Jim Creeggan, bassist for the band Barenaked Ladies. “Now that the microFIT program is up and running, it makes solar a realistic option for more households. With enough homeowners on board, communities will have a greater impact on where our power is coming from. I’m glad solar power is getting out of the fringe and into the mainstream.”

The FIT program, one of the cornerstones of the Green Energy Act, provides stable, guaranteed pricing to renewable energy producers of all sizes. It supports the province’s commitment to eliminate dirty coal-fired generation by the end of 2014 — the single largest climate change initiative in Canada. FIT and other initiatives under the Green Energy Act will support the creation of 50,000 “green collar” jobs.

“The new microFIT program literally brings power to the people,” said Gerry Phillips, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. “It allows homeowners, farmers, schools and Mom and Pop businesses to help power our future and get paid for it, while investing in a new era of ‘green collar’ jobs and expertise.”

“The tremendous initial response to the feed-in tariff signals a strong future for renewable energy in Ontario,” said Ontario Power Authority CEO Colin Andersen. “We’ve cut the red tape and made it simpler for ordinary Ontarians to become electricity producers and they’ve raced to embrace green energy.”

The Ontario Power Authority has received nearly 1,200 microFIT applications since the program began accepting applications on October 1, mostly for residential roof-top solar power systems. These proposed projects have a combined capacity of about 8.6 megawatts (MW), enough to power about 1,000 average homes.

Between October 1 when the program launched and December 1, the Ontario Power Authority also received about 1,000 applications for projects over 10 kilowatts (kW). This large number of applications ensures there will be more than enough high-quality projects to deliver the 2,500 MW of renewable energy earmarked for the first round of the FIT program. These larger scale FIT applications are still being assessed.

The Ontario Power Authority estimates that the first FIT projects will generate in excess of $5 billion in investments in manufacturing, design, construction and engineering and lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs.

The Ontario Power Authority is responsible for ensuring a reliable, sustainable supply of electricity for Ontario. Its four key areas of focus are: planning the power system for the long term, leading and co-ordinating conservation initiatives across the province, ensuring development of needed generation resources, and supporting the continued evolution of the electricity sector.


Media Contact ? Tim Butters, Ontario Power Authority, 416-969-6307 / Toll Free: 1-800-797-9604

What People are Saying about Ontario’s Groundbreaking micro Feed-In Tariff (microFIT) Program

“I’ve had solar panels on my roof for three years. It’s a thrill to be able to power my own lights while at the same time contributing to my city’s electrical needs. Now that the microFIT program is up and running, it makes solar a realistic option for more households. With enough homeowners on board, communities will have a greater impact on where our power is coming from. I’m glad solar power is getting out of the fringe and into the mainstream.”

– Jim Creeggan Toronto homeowner and bassist for the band Barenaked Ladies
For media requests, please call Alison Taylor (310) 776-7645

“Na-Me-Res is a charitable organization with limited funding. We are also an Aboriginal organization with a strong sense of environmental stewardship. Ontario’s new green energy program lets us generate revenue and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. It’s a phenomenal opportunity that we knew we had to take advantage of.”

– Harvey Manning Executive Director Na-Me-Res, Native Men’s Residence
For media requests, please call (416) 651-6750, ext 2229

“In June 2000, the Toronto District School Board adopted an Environment Policy that sought to align TDSB’s practices with the definition of sustainability as set out in the Bruntland Commission, and to link environmental education goals with facility operational effectiveness. The solar photovoltaic systems funded by the microFIT program are of great assistance in helping us meet our environmental education objectives, as well as providing needed sustainable revenue to the Board.”

– David Percival Manager of Design, Standards, Compliance and Environment Toronto District School Board
For media requests, please call Radmila Malobabic at (416) 395-2721

“The GEA and the FIT program are world class, creative public policy. It’s now up to organizations like TREC to use it. And we are. Our Windshare Exhibition Place wind turbine has been feeding the grid for five years. We have submitted a FIT application for a 20-megawatt co-op owned windfarm in Bervie. We are working on plans for 250 kW rooftop solar co-op in Toronto and we just launched Our Power, our residential rooftop solar program. The future for renewable energy is looking good.”

– Judy Lipp?Executive Director?Toronto Renewable Energy Co-op (TREC)
For media requests, please call Ken Traynor at (416) 977-5093, ext 237

“Local electricity distribution companies are proud to be part of the expansion of renewable energy and supporting the development of sustainable communities in Ontario. Ontario’s electricity distributors, in co-operation with the Ontario Power Authority, are playing a key role in the ongoing implementation of FIT and microFIT programs across the province. As the frontline and trusted face of Ontario’s electricity system, distributors have a primary role to play in providing guidance and assistance to those customers who want to engage in microFIT projects in their communities.”

– Charlie Macaluso President and Chief Executive Officer? Electricity Distributors Association (EDA)
For media requests, please call Christine Hallas at (905) 265-5322 or toll free 1-800-668-9979

“The main vision of the Green Energy Act Alliance is to enable all Ontarians to become green energy generators. The microFIT program does just that. The prices that Ontario will pay are as good as those paid in Europe, where in counties like Germany 50 per cent of all green energy projects are owned by the citizens. We expect the microFIT program will be a huge success in Ontario.”

– Deb Doncaster Chair, Green Energy Act Alliance Executive Director, Community Power Fund
For media requests, please call Jennifer Foulds at (416) 323-9521, ext 232

“The people of the province have long indicated that they are willing, even eager, to do something to address climate change and reduce the sickening summer smog caused by burning coal. The OPA’s microFIT program gives them that opportunity and they are taking it. Local power production means more personal control and profits.”

– Kristopher Stevens Executive Director Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
For media requests, please call Jane Story at (416) 977-4441, ext 222

“The OPA’s microFIT program will be a great boost for small renewable projects and is certain to bring solar to Ontario homes. Residential homes, farmers and small businesses will be able to harness the power of the sun as part of a wave to fight climate change ? and that can only be a positive for the province’s future generations. We hope that Canada’s other provinces will take up the challenge and help renewable energy radiate across the country.”

– Elizabeth McDonald President Canadian Solar Industries Association
For media requests, please call (866) 522-6742

For background information on the FIT and MicroFIT programs click here.

The “Winds of Change” Film Premiere Event

The video of the Winds of Change Film is now online. Click here to watch

“Winds of Change” TV Premiere from the historic Kingston City Hall Council Chambers Nov. 9, 2009 from 2 to 3.30PM
(Created, Produced and Presented by David McCallum, Volker Thomsen and TV COGECO Kingston)

We are presenting the film the “Winds of Change” which was initiated in conjunction with the very successful WWEC World Wind Energy Conference 2008 with 800 delegates from 60 countries at St. Lawrence College. It follows the theme in my book “Canada on Route to Prosperity” and features many prominent community leaders and innovators speaking on the issues of sustainability and green innovation.

Building on the successes like the Ontario Green Energy Act with it’s FIT (Feed in Tariffs) and on the original vision for Wolfe Island wind development (500 million Project implemented and running) we want to open our eyes to the attraction this change is bringing to encourage a strong collaboration between all parties. To continue a sustainable long range changeover, this film wants to help to overcome any hurdles and prepare the ground for more innovative and progressive economic development in all areas and all technologies.

Examples of the “Winds of Change” are Napanee’s $300 million solar farm of which the first 10 MW or $60 million have been implemented and opened last week. Another $250 million solar farm in Eastern Ontario is in the planning. All together we have projects for $ 1.5 billion in the Eastern Ontario region of which half are implemented. Furthermore, a solar film factory for $500 million is planned and announced for Kingston ( I would however, be moderately cautious about the timing on this one). In Cornwall and Brockville innovative PV Production Projects and PV Solar farms are in the planning and will hopefully solidify a very promising revival and redevelopment.
Two particularly innovative technologies are evolving:
>> In Cornwall: Verdant Power free-flow test turbines in St. Lawrence River http://dcnonl.com/article/id27638
>> In Kingston: AE Atmospheric Energy Storage Pilot http://volkerthomsen.com/ae-atmospheric-energy-storage-system/

The Dynamic Panel around the Council Horseshoe:

John Gerretsen Ontario Minister of the Environment MPP Kingston
Mayor Harvey Rosen Kingston
Anne Prichard Executive Director Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation
Elizabeth Savill Chief Administrative Officer County of Frontenac
Lisa Webb Manager Ban Righ Centre Queens University
Patrick Finucan retired Executive educator and senior Community developer from Cornwall
Jen Mattice Coordinator Carbon Reduction Cornwall
David Beatty International high profile Entrepreneur and Community builder from Brockville
Mary Jean McFall Lawyer, Entrepreneur and President Chamber of Commerce Brockville
Dr. John Plant Retired Principal RMC, Retired Chair St. Lawrence College, Executive Director Engineering Institute of Canada
Dr. Jose Etcheverry Prof. York UNI and long time in Climate Change in the David Suzuki Foundation Toronto and Vancouver
Jens Naumann CEO Green First Technologies Inc Napanee
Patrik Snajdr and Natalia Snajdr RE21 and “Earth Real” Networks
Matthew McTaggert and Courtney Marshall Students Napanee High School
George Knight Educator and inventor Napanee
Bryan Rahn CEO Enerquest Kitchener Ontario
Warren Mabee Director Queens Institute for Energy and Environment Policy

Host and Moderator Volker Thomsen

The “Winds of Change” film and the discussion that follows will first time be shown on COGECO on December 7 from 8.30 to 10 PM in Kingston.

Here is a full listing of the show’s air times on TVCogeco, Cable channel 13:
Monday, Dec. 7 @ 8:30pm-10:00pm
Tuesday, Dec. 8 @ 2:30pm- 4:00pm
Tuesday, Dec. 8 @ 7:30pm-9:00pm
Sunday, Dec. 13 @ 7:00pm-8:30pm
Monday, Dec. 14 @ 3:00pm-4:30pm
The show will be available on VOD (video-on-demand, TVCogeco digital cable #299) early in 2010, details to follow.
On-air promotions are now in full-effect on channel 13.

Brockville,  Smiths Falls. Cornwall, Belleville and Napanee please see  your program Community TV listings.

Some food for thought:

a) The GEA Green Energy Act & FIT Feed in Tariff simplifies and rewards the installation of small electricity generation systems. How can the broader public lose their angst to be trapped in a lot of bureaucratic hurdles if they decide to go for it? If anything what is missing to make this innovate policy the big success it deserves to be?

b) How can we introduce successful financing and insurance models that will enable Ontario farmers, landowners, homeowners and small developers and business? (Example more than 25.000 wind farmers, 5.000 biomass farmers etc where enabled and they created a landscape of thousands of wealthy and well developed rural communities in Northern Europe)

c) Canada is blessed with a lot of hydro electricity, which, if designed as a flexible base load, can accommodate any amount of fluctuating Renewable Energy and enable us in time to go for 100% green and clean energy. How can we overcome our perceptions about not being able to go for 100% clean renewable energy?

d) Other great gifts are our four seasons, with warm summers and cold winters. This combined with bedrock everywhere and heat being injected can store the unlimited summer heat in the ground without any loss for the winter when it is needed. The pilot of this Canadian made technology developed by the physicist Ron Tolmie has been proven to actually reduce the heating and cooling cost for a home by up to 90%. Originally when Minister Cansfield was the Ontario Minister of Energy in 2006 I was encouraged by her people to actively support this simple and brilliant Canadian development. I agreed to do that and tried for many month to convince my public partners in Eastern Ontario to install a public pilot of this promising design in one of the public or commercial institutions. That did not happen, so I took it upon myself to do the pilot at a residential level. Now we have succeeded in developing a system that has the potential to change Ontario and Canada. It enables us to reduce our heating and cooling cost drastically. This technology will help us to reduce our CO2 emissions dramatically, and enable any community to implement a more sustainable space heating system in it’s buildings. The obstacles we went through could fill a book. The question now being, how can we move forward to accommodate new innovations that hold the answers to the future living environments we build around us?

The conversion of the Thomsen House to an almost Zero Emission home, financially carried out of energy cost savings and affordable to the average Canadian family, has been done. Let us do this in every home in Ontario and enable the creation of 125,000 permanent new jobs at little cost to our society in the existing trades in all our communities “Community Power For Local Economies”

e) Eastern Ontario and Kingston is a centre of learning, education and training. It has the highest Canadian level of skilled people. A sleeping beauty! What to do and how to make this human capital the driver of “green” economic development?

Host and Moderator Volker Thomsen

The “Winds of Change” film and the discussion that follows will be shown on COGECO on December 7 from 8.30 to 10 PM in Kingston. Brockville and Smiths Falls. For showtimes in Cornwall, Belleville and Napanee please see back here, or see your program Community TV listings.

Green News: Ontario set for Green Growth

Ontario Makes It Easier, Faster To Grow Green Energy

September 24, 2009 9:51 AM
From http://news.ontario.ca/newsroom/en/

Ontario has launched a series of bold measures to attract new investment in renewable energy projects and build a green economy that will promote the creation of 50,000 jobs over the next three years. Today’s announcement completes the final four steps of Ontario’s momentous “Ten Steps to Green Energy,” which will create green jobs and open green energy investment opportunities throughout the province.

STEP 7: Ontario has established the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office (REFO), a one-window access point to assist developers, communities and municipalities obtain information on developing renewable energy projects in Ontario, and help them navigate through the regulatory approvals necessary to bring their projects to life.

STEP 8: Establishing minimum setbacks for wind turbine projects, as part of the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process, which became law on Sept. 24, 2009. The REA is designed to ensure that renewable energy projects are developed in a way that is protective of human health, the environment, and Ontario’s cultural and natural heritage.

STEP 9: Ontario develops domestic content requirements which would ensure at least 25 per cent of wind project costs and 50 per cent of large solar project costs come from Ontario goods and labour. Requirements for solar will increase on Jan. 1, 2011 and requirements for wind will increase on Jan. 1, 2012.

STEP 10: The Green Energy Act introduces North America’s first comprehensive feed-in tariff program that guarantees specific rates for energy generated from renewable sources. It is designed to encourage the development of renewable energy projects by a range of generators including Aboriginal communities, homeowners, farmers, schools, stores, factories, co-ops, offices and larger-scale commercial generators.

With certainty in the rules and regulations, guarantees in prices for energy generated from renewable sources and domestic content requirements in support of the growth of new “green collar” jobs, companies will have the confidence to invest in Ontario, hire workers, and produce and sell renewable energy.

Feed-in Tariff Program

The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program offers long-term price guarantees for renewable electricity generators, which will increase investor confidence and make it easier to finance projects. Ontario’s FIT program will encourage billions of dollars in investment to help Ontario’s energy supply mix become one of the cleanest in North America. The FIT has several key features:

  • allows all sizes of generators, from homeowners to large developers to participate;
  • has prices that are intended to cover total project costs and provide a reasonable rate of return over a 20-year contract (40 years for waterpower);
  • is open to various renewable energy technologies: biogas, biomass, landfill gas, solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and waterpower;
  • provides incentives for Aboriginal projects;
  • provides incentives for community-based projects;
  • provides a straightforward way to obtain a contract for renewable electricity generation;
  • has different prices for different technologies and different project sizes; and
  • includes domestic content requirements.

FIT payments can range from 10.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh) for landfill gas projects larger than 10 MW to 80.2 c/kWh for residential solar rooftop projects 10 kW or smaller. The FIT also includes a “price adder” for Aboriginal and community projects to encourage participation.

Domestic Content

Developers will be required to have a certain percentage of their project costs come from Ontario goods and labour at the time they reach commercial operation.

For wind, the requirement will start at 25% and increase to 50% on Jan. 1, 2012.

For micro solar PV (10 kW or smaller), the requirement will start at 40% and increase to 60% on Jan. 1, 2011.

For larger solar PV, the requirement will start at 50% and increase to 60% on Jan. 1, 2011.

The domestic content regulations will encourage investment, green manufacturing, construction and installation jobs in Ontario.

The Ontario Power Authority will begin accepting FIT applications on Oct. 1, 2009 and expects to sign the first contracts in early December.

Ontario will direct the OPA that there is to be no ground-mounted solar procurement above 100 kilowatts on class 1 and 2 or Specialty Crop Areas to provide continued protection of such lands. Some ground-mounted solar procurement, up to 500 megawatts, will be allowed on Class 3 lands, allocated on a regional basis.

Renewable Energy Approval (REA)

The Renewable Energy Approval (REA) process becomes law today, Sept. 24, 2009, and is designed to ensure that renewable energy projects are developed in a way that is protective of human health, the environment, and Ontario’s cultural and natural heritage. While the FIT program simplifies the contracts and pricing for new projects, a streamlined approvals process makes it easier to bring renewable energy projects to life.

The REA:

  • Takes a cautious approach to setbacks and noise limits by establishing the largest setback requirements in Canada, the United States and eight European countries — a minimum setback of 550 metres for one to five wind turbines, with setbacks increasing with the number and the sound level rating of turbines
  • Integrates environmental approvals, providing clear provincial rules and requirements, transparent decision-making and certainty for stakeholders and proponents.
  • Integrates the former regulatory approval requirements, including: municipal planning approvals, Environmental Assessments, Certificates of Approval, Permissions to Take Water and other provincial approvals and permits.
  • Establishes consultation processes for municipalities and communities in relation to project site requirements and local infrastructure.
  • Encourages Aboriginal consultation early in the process with communities identified by the Crown.
  • Is coordinated with other provincial approvals to ensure a streamlined approach, providing a six-month service guarantee per project.

Renewable Energy Facilitation Office
The newly created Renewable Energy Facilitation Office (REFO) is a one-window access point for information on renewable energy project requirements, and can connect Ontarians with the appropriate resources to assist them in navigating through the approvals and Feed-in Tariff processes.

The REFO functions as a source of information for renewable energy developers, communities, and municipalities, and can act as a liaison between these parties and Ontario’s ministries and agencies. The REFO can assist in setting up a coordinated orientation meeting to discuss your project’s requirements. This meeting can help clarify various requirements related to your renewable energy project.

As an umbrella body with no regulatory responsibilities, REFO has a unique understanding of the renewable energy regime and serves to educate all its parties based on its understanding.

More information

Read more about Ontario’s Green Energy Act

For details about the Feed-in Tariff Program visit www.powerauthority.on.ca/FIT

For details on the new approvals process, visit the Ministry of Environment at www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/business/green-energy

To learn more about renewable energy in Ontario visit www.ontario.ca/renewableenergy

Visit the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office at www.ontario.ca/renewableenergyprojects

Amy Tang, Minister’s Office, 416-327-6747
Eric Pelletier, Communications Branch, 416-325-1810

John Karapita, Minister’s Office, 416-314-6736
Kate Jordan, Ministry of the Environment, 416-314-6666

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED by the Canadian Government

Canadian Renewable Energy Leaders at World Wind Energy Conference in Korea demand action to secure Canada’s role as an innovator and leader in Renewable Energy

JEJU/BONN/TORONTO, June 23, 2009:

WWEA and OSEA congratulate the Canadian parliament for its commitment made June 17th to join the more than 100 countries to become a full member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) of governments. IRENA’s mandate is to support knowledge transfer, policy development and the promotion of the rapid deployment of renewable energy worldwide. Renewable energy is abundant, can provide access to electricity to all citizens worldwide, drive economic development and can be generated by individuals, communities of all sizes and the corporate sector.

The second IRENA founding meeting will be in Sharm El Sheikh on June 29, 2009. At this crucial meeting the seat and the founding Director General will be determined and it is imperative that the Canadian Government without any delay implements the parliaments decision to join IRENA. In order to participate in the decision making, to be recognized as a founding nation including applying for the seat and the leadership position, Canada must declare its position and attend the meeting in Sharm El Sheikh June 29, 2009. The urgency and the limited time requires a flexible and immediate solution.

A solution is easily at hand. Currently the 8th World Wind Energy Conference (WWEC) is being held on Jeju Island, South Korea following the spectacular success of last years conference held in Kingston Ontario Canada, where more than 900 delegates from around the world gathered and the idea of an Ontario Green Energy Act began.

Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman, architect of the newly passed Green Energy and Green Economy Act, is a keynote speaker at the WWEC in South Korea and could be requested to join or lead the Federal government’s delegation.

The other members of the Canadian contingency of renewable energy leaders presently participating in WWEC 2009 if mandated, are also prepared, to join participants from many others countries. This generous offer should not be denied and can together with the Canadian Embassy in Cairo support and guaranty a smooth and successful integration of other Canadian delegates and Minister.

Canadians country-wide are calling for change, joining the voices of citizens around the world in their demand for increased renewable energy to stimulate green jobs, green house gas emission reduction and increased energy security.

Volker Thomsen
Canadian Representative and Treasurer
World Wind Energy Association

Kristopher Stevens
Executive Director
Ontario Sustainable Energy Association

For more information, contact:

Volker Thomsen

Kristopher Stevens
Executive Director
Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
Email: Kristopher@ontario-sea.org

Phone: 82-10-4181-8885 (In Korea)

For background information please visit:

Background on Canadian Campaign for the International Renewable Energy Agency


Official International Renewable Energy Agency website


Campaign website for the Green Energy Act Alliance


Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure


Official website for the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association


Official website for the Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance


Urgent Appeal to the Member Delegates of IRENA

Urgent Appeal to the Founding Countries of IRENA and their Distinguished Delegates

Please view Volker’s Video at http://VolkerThomsen.com/irena-the-international-renewable-energy-agency/

IRENA is a new beacon of light and hope for the worldwide propagation of safe, clean, renewable, and widely distributed power generation.

IRENA will help every country get access to the policy know-how and technology transfer that is required for their sustainable and economic development.

Our current dependence on large central coal, oil, gas and nuclear power generation is counterproductive to distributed community-based power generation for local economic development. These outdated models have made us dependent on non-renewable sources of fuel at the expense of our environment, our security, and our economic sustainability.

IRENA is our international responsibility, and opportunity to globally transition us into the age of renewables, which is based on the free and distributed power of the sun, wind, earth, and water. The age of processing fuels is coming to a close. The development of appropriate technologies which harness free and renewable resources will now create jobs, security, and prosperity everywhere.

It is imperative that IRENA be built upon the sound and competent foundation of expertise in renewable energy generation, community power, and sustainable best practices. Such expertise is grounded in the work of Hermann Scheer, Hans Joergen Koch and their peers. Through their knowledge, experience, dedication and effort, they built the foundation upon which IRENA now stands.

Hans Joergen Koch is one of the founding fathers of IRENA who, from the beginning has been deeply involved in the actual establishment of the Agency through a constructive cooperation with all member countries. He possesses many years of proven, successful, national and international experience at a high level, and in a broad field of energy related activities. He will serve as a guarantor of well-balanced solutions that integrate the valuable work of Hermann Scheer and the interests of each individual member State.

In the same respect, Germany and Denmark have a long time, solid track record of implementing renewable energy and renewable integration best-practices. They are models of success in making community power work, and they are strongly committed to an ongoing and robust renewable energy technology transfer.

These countries and their supporting allies can guaranty immediate access to everything that is needed to quickly assist the world in transitioning to independent and distributed renewable power generation. With shared commitments of billions in foreign aid, an established research, education and development base, and an annual support of more than 500 million for RE implementation in evolving countries, it is within their scope and capacity to coalesce international efforts and effect the creation of hundreds of millions of jobs worldwide, within communities of every size.

Germany and Denmark are at the epicenter of the global renewable renaissance and their credibility and track record proves exactly what they truly stand for; renewable energy and sustainable re-development. The seat of IRENA must be located in a place that can serve as an established base of expertise and proven best practices.

Build IRENA upon the strong foundations of expertise and success, and renewable energy can become quickly adopted everywhere for a new era of global peace and prosperity.

The real physical potential of renewable energies is brilliantly demonstrated in the graphics on page 9 of the founding IRENA Brochure (and below). We encourage you to study this carefully, You will detect that there is not one place on our planet that does not have several of these plentiful sustainable resources.

Most distinguished representatives of the Founding Member Countries of IRENA, don’t go for the temptation of unfounded promises, but rather, make a very important, and wise choice that is based on a long time proven foundation and credible track record of successful renewable energy integration. Choose Bonn Germany as the Seat, elect Hans Joergen Koch from Denmark as the trusted founding Director General, and ask the original founder father of IRENA Hermann Scheer to continue to mentor this Agency so that it can grow beautiful, strong and able to truly do what it has set out to do..

Signed on behalf of the silent majority of unheard voices of this world:

Zhouqing Li, Volker Thomsen, and Patrik Snajdr

Let us all help move the true potentials of renewable energy to the forefront of our common global agenda.

We thank you and trust that in your deepest wisdom you will know this to be the right way forward.

Renewable energy is the ubiquitous source of electric power that can be made available to all.

Please view Volker’s Video at http://VolkerThomsen.com/irena-the-international-renewable-energy-agency/

Blessings around the World.

IRENA Eric Martinot Open Letter

Dear REN21,

This is an open letter on the matter of locating IRENA, which has become
a high-profile political issue in recent weeks and also a matter of
grave personal concern. I understand that REN21 should remain neutral
on this issue. Nevertheless, I would like to share my views with you.

With all due respect, I am sure that Abu Dhabi can provide important
resources for IRENA. And despite its remoteness to the majority of
renewable energy experts and experience around the world, which could
be a hindrance, IRENA could of course function there. However, there are
three issues which must be considered:

(1) Linkage with nuclear power. It appears that U.S. and French support
for IRENA in Abu Dhabi is linked with nuclear power technology deals
announced recently in the press (Note 1). Under these circumstances, an
IRENA located in Abu Dhabi would appear to be “nuclear tainted” because
the process used to found IRENA would be based on support for nuclear
power. There is also the fact that UAE has expressed its intentions to
rapidly become a “model” for promoting nuclear power (Note 2).

This raises the question of whether IRENA will be an effective change
agent for renewables (i.e., promoting renewables *instead* of nuclear
power), or will be merely an appendage to a nuclear agenda —
“sprinkling some renewables on top of our nuclear power” as it were.
This question is underlined by the term “low-carbon technology” that
France reportedly used in a recent IRENA meeting (Note 3). Will IRENA
become a de-facto “International Low-Carbon Agency,” supporting both
renewables and nuclear together? Are the original goals of IRENA being
co-opted to that end? That would be shameful!

The renewables vs. nuclear issue has been around for many years, but is
receiving more attention as carbon reduction efforts become ever more
serious. The renewable energy community should be sending the
messages that “a renewable energy future means that we don’t need
nuclear power” and “renewables are cheaper than nuclear power in the
long run.” While not absolute, it is certainly a question of balance, and
IRENA’s very existence contributes to that balance.

In good conscience, I personally would find it very difficult, or likely
impossible, to collaborate with and support a “nuclear-tainted” IRENA.

(2) Historical credibility and leadership. In my view, the primary work
of IRENA is to facilitate policy development and education around the
world. To achieve these ends, IRENA needs to be based in a country or
countries with an exemplary track record and proven commitment to
renewable energy. The credibility of the country, based on past history
and/or future targets, should count strongly. If you look at past
editions of the Renewables Global Status Report, particularly the “Top
Five Countries” table, you can see the past history and future targets
clearly for a number of countries (details in Note 4 below).

(Also, this view of IRENA is fundamentally about policy and capacity
building, not projects–another consideration in choosing location.)

(3) Decentralized vs. centralized structure. This whole discussion has
raised again the question of structure. Why should renewables, an
inherently decentralizing technology, be supported by a centralized
agency? Would it not be better for IRENA to be a decentralized agency?
IRENA would be stronger with 5-8 regional centers, with regional
directors but no centralized director general. As a founding basis for
IRENA, no regional center should have higher standing than any other. Of
course, more money will be required, and there are many political and
managerial challenges as well. But only a decentralized structure can
effectively serve the policy and facilitation needs of diverse regions
with different circumstances.

The promise of IRENA is reflected in my statement on the “Voices” page
of the IRENA website: “Today, existing public organizations are
fragmented in their approach to promoting renewable energy, and few
emphasize good policy based on real experience. Yet good policy is still
one of the highest priorities for developing robust renewable energy
markets and a growing industry. IRENA can study policy experience and
lessons and provide policy guidance to governments around the world. In
addition, the enormous need for technology development and education
among all countries – both developed and developing – means that more
coherent international efforts are absolutely necessary.”

For the reasons given above, including linkage with nuclear power and
historical credibility and leadership, locating IRENA in Abu Dhabi may
be a political choice but will not serve the promise of IRENA.

Thank you for your attention.

Respectfully yours,
Dr. Eric Martinot

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this letter are strictly those of
the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization
with which the author is affiliated. This letter is open and may be
freely circulated and cited.

(Note 1) “Obama approves US-UAE nuclear cooperation deal,”
Associated Press, 20 May 2009; “UAE, US sign bilateral agreement for
peaceful nuclear energy cooperation,” Gulf News, 22 May 2009;
“Further nuclear commitments from UAE,” World Nuclear News, 9 April
2009; “UAE aims for nuclear power,” Energy Tribune, 28 Jan 2009;
“UAE and France sign landmark nuclear cooperation agreement,” Gulf
News, 16 January 2008; “Sarkozy backs French nuclear plant sale bid
to UAE,” Bloomberg, 26 May 2009.

(Note 2) Op cit, Gulf News, 22 May 2009.

(Note 3) France detailed a “low-carbon” agenda for the IRENA “retreat”
in Vienna, 14-17 April 2009, according to a number of observers.

(Note 4) The “Top Five Countries” table from the Renewables Global
Status Report 2009 Update lists the following countries in two or more
categories: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the
Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
(Although, to be fair, other countries might be considered leaders if
per-capita indicators were used as well, a pending issue that may
finally be addressed in the 2010 edition of the report.) Further,
countries listed as #1 in at least one category are China, Germany,
Spain, and the United States — these four countries were also the
investment leaders in 2008, by a large margin compared to any others.
Denmark does not appear in the Top Five Countries table, but has one of
the highest targets for future share of renewable energy of any country
(30% of final energy by 2020, along with Austria 34% and Sweden 49%;
see Table R7 of the Renewables 2007 Global Status Report); Denmark also
has decades of experience with renewables.
Abu Dhabi recently announced a
renewable electricity target of 7 percent by 2020; this compares with
many countries with electricity-share targets in the range of 15-40% and
several countries with electricity-share targets in the range 60-90%
(see Table R8 of the 2007 report and Section 4 of the 2009 report).

Declaration on the Formation of IRENA

Open Letter from The Nordic FolkeCenter for Renewable Energy

Denmark,  June 2009

Declaration on the formation of IRENA

We, as long-term supporters of renewable energy and representatives of prominent organisations working in this field bring the following letter to the attention of the delegates from IRENA signatory countries, by paying full respect to all the delegate’s forthcoming decisions at the second meeting of the Preparatory Commission in Egypt on June 29 and 30 2009.
We recommend that Dr. Hermann Scheer be appointed Founding Chair for the formation period of IRENA to directly support the Director General.
It must be acknowledged that the breakthrough represented by the establishment of IRENA can be in great part credited to the work of Dr. Hermann Scheer. Together with the two non-profit international organisations under his leadership, EUROSOLAR and World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE), he has struggled for two decades to achieve the founding of IRENA. Dr. Scheer pioneered the concept that shapes IRENA today. Numerous obstacles on the long way to IRENA have been overcome through his outstanding international leadership for the advancement of renewable energies. He first lobbied for the idea to establish an IRENA on many international conferences and succeeded in initiating the decisions that were crucial to obtain the support of Germany for launching IRENA at the government level. All these facts clearly indicate that IRENA is connected inextricably with Dr. Scheer’s vision and work.
Furthermore, through his seminal books on renewable energy strategies, his ability to empower people and to form strong alliances, and as a successful legislator for renewable energy policies in his native country he has inspired a generation of decision makers, politicians, parliaments, and organisations, as well as concerned individuals, about the imperative necessity of implementing a new energy paradigm for the service of humankind.
The German government refrained from nominating Dr. Scheer for the post of IRENA’s Director General because it decided to concentrate all of its efforts to ensure that Bonn becomes the headquarters of IRENA. This decision happened with the consent of Hermann Scheer who supported Bonn as seat for IRENA from the early beginning.
The broad acceptance of IRENA proves that the agency is directly linked to a worldwide hope to overcome the inherent dangers and shortcomings associated with the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels. Renewable energies offer unique opportunities to achieve a secure and independent energy supply that does not harm the environment, the climate and human health. Only renewable sources can reliably satisfy the increasing energy demand of a growing world population and their energy needs. Achieving the full potential of renewable sources swiftly and comprehensively is the central challenge of the 21st century and represents a unique chance for humanity to thrive and prosper.
Therefore, we consider the formation of IRENA unthinkable without Dr. Scheer’s essential contributions and firmly believe that he should be directly involved in the early leadership of IRENA to help ensure its success.

IRENA must act as a straightforward international advocate for renewable energy. As an international governmental organisation, IRENA has the opportunity and responsibility to champion the use of renewable sources everywhere, without interference into the legislative competence of governments.

IRENA must inspire the adoption of effective policies and best-practice solutions that accelerate and reinforce the rapid introduction of all renewable energy options. IRENA must proactively commit governments and the public to become aware of the advantages of adopting a new and sustainable energy future for all nations, with special attention to the needs of developing countries, which can be satisfied through the multiple economic and societal benefits related to the adoption of renewable energy strategies.
We therefore urge the signatories of IRENA who will come together for the decisions at the next meeting of IRENA in Egypt to harness Hermann Scheer’s talents and potential by entrusting him with the extraordinary role of Founding Chair to thereby directly support IRENA’s Director General.
We all have experienced his inspiration and achievements that are firmly based on his comprehensive view of the obstacles, practical solutions, and opportunities related to renewable energy. Therefore, we are convinced that his involvement is indispensable to ensure the success of IRENA’s work.
First signatories:

Franz Alt
Journalist, writer, guest lecturer, Germany

Prof. Mustapha Ayaita
Chair, MENA Institute University Kassel, Morocco

Heinrich Bartelt
Treasurer, World Wind Energy Association

Marianne Bender
Chair, OVE, Danish Renewable Energy Organisation

Jens-Peter Bonde
Former Member of the European Parliament, Denmark

Prof. Godfrey Boyle
Director, Energy & Environment Research Unit, Open Univ. Milton Keynes, UK

Lester Brown
President, Earth Policy Institute, USA

Prof. Federico Butera
Head, Research Unit Energy and Buildings, University Milan, Italy

Prof. Luciana Castellina
Former Member of the European Parliament, Italy

Ole Vagn Christensen
Member of the Danish Parliament, Social Democratic Party

Roberto Cogliati Dezza
President, Lega Ambiente, Italy

Peter Danielsson
Board member, SERO, National Organisation of Sweden’s Energy Associations

Prof. Peter Droege
University of Liechtenstein, Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning

Michael Eckhart
President, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

Dr. José Etcheverry
President, Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance

Hans-Josef Fell
Member of the German Parliament, Green Group

Anders Fisker
Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador, Danish Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Dörte Fouquet
Director, European Renewable Energies Federation

Paul Gipe
Author, advocate, renewable energy industry analyst, USA

Prof. Herbert Girardet
Co-Founder and Director of Programmes, World Future Council

Stefan Gsänger
Secretary General, World Wind Energy Association

Wolfgang Hein
Former Head of Division, Energy and Environment Affairs, Austrian Chancellery

Prof. Dieter Holm
President, ISES (International Solar Energy Society) Africa

Christine Hornstein
Executive Director, ISES (International Solar Energy Society)

Prof. Frede Hvelplund
Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark

Bianca Jagger
President, World Future Council

Dr. Anil Kane
President, World Wind Energy Association

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
International Environmental Advocate, USA

Ruth N. Kiwanuka
CEO, Joint Energy and Environment Projects, Uganda

Klaus Knecht
Chair, Renewable Energy Capacity Building Program INWENT, Germany

Stefan Kohler
CEO, German Energy Agency

Andriy Konechenkov
Chairman, Ukrainian Wind Energy Association

Dr. Hans Kronberger
Former Member of the European Parliament, Austria

Jane Kruse
Program Leader, World Wind Energy Institute

Jeremy Leggett
Founder and Executive Chairman, Solar Century, UK

Zhouqing Li
President TISET, Beijing, China

Prof. Wu Libin
Secretary of Foreign Affairs, BIOMA / BRTC / China Biogas Society (CBS)

Amory B. Lovins
Chairman, Rocky Mountain Institute, USA

Preben Maegaard
Director, Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy, Denmark

Ulla Meixner
Chair, Financial Advisory Committee German Wind Energy Association

Prof. Niels I. Meyer
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Technical University of Denmark

Christine Milne
Senator, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Spokesperson on Climate Change

Prof. Masataka Murahara
Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

Raymond Myles
Secretary General cum Chief Executive INSEDA, India

Hermann Oelsner
President, African Wind Energy Association

Leoluca Orlando
Member of the Italian Parliament, Former Mayor of Palermo, Italy

Prof. Galal Osman
President, Egyptian Wind Energy Association

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
Special Representative of the UN Secretary -General in West Africa

Mauro Passos
President, Instituto IDEAL, Brazil

Prof. Josep Puig
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Ermete Realacci
Member of the Italian Parliament, Honorary President, Lega Ambiente, Italy

Dr. Rudolf Rechsteiner
Member of the National Council, Switzerland

Harald N. Roestvik
Solar Pioneer, www.sunlab.no, Norway

Mechtild Rothe
Vice President European Parliament, President EUFORES

Prof. Takeo S. Saitoh
Ex-President, Japan Solar Energy Society

Ganesh Ram Shrestha
Director, Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal

Prof. Lumin Shrestha
Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal

Prof. Erico Spinadel
President, Argentinian Wind Energy Association

IIDA Tetsunari
Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, Japan

Volker Thomsen
President Ret., St. Lawrence College Kingston, Canada

Dr. Ibrahim Togola
Director, Mali Folkecenter for Renewable Energy

Jakob von Uexkull
Founder, World Future Council

Izumi Ushiyama
President, Ashikaga Institute of Technology, Japan

Prof. Tanay Sidki Uyar
Vice President, World Wind Energy Association

Dr. Gu Weidong
Chief Scientist, Wind Power Project, National Basic Research Program, China

Prof. E.U. von Weizsäcker
Former President, Wuppertal Institute, Germany

Moneef R. Zou’bi
Director General, Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS)

Open Letter to the Members of IRENA

Open Letter from The International Renewable Energy Alliance

17 June 2009,

Bonn/Freiburg/London/Reykjavik/Stockholm and Launceston

To the Founding Members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)Distinguished Representatives of the Founding Members of IRENA,

The International Renewable Energy Alliance (REN Alliance) and its five member associations representing all major renewable energy technologies have been supportive of the initiative to create an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for many years.The members of the REN Alliance have encouraged many Governments to join IRENA and have strongly welcomed the foundation of IRENA in Bonn in January this year. We are very pleased about the great success with already 100 founding IRENA members. For this success we would like to congratulate and thank all governments and involved persons,following the work of the initiating governments of Germany, Denmark and Spain.

The main reason why the REN Alliance has been so strongly supporting IRENA is the urgent need for an independent body on the international level which can further the cause of renewable energy based on the authority of Governments from all over the world. Existing international organisations have not been able to fulfil such a role and to provide sufficient leadership in this, partly because they are also occupied with other important tasks, sometimes involving interests which may rather be adverse to an accelerated deployment of renewable energy.

Soon you as the IRENA founding members will make two decisions which will be crucial for the future work and success of IRENA – the seat of administration as well as the director general.This REN Alliance sees it as basic precondition that the agency can work independently,fully and exclusively committed to renewable energies and representing broad expertise in renewable energies.


It seems of essential importance that the IRENA headquarters is situated in an environment which is favourable for renewable energy. It will be beneficial for IRENA if there is a high degree of leading expertise and concrete experience in renewable energy deployment available in the vicinity of IRENA H.Q., be it in government, business or science.Besides, we are of the opinion that the interim headquarters of IRENA should be based in a country that has championed the concept of IRENA at least over the last five years. We suspect that, with many other countries becoming involved, there may well be a call for the
seat to be rotated periodically in the future.

IRENA Director General

The Interim Director General has to be an independent personality with a clear commitment to renewable energy, including a clear track record and long-term involvement in renewable energy. It is essential that such a person has the highest level of management skills and a background conducive to the goal of IRENA: to accelerate the sustainable use of all forms of renewable energies worldwide. He/she must be able to integrate the various approaches and interests amongst the Member States as well as within the renewable energy communities. Again, the position of the Director General should be time-bound, and should reflect the international remit of the Agency.

In Summary:

We firmly believe in the need for a strong IRENA to achieve the goal of an accelerated deployment of renewable energy in all parts of the world. In this sense, we would like to encourage all IRENA Founding Members to make a decision which gives a real push for renewable energy worldwide. Industrialised as well as developing countries will benefit from this commitment being no longer dependent on resource constrained fossil fuels and/or nuclear energy resources.

Once again, we congratulate the Founding Members for their courageous step when they decided to create IRENA. The foundation of IRENA is a great breakthrough on the international level for renewable energies and IRENA has the potential to become the most important achievement reached so far. As International Renewable Energy Alliance we are ready and willing to contribute as much as we can to the total success of IRENA.

With kind regards,

International Renewable Energy Alliance
Hon. Peter Rae AO, Chairman

Arni Ragnasson, International Geothermal Association IGA, Tel: +354 588 4437; Fax:+354 588 4431; iga@samorka.is; www.iga.igg.cnr.it

Richard Taylor, International Hydropower Association IHA, Tel: +44 20 8652 5290; Fax:+44 20 8643 5600; iha@hydropower.org; www.hydropower.org

Christine Hornstein, International Solar Energy Society ISES, Tel: +49 761 45906-91;Fax: +49 761 45906-99; public.relations@ises.org; www.ises.org

Kent Nyström, World Bioenergy Association WBA, Tel: +46 706768538; Fax: +46 844170 89; info@worldbioenergy.org; www.worldbioenergy.org

Stefan Gsänger, World Wind Energy Association WWEA, Tel: +49 228 36940-80; Fax:+49 228 36940-84; secretariat@wwindea.org; www.wwindea.org

International Energy Agency announces higher investments in Renewables Needed.

In light of the recently critical global economic situation, the International Energy Agency’s recently published report “The Impact of the Financial and Economic Crisis on Global Energy Investment” states that the  G20 nations must increase the amount invested in low-carbon power technologies during 2009 (including carbon capture and storage) by a factor of four and that such levels of investment must be maintained until 2030 in order for Co2 reduction goals to be kept.
Globally, investments in renewables must be tripled from $60,000 million in 2009 to $180,000 million each year, informs the IEA, while six times more funding than is currently allocated should be earmarked to stimulate these technologies.