OREC: A renewable energy co-operative model

Submitted by robertgnewell on 29 May 2014

A new case study has been released on the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative.

The Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative (OREC), established in 2010, is a for-profit co-operative that develops renewable energy systems within the City of Ottawa. OREC gives Ottawa residents the opportunity to support sustainable community infrastructure by direct investment into the growth of a local renewable energy that finance renewable energy projects, through a co-operative structure.

OREC enters into 20-year lease agreements with property owners in Ottawa communities to use their land or rooftops for the installation of renewable energy systems. Once the installations are in place, the renewable energy produced generates revenue through Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, which provides guaranteed payment for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity produced. This enables OREC to fully repay invested capital to investors along with a dividend over a 20-year period.

In addition to the benefits of renewable energy and local economic growth associated with community-level renewable projects, OREC’s projects build social capital in the community through strong community engagement and their Board educational outreach activities.