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What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy created using natural resources that can be replenished on a human timescale– that is, over hours, days, years, and decades, rather than millennia. This includes wind, solar, hydro, geotheormal, tidal, wave, and bio energy. Learn more by visiting the resources listed in our Educate page.

What is a feed-in-tariff?

A feed-in-tariff (FIT) is a policy mechanism that supports the development of renewable energy. FIT programs have been implemented to level the playing field for a variety of renewable energy technologies. With a FIT contract, energy producers (e.g. individuals, farmers, co-operatives, or large companies) get paid a fixed amount for the renewable energy they sell back to the grid for the life of the contract.

Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariff program was enabled by the Green Energy & Economy Act, 2009, and guarantees the purchase of renewable energy for a period of 20 years.

How much of Ontario’s energy comes from renewable sources?

Currently, renewable energy sources account for 32.3% of Ontario’s energy capacity.

Currently, the majority (24%) of renewable energy in Ontario is hydro-based power, much of which was developed in the earlier half of the twentieth century, decades prior to the Green Energy & Economy Act, 2009.

Today, with the help of the Feed-in-Tariff program, non-hydro sources of renewable energy, especially wind and solar power, have experienced rapid growth over the past decade that will continue into the next. According to Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan (2013), 10,700 MW of wind, solar, and bio energy are slated to be online by 2021, bringing the total share of renewables to over 50%.

What is Community Power?

Community Power is energy production that encourages community participation in, ownership of, and sharing of collective benefits from renewable energy projects. It provides an alternative to the often unstable and unsustainable large-scale centralized energy systems that are prevalent today.

As renewable technologies and energy distribution systems become more accessible, individuals, municipalities, First Nations, institutions, co-operatives, and more have the opportunity to choose renewable energy for their communities. To learn more about Community Power, visit http://fcpcoops.ca.

How can the average person get involved in renewable energy?

There are many ways for the average Canadian to get involved in renewable energy development. Find out what you can do by visiting our Take Action page.

Is renewable energy contributing to job growth in Ontario?

Yes. As of 2013, more than 31,000 jobs have been created as a result of the Green Energy & Economy Act, 2009, and this number is growing. There are job opportunities in manufacturing, project development, sales, maintenance, and much more.

Can wind turbines make people sick?

This is an ongoing area of study that is vital to ensuring that renewable technologies are not adversely impacting individual human health in the process of improving the health of the wider environment.

After decades of research, no direct causal link has been made between wind turbines and adverse physiological effects on humans. The most recent Canadian study conducted by Health Canada in November, 2014 found no relationship between distance from wind turbines and self-reported stress, sleep quality, or chronic illness. The study also found no relationship between objective measures of stress or sleep quality and distance from wind turbines. These findings are consistent with the majority of peer-reviewed research in this area.

Do wind turbines harm wildlife?

This question is usually raised in relation to impacts on birds and bats. A 2013 study revealed that over 95% of bird deaths in Canada were caused by cats, collisions with vehicles and building windows, and transmission lines, while wind turbines contributed to only a fraction to the remaining 5%. An additional study found that nuclear and fossil fuel systems posed significantly greater threats than wind farms to both bird and bat mortality rates and habitat.

Terrestrial species and other environmental features are also important to consider. As part of the approvals process for new renewable energy construction in Ontario, most projects require multiple environmental and planning assessments under the Renewable Energy Approvals (REA). This includes extensive evaluation of environmental features and the development of plans to mitigate environmental harm.

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