Ontario’s Advocate for Sustainable Energy
Cultivating a sustainable future in Ontario through environmental stewardship, economic development, and social reform.
For over fifteen years, the Ontario Sustainability Energy Association (OSEA) has worked for a more sustainable energy economy for all Ontarians.
A driving force behind change for the better in the energy sector, the OSEA and its members, who were largely responsible for the advocacy that led to the Green Energy Act legislation, the Feed In-Tariffs, and the Micro-FIT legislation. For Ontario, that means expanded renewable energy production, energy efficiency, and the creation of green jobs coupled with valued expertise.
OSEA is rooted in community advocacy to support renewable energy and sustainable energy planning. Comprised of board members with decades of environmental engineering, project development, utility issues management, and advocacy within energy member-based organizations, OSEA was established to navigate the complex issues surrounding the regulatory and public policy challenges that face communities and related stakeholders in addressing energy challenges.
Voice of Sustainable Energy
Dan Goldberger, who has been Chair of the OSEA, after many of Ontario’s Feed-In Tariff programs (FIT) developed in 2009 were already slated to be winding down. Created to promote greater use of renewable energy sources, FITs were open to a variety of participants who generate renewable energy and sell excess power back to the province, not only encouraging new technology to be developed, but in the process, invoking new ways of thinking about energy consumption.
Goldberger didn’t want to see those 15 years of innovation to be for nought. “I lead a very competent supporting team on the Board that wishes to reclaim OSEA’s role as a leading sustainable energy advocate and trusted voice of the Government,” says Goldberger. “To this end, OSEA retains a voice as an intervenor at the Ontario Energy Board, where we are very active. We also want to reorient OSEA though, to focus on delivering sustainable energy to Northern Ontario communities and large industrial partners like mines, who presently use primarily dirty diesel solutions for energy in both “off grid” and “off pipe” areas of the province.”
Goldberger says finding sustainable energy solutions to accelerate the end of using diesel energy in First Nations communities is another area of promise. Finally, and importantly, OSEA wants to develop a new strategy to help export Ontario based sustainable energy products and services to the rest of the world. He went on to say, “There resides in Ontario a huge pool of experts in sustainable development, engineers, architects, legal support and project execution know-how, and it would be of value to assist them in opening new markets.”
Back home, OSEA advocates for northern communities and First Nations, and for sustainable export business opportunities, in addition to advancing energy sustainability province wide. “OSEA’s Board is highly competent and technology neutral, with specific knowledge spanning across the board,” says Goldberger. Think Energy Storage, Climate Finance, Geothermal, Biomass, Energy Efficiency, Distributed Generation, Passive home design, Green Buildings and LEED programs, Demand Side Management and innovation in Natural Gas Use, as well as Capacity Building in Emerging Markets. “In my own firm, Perpetual Energy Solutions, we focus on Turnkey Energy Storage Battery solutions for larger Class “A” eligible customers, and there are many cost-effective technology applications to reduce our collective energy use wisely.”
OSEA doesn’t only go the distance for Ontarians, but for its members. With a steadfast commitment to restoring the type of value added service to its membership that its brand is best known for, OSEA also offers additional services that extend way beyond Green Energy Doors Open (GEDO), Powering for Prosperity, and Advocacy to the Ontario Energy Board and the Province.
Politics of Energy
Electricity is a complex, and increasingly contentious, political issue in Ontario. In early June, 2018, the newly elected Ontario government cut the Green Energy Act and 758 renewable-power contracts, creating a very different landscape for “organizations and companies and even homeowners, in addressing energy issues with the cancellation of Cap and Trade and GreenON,” says Goldberger, citing a significant lose of skilled jobs this move created.
“Energy Efficiency is the single most valuable thing one can do to reduce energy demand, and to train and advance job creation and economic growth through comprehensive building retrofits,” says Goldberger. “Our social housing, academic institutions, hospitals, businesses and homes are all in need of energy upgrades. These programs are always self-financing or “pay from savings”, meaning the retrofits payback the cost over a period of years while installing leading edge technologies like LED lights, Advanced Energy Management Controls, Combined Heat and Power, Solar and Geothermal etc., resulting in reducing energy costs. The main opportunity remaining now, beyond further electrification of transport and buildings, is to support the export of Ontario-based knowledge in these technologies and project services like legal, accounting, financing, engineering and green architectural skills to global markets.”
In order to facilitate reaching global markets, OSEA has strategically partnered with MAGNET Export Business Portal (“Portal”). “The goal of this new partnership between OSEA and the Portal is to ensure that partners are provided the technology to best match their businesses to the right trade missions, funding programs, and events to support these endeavours,” says Goldberger. “OSEA is excited to get its members involved and educated about how the Portal can support a launch of their businesses and clean tech firms to advance sustainability in our global markets.”
“For example, we are leveraging the expertise of one of OSEA’s Board members which is Biomass North Development Centre, and Dawn Lambe, the ED, who has just been appointed to the World Bioenergy Association. OSEA will be better poised to partner with global companies in this growing segment of the renewable energy world.”
Another example of a new strategic partnership in with Think Renewables, OSEA will participate in a Climate Finance Canada by organizing an event on Climate Resilience with the insurance sector to highlight leading financial solutions to address climate change impacts and showcase best-case practices at climate adaptation and risk management.
OSEA’s role will continue to be building awareness, in advocacy, and increasingly, in finding cost effective solutions to resolve the issue of climate change and where possible, to build community resiliency to adapt to existing climate change impacts e.g. wildfires, flooding, etc., that are going on around us.
“We recognize that members (both individuals and companies) have choices in their associations,” concludes Goldberger. “Only OSEA, though, is completely fuel and technology agnostic, and has a vision of using and supporting all known options to enhance community sustainability. OSEA will also operate in a more business-oriented fashion to reflect the new areas in which it feels it needs to focus on. Only by advocating for this broader “tent vision”, can Ontario and Canada’s communities benefit from the collective expertise that resides here. There is no “silver bullet”, no “one stop” solution. Every form of energy from hydro to natural gas, that we need to power our industries, homes and businesses, has an environmental footprint. Therefore, we must use our energy more wisely, and fortunately, there are best case solutions to share.”