I recently attended a conference on financing renewable energy projects http://www.marsdd.com/greenenergyforum. I was asked to share some of our European experiences in starting wind farms with the audience.
In Europe, and more particularly in Germany and Denmark, the renewable energies industry is the result of a “grass- roots movement”.
Over the last two decades, ten thousands of people have directly invested in wind farms very often in their own municipality (community wind farms), installed solar panels on their rooftops, wood pellet furnaces in their basements, or geothermal heat pumps in their backyards.
Why did they do it? Germans are very environmentally and health conscious, therefore they so strongly object to coal or nuclear power plants. Also the German government put a Renewable Energy Act into force (very similar to the Green Energy Act in Ontario) that granted a reliable framework for the significant investments necessary for adopting renewable energy. Moreover, state sponsored debt financing has been available. First year losses are tax-deductible and suitable legal entities could be formed easily to run a wind or solar farm.
What is the economic bottom line after 20 years?
- A vibrant industry that employs more than 100,000 people in high paying jobs
- A world-leader in technology in most renewable energies
- More than 10% of all power consumption in Germany is provided by renewable energies.
Could Ontarians do the same thing? Yes, Ontario is the first province or state in North America that has a comprehensive feed-in-tariff system that will reward investments in renewable energy. And we have a lot of great manufacturing capabilities here.
Now Ontarians need to become renewable energy entrepreneurs.
Ingo studied business administration and economics at Kiel University where he received a PhD in economic policy and also earned an MBA from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USA. Visit www.koenigconsultants.ca