We hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of spring and the great weather it has brought us. This is the perfect time of year to start putting away your winter stuff, start your gardens and visit the Toronto Zoo.
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has recently concluded their review of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program. The OPA has decided to keep biogas rates essentially the same going forward – providing much needed clarity for the future of the ZooShare project. The underlying price paid for biogas power has not changed, but the bonus we get for being a Community Power project increased from 0.4 ¢/kWh to 1¢/kWh, and the annual price adjustment was increased to 50% of the inflation rate, from 20%. Both of these will have a positive, but minor, impact on ZooShare’s projected bottom line. In addition, the rules were changed around when FIT applications are reviewed – previously all applications were time-stamped and read in order, now they are scored on a few criteria and the highest scoring applications are read first. This new system places a greater emphasis on Community and Aboriginal power projects, meaning that ZooShare’s FIT application is likely to be reviewed sooner than before. Now that the review is out of the way we are expecting to get our contract offer this summer! The full FIT review report can be found here.
We hope everyone is having an excellent start to the New Year! We have some new and exciting news that we would like the share with you.
“This shit’s a hit!” – Inge Christensen, Creative Expeditions
We are extremely proud to announce that ZooShare has won the ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge!! We won a grand prize of $40,000 from the Toronto Community Foundation and $250,000 in bridge financing from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. Big thanks to the ClimateSpark organizers and partners, and to everyone who voted for us for helping to make this happen. We are looking forward to putting the money to good use. A press release can be found here.
Power contract offer delayed
As you may or may not have heard, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) is currently in the midst of a review of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, which is affecting all FIT applications submitted after December 2010, including ours. As a result we are still waiting for a contract offer, but are hopeful of receiving one as early as this Spring! This has pushed the planned construction date back to the Spring of 2013.
Lending a helping hand
ZooShare is lucky to be receiving assistance from a number of friendly businesses and individuals. We are pleased to announce that ZooShare has teamed up with ReiCura to assist with its marketing and communications, and Tri-Barrel Design to develop 3D models and images of the planned site – both of which are the result of generous pro-bono offers. We’re also pleased to welcome Erik Lo Forte to the ZooShare intern team. We are truly excited about all of these relationships and feel they’ve got loads of pootential!
Between the ClimateSpark victory, some much-anticipated clarity on the FIT program and our new relationships, 2012 is shaping up to be a very exciting year.
We’ve met many new faces and have received a lot of great feedback from everyone over the past few weeks, so we thought we’d update you on what ZooShare is doing these days.
We’re impressed with the interest and support (keep it coming!) that the project has received. Also, thank-you to our Founder’s Club of investors and new members, your vote of confidence makes this project possible. It’s not too late to become a Founder’s Club investor or a member of the co-op, so send us an email– we’d be happy to tell you more.
Last but not least, ZooShare now has three interns/volunteers Jonathan Veale, Mark Ouseley and Nida Kazmi who will be dedicating some of their time to help us grow.
What if the Toronto Zoo was privatized?
As many of you may be aware, the City of Toronto recently announced plans to privatize the Toronto Zoo as part of its cost cutting efforts. This has led many of you to wonder, what will happen to ZooShare and its plans to build a biogas plant at the Zoo. We are confident that this will not affect our project or the future of the co-op due to the number of benefits we provide to our partners at the Toronto Zoo, namely safe and sustainable manure management and 10% of our annual earnings. Furthermore, it is also worthwhile emphasizing that the city has not yet made a definite decision on what the future operation model of the Toronto Zoo will be but is currently looking into what those models could be.
ZooShare in the Media
ZooShare has been lucky to receive a lot of positive media coverage over the last few weeks. Here’s some:
Tyler Hamilton on Green Community Bonds
ZooShare’s Executive Daniel Bida on CBC As it Happens (starts at 13:11)
Toronto Star on the ‘Power of Poop’
Globe & Mail ‘Powering homes with poo from the Toronto Zoo’
Thank you Founders’ Club
I would like to extend a special thanks to our Founders’ Club members for becoming one of the earliest supporters of community-owned biogas at the Toronto Zoo. The investments made by our Founders will help ZooShare achieve its goals and complete the development phase of the project – their support means a lot. Be sure to congratulate these individuals when you meet them, for making an investment with pootential. Or if you’d prefer to be the one getting congratulated, send me an email – I’d be happy to tell you more.