A proposal for a "Green$hares" renewable energy funding programme unique to Canada was announced at the CanWEA conference by Brian Kelly of Ontario Hydro. The utility's customers would voluntarily contribute to the development of new green sources of electricity by buying Green$hares, non-equity/non-convertible shares whose proceeds would flow into a green fund. This fund would support future development of renewable energy beginning with the utility's next request, which will be for 65 MW.

There would be three classes of Green$hares: residential, commercial/institutional and industrial, with the latter two involving greenhouse gas reduction credits. Kelly envisages the Green$hare programme as part of a wider market of greenhouse gas reduction options.

Green$hares would be administered by an independent board of directors and encourage competitive, cost-effective project selection. While the concept is still developing and requires government approval, Green$hares could be launched for the whole province as soon as next September -- with the 65 MW request for proposals -- and could run until 1999.

Kelly cited recent consumer market research to test the Green$hares concept. Surveys of all customer classes found that: wind and solar powered generation are considered the two most environmentally friendly methods of electricity generation; given the opportunity nearly one in two residential, agricultural and commercial customers would very likely choose electricity generated from renewable technologies; many customers would be prepared to pay green premiums; and most non industrial customers would pay a 5% premium and about one in three would pay 10%.

These and other poll results showed "extraordinary" levels of interest in the programme concept, according to Kelly. In one scenario, if one-half of 3.3 million residential customers of Hydro or the municipal utilities it regulates made monthly contributions of $13.30, an annual income of $247 million would be available to the green fund. "There are exciting opportunities with Green$hare to expand the RETs [renewable energy technologies] programme," said Kelly.

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