Elton Energy Cooperative

Community Power Investment Model

The Community Power Investment Model describes a province-wide "Community Power Cooperative" (CPC) that allows community power to thrive in Manitoba. The model and the CPC provide key benefits as described below.

The latest version of the model is available here (last updated October 14, 2010):

Community Power Investment Model (940 KB)

Executive Summary

What is Community Power?

Community power is a way to make an investment with favourable returns, while supporting our local communities and helping the environment.

Why Community Power?

Developing a community power program for all of Manitoba by deploying the Community Power Investment Model described in this document provides the opportunity for Manitoba Hydro and the Government of Manitoba to leverage non-hydro sources of renewable energy, particularly wind power, in order to create a sustainable future for Manitoba’s communities.

How the Model Works

We propose creating a Manitoba Community Power Cooperative (CPC) that allows residents of Manitoba to directly invest in renewable energy projects and receive a financial return on that investment. The CPC does the following:
  • Centralizes all technical and financial activities for community-based renewable energy projects such as research, the management of investment shares, disbursement of returns, completion of annual tax forms, development of financial statements and fulfillment of financial audit requirements
  • Distributes a portion of the profits to communities so that local communities are strengthened by the development of renewable energy projects
  • Manages a sophisticated, market-ready financial model (pro forma) tailored for community-based power projects that leverages the expertise of developers, financial experts and legal experts
This is truly a made in Manitoba solution. We have learned from other community power programs and leveraged their knowledge and experience to create North America’s most sophisticated community power program.

Start Small

The model specifies the deployment of an initial wind project whose location is to be determined through transparent discussions between interested communities and Manitoba Hydro. After the initial project is deployed, the program will be reviewed for effectiveness and adjusted as it grows in order to maximize benefits for Manitoba’s communities.

The Big Picture

$2.5 billion leaves Manitoba every year to pay for non-renewable energy imports, such as petroleum products to run our vehicles and natural gas to heat our homes. Based on Manitoba’s population, this represents $2,100 for every man, woman and child in the province.

We need to make up for that $2,100 by selling Manitoba-made commodities and services, such as agricultural products and climate-friendly hydro power. To the extent that the price of non-renewable energy imports rises faster than price of our hard-earned commodity exports, our future standard of living will decline. The deployment of a community power program helps keep rural Manitoba healthy in three ways:
  1. Directly increases investment in Manitoba’s rural communities, and therefore proportionally reduces “economic leakage”
  2. Connects Manitoba communities to our energy use, which is increasingly important for informed decision-making and participation in an energy-constrained world
  3. Increases Manitoba Hydro’s opportunity to sell more hydro power to the export market

Developing Renewable Energy for Long-term Prosperity

By focusing on community return on investment, transparency and a public-private partnership approach rather than simple competitive price in a proprietary bidding environment, Manitoba’s Community Power Investment Model leverages the emerging renewable energy industry for the benefit of long-term rural economic development and adds value to Manitoba Hydro.

Additional renewable energy will be developed in Manitoba with or without a community power program; the larger economics and political climate assure this outcome. The more important question is “Who will benefit?”

By deploying a community power program that keeps Manitoba residential energy profits accruing to ordinary Manitoba residents, we add to our local prosperity and we create a secure economic future for our children.

Let’s do it right!