If you conserve water, you could soon pay more under Ottawa's new flat rate

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New water billing system could roll out in early 2018

By Kate Porter, CBC News

A long-awaited report from City of Ottawa staff recommends changes to how the city charges for drinking water, takes away sewage, and deals with water from big storms.

While the city promises that most households will see hardly any change on their bills and those who use very little water will see their bills go up, those who consume a lot of water could pay less.

That's because the amount charged on water bills will no longer be based solely on how much water a home or business consumes.

The city wants to introduce a fixed cost to the bill because staff say, for the most part, the cost of operating and maintaining the water system doesn't vary with the amount of water used.

Staff also propose phasing in a storm water fee of about $27 to $53 per year on the property taxes of those who are on private wells and septic systems and don't pay water bills.

Signs of progress

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By David Chernushenko

Some days you have to pause to admire the signs of progress in the world around you, or at least in your corner of the city. This morning I had one of those stop-and-smell-the-roses moments:

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Bike paths were full, and the bikparking spaces at City Hall (top) and Lisgar Collegiate and  were overflowing.

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Solar panels were generating at full capacity, at City Hall and the more than a thousand rooftops across the city. More solar rooftop installatons on City facilities are in the works.

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Electric vehicles were making full use of the charging station at City Hall and new charging stations are coming soon in strategic locations across Ottawa

While I continue working with hundreds of partners across the city on our renewable energy transitions strategy — Energy Evolution— it is clear that such an evolution is underway. The time to go big is at hand.

Ottawa gets green with solar energy project

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Eight municipal buildings now equipped with solar panels.

Solar panels in place atop the city's François Dupuis Recreation Centre.

By Evelyn Harford, Metro

The sun has risen on a new solar project between the city and Energy Ottawa.

Energy Ottawa, a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa, announced their installation of solar panels on eight city buildings Wednesday as part of a large-scale solar energy project.

The large-scale installation came after the success of the 2010 pilot project, where smaller solar systems installed at city hall and one other building. Hydro Ottawa said the renewable energy generated from the panels would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 41,382 metric tonnes over the 20-year-term.

The eight solar systems on city buildings is the first large-scale solar project for the city, said Bryce Conrad, president and CEO of Hydro Ottawa.

The energy produced from the panels is equivalent to removing 300 homes from the grid each year and city is expected to receive $1.7 million dollars over 20 years from the project, said Hydro Ottawa.

Mayor Jim Watson said the city’s revenues would come from the rental costs of the roofs.

Watson said this partnership between Energy Ottawa and the city is only the beginning.

The ultimate goal is put solar panels on all city buildings, that can accommodate the panels, as long as it makes financial sense – and so far, it does, he said.

“Installing solar panels on municipal buildings just makes sense.”

Conrad said the cost of solar has reduced dramatically, which is why cities like Ottawa are able to have large-scale solar projects like this.

When the panels become more affordable solar projects will become more widespread, said Conrad, who added that the province has foot the bill for this project.

Watson said the city has made a commitment to green energy and will continue to look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint – so long as it’s in the budget.

Energy Ottawa and City of Ottawa announce the dawn of a new solar initiative

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City of Ottawa/Hydro Ottawa

Today, Energy Ottawa, a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa, announced its solar rooftop installation project alongside the City of Ottawa and Mayor Jim Watson. The Jim Durrell Recreation Centre is one of eight large installation projects being planned on municipal buildings, including arenas, pools and city garages. These installs will provide the city with an increase in its renewable generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 41,382 metric tonnes over the 20-year term.  

Energy Ottawa and the City of Ottawa entered into an agreement to pursue solar generation after the success of a 2010 pilot project that consisted of smaller solar systems installed at Ottawa City Hall and the city’s Integrated Transit Operations Control Centre on Belfast Road.

Once all eight solar projects are complete, the systems are expected to generate nearly 3,000,000 kWh/year; the equivalent of removing more than 300 homes from the grid annually.

Quick Facts

  • Energy Ottawa generates enough green power to operate 62,000 homes annually and is Ontario’s largest municipally-owned producer of green power.
  • Solar power generating systems use photovoltaic solar cells to convert energy from the sun directly into a flow of electrons, which generates electricity for consumers.
  • The City of Ottawa is expected to receive approximately $85,000 a year or $1.7 million in revenue over the 20-year contract. That’s found revenue for roof space that isn’t otherwise used.
  • The Jim Durrell Recreation Centre’s 250 kW solar photovoltaic system, has an estimated output of 328,465 kWh/year (the equivalent of removing more than 30 homes from the grid annually).
  • Other municipal buildings included in this initiative include:
    • Ray Friel Complex on Tenth Line Road,
    • Kanata Recreation Complex on Charlie Rogers Place,
    • Walter Baker Sports Centre on Malvern Drive,
    • François Dupuis Recreation Centre on Portobello Boulevard,
    • Operations Garage on Conroy Road,
    • Articulated Bus Garage on Industrial Avenue, and the
    • Operations Garage on Iber Road.

About Energy Ottawa

A generator of renewable energy and provider of commercial energy management services, Energy Ottawa is the largest municipally owned producer of green power in Ontario. In total, the company generates 79-megawatts of clean electricity annually, which is enough to power 62,000 homes. Its diversified green energy portfolio includes six run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation plants at Chaudière Falls in the City of Ottawa’s core, six more in neighbouring Ontario communities and four in New York State. The company also holds majority shares in two landfill gas-to-energy joint ventures that convert millions of tonnes of previously flared-off methane gas into renewable energy at the Trail Road landfill site in Ottawa and the Laflèche landfill site in Moose Creek, Ontario.