Canadian Association for Renewable Energies

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incorporated IN 1998, the Canadian Association for Renewable Energies is an organization dedicated to the promotion of feasible applications of renewable energy in Canada. The objectives of the association are to promote greater awareness of the benefits of renewable energies to Canada's economy, environment, and society; advance the adoption of renewable energies; and undertake research that will optimize renewable energy technologies. Membership is open to institutions, corporations, and individuals.

At the peak of the association's activity, it provided a range of services to members, including information dissemination, access to information requests, domain hosting and email services, public relations services, and participation on expert advisory committees. Funding for the association is private, primarily from contracts and membership fees. One of the first projects of the association was an electronic daily news service, TRENDS in Renewable Energies. This service later partnered with the International Solar Energy Society as part of Refocus Weekly.

The association maintained extensive websites, featuring information on the theory and application of renewable energy technologies, particularly those related to heat-pump applications. They maintained their online news feed until December 2006. The association is closely tied to the Earth Energy Society of Canada, formerly the Canadian Earth Energy Association, which was formed in 1989 to promote ground source/geothermal heat pumps. It administered a $20 million program during the 1990s devoted to installing ground heat-pump systems.

The association has been involved in a variety of projects. They began offering the first green internet hosting service in Canada in September of 2001. The service is powered by green energy produced by wind turbines in Alberta; the electricity from the turbines is distributed by ENMAX and both generation and distribution are certified under Canada's Ecologo program. This initiative can thus be seen as a carbon offsetting program. A slight premium is charged to cover the extra cost of the green energy. A related program that provided green domain tag ging is no longer in operation. The program is a good example of innovative use of the bundled green power available in parts of Canada. Bundled green power allows customers to pay for green power directly on their electricity bill. Though the specific electricity used by the consumer is not necessarily being generated by a green power method, their payment ensures that a certain percentage of the total power generated will be green. Another option is the "Green Power Certificate," which is billed separately. This approach supports the development and use of green electricity.

The Green Heat Partnership was formed in 2001 to encourage the adoption of space and water heating applications that use renewable energy technologies. Partners include the Earth Energy Society of Canada, the Canadian Solar Industries Association, the Canadian Biomass Association, and other private partners. Technologies being showcased by the initiative include heat pumps, solar thermal water heaters, solar thermal air heaters, and biomass combustors.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems work well in the Canadian climate. They collect and transfer heat from the ground using a series of pipes filled with fluid. Operating the systems in reverse provides air conditioning, eliminating the need for separate heating and cooling systems. The systems are very energy efficient, providing significant cost savings to users. The systems can also be used to heat hot water.

In 2006, both the Earth Energy Society of Canada and the Canadian Association for Renewable Energies were named in a lawsuit over the ownership of the term GeoExchange. As a result of the costs of this suit, the Earth Energy Society ceased operation in November 2006.

SEE ALSO: Alliance to Save Energy; Canada; Energy, Renewable; Energy Efficiency; International Solar Energy Society; Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs).

BIBLIOGRApHY. Canadian Association for Renewable Energies, (cited November 2007); Michael A. Toman and Brent Sohngen, Climate Change (Ashgate Publishing, 2004).

Lenore Newman Royal Roads University

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