09. How Toronto's waterfront wind turbine kick-started a green energy revolution

Tags: Renewable Energy, Wind

Published August 28, 2012

Blog: The Butterfly Effect: How a single wind turbine led to Ontario's Green Energy Act

Mathematician, meteorologist and chaos theory pioneer Edward Lorenz was the man behind the butterfly effect. The simple, appealing idea embedded in the analogy that if a distant butterfly flaps its wings a few weeks later you might have a hurricane on your doorstep.

Twelve years ago the Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative formed with a simple idea –  build a highly visible urban wind turbine – and it ended with the most robust renewable energy regime in North America.

Deb Doncaster is currently the executive director of the Community Power Fund and former executive director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. She was involved with TREC almost from the beginning.

 “I don’t know that there was a big vision beyond bringing renewable energy technologies into the Ontario marketplace and allowing for diverse forms of ownership. At that point in time we hadn’t envisioned a feed-in tariff program, we hadn’t envisioned a Green Energy Act for Ontario, it was really let’s just introduce windmills and let’s introduce the notion of community ownership.” More…

Podcast: How a green energy icon sprouted on Toronto's waterfront

CKUA logo

Visible to hundreds of thousands of commuters and park goers every day the wind turbine at exhibition place on Toronto’s waterfront is a daily reminder of the power of green energy in Ontario. Developed by the TREC Renewable Energy Cooperative the story of North America’s first urban wind turbine is an important story to tell for any one or any group looking to emulate Ontario’s renewable energy revolution.




These resources relate to this episode. They may be helpful in many ways, but we list them only for your information. This is not an endorsement of any of these programs, services or organizations and we make no guarantees about the products or services these companies or organizations may offer.

Community and Cooperative Wind Articles and Information

The incomparable Paul Gipe of Wind-Works has collected a massive amount of articles and information on community and cooperatively owned wind projects. GO >

Tags: Renewable Energy

Windshare Details

Get the details on our titular wind turbine. GO >

Tags: Renewable Energy

Feed-in tariff price schedule

Curious to know just how much you would make in Ontario if you put solar panels on your roof? Check out the prices you would if you installed the various renewable energy technologies in Ontario. GO >

Tags: Renewable Energy

Feed-in tariff FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Ontario's feed-in tariff program. The program has recently been revised and this FAQ mostly focuses on those changes as well as providing a lot of background on the details. GO >

Tags: Renewable Energy

Latest feed-in tariff numbers from Ontario

Ontario's Power Authority keeps track of the who, what, where, when and why of the grid in Ontario's most populous province. They also keep track of who is accessing the feed-in tariff or FIT program. We used these reports for the facts in our stories. GO >

Tags: Renewable Energy


Slideshow of the Ex Place Wind Turbine - Flickr

Collection of all of the photo sets associated with episode 9 - Flickr

Feed-in tariffs for other countries - PV Magazine

Green Energy Act powers Ontario firm - Toronto Star

Tyler Hamilton's blog - Cleanbreak.ca

Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative - TREC

The homepage for the Windshare project - Windshare