ZooShare Biogas Co-op receives FIT contract offer

By ZooShare Biogas Co-operative Inc. | July 10, 2013

ZooShare Biogas Co-operative Inc. is pleased to announce that it has received a feed-in tariff (FIT) contract offer from the Ontario Power Authority for its 500-kW biogas plant, to be built at the Toronto Zoo in 2014. This represents a major milestone for ZooShare, which will be unique in North America for generating renewable electricity from zoo animal manure and food waste.

ZooShare is funding the project through the sale of bonds to Ontarians who want to help the environment, support the Zoo, and at the same time make a healthy return on their investment. The bonds pay 7 percent per year for 7 years, but purchasers need to be a co-op member to get them. Membership costs $100, and those who join the co-op before September 1 will get $100 off the first bond purchased, essentially making membership free.

Each year, Canada's first co-operatively owned biogas plant will turn the Zoo's manure output (equal to the weight of 15 pandas!) and food waste from grocery stores around the Greater Toronto Area into enough clean, renewable electricity for 250 homes. Resulting emission reductions are equivalent to removing 2,100 cars from the road, and annual contributions to the Zoo will total at least $50,000.

To date, ZooShare's 127 members have invested $460,000 and the co-op has secured $172,000 in grant funding from the Community Energy Partnership Program and the Toronto Community Foundation.

"The ZooShare Biogas partnership will incorporate a unique community funding model that will showcase waste management best practices to the public. This closely aligns with the Toronto Zoo's education and sustainable environmental programs," said John Tracogna, CEO of the Toronto Zoo.

"The Zoo is proud to be part of a such an exciting, innovative project," said Joe Torzsok, chairman of the Toronto Zoo. "Reducing the Zoo's carbon footprint while creating new revenue streams and reducing costs is a win-win. We looking forward to ZooShare bringing this project to fruition."

"ZooShare started in late 2010 with the idea that a group of individuals could invest in a local project to turn manure and locally produced organic waste into usable energy, while earning above average returns and creating positive environmental change," said Daniel Bida, Executive Director of ZooShare. "We would not be here today if it were not for the belief of the Toronto Zoo, our members, investors, staff, directors, volunteers, suppliers, and friends in that idea."