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Fiona FitzGerald George Newell Marcus Bonnano R.C. Smith John A. Gorman John Habisreitinger Parris Lyew-Ayee Graeme Watts Antonio Vecchio Jacob Hall Steve Phipps


Welcome to the latest North American edition of Sustainable Business Magazine. Sustainable Business Magazine aims to spread awareness of the values of sustainability, as well as the brilliant ways in which organizations continue to meet challenges and champion corporate social responsibility. We start this edition in Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Ronald Walcott, CEO of Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (TSTT), spoke to us about changes in the telecommunications industry, improving efficiencies, and using ICT to facilitate economic growth, while Gerard D’Arcy, CEO of RGM Limited, and Ronald Ayoung, Senior Manager, discussed green construction in Trinidad and Tobago, retrofitting older buildings, and influencing other developers and contractors. In an in-depth Q&A, Parris Lyew-Ayee, Executive Director of the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, discussed major recent developments in Jamaica’s bauxite industry. One of those developments was the purchase of the Noranda Alumina refinery in Gramercy, Louisiana, USA, and the Noranda Bauxite mine and plant in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, by New Day Aluminum, an affiliate of DADA Holdings. We spoke to John Habisreitinger, Executive Vice President at Noranda Bauxite and Alumina, about surviving the worst year in North American alumina for half a century and a new path forward towards long term sustainability under new ownership. In Barbados we spoke to Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair, about efficient aircraft and facilities, quality of care, and providing quick, accessible transport for all Bahamians, and visitors alike while Peter Williams, Senior Vice President at Emera Caribbean, explained about electric vehicles, a culture of adaptability, and ambitious renewable projects in Barbados and beyond. In the latest installment of our Solar Leadership series in partnership with the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), we spoke to Michael Kendon, Managing Director of Soventix Canada, about new horizons, large-scale projects, and retaining a local focus. As always the installment starts with a foreword from John Gorman, CanSIA’s President and CEO. Details of upcoming sustainability events which are taking place across North America in November and December can be found on our events calendar. For more information on Sustainable Business Magazine, or to view our previous editions, please visit


Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT)


RGM Limited


Q&A Parris Lyew-Ayee Executive Director Jamaica Bauxite Institute


Noranda Bauxite and Alumina


Bahamas Air


Emera Caribbean


Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA)


Soventix Canada


Global Events


Advertisers Index

We hope that you find this issue both interesting and inspiring. Thank you for reading. The Sustainable Business Magazine Team © SBM Media Ltd 2017. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form for any purpose, other than short sections for the purpose of review, without prior consent of the publisher.






Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Dr. Ronald Walcott, CEO of Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (TSTT), about changes in the telecommunications industry, improving efficiencies, and using ICT to facilitate economic growth. Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (TSTT) is the leading telecommunications company in Trinidad and Tobago and the only “Quintuple-Play” provider – offering mobile, fixed-line, broadband, pay TV, security, and other related services on a nationwide basis to both the residential and commercial markets. The company was formed in 1990 through a merger of the Trinidad and Tobago Telephone Company Limited (TELCO) and the Trinidad and Tobago External Telecommunications Company Limited (TEXTEL). The government of the republic of Trinidad and Tobago owns a 51% majority stake in TSTT through a holding company called National Enterprises Limited, and Cable & Wireless (West Indies) Limited owns the remaining 49%. In the 25 years since TSTT was founded, the telecommunications industry has undergone profound changes. “This has been exponentially more the case in the last five or so years,” explains Dr. Ronald Walcott, CEO of TSTT. “We’ve transformed ourselves from being a traditional voice-centric telecom company to become a full-service provider operating in a highly competitive environment. We provide data center services, hosted solutions, six different wired and wireless solutions, as well as TV entertain-


ment, a market we entered into in 2009. We also operate a number of stores and have a widely distributed dealer channel.” STRATEGIC PLAN In response to the shifting industry, in 2016 TSTT created a new five-year strategic plan. “The fundamental tenet of that plan was to transform ourselves from a legacy 20th century telecom to an agile 21st century broadband and communications company,” says Dr. Walcott. “We knew what we had to do in terms of the technology, but we needed to fund it. The plan is TT$4 billion, which is roughly US$600 million. Once we were able to secure the financing, of which half was externally funded, we immediately went about changing our technology and upgrading our networks.” Many of these technology changes have now been successfully implemented. “We’re the only provider in Trinidad and Tobago to offer mobile LTE with 4G technology,” says Dr. Walcott. “We’ve made other significant technological improvements, we’ve upgraded our packet core, our Data Centre is now TIA -942 certified and facilitates public cloud offering, so we now have the ability to provide cloud solutions and hosted solutions to our enterprise customers, we have launched an E-tender application,







and we have unified our commercial brands under a single brand, bmobile .” EFFICIENT SOLUTIONS Conversations with customers led TSTT to launch their cloud-based solutions. “We look to manage customers’ costs more efficiently,” explains Dr. Walcott. “Instead of your organization buying PeopleSoft, for example, and buying servers so it can sit in your office, and paying to have it upgraded, we can host PeopleSoft for you, and you just pay a license fee. It’s good for customers, because they get upgrades all the time and they don’t have to worry 4 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

about the servers or the maintenance allowing them to focus on their core business. We launched this solution recently, and already customer reaction has been very positive. We’re getting quite a lot of requests from our enterprise customers to further develop cloud-based and hosted solutions, which is certainly something we are exploring.” The new five-year strategic plan also led TSTT to focus on improving their own efficiencies. “As we moved from legacy-type operations to becoming agile, we looked at roles and responsibilities, and making sure our structure is fit-for-purpose,” says

Dr. Walcott. “For example, we had probably around 15 different business support systems, which is something you’d expect in a company like ours which has evolved. We had discrete OSS/ BSS systems for the fixed-line business, the mobile business, the enterprise business, and so on and so on. We’re now putting all of that into one fullstack solution, through a partnership with Ericsson. This means we can load everything onto it, from mobile, residential, enterprise, billing, collections, et cetera.” Phase one of the full-stack solution has already been successfully launched, with the final phase due to be fully deployed by mid-2018.

“Everything we do is about our customers,” says Dr. Walcott. “Our digital transformation is about looking for ways and means to improve the quality of the service we provide and the efficacy with which we provide it. For example, we want to provide our customers with easier ways to pay their bills. So that they don’t have to come into our stores and queue up. Or we’re looking to move away from legacy copper and go wireless, using technology to provide better home solutions. It’s always about providing a better quality of customer service.” UBIQUITOUS CONNECTIVITY Part of TSTT’s remit, as a government-controlled company, is to facilitate the use of information communication technology (ICT) to drive economic growth. “We want to provide the nation with the ability to always be connected and at a very affordable price,” says Mr. Walcott. “If we can provide ubiquitous connectivity using the latest global technology, then that becomes a catalyst that naturally drives development, exactly what we’re looking for. It’s all about making Trinidad and Tobago much more efficient and effective with everything we do, whether it’s business, play, government, or anything else. We don’t operate in isolation, and our technology partners, like Huawei, Ericsson, Cisco, and Calix, are all established global players. Additionally, we have a well-experienced leadership team, with a good handle on global developments in the industry.” TSTT also contribute to national development through various corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. “We’ve been involved in sports development, with different focuses through the years,” says Dr. Walcott. “We support the National Carnival Commission every year. We also support the Blind Welfare Association, helping to develop a

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new system which uses braille, as well as new phones for the blind. We support the national instrument, the steel pan, and the development of youth learning to play the steel pan while in sports we sponsor the Bmobile T10 Community Cricket League (CCL) and more recently we’ve increased our efforts in working with underprivileged youth.” CROSS-ISLAND SUPPORT Next, TSTT plans to expand 4G coverage across the island. “We have ubiquitous mobile and data coverage, but we don’t yet have ubiquitous 4G coverage,” explains Dr.

Walcott. “We’re working with the regulator to release the 700 MHz spectrum. We’re hoping that’s going to be done this year, and once it is, Digicel and ourselves will assiduously deploy 4G LTE technology throughout Trinidad and Tobago, this will immediately improve connectivity in both rural and urban areas. Along with ubiquitous mobile and data coverage, TSTT is increasing its cloud space and implementing on its fiber strategy, this targets fiber for 200,000 homes by the end of next year, with fiber being one of our most expensive programs, we’re taking our time, and ensuring that we get it right.”

“We’re proud of our success in upgrading our technology and rolling out LTE,” says Dr. Walcott. “We’ve also launched a fixed-wireless solution which no-one else has, and a security solution which is doing very well. It has been a great success to get everyone on board with our strategic plan, and get the banking community to support that plan by underwriting such a big undertaking. We’re very pleased about what we’ve been doing for the last two years, and we feel we’ve got a very bright future ahead of us as we move forward.” c

248,122 contracts and counting. Since 2012, TSTT has used V-DOCS to digitally sign, store and retrieve their contracts, all while improving security and reducing operating costs. In a world that remains largely reliant on paper, TSTT’s sustainable choice paints them as a visionary among their peers. As a proud provider, Master Merchant Systems wishes TSTT many more years of continued success. If you want to learn more about what V-DOCS can do for you, contact us at






ING THE MARKET Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Gerard D’Arcy, CEO of RGM Limited, and Ronald Ayoung, Senior Manager, about green construction in Trinidad and Tobago, retrofitting older buildings, and influencing other developers and contractors.


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RGM Limited is a Trinidadian real estate development company who manage over half a million square feet of office space. Owned equally by three shareholders – RBC Merchant Bank (Caribbean) Ltd, Guardian Holdings Limited, and Sagicor Life Inc – RGM Limited meets the needs of multinational

corporations looking for high-end offices in the Caribbean. In 2016, last time Sustainable Business Magazine spoke to RGM, the company was nearing completion on Savannah East, a first in environmentally-friendly office design for Trinidad and Tobago. Today, Savannah East has been open for more than a

year, and has been well-received not only by tenants but also by environmental auditors. CORPORATE PIONEERS Savannah East is located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city, and incorporates a wide array of sustainable tech-

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nologies and features. These include solar panels, variable refrigerant flow, efficient air conditioning systems, insulated glass windows, LED lighting, occupancy sensors, water saving technologies, and a living wall. As a result of these features, and other aspects of the building’s design, Savannah East is 23% more energy efficient than other equivalent local buildings. Already, companies like KPMG, CUNA, and China Railway are moving into the eco-friendly office space. Unusually for a project in Trinidad and Tobago, Savannah East was also built using sustainable construction practices, such as landfill diversion and maintenance of good indoor air quality. As a result of their attention to sustainability, RGM received LEED Silver accreditation for Savannah East

in March 2017, making the building the first building certified under LEED-CS v2009 in the English-speaking Caribbean. CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT To achieve this accreditation, RGM had to overcome many challenges. “We actually had an opportunity to get LEED Gold certification,” says Gerard D’Arcy, CEO of RGM. “Sadly, we fell just a bit short because we had some surprises with our equipment vendors. Here in Trinidad, contractors are often simply not aware of a lot of the requirements and prerequisites related to achieving certification with LEED contractors. The local vendors might be local outlets for large international equipment suppliers of generators, air conditioners, elevators, and so on but won’t have the same knowledge as their parent


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companies. We’re disappointed we were not able to achieve Gold, but we’re still very proud to be the first LEED-certified building in Trinidad and Tobago, and we hope that in the future, as a result of this pioneering building and our work with contractors and local suppliers, it will be easier for us and other developers to maintain a responsible approach to construction, and to achieve further LEED-certified buildings.”

RE-GREENING THE OLD RGM’s commitment to environmental responsibility extends to their other, older office buildings. “We are redoing bathrooms in some of our other commercial buildings,” says Mr. D’Arcy. “There are 44 actual standalone bathrooms, and they will be completely redone with low-flow plumbing, LED lights, automatic flush, and occupancy sensors for lighting. Recyclable material for

counter tops and finishes will be used too. We have made this decision because we plan to be sustainable for the long-term. As corporate policy, sustainability is now one of our disciplines. In anything we do, whether it is operational or investment and capital in nature, we will try to incorporate as many sustainable practices as possible.” Low-flow plumbing presents an interesting design choice that underscores the depth


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of RGM’s commitment to sustainability. In Trinidad and Tobago there is no water metering, and all municipal water supplies are charged as rates. That means the use of lowflow plumbing will not save RGM any money, as they pay the same amount regardless of use. Nonetheless, each building has its own water storage, so careful and managed use is an important part of its design. “Because we don’t have meters, we won’t be able to see figures at a granular level, to measure the efficiencies we’re achieving through this refurbishment,” says Ronald Ayoung, Senior Manager at RGM. “We will, however, conduct an analysis before and after the project to show us what our total savings are on water and electricity, which will give us some idea of how successful we’ve been.”

accommodate that. With the experiences of Savannah East, they will find a new product they can sell. I think overall Savannah East has educated both the commercial market as well as contractors in a different way of doing things. We also believe we’ve created a desire for more sustainability for clients in the market.” Looking forward, RGM is keen to maintain its present position and continue to promote the green advantages of

Savannah East. “We will continue operating and doing what we do in an economically challenging environment,” says Mr. D’Arcy. “RGM is always looking for new opportunities. We will be constructing a new building that will also be a certified building, but we can’t talk any more about it just yet. We will otherwise just finish refurbishing our existing buildings and ensuring RGM is still at the cutting edge of Trinidad and Tobago’s commercial space market.” c

A RUDDER FOR THE MARKET Trinidad and Tobago is new to contemporary sustainability practices, and RGM is leading the way for other companies. “We believe we can help change the thinking of both the commercial customers in the market now as well as vendors and contractors that work on the building,” says Mr. Ayoung. “Contractors see an opportunity for landlords and building owners to have a sustainable-minded approach and will begin changing their own practices to SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Parris A. Lyew-Ayee Executive Director, Jamaica Bauxite Institute.

Since you last spoke to Sustainable Business Magazine in 2015, what major developments have taken place in Jamaica’s bauxite industry? The local bauxite/alumina sector had a subdued year in 2015, but the major challenge came in 2016, with the threat of closure of the St. Ann Bauxite operations. Noranda Aluminum Holdings, which partnered with the government of Jamaica in the operation of the St. Ann Bauxite mine, filed for bankruptcy in 2016 after one of its main markets for bauxite exports, Sherwin Alumina, also filed for bankruptcy. The unfolding situation had a significant destabilizing effect on the bauxite mining 16 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

sub-sector resulting in job cuts and a decline in mining operations. However, as the year drew to a close some optimism returned to the sector. First, the St. Ann bauxite plant was kept open under new owners, New Day Aluminum, and continues to export bauxite to the USA and employ several hundred workers. Second, there was an agreement between Jamalco and New Fortress Energy Ltd for the construction of a natural gas facility adjacent to the Jamalco alumina refinery. The use of natural gas in the energy system will diversify the plants fuel source, improve efficiency, and reduce cost. The facility is expected to be completed in 2018.

Third and most important, Alpart, the island’s largest alumina refinery, which represents about 40% of total capacity, was purchased by the Chinese company, JISCO (Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company), in 2016 and re-opened in June 2017. The reopening of the plant, which has been closed since 2009, signifies that three of the island’s four alumina plants will be back in production. Further, its reopening will generate new jobs and major economic activity in the parishes of St. Elizabeth and Manchester and the wider Jamaican economy. In addition, and of equal importance, is the continued operation of the Windalco-Ewarton Alumina Refinery, where significant work is being done to improve efficiency of the plant. How is the Jamaica Bauxite Institute maintaining strong relationships with the bauxite producers, some of which have experienced recent changes of ownership? The institute has facilitated the introduction of the new owners to the government regulators to ensure their smooth integration into the industry. So far the St. Ann operation has continued exporting bauxite to the US market without significant disruptions and JISCO has reopened Alpart less than a year after it was purchased from UC Rusal. What is the industry in Jamaica doing to stay competitive in the face of international competition? One of the crucial factors affecting the medium and long term prospects of the sector is the attracting of investments geared towards enhancing the energy efficiency of the plants. It is anticipated that the industry will continue to benefit from lower global fuel prices in the immediate to medium term, however it is recognized that in the long term it must reduce its dependence on oil as an energy source. The agreement between Jamalco and New Fortress Energy Ltd for the use of natural gas in their alumina refinery is a step in that direction. Additionally, JISCO’s plan to build another alumina plant in St. Elizabeth is anticipated to further improve Jamaica’s competitiveness, as the new plant, due to its size, will bring about improvement in its economies of scale, and its modern technology will make the plant more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. How are you ensuring that the economic benefits of the industry are passed on to Jamaican communities? The JBI is responsible for promoting and supporting the economic development of communities impacted by bauxite mining and alumina operations. This activity is spearheaded by the Bauxite Community Development Programme (BCDP), which has been funded from the Capital Development Fund (CDF) since the programme’s inception in 1996. The primary agricultural activity of the BCDP over the past several years, with support from the Jamaican Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the bauxite companies, has been the implementation of the water harvesting and greenhouse cluster projects in the parishes of St Ann, Manchester, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth. This involves the reclamation of selected mined-out bauxite areas, where the mined-out pits are reconfigured and sealed to become excellent catchment ponds for rainwater, which is pumped to holding tanks by solar-powered pumps. Clusters of custom-built greenhouses are constructed around these ponds by selected farmers from the surrounding community for prime vegetable crops which are watered by drip irrigation from the holding tanks. Marketing arrangements are

made with hotels, supermarkets, and other buyers who pay market price for high-quality produce. To date, we have completed 160 greenhouses, at a rough cost of around J$240 million, whereby a farmer and his family manage a greenhouse, and can earn on an annualized basis J$2 million to J$3 million. The World Bank was supportive of the project to date, and is returning to assist again, as it would like to use our project as an example of true sustainable development in a mining environment. In addition to the water harvesting and Greenhouse cluster project, high priority was placed on programmes/projects which included the funding of apiculture projects, the rehabilitation of roads, the refurbishing of schools and community facilities, the sponsoring of community sports leagues, and the purchasing of equipment for training programmes. How do you manage the environmental impacts of the industry’s operations? The JBI has a division with specific responsibility for the monitoring of the industry’s environmental impact. This division is the Process Monitoring and Services Division and it carries out its function by undertaking environmental monitoring, asset preservation, and efficiency programmes on bauxite and alumina facilities, inclusive of the mining, processing, and shipping operations. The environmental monitoring programme generally focuses on air quality, water quality, and waste management, including red mud, and entails regular environmental reviews, permit monitoring, audits, and independent sampling. Meanwhile, the asset preservation and efficiency programmes are generally focused on monitoring the state of facilities at which operations have been suspended and the monitoring of efficiencies at operating facilities respectively. The division works closely with the National Environment and Planning Agency and prepares industry environmental reports which are submitted to the Agency. One of the critical environmental concerns is the bauxite disposal mud lakes, particularly those in the Mt. Rosser and Kirkvine areas. The division undertakes regular reviews at these sites to monitor water quality and to ensure that these sites are restored and returned to the Government of Jamaica. In terms of plants that are currently operating, the division, in tandem with NEPA, monitors operations to ensure full compliance with the terms expressed in their environmental permit and licenses. All infrastructure within the bauxite/alumina industry that may create environmental impact has to submit permit applications. When you look towards the future, what role do you envisage the bauxite industry taking in Jamaica’s continuing national development? It is envisioned that the bauxite/alumina industry will continue to play a pivotal role in the nation’s development as a source of foreign direct investment, large earner of foreign exchange, contributor to government revenue, and a provider of high paying jobs to many Jamaicans and social capital to surrounding communities. The JBI will also be leading research and development projects for the commercial extraction of the valuable rare earth elements form our large resources of red mud which is seen as a valuable resource for the future. With the sector now poised for growth it is anticipated that the industry will return as a leading sector in the local economy. c SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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A NEW DAY Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to John Habisreitinger, Executive Vice President at Noranda Bauxite & Alumina, about surviving the worst year in North American alumina for half a century and a new path forward towards long term sustainability under new ownership. For almost sixty years, the Noranda Alumina refinery in Gramercy, Louisiana, based just upriver of New Orleans in South Louisiana, has been a major employer in the region. The same holds true for the Noranda Bauxite mine and plant in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, located for fifty years on the island’s north coast between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. “I’m second-generation, myself,” says John Habisreitinger, Executive Vice President at Noranda Bauxite & Alumina, whose father retired from the refinery after 40 years, having also worked 18 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

closely with the Jamaican operations in the latter years of his career. “Many of our current employees’ parents and grandparents have worked at our facilities, and you seldom meet someone in our communities that hasn’t had a family member that has worked at one of the facilities. It’s one of the unique things about our businesses that we have drawn so heavily from the local communities for generations.” The Gramercy refinery employs close to 450 people, using the Bayer process to chemically refine bauxite and convert it to

smelter-grade alumina and chemical-grade alumina. When the facility was built in 1957, the 3,300 acre site had an annual output of 400,000 short tons of alumina. Today, the refinery has an annual capacity of 1.2 million metric tons from the approximately 2.8 million tons of bauxite shipped in from the approximately 400 employee Noranda Bauxite facility in Jamaica. Until early 2016, much of the smelter grade alumina produced at Gramercy was shipped up the Mississippi River to a then-related smelter in New Madrid, Missouri, where it was converted

the months ahead Jamaica would lose approximately the same percentage of its customer volume,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “It was the most difficult economic climate we could ever have envisioned in our commodity space.”


a DADA holding

WEATHERING THE STORM At the beginning of 2016, there were three major alumina refineries in the United States. Over the course of the year, one announced it was going to close, and two were part of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing – including the Gramercy refinery, as its previous parent company filed in early February of that year. The refinery was also required to issue a WARN notification, a United States regulatory requirement which informs employees when a company could be in imminent danger of shutting down on very short notice. “When the then parent company of Gramercy and Jamaica filed for Chapter 11 protection in February 2016, it was announced that the New Madrid smelter would proceed down an orderly shutdown of its remaining capacity and the downstream businesses would be sold,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “The path was set to evaluate the bauxite-alumina businesses and determine the best outcome for their future. The translation of that is we would have to

prove ourselves by keeping our production up, our costs down, filling the volume we had lost, and demonstrating that we could survive as standalone businesses.” By the end of 2016, Gramercy was the only one of the three major U.S. refineries still operating, as the refinery and the bauxite mine were able to navigate the storm long enough for New Day Aluminum, an affiliate of DADA Holdings, to acquire the businesses and set them on a new path. “Surviving long enough for the New Day acquisition was the result of a number of factors,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “We were able to hold onto our key customer and supplier relationships, and most importantly our key people, despite the risk of closure for almost the entire year; with the Jamaican operations developing an alternative work schedule designed to more efficiently manage labor costs to volume demand. We also quickly developed new smelter grade customers, filling the alumina volume lost with new customers from around the world, as well as expanding our production capacity for chemical-grade alumina. Historically supplying approximately a third of the domestic US chemical grade demand, we were the first of the major US producers to come to customers with a solid plan to meet existing and even

to aluminum and sent on to value added customers including the refinery’s then-related downstream plants in three different US states. Then the storms of 2016 swept through the aluminum industry. Rapid growth in aluminum production and distribution from China over recent years deflated the marketplace in the United States and globally, lowering prices and causing all but five of the fourteen remaining American aluminum smelters that were operating 5 years earlier to close. Last year, one of those closures was the then-related Noranda Aluminum Inc. smelter in New Madrid, Missouri. “Essentially, Gramercy lost 40% of the historical demand for its alumina overnight, and in SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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new customer demand. We stuck with that plan and delivered against it, even while we were fighting to stay afloat; demonstrating to our customers that even in the most difficult circumstances we were going to hold up our end of that commitment. As a result, we were able to retain our existing customers and at the same time secure a number of new customers.” PREPARING FOR THE STORM To understand another key contributor to the survival of the businesses, we have to go back to 2015, before the storm hit. “We did

a lot of work in 2015 to reestablish ourselves on the path to sustainability,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “That allowed us to break down some old paradigms and better prepare us for the dramatic and unanticipated changes of 2016.” One of the contributors was the implementation of a new mid-stream unloading process for bauxite at Gramercy. “For fifty-eight years, we discharged bauxite from vessels using two gantry cranes mounted on our dock,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “But those cranes reached the end of their useful life. We looked at several options, from upgrading our existing cranes to replacing them with new ones, and we came to a hybrid solution, developed by a cross-functional team in Gramercy with support from a number of strategic suppliers including Mid-Ship Group, LLC and Pangaea Logistics Solutions, Ltd.” This solution involved installing a fendering system in the river for ocean-going vessels to dock against. Between the vessel and the dock, barge-mounted cranes now discharge the vessels directly into two brand new hoppers with fogging systems and other environmental controls. “It provides a

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long term sustainable solution for us to process the volume we need in a safer, more reliable and more environmentally-friendly manner,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. Another vital change was a technical partnership the refinery formed between its own technical team and WorleyParsons, an Australian based alumina engineering firm. “The joint team evaluated best practices from around the industry and together implemented many key initiatives to improve usages and operating reliability” says Mr. Habisreitinger. One such initiative worked to eliminate so-called ‘parasitic water’ from the system, reducing the amount of raw caustic required to be added to the process. “The partnership between our technical team and WorleyParsons helped us to achieve better process control and improved usages, which proved crucial heading into 2016,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. 2015 was also the best year for safety performance in the history of the facilities. “The industry average Total Recordable Injury Rate, or TRIR, for North American alumina refining was in the 3.5 range,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “Gramercy finished 2015 at a 0.58 rate, and our Jamaica operations

Portside Towing Limited Portside Towing Limited (“Portside”) is a privately own Jamaican company involved in providing tug and towing services primarily to ships docking and undocking in Jamaica’s ports. Portside is located at 102-112 Water Lane Newport East Kingston CSO. The company began its operations in 1992 and its owners consist of experienced Marine Pilots who have successfully managed the business over the years. The harbour tugs sector, like shipping, is a global and borderless enterprise. Ship owners and charterers will continue to benefit from tug assistance during manoeuvring and when in distress, requiring emergency assistance for towage, salvaging, search and rescue, firefighting and pollution control. Our fleet of six tugs ranges in capacities from 1,700 to 5,470 horse power. This mix will allow Portside Towing to adequately service the nine out ports, the Port of Kingston when required, and accept engagements for international assignments.

Our main focus is to provide a high quality service at a competitive price. Success will be measured by our clients continuing to choose us, because of their belief in our ability to meet or exceed their expectations of service. Mission

Portside Towing’s mission is to provide timely marine support solutions to ship owners, charterers and terminal operators, becoming their safety partner for efficient and reliable tug service geared towards reducing the vessel’s stay in port and protecting the customer’s investment. Portside is dedicated to providing a high quality service to all our shipping agents by developing successful relationships with them, our staff members, and other stakeholders within the shipping industry. We will continue to respect the interest and goals of each of the parties with whom we do business. In order to implement our strategic goals, we are focused on developing the following tools: • Effective communication systems between ship agents/terminal operators and Portside Towing, and between tug captains and pilots. • Setting deployment schedules that can be met. • Hiring and retaining reliable, Tug Captains. • Understanding what the customers are trying to achieve, and helping them to reduce the vessel’s stay in port and protect their investment. • Knowledgeable, friendly staff that can meet the shipping agents needs and circumstances.

• Services to meet or exceed the expectations of our clients, that are affordable and of the highest quality. • Efficient service delivery with minimum wait times. • Continuously reviewing and expanding our service offering as we believe customer service and competitive pricing is the cornerstone of our success. • Employee welfare is equally important to our success. We will continue to treat our employees fairly with the utmost respect and endeavour to ensure our employees feel a part of the success of Portside.

Portside Towing’s currently provides vessel assistance for docking and undocking manoeuvres on the north and south coast ports of Jamaica. Towing of vessels in distress in or outside Jamaican waters, Portside operate in the following ports:


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finished the year without any recordable injuries at all.” Another contributor to the refinery’s survival in 2016 was its success in expanding its markets. “2015 was the first time we ever exported smelter-grade alumina,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “Those initial export trials proved vital in demonstrating we had a sustainable option for shipping alumina outside the United States. As a result, in 2016 we sent alumina to China, to Western Europe, to Eastern Europe, and into the Middle East. We basically took alumina that had only been supplied into the U.S. previously and put it around the world, allowing us to keep our alumina and bauxite volumes up.”

A NEW DAY IN GRAMERCY AND JAMAICA “Despite all the hard work and success of the Jamaica and Gramercy teams in unprecedented market conditions, we may not have survived at all without New Day Aluminum stepping up to acquire the business when they did” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “David D’Addario and a few of the core executives from his previous metals company, the Wise Metal Group, Monte Schaffer, Thomas Robb, and Robert Ericson, were the key principals that orchestrated the acquisition.” David and his team are no strangers to the industry and difficult situations, having stabilized the Wise Metals Group from a

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similar position to where Gramercy and Jamaica were, growing it into the world’s 3rd largest producer of aluminum can stock for the beverage and food industries. Their creative and entrepreneurial approach to business was evident in the acquisition as well as in the months to follow. To complete the sale, New Day worked closely with various stakeholders in Louisiana and Jamaica to address the biggest risks to keeping the businesses viable and concluding the purchase. They developed a groundbreaking new partnership with the Government of Jamaica and were instrumental in finalizing a new 5 year collective bargaining agreement with the United Steelworkers union for Gramercy. “New Day’s proactive and creative focus on eliminating these potential risks were critical in getting the acquisition completed. David and his team went into Jamaica and secured a 25year mining agreement with the Jamaican government with a twenty-five-year extension option, and a new fiscal regime which actually makes the government a true business partner in Noranda Bauxite and Alumina, with a profits interest in the combined business,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “We’re

also really proud to have secured a long term agreement with United Steelworkers union, which covers about 75% of our workforce in Gramercy,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. Together the businesses and their new owners have been busy setting a new path for long term sustainability. Not only are considerable resources being directed to upgrade the asset base, increase their operational reliability, and further position the business for the future, the Gramercy refinery has already announced its largest capital investment in over 15 years. The further expansion of Gramercy’s chemical

grade alumina capacity and the introduction of new state of the art filter press technology will improve its cost structure, expand its product mix, and improve its environmental footprint for years to come. In addition to the physical changes in the business, they have been busy in the marketplace as well. Ahead of the further expansion of its chemical grade alumina business, a number of long term contracts are being concluded. In addition, the Jamaica business is now exporting bauxite to new markets and customers in places as far away as China and India, and into new mar-

kets such as non-metallurgical applications. The Company has also recently announced a strategic commercial partnership with Concord Resources Limited to expand their global sales and logistics bandwidth for smelter grade alumina and bauxite. “Pardon the expression, but it’s a new day for Noranda Bauxite and Alumina,” says Mr. Habisreitinger. “With a new owner and focus, we have a new path to long-term sustainability, building a culture of excellence, and partnering with the right customers and suppliers to grow our businesses and solidify them for many years to come.” c


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Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair, about efficient aircraft and facilities, quality of care, and providing quick, accessible transport for all Bahamians and visitors alike. Bahamasair, based in Nassau, New Providence, is the national airline of the Bahamas. Wholly owned by the government of the Bahamas, Bahamasair was founded in 1973 with a mandate to support transportation between the islands of the archipelago and to foster new routes into the Bahamas for the tourism industry. Today, Bahamasair has over five hundred employees and a fleet of five


ATR aircraft and three Boeing 737 Classics flying over sixteen national destinations and international routes, including four routes into the United States, to Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, as well as to Havana, Providenciales, and destinations in Haiti (Port-au-Prince and Cape Hatien). Scheduled services into Houston and Chicago are planned for the 4th quarter of 2017.



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EFFICIENCY INVESTMENTS Over the last few years, Bahamasair have been replacing their aging Dash 8 aircraft, which were approaching 25 years in service, with new ATR 72 and 42 aircraft. “That turboprop replacement was a $120 million investment,” says Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair. “We also replaced our old 737 200s and migrated to the 737 Classics, which are in the 500 series. Both upgrades resulted in much better efficiency for the airline across the board. We’ve got better fuel efficiency, much less emissions,


and there are noise reduction benefits as well. These new aircraft help with cost control and reliability, as well as a great improvement in environmental performance and improving our footprint.” Bahamasair have also been improving and upgrading their physical facilities. “We invested $3 million to upgrade the hanger, bringing it up to the latest and greatest standards and improving the efficiency of our operations,” says Mr. Cooper. “We’ve installed better lighting and more efficient ventilation systems there which have result-

ed in savings from an electrical standpoint. These investments improve our impact on the environment while also bettering our quality of service for our passengers, and the quality of care to our employees. We’re also currently going through the initial stages of replacing our administration building as a result of some damages sustained from Hurricane Matthew. We’re working with the architect to develop a green structure, which will allow us to implement the latest and greatest efficiencies. We’ve implemented several


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environmental schemes at our existing buildings, including swapping out all the old lightbulbs for LED bulbs, and running a waste containment program. We consider ourselves caretakers of the beautiful environment here, and it’s our responsibility to preserve it.”

CONNECTING A NATION An essential part of Bahamasair’s mandate, as a government-owned airline, is to provide a robust transportation system between the islands of the Bahamas. “Within the Bahamas there are over 700 islands and keys, stretching all the way from Freeport

down to Inagua,” says Mr. Cooper.” As everyone knows, if you don’t have quick and accessible transportation, commerce is affected. Though there is sea transport available, it takes a while to transport goods and people, and if we were to rely solely on sea transport, we’d be back in the old days. To make sure all the islands grow at a reasonable rate together, air transport is a necessity. We aren’t the only airline operating here, but a vital part of our mission is that even when certain routes are not sustainable through regular load factors, we are still committed to serving these critical islands with transport.” Bahamasair also bring tourism to the islands of the Bahamas. “In the Bahamas, all the major islands rely on tourism as our number one product,” says Mr. Cooper. “We bring tourists through the major arteries, to Nassau and Freeport, as well as to the outer islands, catering to both. Our ability to get tourists to the outer islands is particularly key to the survivability of commerce in those islands. We find that typically tourists from the United States go to the main islands and tourists from outside the United States go to the outer islands, to enjoy the fishing lodges

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and other tourist products which you can only get in those islands.” HUMAN RESOURCE Bahamasair’s policy of investment goes deeper than planes and buildings. “We’ve been investing heavily in staff training, in both aviation-related matters and in safety management courses and quality assurance,” says Mr. Cooper. “It’s all part of our efforts to implement the latest schemes within the industry. We also make strategic investments to keep our employees healthy and happy. We have health and wellness programs, which we do in conjunction with other industry partners. We encourage our employees to participate in charitable events, such as annual walkathons for things like cancer awareness. We also have a medical discount program, which applies both to our employees and to the general public. We’re a country of about 350,000 people and being in close proximity to the US, we pride ourselves on being instrumental in providing the means, through our discount travel program, for both staff and the public at large to seek alternatives in regards to specialized healthcare in the US and Cuba.”

AWARD-WINNING SERVICE For Bahamasair, all these investments are about prioritizing the quality of care for the travelling public. “We’re invested in our fleets, our staff, and our infrastructure,” says Mr. Cooper. “This means a better environmental footprint, better

staff welfare, and a better product for our customers. We recently received the country’s major tourism award, the Cacique Award for Airline of the Year in 2017. We also regularly receive notifications in the form of awards from our local airport authority, the Nassau Airport


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Development Company, recognizing Bahamasair as the best airline based on customer satisfaction for travelers going through Lynden Pindling International Airport, which is considered the premier airport for both domestic and international travel within the Bahamas. We’re also very proud of our participation in the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). We have been a certified member of IOSA for the past 10 years, which indicates the airline is operating within the safety confines of international industry standards.” Bahamasair now plans to expand to meet the growing needs of the Bahamas. “Now the Baha-Mar resort has opened, we’re also partnering with them and other resort properties to provide vital customer feed and air transportation for the enhance-

ment of our tourist product,” says Mr. Cooper. “We’re working with them holistically, both from regular scheduled flights as well as chartered services to support the casino and convention centers within that facility. We work with all hotel managements, including both the Out Island Tourist and Nassau/ Paradise Island Promotion Boards, to bring air lift to any and all facilities that need our services. We also want to ensure we maintain our quality of care as we expand and work towards making the premier medium for passing travel arrangements. We’re very proud of our forty-five year history serving the people of the Bahamas, and we’re looking forward to continuing to support our beautiful country with transportation and tourist services as we move towards half a century of operations.” c


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THE POWER OF CONNECTING Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Peter Williams, Senior Vice President at Emera Caribbean about ambitious renewables projects, electric vehicles, and a culture of adaptability.

Emera Caribbean is an energy services company based in Barbados, with holdings in Dominica, the Bahamas, and St Lucia. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian energy and services company Emera Inc. In 2010, Emera Inc. partially acquired Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd.,


the main electrical distributor in Barbados, and over the following years bought 100% of the shares and incorporated the company under the Emera Caribbean name. Today, Emera Caribbean also has an 82.3% share in Grand Bahama Power Company, a 52% share in Dominica Electricity Services Limited, and a minority 19.1% interest in St Lucia Electricity Services Limited. Emera Caribbean also wholly-owns Emera Caribbean Renewables Ltd., a renewables design, installation, and management company. Across the whole Emera group,

from the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Emera Inc. to sister companies Tampa Electric, based in Florida, and Emera Maine, all Emera companies are committed to bringing clean, sustainable energy to the market. 100% SUSTAINABLE Each of Emera Caribbean’s utilities is run as a separate entity, but under a single umbrella which includes shared services. “The common strategy for us is to gain benefits by having this common umbrella ownership of resources, materials, knowledge,

and access to skills,” says Peter Williams, Senior Vice President of Emera Caribbean. “This leads to a reduction of costs for our customers. Common ownership includes Emera Caribbean but also extends to the resources we can draw from Emera Inc. in Nova Scotia, particularly in the area of health and safety. We work very hard to make sure all our businesses within the group adhere to the highest safety standards and are very rigorous in making sure all of our staff have a culture of safety imbued in them. That is one area where being part of a group has made a huge difference.” The ultimate goal of this pooling strategy is to radically change the energy portfolio of the Caribbean. “Our view for the countries where we operate is we believe we can move our utilities over to 100% sustainable energy,”

says Mr. Williams. “Being environmentally sustainable is important for countries under our umbrella, especially those where tourism is a major part of the economy. Another factor is stability in fuel pricing. In the past ten years, the oil market has become quite volatile, which is difficult for smaller nations like Barbados where we use diesel generators. Moving over to locally-generated renewable sources will provide more manageable pricing for our customers.” CARIBBEAN RENEWABLES Currently Emera Caribbean have several ongoing or recently completed renewables projects. In north Barbados, a 10 megawatt (MW) solar project has been commissioned and running for over a year now, returning good results to its owner, Barbados Light &


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Power. “It was commissioned on budget and on time,” says Mr. Williams. “Our contractor, Grupotec of Spain, and their subcontractors, including Aireko, did an excellent job. It is in service and has been delivering energy to our customers in Barbados reliably.” Meanwhile, Emera Caribbean are forging forwards with a wind project in Barbados. “We’re currently negotiating a land lease with landowners on the island, but work is expected to progress very soon,” says Mr. Williams. “When we have that lease, we’ll move towards the design and final stages of

planning approvals. Like anywhere else, solar is so much easier to plan and execute than wind because it is far less intrusive and complex than a wind project. But our Barbados project is advanced, and we are optimistic for its future.” Currently, Emera Caribbean are investigating the potential for developing a geothermal generation plant in St. Vincent and also working with the Government of Dominica on a geothermal project there. “An exploratory well was dug in Dominica in 2014, which suggests that up to 10MW of energy could be derived from the geothermal resource,” says Mr. Williams. “The demand for electricity for the whole of Dominica is only 17MW, so this is a very exciting project.” The geothermal plant construction is being led by the Dominican government with support from the French government and other agencies. Emera Caribbean will play a supporting role, through its investment in Dominica. Emera Caribbean are also collaborating with Reykjavík Geothermal from Iceland, exploring the prospect of a geothermal project in St Vincent, whose active volcano could potentially supply enough energy to power the entire island.

ELECTRIC ROADS Another initiative undertaken by Emera Caribbean is the promotion of electric vehicles (EVs) in Barbados. In 2012, there were no EVs in the country; today, there are more than 200. Emera Caribbean are partnering with local firm Megapower Barbados to provide rapid recharge stations, which allow EVs to charge to 80% capacity in only 20 minutes – enough for 150km of driving. With three expected to be completed in Barbados by the end of 2017, these stations are expected to make driving an electric vehicle more convenient for Barbadian drivers. “The intent there is to transform not only the electricity sector to renewables but also transform the other big consumer of fossil fuels, which is transport,” say Mr. Williams. “We want to provide the facility for renewable energy to power our transport sector. That vision is one where we see there can be a lot of benefits for the island.” Plans are currently underway to introduce EVs to Dominica as well. A pilot project has already been launched to test its feasibility. If successful, a full project will be commissioned and developed over the next two years. Dominica will also be the site of a

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new solar project, designed to complement the island’s geothermal plant. Customer usage profiles and solar generation profiles correlate almost perfectly, so while geothermal will meet the baseload energy requirements, solar arrays will be used to provide additional electricity during peak times. WORKING TOGETHER Partnerships are key to Emera Caribbean’s success. “That’s not only our international sister companies,” explains Mr. Williams. “We’ve had great success working closely with smaller local businesses, like Megapower Barbados. We also know that we can bring the technical and financial resources that sometimes would be difficult for small utilities to put together in

the Caribbean, because some of them are just 15MW to 30MW utilities, and it can be very difficult to do everything they want as standalone entities. But if we help them, we are also helping ourselves and our community. That’s where we will continue with our pursuit, to look for those areas where we can add value to investors, to customers, and to the country.” Another indispensable factor in Emera Caribbean’s success is their staff. “Being able to work together, building knowledge and connections, and our corporate culture of safety and efficiency, means the whole company can flourish, which is good for everybody,” says Mr. Williams. “Another particular quality our staff have which is a great asset is adaptability. Today, tech-

nological advances come at a very rapid rate, which means being able to adapt to the challenges and advantages of new products is essential.” Emera Caribbean believe this approach can be an important part in bringing Barbados, Dominica, St Vincent, Grand Bahama, and St Lucia over to 100% renewable energy. “We know that we can move the countries where we have interests over to 100% electrification,” says Mr. Williams. “That means, whether it is transport or the energy grid, we can help that country to become a very modern, stable society. Emera Caribbean wants to make sure our communities have all the amenities they need and to do so on the back of a renewables-sourced electrical network.” c


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LEADERSHIP A foreword by John A. Gorman, President and CEO of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA).

On behalf of the members of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), I am pleased to offer this foreword to the “Solar Leadership” series in Sustainable Business Magazine. The sun provides an inexhaustible supply of clean fuel to power our homes and our economy. Solar energy is positioned to play a key role in our transition to carbon-free lives and a carbon-free economy.


The goal of our Association is to build a Canadian solar energy industry which is strong, efficient, ethical, and professional, with capacity to provide innovative solar energy solutions and to play a major role in the global transition to a sustainable, clean-energy future. CanSIA proudly represents manufacturers, installers, project developers, builders, architects, engineers, consultants, and a variety of other companies and stakeholders who want to see solar energy grow in Canada. Canada has become one of the leading markets for solar PV globally and represented one of the top 10 countries in 2014 and 2015, with an average of 675 MW installed in those years. Our national cumulative installed capacity will soon surpass 3 GW. More than ever before, CanSIA’s members are poised to solidify solar electricity as a mainstream energy source and secure solar as an integral part of Canada’s diversified electricity mix. Ontario has been the leading solar market in Canada for many years. More than

99% of the country’s almost 3 GW of solar is located in the province due to the Green Energy and Economy Act (GEEA), which sought to counter the potentially devastating implications of the global financial crisis of 2008. The GEEA gave rise to the province’s feed-in tariff programs, which for a number of years made the province one of the hottest solar markets in the world. The Canadian solar market is entering a new phase as Ontario considers whether to increase, maintain, or decrease the scale and pace of solar deployment in the coming years, however CanSIA believes that updated net metering regulations and new climate change incentives will ensure that Ontario has a viable, sustainable and growing solar market. Furthermore, new policies and programs at the federal level and in Western Canada are expected to create new opportunities and turn the solar market into a truly national market. Solar uptake has doubled in Alberta since 2015, bolstered by initiatives like the

Alberta Municipal Solar Program and the On-Farm Solar PV Program. Over the next five years, the Residential and Commercial Solar Program will build on these existing programs. Homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations will receive rebates for rooftop solar panels as early as this summer under the Alberta government’s $36-million rebate program for solar installation on residential and commercial buildings. Although Canada’s federal government has largely been absent on climate change and renewable energy for the past decade, our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has garnered global attention for his progressive social and environmental views and his popularity among young people. His government has committed to 90% non-emitting electricity sector by 2030, to powering federal government operations and buildings with 100% renewable electricity by 2025, and has announced billions of dollars in funding programs to make the electricity supply cleaner and smarter. Capital costs for solar have declined by 65% over the last 6 years, to where solar + storage technology is getting cheaper than anyone ever imagined. The value of solar + storage is exactly what electricity systems of the future need (i.e. empowered consumers and a clean, cost effective solution that enhances the predictability, reliability, flexibili-

ty, and resilience of the electricity grid) with none of the unwelcome and costly social, health, and environmental externalities. Combined innovations in solar applications, like Tesla’s Solar Roof and in storage, like Elon Musk’s Powerwall energy storage system, designed to connect to a home solar installation, will revolutionize our energy system and make every home energy independent. The solar world has been anticipating this day, and is abuzz with the possibilities. Solar + storage is the key to making solar dispatchable as it circumvents the energy source’s main difficulty, that the energy it generates is only available when the sun is shining. As we learn to adapt to a carbon-constrained future, growing load on the

electricity system with plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), a new model of energy consumption is emerging. Getting that energy from renewable sources like solar is a primary objective. Solar’s unique nature as a distributed source of energy means that it can empower Canadians to reduce their carbon footprints not only with respect to their electricity use, but also by enabling carbon reductions in buildings, industry, and transportation. As we hope to demonstrate in this series, the solar industries sector recognizes the importance of clean fuels to Canadians. We encourage you to read more about CanSIA and the work of the solar industry at, or contact me with your questions or comments at c INVERTER ASSEMBLY LINE OF CANSIA MEMBER, FRONIUS.




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CO-OPERATION Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Michael Kendon, Managing Director of Soventix Canada, about new horizons, large-scale projects, and retaining a local focus.


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Soventix GmbH are a German-based company with international subsidiaries across four continents, providing solar energy solutions to communities throughout ten countries. Soventix Canada are a North American subsidiary who have been deeply involved in the Ontario renewables market since entry in 2010, specializing in community-based solar arrays. 40 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

This means Soventix Canada works closely with local community co-operatives to invest in, develop, and install solar projects which provide not only energy within the local communities but also financial returns to those co-operatives that invest in such projects. The Ontario Government’s feed-in-tariff (FIT) program allows the sale of renewably-sourced energy back to the utility

grid for a fixed contract term from projects with generating capacities between 10 and 500 kilowatts (kW). Individual households can also participate through the MicroFIT program, for generation capacities under 10 kW. FROM THE GROUND UP For many years Soventix Canada exclusively worked on rooftop installations, but in

“Through 2015 we finished all our FIT 2 rooftop projects,” says Michael Kendon, Managing Director at Soventix Canada. “In early 2016, we also completed two ground-mounted FIT 2 projects in Milton, Ontario. Both of these are 600 kW peak and they use single-axis tracker technology. They were also developed in conjunction with and eventually sold to a community co-operative group. Following completion of the FIT 2 rooftop projects, we went on to develop a portfolio of 11 ground mount projects for FIT 3 that all went into construction in 2016

and 2017. There are ten 600 kW peak and one 300kW peak for us in FIT 3, all of which are ground-mounted and use dual-axis tracker technology.” LOCAL FOCUS Local communities also benefit from the construction as well. Soventix Canada, through its contractors try to ensure local people are utilized for the construction and installation of the arrays. Earlier FIT program stipulations included a requirement for 60% of a PV installation was to be sourced from

2015 they began expanding their portfolio, venturing into ground-mounted projects as part of the second round of FIT applications known as FIT 2. It was as these FIT 2 projects were entering development in 2015 that Sustainable Business Magazine last spoke with Soventix Canada (see issue 08/15). 18 months later, these projects have proved very successful. SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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SOVENTIX local suppliers. This meant that local people and small businesses benefit throughout the project, cementing a truly community-based solar ethos. Of these FIT 3 projects, several are situated near Kingston, and are nearing completion of construction with the remaining eight at various stages of construction; some are generating with the remainder being completed. Nonetheless it is expected that all 11 will be online by the end of summer 2017. RENEWABLE ALBERTA Ontario has long been the hub of Canada’s sustainable energy market but recent announcements by the province of Alberta mean that a new market is opening up. “People had heard for several years that there was going to be a program announced in Alberta and, finally, towards the end of November 2016 the first draft of papers for it were issued by the Alberta Electric System Operator,” explains Mr. Kendon. The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)’s new Renewable Energy Program (REP) has an objective of 5GW of renewable generation by 2030. “They then introduced a support mechanism, which is essentially a contract for difference,” says Mr. Kendon. Companies would be expected to develop

a project to a certain extent and bid that to the AESO, requesting contracts under the REP, that will be done in stages over the years. “Everyone had known Alberta was coming along but hadn’t seen very much. We got a sense that it was likely they would announce something towards the end of 2016 so we did some work to go out there, evaluate, and secure land that we believe will be suitable for development. This meant we could build up a portfolio of projects before the program was announced, so we would actually have something underway once it was announced. This meant Soventix Canada were in a better position to take advantage from the outset along the timelines they were laying out.” Soventix Canada have seized the opportunity and have already acquired land for six projects in the province. These are large-scale projects, more closely mirrored to Ontario’s Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) program than its FIT program. These projects at present total approximately 120 MW of generation capacity. AMERICAN DREAMS Looking further afield, Soventix Canada have been expanding their activities in the United States, favouring efficient and economical large-scale solar develop-

ments. In response to this, Soventix have sold off their smaller Californian project to focus on large-scale projects in Arizona, varying in size from 17MW to 100MW. “Development is already underway on most of these arrays, with some in their initial stages and others more advanced” says Mr. Kendon. “As in Canada, these projects would involve local people and businesses from start to finish and throughout all installations’ lifetimes.” The largest of these is a 101MW peak development located next to a former coalfired power plant which is currently being decommissioned. This proximity provides strategic infrastructural advantages. “Studies have shown, that the existing intercon42 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

nection infrastructure will be sufficient for our requirements, thereby overcoming one major hurdle in the development of the new project,” says Mr. Kendon. NEW ENVIRONMENTS “When we enter a new market, such as Alberta, it requires a little bit of effort to establish ourselves,” explains Mr. Kendon. “This is particularly the case somewhere like Canada, where you can operate very well in Ontario but Alberta is a long way away. It’s important to invest a little time and effort forming local partnerships. We focus on the landowner first, and then move outwards to the utilities, municipalities, and so on. Building up knowledge of how a place works and

who you need to be speaking with – these are the sorts of important issues entering any new market brings.” “You want to quickly understand the regulatory environment, the sort of things that make environmental permitting practices different from province to province, state to state. There is no blanket regulation in Canada and the US. None of it is broadly different in principle, but there are new procedures, new forms, new ways of doing things that are looked over by different bodies, and you need to get an understanding of all of that in order to be able to plan out development processes and resources. That is what we do well, and that’s why we’ve been successful so far.”

SUSTAINABLE GROWTH Soventix Canada are already considering expanding their operations further. “During 2017 we’re interested in evaluating one or two new US states and seeing whether we can find a business model we like, then move into that area,” says Mr. Kendon. “While the work we’ve got within Arizona, Alberta, and Ontario is keeping us very busy at the moment, I would like to think we could do something in another state. We are looking at the Eastern seaboard region currently, but we’re also conscious of not spreading ourselves too thinly. We have a history of success now, and we’re eager to work in conjunction with other local communities to build something that benefits everyone.” c SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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3rd - 4th

Yale Environmental Sustainability Summit Yale University, CT, USA

YESS 2017 is organized around connecting sustainability-driven change makers to understand the benefits and challenges to bring sustainability to scale, namely financial mechanisms, political levers, and technological strategies.

12th - 14th

SusTech 2017 - IEEE Conference on Technologies for Sustainability Pheonix, AZ, USA

SusTech 2017 is designed to explore the development and application of science, engineering, and technology in achieving a sustainable lifestyle for humanity by learning about the tools, connections, and proactive solutions to take their sustainability programs to the next level.

14th - 15th

International Conference on Environment and Natural Science (ICENS) Boston, MA, USA

The primary goal of the conference is to promote research and developmental activities in Environment and Natural Science. Also to promote scientific information interchange between researchers, developers, engineers, students, and practitioners.

15th - 17th

The Green Ship Technology North America Conference New York, NY, USA

The Green Ship Technology North America Conference will take place with Shipping2030, offering access to 250+ technical experts and policy makers. Gain fresh insights into the global sulphur cap, ballast water regulation, the future of green ship design, and much more.

29th - Dec 1st

Companies vs. Climate Change (CvCC) Miami, FL, USA

2nd World Biodiesel Congress & Expo Atlanta, GA, USA

Biodiesel 2017 is comprised of leading tracks designed to offer comprehensive and interesting sessions that define the current research strategies in the field of bioenergy with the theme: An innovative approach towards the green fuel.

5th - 7th

CLEAN GULF Conference & Exhibition Houston, TX, USA

This annual event delivers solutions for spill prevention, preparedness, and response. Bringing together all parties responsible for response operations from North America and beyond to hear best practices and build relationships vital to a successful response on land or water.

5th - 7th

POWER-GEN International Las Vegas, NV, USA

POWER-GEN International is going back to its original roots. Renewable Energy World International, COAL-GEN, and Nuclear Power International have been co-located with POWER-GEN International; all an essential piece of the overall event, Power Generation Week.

11th - 12th

Solar Power New York New York, NY, USA

Solar Power New York is the event for solar policy updates and opportunities to network with regional companies for New York State. Focussing solely on the changing landscape, obstacles, and policies that are impacting the industry in New York.

4th - 5th


CvCC is dedicated to providing a forum for business leaders to connect around climate change solutions. They strive to be an open and straight-forward arena for companies to collaborate and share best practices for being part of the solution to the climate crisis.



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