Should We Write a Business Plan?

Your project will require a written, formal plan. A business plan is the best approach. Why?

Four Reasons to Write a Business Plan

1. Assists in Financing: The business plan identifies the amount and type of financing or outside investment required and at what point in the project it will be needed. The plan is also required for a lender or investor to assess the viability of your proposal. You might consider using the Government of Nova Scotia’s plan as an example to follow. You can download it here, or it is available at their website here.

2. Accountability: A plan establishes a system of checks and balances for your project so that mistakes can be avoided.

3. Control: A business plan sets up benchmarks to keep your business under control and improves your ability to manage your business.

4. The Big Picture: Having a business plan encourages realism and encourages deliberation of all factors throughout the entire business process. For example, unlike most of Canada, there are no Feed in Tariffs (FIT) for renewable energy in Alberta. Business models should be built around motivation and strong economic principles.

Refer to the Commission for Environmental Co-operation’s free book, Guide to Developing a Community Renewable Energy Project in North America for details on the type of information that should be included in your business plan. Alternatively, download the relevant extract from the book here.

Size considerations

Another reason you should write a business plan is that there differing rules and regulations governing different RE sources, and there are different rules governing differing sizes of electrical energy generation.

In Alberta there are differing sets of regulations depending on the power output of a wind turbine. Regulation of micro-generation turbines falls into two categories, < 150 kW and 150kW to < 1 MW. The purpose of having separate regulation is to streamline the process for people who wish to produce environmentally friendly power to connect to the grid and receive credit for the power generated. Turbines of > 1MW are subject to a much more rigorous permitting and approval process.

You can purchase a hardcopy of the Pembina Institute's Landowner's Guide to Wind Energy in Alberta here or download a digital PDF version here.

Additionally, Section 5, Page 25 of the Commission for Environmental Co-operation’s free book, Guide to Developing a Community Renewable Energy Project in North America provides details helpful to completing this component of your business plan.

Other considerations

Seek appropriate approvals to proceed from Tribal Government.

Develop an understanding of the use of Tribal lands for industrial development. A copy of the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA) can be found here.A brief explanation of the FNCIDA can be located here.

Consider potential partnering and/or financing opportunities. The following companies may be of assistance:

Other partnership opportunities may be possible with the major utility companies in Alberta.