Across Canada, more than 200 communities,1The term “local government” refers to a specific level of government. The term “community” or “communities” refers to all infrastructure and residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, transportation, utility, and agriculture activities within a given geographic (or municipal) boundary representing over 50 percent of the population, have a Community Energy Plan (CEP). See Figure 1.2 There are more than 100 CEPs under development across the country. There are 3 known CEPs under development in the Province of British Columbia, 74 CEPs under development in the Province of Ontario, 22 under development in the Province of Manitoba, 5 under development in Alberta and 1 under development in Saskatchewan. The growing number of CEPs as well as policies supporting CEPs are reflected in the GTI reports entitled National Report on Policies Supporting Community Energy Plan Implementation and Policies to Accelerate Community Energy Plans: An Analysis of British Columbia, Ontario and the Northwest Territories (http://gettingtoimplementation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Policies-to-Support-CEPS_BC_ON_NWT_FinalOnlineVersion_July192016.pdf).
Figure 1: Community Energy Plans across Canada
A CEP defines community priorities around energy with a view to improving energy efficiency, cutting GHG emissions, achieving resilience and driving economic development. There is growing acceptance among all levels of government, energy distributors,3Energy distributors are responsible for distributing electricity, natural gas and thermal energy from the point of supply and/or transmission, to the end user. the real estate sector and other stakeholders that CEPs provide a pathway for communities to become Smart Energy Communities. Smart Energy Communities can be characterized by six technical and six policy principles. They are defined as communities which:
- Integrate conventional energy networks (electricity, natural gas, district energy, and transportation fuel) to better match energy needs with the most efficient energy source
- Integrate land use
- Harness local energy opportunities
Despite the acceleration of community energy planning across Canada, communities continue to face challenges when it comes to implementation.
The Community Energy Implementation Framework is a guide intended to help communities move CEPs from a vision to implementation.
It includes 10 strategies that provide insights, advice and a proposed path forward to:
- Foster widespread political, staff and stakeholder support
- Build staff and financial capacity for implementation
- Embed energy into the plans, policies and processes of the local government
The Framework will answer questions such as:
- Who should lead the development and implementation of the CEP?
- What stakeholder groups should you engage with and when?
- How can you effectively communicate with various stakeholder groups to ensure meaningful engagement and input?
- What internal and external resources are available to support CEP implementation?
- How can local government staff incorporate energy into existing plans and policies?
- How can staff effectively monitor and report on implementation progress?
- And more