Community energy planning is a unique process that unlike most local government initiatives, crosses over many departmental and organizational boundaries. CEPs, however, often fall short on being integrated into the existing plans and policies in local government because there typically lacks a process to integrate the CEP once it has been adopted by council (see Table 4: CEP Development and Implementation Process). Local governments frequently operate in silos. Buildings and development, land use, transportation, and waste, are planned for through separate processes.
Once a CEP is adopted, consider taking the important step of integrating the CEP into plans and policies immediately after CEP adoption.
- Cast a wide net, and be strategic: Identify all opportunities to integrate the CEP into plans, policies and by-laws immediately after CEP adoption. Consider the timing for when some or all of the plans will be renewed and embed the CEP strategically
- Engage: Engage with all stakeholders, including staff and community stakeholders, that will be impacted by when and how the actions identified in a CEP are embedded into plans and policies. Obtain stakeholder input on how the plans and policies can be designed and/or amended to result in positive impacts
- Embed: Proceed with embedding the CEP actions into the plans and policies selected. Ensure that the clauses and policies are designed to maximize impacts and benefits of CEP implementation. Amend the identified plans, policies, by-laws and regulations as soon as possible after the opportunities have been identified to ensure that goals and actions included in the CEP remain top of mind for Council, staff and community stakeholders
- Be adaptable: The CEP is a living document and should be renewed and amended over time. Include clauses within policies and plans that allows changes to be made to the CEP without requiring additional amendments, for example, “the goals and actions of the Community Energy Plan, as amended from time to time”50This can be done in sections where CEP policies interact with other plans and programs, e.g. those related to growth management, mixed land use, increased density, active transportation, transit, solid waste management, facilities management, and parks and recreation.
- Be explicit: Refer to the CEP goals and objectives within each plan, policy, by-law and regulation in a specific way, so that the direction set by the CEP and its impact on the plan is clear. Figure 7 describes light and deep approaches for embedding the CEP into plans and policies
- Follow up: Ensure that staff and community stakeholders are aware of new and amended policies. For example, if new development permit requirements are introduced, ensure that staff working in the development permit department are trained on the changes
Figure 7 – Approaches to Embedding the CEP into Plans and Policies
Often, the integration of energy into local plans and policies will have implications for community stakeholders. Ensure that community stakeholders are consulted during the design of new policies and programs to ensure that supports, requirements and incentives are designed to maximize their uptake.
The following examples describe how a CEP can be embedded into plans, policies, by-laws and regulations. The CEP can be incorporated into these plans as they are being developed, or they can be amended afterwards. All of the plans, policies, by-laws and regulations listed below should be considered in your community. Consider how lightly or deeply the CEP should be embedded into each plan and policy.