Three recommendations for Ontario's Climate Strategy

July 8, 2015


I was also asked, as part of my participation in the Ontario Climate Change Lab, to provide three recommendations for inclusion in Ontario’s Climate Strategy related to cities and municipalities.

Here were my recommendations:

Raise the bar on energy plans.

  • Mandate and support cities to double their primary energy productivity in 20 years using community energy planning as the framework for local strategies.

It won’t be good enough to simply make the Ontario Municipal Energy Plan Program mandatory. We must raise the bar on the quality of the plans being produced if we want to hit targets.

Enable the energy transition.

  • Create an environment that facilitates the provision of horizontally-integrated municipal energy services (e.g. efficiency, heating, cooling, gas, electricity, energy information). This would include the development of a thermal energy policy for Ontario to provide policy direction, financial and planning tools and programs to promote the uptake of district energy, combined heat and power and other thermal energy systems in municipalities.

One of the panelists confirmed the importance of district energy as a key pillar of community energy planning.  He also noted that municipalities looking to establish local utilities in other provinces were jealous of the number of municipally-owned electric utilities in Ontario.

Drive deep retrofits in communities.

  • Support new public/private municipal business models that leverage the benefits of Local Improvement Charges (LICs) to deliver high volumes of home and building efficiency retrofits that are easy to buy, easy to deliver and generate community dividends and local business profits.

Local Improvement Charges for energy retrofits and renewable energy in private homes remove barriers for people.  Liability is attached to the home not the homeowner, the homeowner is not out of pocket and the payment terms match up with the savings.  We just need effective platforms to deliver these benefits to our communities.

Photo credit: “Passivhaus thermogram gedaemmt ungedaemmt” by Passivhaus Institut – Copied to Commons from http://en.wikipedia.org. Original source Passivhaus Institut, Germany – http://www.passiv.de. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Passivhaus_thermogram_gedaemmt_ungedaemmt.png#/media/File:Passivhaus_thermogram_gedaemmt_ungedaemmt.png