Emerging energy professionals
January 4, 2016
I taught my first class today on Community, Energy and Planning. I am feeling lucky to have this opportunity to spend time with emerging energy professionals as they embark on their careers and follow their passion to build a more sustainable future.
Graduate students in the Masters of Environmental Studies and Planning programs at York University are enrolled in the class. It is an exciting time for them as the field of community energy planning continues to grow and develop in Canada. They can be part of shaping the path to smart energy communities.
I have watched at least four trends emerge in community energy planning. Plans are becoming more integrated. They typically include demand-side activities, like home energy efficiency retrofits, to improve energy efficiency for end-users. Increasingly, they are also including supply-side activities, like district energy and combined heat and power, to address system inefficiency and enhance local energy security. Plans are turning more often to renewable energy solutions as the price for these technologies continues to drop. Meanwhile, the economic development opportunities associated with community energy planning are becoming better understood and the relationship between urban form and energy management is leading to new ways of thinking about the land-use planning process.
All of this, and more, represents fertile ground for innovation and creative minds.