Oakville endorses Community Energy Strategy
February 26, 2020
Oakville’s Town Council endorsed a Community Energy Strategy last night. It was an important milestone in their community energy planning journey and their response to the climate emergency.
The key building blocks of the strategy were as one might have expected. Objectives and targets for home and building, industrial and transportation efficiency as well as local energy generation and distribution were recommended.
Community consensus on the strategy was noteworthy but even that was not the most remarkable feature of the evening. Rather, it was the understanding in the room of the magnitude of the change that will be required over the next 30 years and the urgency to act. The informed and sophisticated conversation about the key role district energy will play in supporting a rationale pathway to a low carbon future was refreshing.
There was unequivocal buy-in to build a new partnership between government, business and community. Support for an implementation management office to promote local collaboration and innovation was a bold affirmation of that commitment.
Many Canadian communities have set aspirational goals – a recent example is a community that has set a goal to be carbon neutral in 10 years – but lack a strategy to achieve them. Oakville has taken a different path by aligning their goals with global best practice and what can be achieved using existing technology, systems and knowledge. It is an honest approach because it keeps transparent the gap between our current knowledge and capabilities and where climate science tells us we need to be. With an awareness of this gap, we can push for even deeper innovation and collaboration. Just achieving global best practice, as it stands today, will stretch all of us in the years to come.