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Community Energy Investment Strategy      

Over the past two years, the Region of Waterloo has been working with our local electricity and natural gas utilities and area municipalities to prepare a Community Energy Investment Strategy for the next 20 to 25 years.

The Strategy will:Energy graphic

  • Benefit our quality of life by helping residents and employers save on energy
  • Benefit the local economy by identifying the types of projects that will keep more money spent on energy circulating within the region
  • Benefit our environment by identifying cleaner more sustainable sources of energy

We now need your views on if the draft Strategy that has been prepared includes what it needs to achieve these benefits within Waterloo Region. 
We want your feedback on this strategy. Participate now!

Why this strategy matters:

Every day we take actions that rely on energy:

  • cooking
  • turning on lights or equipment
  • driving our cars and trucks

As this region continues to grow, we need to look at how much our energy use is costing us, both financially and environmentally, as well as how we can reduce those costs. Residents and businesses are concerned about rising energy prices. Electricity, heating fuel and gasoline prices have all risen faster than inflation since about 1998, as shown in the graph below. CPI stands for Consumer Price Index, which is how inflation is measured.

Energy graph

While we can't control energy prices, we can control our energy consumption and costs. In 2014, almost $2.1 billion was spent on energy in Waterloo Region. About 87 per cent of that money left the region considering the types of energy that this community is using. For example, most gasoline, diesel and natural gas is sourced from Alberta or other places outside Ontario. We can keep more of that money that we spend on energy in Waterloo Region through:

  • conservation
  • efficiency
  • more local energy production and fuel switching

energy infographic showing how we spend our energy and how much of that stays in Waterloo Region

Improving our energy efficiency

A one per cent improvement in energy efficiency across all types of energy resources equals about $21 million dollars saved that local residents and employers can use for other purposes. Energy efficiency can be achieved by accessing local incentives from our utilities or using more fuel efficient or electric vehicles.  Much of the money spent on energy efficiency improvements will also employ local product and service providers such as renovators, local furnace/window suppliers and installers, which has an added benefit for the local economy.

Keeping energy production local

More money spent on energy can be kept within the community if more power, fuel and heating/cooling services are created locally. Many opportunities to produce energy or fuel locally are included within the Strategy.  Some examples of these opportunities include:

  • biogas and biofuels from local organic and agricultural wastes
  • ground and air source heat pumps
  • solar hot water heating and solar photovoltaic electricity used within our buildings

If  10 per cent of our energy needs could be  generated locally, about $210 million would remain in our community based on local energy use in 2014. As energy prices continue to rise, the value of keeping more energy dollars in the region also increases.

Next steps

We now need your views on if the draft Strategy that has been prepared includes what it needs to achieve these benefits within Waterloo Region.  The table below lists the next steps in finalizing this strategy development process.

Project stage Date
Draft Strategy open for public comment through Regional website, social media, presentations to stakeholders engaged during the local energy planning process (2016 - 2017) Mid November to Mid December 2017
Region and partners revise Strategy based on feedback and prepare final version for approval  Mid December 2017 to end of January 2018
Present Final Strategy to Regional/Local Municipal Councils and utility boards for final approval February 2018
Submit Strategy to Ontario Ministry of Energy February 28, 2018

Participate

Get involved in the Community Energy Investment Strategy and help shape the policies and actions that are considered in the final plan. Which actions or policies do you think the Region and our partners should prioritize to help grow the economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the resilience of the energy system?

Read the full draft Community Energy Investment Strategy

Read the summary document

There are also four detailed supplementary documents to the Strategy that provide the following information:

  1. A base line analysis of energy use in this region as of 2014 and projected to 2041;
  2. What we heard from the community during the Stakeholder Engagement activities conducted during 2016 and 2017;
  3. A technical document addressing the policy context for energy planning, the energy system that serves this community, details of the energy used in Waterloo Region as well as a description of the opportunities evaluated within the Strategy; and,
  4. Research on financial mechanisms and business models that support the implementation of energy projects.

These more detailed documents are available upon request from David Roewade, Sustainability Specialist by contacting him at the following email address: droewade@regionofwaterloo.ca .

Public and stakeholder comments will be collected until December 14th through the following methods:

  • A brief online survey available on the Engage Waterloo Region social media platform. The survey questions are structured around the Strategy's goals and objectives. https://www.peakdemocracy.com/portals/274/forum_home
  • Written submission to David Roewade, Sustainability Specialist at the Region of Waterloo by email at droewade@regionofwaterloo.ca 
  • During feedback sessions from presentations to stakeholder groups engaged during the development of the Strategy.

For additional information, David Roewade can be reached at: 519 575 4400 extension 3308.

Supporters

Region of Waterloo logo City of Cambridge logo City of Kitchener logo City of Waterloo logo
Energy plus logo Kitchener Utilities logo Kitchener Wilmot Hydro logo Waterloo North Hydro logo

 Union Gas logo  

Additional financial support is provided by:

This project is also supported by the Community Energy Association, QUEST and Sustainable Prosperity as part of the Community Energy Planning: Getting to Implementation in Canada initiative.

Resources

 

 

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