British Columbia – smart energy communities are growing


Victoria, BC, Canada — (METERING.COM) — August 12, 2013

Community level energy solutions are growing rapidly in the Canadian province of British Columbia, leading to the formation of an increasing number of smarter energy communities – and offering lessons to other jurisdictions and communities that want to do likewise.

These have been driven largely by the climate action commitments of the province and local governments, with support from the main utilities, BC Hydro and FortisBC, which are taking an increasingly integrated approach to communities and energy.

In a progress report on what is termed in Canada as ‘integrated community energy solutions’ (ICES), British Columbia reports that since 2010, almost half of its 190 local governments presently have a plan to reduce energy and emissions in their community. Further, 181 local governments have implemented over 3,600 actions to save energy and emissions in their operations and across their communities in the two years of 2010 and 2011.

The ICES concept was developed by the Canadian Council of Energy Ministers in 2009, involving an integrated approach to energy across the silos of land use and community, housing and buildings, local community services, transportation, energy supply and distribution, and industry.

Other findings in the progress report are that:

  • Increasing numbers of communities are integrating land use, transportation and building planning through greater integration of engineering and planning departments
  • Discrete ICES elements are being deployed, among them more than 30 district energy systems and more than 500 electric vehicle charging stations.
  • While over the last 5 years significant provincial legislation and policies have been established that are supportive of ICES, hindrances continue to exist, such as concurrent authority in building code, which limits what local governments can do to require efficient buildings; and decisions/recommendations by utility regulating authorities that do not enable transformation of the energy market to one more aligned with ICES objectives.

“Smart energy communities are being successfully built all across Canada with many leading edge examples coming out of British Columbia,” said Michael Harcourt, Former Premier of British Columbia and Chair of QUEST (Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow).

QUEST is a national non-profit organization supported by a collaborative network of partners that undertakes research, policy analysis, outreach, and capacity building to advance smart energy communities in Canada.

The ICES roadmap envisages acceleration of the initiative up to 2020, followed by large scale adoption by 2050.