Why Review the CEI Now?
The Community Energy Initiative (CEI) was first implemented in 2007. Since then, the context and conditions that impact community energy initiatives have changed dramatically.
What has changed?
- Guelph was one of the first communities to create a CEI. Today, more than 150 communities representing more than 50% of the Canadian population have embarked on energy initiatives. Guelph can learn from this long list of peers to develop an improved version of its ground-breaking CEI.
- The onset of cost-competitive distributed energy resources (DERs) has forced electricity systems and utilities to change. Consumers have been empowered by the declining cost of “solar plus storage” and improvements in energy efficiency, which has the potential to drive ratepayers away from utilities (called "grid-deflection"). Utility companies are still working to adapt to this change.
- With Ontario moving away from coal, the electricity system is far less greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive than it was ten years ago. Now, the sectors that produce the most GHG-intensive sectors are transportation, industry, and buildings. These sectors can be engaged directly by local energy initiatives
- Electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles are re-shaping urban mobility patterns and fuel supply infrastructures. This will have a direct and increasingly significant impact on Guelph’s broader urban planning processes and objectives.
- Federal and provincial governments increasingly rely on and mandate that municipalities establish local plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Guelph can align with this paradigm shift and determine how to fulfill its mandate through a more advanced CEI.
- The governance of Ontario’s energy system is rapidly decentralizing, as exemplified by the IESO Integrated Regional Resource Planning process. This allows municipalities to play a more significant role in the electricity planning process. In 2014, the Ontario Energy Board implemented a Renewed Regulatory Framework for Electricity which, among other things, requires Distribution System Plans to improve coordination between utilities.
By reviewing the CEI, Our Energy Guelph can respond to these changes and assess what works best for Guelph going forward. The improved CEI can incorporate lessons from other cities and plan for the next few decades of sustainable energy in Guelph.