Our Energy Guelph endeavours to answer as many questions as possible regarding its mission and about the Community Energy Initiative in general. Please read through the questions here. If you have a question of your own, please fill in the form at the bottom of this page.
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.
What is the cost of CEI since 2007?
Costs and revenue associated with community-led energy projects (those not initiated by the City) are not necessarily reported as part of the CEI. The City cannot comment on projects funded by others. The CEI is not just one energy project run by one organization. It’s a platform for individuals and organizations throughout the community to use energy differently than we have in the past. Examples include:
- Rooftop solar installations on the roofs of businesses, churches and homes
- Privately-owned electric vehicles and charging equipment
- Electric vehicle charging stations in a mall and other sites
- Promotion of residential and commercial electricity and natural gas conservation (several provincial and utilities manage several kinds of incentive programs)
- Energy audits offered by several not-for-profit organizations
- University of Guelph’s sustainability projects, including conservation and district energy
- Polycon use of combined heat and power system
The City’s projects have included:
- Water conservation projects
- Improving the efficiency of City buildings
- LED street-lighting pilot program
- Rooftop solar on River Run Centre, Public Works Building, Guelph Lawn Bowling Club, three Fire Department buildings
- Ground-mounted solar under the Speedvale water tower
- Biogas from the Eastview landfill plant
In recent months, City Council has heard reports on two aspects of the CEI.
Investments made for energy efficiency and related activities within the city as a corporation is found in the July 18, 2016 report.
Are the people at your CEI Taskforce volunteers?
Participation on the Taskforce is voluntary and unpaid.
Are the CEP goals realistic (40% reduction in energy consumption)?
Yes they are. Guelph energy goals for 2031 were set using information from several European cities that were already performing at these energy levels back in 2007.