Making It Happen

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Integrated Community Energy Solutions (ICES) promise to yield substantial improvements in energy performance and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Federal, provincial and territorial governments could support ICES implementation through the use of various enabling tools, as appropriate to each jurisdiction, and through inter- and intra-jurisdictional cooperation.

Overarching Strategies

To support the adoption of Integrated Community Energy Solutions (ICES) in Canada, federal, provincial and territorial governments can pursue their own strategies, taking into consideration their specific circumstances. The following are overarching strategies that could guide the development of supportive environments for ICES.

Cooperate with other jurisdictions. In advancing ICES, federal, provincial and territorial governments could benefit from working together to establish coordinated and complementary strategies.

Lead within own jurisdiction. Energy departments could also play a leadership role within their own areas of influence while working collaboratively with other departments.

Adopt both a holistic and an incremental approach. The transition to ICES requires the development of solid holistic planning foundations on which to move forward. However, while these foundations are being established and even afterward, the implementation of ICES will be through incremental transformation of communities, one project, block, neighbourhood, facility or transit system at a time.

Empower local governments. Local governments have a leadership role to play in implementing ICES. Federal, provincial and territorial governments could facilitate this role by creating a supportive environment, which could address authority, capacity and resource challenges facing local governments.

Establish a market transformation framework. Facilitate the transition of communities across Canada with a comprehensive market transformation framework to realize the full potential of ICES.

A Three-Phase Transition Approach

Communities that are just beginning the process of implementing ICES can benefit from lessons learned by Canadian communities that have overcome the challenges associated with ICES implementation. International experience with ICES, especially in Europe, also demonstrates the feasibility of ICES and provides models for communities to follow.

To facilitate the transition to a new business-as-usual environment where ICES are the norm, a three-phase approach is proposed. Tools described in the “Menu of Enabling Tools” (on page 21) may be included in these three phases by jurisdictions as they develop their own strategies. Examples are provided here to illustrate the proposed approach.

Phase I: Quick Starts for Early Impacts (2010–2015), in the short term, could begin with quick-start projects as well as large-scale demonstration and pilot projects that deliver early results, provide lessons learned and set the stage for future broader application of ICES. For example, more projects similar to those highlighted in this document may result when communities are encouraged to take advantage of existing programs and by adjusting other programs to increase support for ICES. This phase could also lead to a marked increase in the number of communities developing community energy plans or local action plans that incorporate a specific focus on ICES. These plans are essential to identifying opportunities, supporting the development of business cases for ICES projects and preparing for the acceleration called for in Phase II. Establishment of community level targets, like those required in British Columbia’s Local Government (Green Communities) Statutes Amendment Act, could also help lay the foundations for future phases. Creation of a network of experts could support the development of information and best practices as well as the sharing of ICES expertise that could help all three phases.

Phase II: Acceleration (2010–2020) has a medium-term focus but could also start to establish the foundations necessary for the acceleration of ICES implementation. This acceleration is important if ICES are to make a significant contribution to the 2020 climate change and energy efficiency targets. Activities for this phase could include the development of programs, policy and regulations that support large-scale adoption of ICES and create a supportive environment for private sector investments; research to improve the quantification of the benefits of ICES and to prepare business cases; and increased support for research and development activities aimed at validating and improving existing technologies as well as the development of tools to support ICES decision making.

Phase III: Large-Scale Adoption (2020–2050) has a long-term focus but could also start now with actions to develop the next generation of ICES technologies, offering the prospect of new opportunities and facilitating the large-scale adoption of ICES. Activities for this phase could include policies and regulations that can be phased in over time; long-term funding covering all stages of the innovation cycle to support the development of the next generation of ICES methods and technologies; and ICES training programs and certification processes to facilitate rapid adoption of the next generation of ICES technologies.

A Three-Phase Transitional Approach.
text version - figure 5

Figure 5

Phase I: Quick Starts for Early Impacts (2010–2015)
Phase II: Acceleration (2010–2020)
Phase III: Large-Scale Adoption (2020–2050)

This is a photo of construction workers laying district energy piping.
District heating pipes connect the thermal energy supply to customer buildings. (Lansdale Energy Corporation, North Vancouver, British Columbia)

Fostering and Enabling

To advance ICES, the enabling tools listed below are organized according to the Market Transformation Framework elements from Moving Forward.

Policies and Regulations. Policies and regulations for areas such as planning and land use, energy, buildings, and taxation shape how communities look and operate. Effective policies encourage local authorities and other decision-makers to integrate energy, land-use, transportation and infrastructure considerations.

Technology, Best Practices and Decision-support Tools. Reliable, high-performance technological solutions are needed to maximize the effectiveness of ICES and facilitate wide-scale adoption. The development and validation of new technology, including the tools that facilitate analysis of alternatives and guide decision-makers, are important. The results of pilot and demonstration projects verify performance and can be disseminated to increase knowledge of the available technologies, best practices and tools.

Information. High quality, community-level standardized energy measurement and information is important for understanding evolving energy use. It supports target-setting, decision making, communicating priorities to stakeholders, quantification, progress reporting and evaluating the success of ICES initiatives.

Capacity Building. Decision-makers, professionals and technicians require the capacity to understand, identify, evaluate and implement ICES opportunities. This includes access to the analytic capacity to evaluate costs and benefits and to the technical and process capacity to design and implement solutions.

Leadership Opportunities. Advancing ICES on a wide scale requires the active engagement of leaders at all levels of governments and across a wide range of stakeholder groups. These leaders could be supported in developing their visions of how ICES opportunities can be realized within their own organizations and at the community level. Working together, leaders can also develop networks and collaboratives to accelerate progress. Governments could also provide leadership by implementing ICES within their own facilities.

Market Stimulation. Market stimulation can accelerate ICES uptake and help to manage the transition to wide-scale implementation. Market instruments can include government support for early adopters and large-scale piloting, incentives, mechanisms to underwrite liability, long-term funding commitments for R&D activities, supportive energy rate structures and a commitment to support commercialization of proven technologies. Financial tools to understand and manage risk, promote market recognition and create increased perceived value by customers can all encourage the wide-scale uptake of ICES.

Menu of Enabling Tools

Experience in Canada and abroad has identified practical tools that the federal, provincial and territorial governments can use to realize the potential of ICES. A list of two dozen such tools is provided below, organized under each element of the Market Transformation Framework. Jurisdictions could prioritize and choose from this list to support their own strategies and to achieve their own short- and long-term objectives. They could also add tools specifically designed for their specific environments, as some of the tools described below may not be appropriate for all jurisdictions. The tools listed under each element could be used in combination to maximize contribution to the three phases of transition.

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