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Laura Tozer

Community energy plans: implementation success and barriers in Canadian cities Laura Tozer A research paper submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Geography, Collaborative Program in Environmental Studies University of Toronto

Š Laura Tozer 2010

Community Energy Plans Implementation success and barriers in Canadian cities

ABSTRACT Sustainable development and climate change concerns have motivated many local authorities to reassess the energy system on which they depend. Some municipalities in Canada have developed community energy plans, which focus on energy needs at the local level for the development of efficient, economic and environmental energy systems. Five Canadian cities that were early adopters of community energy planning principles were studied in this paper to assess whether community energy plans are being implemented in practice and what barriers have been experienced. The cities studied achieved success in the implementation of energy management in municipal operations despite barriers in jurisdiction, perception of cost, communication, and capacity, but energy management in the larger community had not been fully implemented. Energy conservation and efficiency were a particular focus for the case study cities, but implementation of renewable energy generation was also successful in some instances. Long term changes in communitywide energy management such as combined heat and power systems and land use planning were present but not prevalent. While reductions were successfully made in the greenhouse gas emissions produced by municipal operations, greenhouse gas emissions were not significantly reduced for the whole community in most of the case studies. The expansion of community energy planning as a tool to rethink the way that a city grows and functions will be key if community energy planning is to significantly impact community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

KEYWORDS: energy management; municipalities; community energy planning; renewable energy; cities; urban planning; environmental planning; local climate change action plan


TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ...................................................................... 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS ................................................. 2 LIST OF FIGURES ......................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ........................................................... 4 1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................ 6 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................... 10 2.1 Community Energy Planning ...........................................................10 2.1.1 Economic and Social Rationale for Community Energy Planning ........................................................................................... 14 2.1.2 Community Engagement ......................................................... 16 2.1.3 Research Gaps in Community Energy Planning..................... 17 2.2 Success and Barriers in Municipal Climate Change Policy Implementation ......................................................................................18 2.3 Implementation Research................................................................22

3. CASE STUDIES ........................................................ 24 3.1 Calgary ............................................................................................24 3.2 Halifax ..............................................................................................24 3.3 Vancouver........................................................................................25 3.4 Guelph .............................................................................................26 3.5 Pickering ..........................................................................................27

4. RESEARCH METHODS ......................................... 28 4.1 Case Study Methodology and Implementation Research ...............28


4.2 Research Locations and Participants ..............................................29 4.3 Recruitment Strategy .......................................................................30 4.4 Interview Methods............................................................................30 4.4 Data Collection and Analysis ...........................................................31 4.5 Research Strengths and Limitations................................................32

5. RESULTS .................................................................. 34 5.1 Continued Relevance of Community Energy Plans ........................35 5.1.1 Guelph ..................................................................................... 37 5.1.2 Calgary .................................................................................... 39 5.1.3 Vancouver ............................................................................... 41 5.1.4 Pickering.................................................................................. 43 5.1.5 Halifax ..................................................................................... 45 5.2 Barriers to the Implementation of Community Energy Plans ..........48 5.4 Success in the Implementation of Community Energy Plans ..........53 5.4.1 Areas of Success .................................................................... 54 5.4.2 Reasons for Success .............................................................. 57 5.5 Evaluation ........................................................................................65

6. DISCUSSION ............................................................. 67 6.1 Shared Purpose, Different Vocabularies .........................................67 6.2 The Different Paths of Implementation ............................................68 6.3 A Typology of Barriers .....................................................................70 6.4 Expanding Community Energy Planning .........................................73 6.5 Concluding Remarks .......................................................................74

APPENDIX A: ETHICS APPROVAL ......................... 77 APPENDIX B: RECRUITMENT EMAIL .................... 78 APPENDIX C: INFORMED CONSENT FORM ....... 79 APPENDIX D: INTERVIEW GUIDE .......................... 80 REFERENCES .............................................................. 82 3

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. A conceptual arrangement of various plans related to community energy plans for a theoretical community motivated by climate change concerns.............................................................. 13 Figure 2. Degree of implementation of energy management activities at the municipal operations and community level for the five case study cities. ........................................................................ 36

LIST OF TABLES Table 1. The greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and the recent emissions of the case study cities ................................... 35





Energy has traditionally been generated and managed regionally in Canada employing centralized, complex technical and social infrastructure. This energy system has been dependent on fossil fuel and large-scale hydro power plants, but sustainable development and environmental concerns, particularly climate change, have motivated many jurisdictions to reassess their energy use and the type of energy generation technology on which they depend. In the context of this changing energy system, an opportunity has developed to transition to a distributed energy system employing smaller scale, efficient, and renewable energy technologies with increased local management (Hoffman and HighPippert, 2005; St. Denis and Parker, 2009). In recognition of this, over the last several years some Canadian communities have developed community energy plans (St. Denis and Parker, 2009).

A community energy plan (CEP) is a plan focused on energy needs at the local level for the development of efficient, economic and environmental energy systems (Jaccard et al., 1997; St. Denis and Parker, 2009). In a community energy planning process, a community considers its energy system in a holistic sense and seeks to match end-use services with the most well-suited energy technology. This strategic planning process stresses a long-term view of the energy system and can incorporate a number of different energy management activities. From building efficiency, to renewable energy generation, to passive heating and cooling, community energy planning seeks to redesign energy systems to meet energy needs in the most efficient way possible while


respecting economic and environmental considerations. The CEPs developed in Canada have outlined communities’ planned efforts to increase local management of their energy systems, particularly in the areas of energy efficiency, conservation and local renewable energy generation. Energy efficiency refers to both the ability to provide services with less energy input on the demand side and the reduction of wasted energy on the supply side in energy generation and delivery. Energy conservation involves a reduction in the energy that is demanded in order to provide a service (St. Denis and Parker, 2009). With successful implementation of CEPs, communities hope to reap not only the social, economic and environmental benefits associated with climate change mitigation, but the additional benefits associated with increased local energy management such as the distribution of control over energy systems, local energy independence, and cost savings from efficient energy use (Jaccard et al., 1997; Hoffman and Pippert, 2005; NRCan, 2007).

Many communities are using CEPs in order to strive for the reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to avoid catastrophic climate change (IPCC, 2007; St. Denis and Parker, 2009). However, there is significant evidence that the emission reduction targets must be deeper and quicker than those included in the IPCC reports (McMullen, 2009). While community energy planning has taken place in many communities, it is not clear if the plans are resulting in more economic, efficient and environmental local energy systems in practice and if the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are happening quickly and extensively enough to meet scientists’ recommendations to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Municipalities will be important loci for the transition to a sustainable energy system. Local governments in Canada “have the potential to create sustainable communities through the critical functions of land use planning, utility provision,


transportation, infrastructure development, and waste management� (Burch, 2009). Local governments have shown that they are willing to take on the sustainable development agenda, they tend to coordinate action between a variety of partners at different scales, and they have extensive experience addressing environmental issues, which makes them well-placed to take action to work toward sustainable energy systems (Betsill, 2001; Bulkeley and Betsill, 2005). They also have jurisdiction over approximately 52% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, which means that the implementation of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the municipal level will be an integral element of efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change (Robinson and Gore, 2005). However, studies of local governments’ efforts to implement environmental policies have shown that municipalities can face significant barriers. Politics, institutional obstacles, jurisdiction, capacity, funding, and low prioritization by local leadership have all been identified as barriers to the implementation of climate change policies in municipalities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. (Robinson and Gore, 2005; Allman, 2004; Wheeler, 2008). While the content of community energy plans in Canada has been analyzed (St. Denis and Parker, 2009), the implementation of Canadian CEPs has not been assessed and it is unclear whether or not they are being carried out.

This research paper assesses CEP implementation in Canadian cities to discover whether CEPs are being implemented or if they remain plans on paper, and develops a general typology of barriers facing CEP implementation in Canadian cities. The research focuses on the cities of Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax, Guelph and Pickering, which were early adopters of community energy planning principles in Canada. Research questions include whether commitment to the plan is maintained as implementation occurs, whether efficiency, conservation, generation, transportation and land-use planning aspects of CEPs are being implemented with equal success, where success in implementation has been achieved, and if any barriers to implementation exist. These questions


were put to seventeen participants including municipal and utility employees, politicians and community group members from the five case study cities. The degree of implementation will be summarized using the five categories of advanced (well beyond pilot projects, implementation is broad and consistently applied), preliminary (pilot projects or partial implementation), research (further knowledge is being pursued in preparation for implementation, or information is being provided), attempted (implementation is being attempted but no headway is being made) and none (no implementation of this activity).

This research paper shows that the case study cities have achieved success in implementing actions focused on municipal operations, particularly in the areas of energy efficiency and conservation, but the implementation of energy projects that affected the broader community as a whole was less common. The case study cities faced similar barriers despite disparate paths of implementation and achieved success when they adopted CEP principles into general decisionmaking, built partnerships, and thought creatively about their areas of influence.

This paper is organized into the following chapters; chapter two is a literature review of community energy planning and municipal climate change policy implementation; chapter three briefly outlines the community energy plans adopted by the five case study cities; chapter four describes the research methods; chapter five presents the research results; and chapter six is a discussion of the research findings.




2.1 Community Energy Planning “[Community energy planning] combines planning concepts – neo-traditional design, complete communities, green cities – with energy management concepts – energy cascading, demand-side management, integrated resource planning.”

Jaccard, Failing and Berry (1997) The modern energy system in Canada has been characterized by large scale, centralized fossil fuel and hydro power plants with transmission lines spanning the country. The establishment of this centralized energy system dependent on long distance transmission through the electrical grid represented major achievements in scientific fields ranging from metallurgy to electronics, but it also required a parallel social system of equally complex managerial institutions run by “technical elites largely free from the world of democratic citizenship” (Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2005). The requirement for complex management systems resulted in a centralization of regional energy planning that required little input from local communities (Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2005; St. Denis and Parker, 2009). Amory Lovins described this hard energy path in 1977 and pointed out that it “depends on difficult, large-scale projects requiring a major social commitment under centralized management” (Lovins, 1977).

Opportunities have emerged to shift toward a largely decentralized system with distributed renewable power generation technology in combination with energy conservation and efficiency in a soft energy path system first described by Lovins (1977). This shift makes sense from environmental, social, political,


medical, long-term economic, and technical perspectives (Mendonça et al., 2010), but the motivation presented by climate change is the most urgent. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that developed countries must peak their greenhouse gas emissions in the next couple of years and decline greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25-40% from 1990 levels by 2020 to have a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change (IPCC, 2007). The rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency is an integral part of making these necessary reductions (Mendonça et al., 2010). Wind, solar, geothermal, and water power technologies have reached the necessary levels of efficiency and reliability as well as economic feasibility in broad range of applications (Burda and Peters, 2008; Mendonça et al., 2010) and have the potential to “become the backbone” of the new energy system (Mendonça et al., 2010).

In recognition of this context, many Canadian communities have formed community energy plans (CEPs) to change the way that energy is managed locally (St. Denis and Parker, 2009). This effort to achieve flexible, sustainable, autonomous energy systems at the local level has been pursued by other countries and jurisdictions across the world, with notable success in Denmark which features district combined heat and power (Clark and Eisenberg, 2008). Community energy plans are community-led plans that aim to increase and improve local energy management. Community energy planning can be defined as “a planning and management process that focuses on energy strategies that can be implemented at the neighbourhood, municipal or regional level” (Jaccard et al., 1997) and more broadly as “the concept of strategically planning for a community’s energy needs and use to result in the implementation of efficient, economical and environmental energy systems” (St Denis and Parker, 2009). Communities can generally focus on three areas in order to improve their energy systems: energy efficiency, energy conservation and switching energy generation to renewable energy technologies, but the particular mix of these


three options in a CEP are contingent on the local communities’ values and priorities (St. Denis and Parker, 2009). Energy efficiency “refers to how well the supply side performs in ensuring little waste of energy in generation and delivery, as well as, the demand side of energy management’s ability to perform desired services with less energy input” (St. Denis and Parker, 2009). Energy conservation is “any measure made to reduce the amount of high quality energy that is demanded to provide goods or services” (St. Denis and Parker, 2009). Renewable energy generation helps to ensure that energy supply meets demand, but it does so in a way that is more sustainable over the long-term than non-renewable energy since it is from regenerative sources, such as wind and solar (St. Denis and Parker, 2009; Mendonça et al., 2010). Renewable energy generation could be both regional and/or local depending on the energy, environmental, and social needs that a community is trying to meet. Overall, improvements in these areas can significantly reduce the expected increase in Canada’s energy demands (NRCan, 2007).

The goals and programs found in community energy plans can often be found in other types of local plans as well. Some communities put energy goals into broader environmental plans, while others create dedicated energy plans (St. Denis and Parker, 2009). ‘Community energy management’ is often used as a synonym for community energy planning and ‘local action plan for climate change’ and often includes elements of community energy planning (Jaccard et al., 1997; St. Denis and Parker, 2009). St. Denis and Parker (2009) note that “not all [local climate change action plans] take on the task of an entire community energy plan, some focus on only one or a few projects to reduce their municipal GHG emissions”. Greenhouse gas emissions and energy are so linked, however, that the Community Energy Association (2008) in BC suggests the development of ‘community energy and emissions plans’, combining both efforts. This paper will use the term community energy plans (CEPs) to discuss the energy management aspects of these plans, which can include energy


conservation, energy efficiency, local renewable energy generation, transportation planning and land use planning (Jaccard et al., 1997; St. Denis and Parker, 2009). A conceptual illustration of the relationship between different types of plans is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 A conceptual arrangement of various plans related to community energy plans for a theoretical community motivated by climate change concerns.

This conceptual relationship is illustrative only since, in an applied context, many communities combine or deconstruct various elements of the figure depending on their motivations and concerns. A community may separate out land use planning as a stand-alone subset of the official plan rather than as a part of the community energy plan, for example, if it is particularly concerned with rapid growth. Community energy planning is not necessarily a component within a climate change plan, but at present is often employed in this context due to the current high level of concern about climate change.

The formation of a community energy plan is an emerging trend in Canada (St. Denis and Parker, 2009). In a preliminary assessment of the content of ten


Canadian communities’ CEPs, St. Denis and Parker (2009) found that CEP formulation typically includes support from national agencies or networks such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and that the levels of public participation and the mix of stakeholders that are involved in CEP development varies. Municipalities generally set higher goals for greenhouse gas emission reduction in municipal operations than for the overall community. Renewable energy is a particularly important area of CEPs for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it has been underemphasized in the CEPs of Canadian communities (St. Denis and Parker, 2009).

2.1.1 Economic and Social Rationale for Community Energy Planning In addition to the benefits related to climate change mitigation, community energy planning is attractive to communities for additional reasons. Jaccard et al. (1997) modelled the impacts of the theoretical implementation of a standard community energy plan for several communities in BC and demonstrated the costs and benefits that would be associated with the implementation of a CEP compared to business as usual. The CEP they used incorporated a densification of urban dwellings to accommodate population growth, assumed that a variety of local and imported energy options were available (district heating was stressed), and influenced vehicle occupancy rates. The results of this study indicated that a CEP with the parameters constructed by Jaccard et al. could lead to energy savings of 15-30% and a reduction of air emissions (CO2 and NOx) by 30-45%, all while achieving a cost savings of 15-30% in the life-cycle costs of energy services compared to business as usual. In addition, cost savings per tonne of CO2 abated in transportation ranged from $140 to $230 and for building measures ranged from $28 to $78 (Jaccard et al., 1997). Furthermore, Jaccard et al. (1997) found that “energy supply related investments in the [CEP] scenario tend to produce two to three times more jobs in the local economy than in the [business as usual] scenario�. While the results


were theoretical and the life-cycle analysis conducted in this study tends to hide potential real-life barriers to implementation (for example, high up-front capital costs), this study clearly demonstrates why communities have an interest in community energy planning. Managing energy for environmental and social goals does not mean reducing a community’s standard of living. Instead, a thorough understanding of energy needs can allow for a redistribution of energy use to provide the same services (NRCan, 2007). Furthermore, a community that pursues a significant reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions does not necessarily face increased costs and can, in fact, save money (Jaccard et al., 1997; NRCan, 2007).

Energy management at the local level characteristically occurs with more social input than in regionally managed energy systems, which means that locally managed energy systems can be more consistent with local values, resources and needs, and can also be more agile in adapting to threats or opportunities (Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2005; Lerch, 2007). Community energy planning can allow for an link to be established between local generation and consumption, “which in turn can be beneficial in reducing the negative impact energy generation and consumption has on the environment, economy and social aspects of the community” (St. Denis and Parker, 2009). This linkage transforms decisions about the development of the energy system from a series of individual, technical, entrepreneurial decisions into a social process. Many authors have recognized the opportunity for new energy technologies associated with the contextual changes that have allowed for a potential change in the energy system, but fewer have recognized that these significant social implications and possibilities that are embedded in sustainable energy technologies (Bell et al., 2005; Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2005; Barry et al., 2008). Community energy is also seen as a tool to achieve an environmentally benign electricity system. Hoffman and High-Pippert (2005) write that “more environmentally benign choices will almost certainly flow from enhanced public


participation in that people will want to make choices that do the least harm to themselves, their families, and their communities�. As such, environmentally benign energy systems and community energy management may be conurturing and foster energy systems that are socially, environmentally and economically acceptable to the community.

2.1.2 Community Engagement Community engagement in the CEP process varies in practice (St. Denis and Parker, 2009), but some argue that it should be an integral component (Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2005). Community energy planning may be a process that just engages citizens interested and actively involved in democratic debates of all sorts already according to Hoffman and High-Pippert (2005). They argue, however, that a more robust conceptualization of community energy planning would involve the engagement of a broader swath of democratic society, engaging citizens with diverse interests and levels of involvement in municipal affairs (Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2005). Hoffman and High-Pippert (2005) suggest that engagement in community energy could be guided by Barber’s (1984) concept of a strong democracy where participants are drawn broadly from society in a sustained pattern of participation. Nonetheless, many difficult problems emerge in the community planning process. Hoffman and HighPippert (2005) point to considerations about; ‌how citizens might be brought into the process, the incentives they are given to remain, the reason for their loyalty and/or exit, the kind of work that is required of them, how best to facilitate an aggressive form of grassroots organizing, crafting long-term and wellstructured public education campaigns, communicating complex ideas to a largely nontechnical audience, forging the appropriate technical and expert networks, and striking the right balance between the expert and the citizen. Hoffman and High-Pippert (2005)


These complications can make public engagement difficult in both the formation of CEPs and their implementation. It has been argued that this engagement is necessary, however, for the success of the plan; a community energy plan should reflect the collective desires of a community while achieving the energy sustainability goals that were set out to be accomplished because “it is the community that must invest in the product, either in the built environment or the lifestyle change” (NRCan, 2007). The success of a distributed energy system is “at least partially dependent on issues of civic culture and society’s capacity to support or nurture community-based decision making” (Hoffman and HighPippert, 2005). While Lovins (1977) argues that citizens are ready and able to constructively contribute to the development of energy systems, others point out that the assumption that people want to contribute to fundamental energy choices in a democratic process is disputable (Hibbing and Theiss-Morse, 2002; Hoffman and High-Pippert, 2005). In practice, public participation in community energy planning seems to vary significantly, but it is not clear what impact this has in terms of success in implementation (St. Denis and Parker, 2009).

2.1.3 Research Gaps in Community Energy Planning Community energy planning has been modeled and analyzed theoretically, but it is not clear if a community energy planning approach is working in practice in Canada and which factors may be influencing its success or failure. Some authors have studied climate change plans generally, but this can include broader elements of addressing climate change (such as adaptation) and does not focus on the community energy framework specifically. It is not clear whether or not existing CEPs were treated as planning exercises from which the community quickly moved on or whether they are being seriously pursued in implementation. If a community is still committed to its CEP, it nonetheless may not be achieving success in implementation in all areas. Real-life barriers to the implementation of community energy plans have not been identified in the


literature. In addition, it is not clear if the varied levels of community participation that have been observed in practice in CEP formation will have an impact on the success and barriers realized in the implementation of a community energy plan. Research in these areas may have implications for the effectiveness of CEP planning and provide useful feedback for communities considering a community energy planning approach.

2.2 Success and Barriers in Municipal Climate Change Policy Implementation “Municipalities throughout Canada are likely to be struggling with the rapid pace of social change and the ever-evolving advice on climate change provided to them by the scientific community, making a richer understanding of barriers to action a valuable element of future climate change policy design and implementation.”

Burch (2009)

There are commonalities among the types of barriers experienced by municipalities in their attempts to implement environmental policies, which may mean that the same barriers recognized in the attempted implementation of general climate change plans will be experienced in municipalities’ attempts to implement specific community energy plans. This section summarizes the barriers that have been found to hold back climate change policy implementation in anticipation that similar issues may be found in the exploration of community energy plan implementation. Municipalities in Canada, the US and the UK have faced many barriers in their attempts to implement local climate change policies (Allman et al., 2004; Robinson and Gore, 2005; Wheeler, 2008; Burch, 2009; Dierwechter, 2010). A barrier to implementation can be broadly defined as any action that impedes action as set out in the policy or program (Robinson and Gore, 2005).

Robinson and Gore (2005) analyzed the results of a survey completed by 392 Canadian municipalities assessing the extent of Canadian municipalities’


response to climate change and barriers that were preventing them from addressing climate change. The main barriers included finances, human resources, knowledge, and capacity (Robinson and Gore, 2005). Robinson and Gore (2005) found that climate change had to be a high priority for both the local population and city council in order to elicit action in Canadian municipalities, which was also true of local authorities in the UK (Allman et al., 2004). A study which focused on successful action on climate change in three municipalities in BC also identified the low level of priority assigned to climate change by the local leadership as a barrier (Burch, 2009). In local authorities in Canada and the UK, a lack of awareness, information and capacity were cited as barriers by municipalities that were not acting on climate change (Robinson and Gore, 2005; Allman et al., 2004).

The implementation of climate change plans in cities in the U.S. has been studied. It was found that some plans were highly detailed while others were a series of bullet points, and most were freestanding climate change action plans rather than part of other plans (Wheeler, 2008). A main distinction between climate change plans in the US is those that seek to ‘green’ municipal operations to lead by example and those that seek to influence the wider community. Early plans in the US were prepared by a single department or consultant, but later plans had more extensive public involvement (Wheeler, 2008). A common element of the climate change action plans in the United States is to require utilities to purchase a set percentage of the power they provide from renewable energy sources, although the amount ranged widely (Wheeler, 2008). Wheeler (2008) found that the near-term goals of American state and city climate change action plans are too low and that progress toward meeting those goals is slow. Very few jurisdictions have released any sort of evaluation or progress report on implementation, but Wheeler (2008) found that many of the measures are not being implemented. Interviewees cited politics, controversy over which measure is best to implement first, institutional obstacles


and a sense of powerlessness because of the scale of the jurisdiction as reasons why many of the measures included in the climate change plans are not being implemented (Wheeler, 2008).

Allman et al. (2004) found that most local authorities in the UK have encountered significant barriers in their attempts to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation policies. They found that the municipalities that were able to achieve success in policy implementation were able to do so because they included in the policy frame the secondary benefits of addressing climate change (such as potential employment), they had the capacity to champion climate change activities, and they partnered with other groups to finance the activities. Authorities that did not engage in innovative funding arrangements cited funding issues as a barrier for implementation (Allman et al., 2004). Local authorities also felt that they lacked guidance from the regional government and other external bodies if they lacked the internal capacity to address climate change. A lack of commitment to the issue by elected representatives was also found to be a key barrier (Allman et al, 2004).

Municipalities are also limited by their jurisdictional and budgetary ability to respond to climate change. In particular, Canadian municipalities have been feeling a squeeze in capacity as a result of downloading and decreased transfer payments (Robinson and Gore, 2005). Some authors suggest that Canadian municipalities do not see global climate change as a local matter of concern, assuming that the responsibility for response lies with the provincial or federal governments (Betsill, 2001). As a result, climate change is often reframed from a global issue to one that is already on the local radar, such as air quality, which allows the municipality to implement a policy response that addresses both issues (Betsill, 2001). Jurisdiction can also act as a barrier due to issues with coordination. Local authorities in the UK felt constrained by the lack of a coordinated regional approach to action on climate change and municipalities in


BC felt that counter-productive provincial policies stood in the way of local success in implementation (Allman et al., 2004; Burch, 2009). Betsill (2001) questions whether local jurisdictions can have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of concerted regional or national policy. Barriers can also arise due to the municipality’s organizational structure or the institutional practices that are ingrained in day-to-day functions. Municipalities with weak communication linkages and ‘silo’ department structures isolate actions and prevent the kind of coordinated, comprehensive action that some argue is the most effective way to address climate change (Betsill, 2001; Robinson and Gore, 2005; Burch, 2009; Dierwechter, 2010).

While the specific barriers varied to some extent depending on the location, there are some clear commonalities. Jurisdiction issues, organizational structure, financing and cost, prioritization of climate change concerns, and capacity were all identified as barriers by municipalities that are attempting to implement climate change policies. Municipalities that had not yet attempted to implement climate change policies identified barriers due to the lack of information, capacity, awareness and prioritization of climate change by city council and constituents. In general, climate change policy “barriers are deeply interwoven phenomena, and may reinforce one another, creating substantial inertia behind unsustainable patterns of municipal operations” (Burch, 2009). These barriers may extend from general climate change policies to the specific implementation of community energy plans in Canadian municipalities.


2.3 Implementation Research “At a basic level...implementation research seeks to explain and describe how closely actual implementation meshes with original intended policies, why discrepancies or modifications occur, and what (if any) effect implementation has on subsequent policy decisions.”

Lennon and Corbett (2003) Implementation research can be defined as a general term that focuses on research asking “’What is happening?’ in the design, implementation, administration, operation, services, and outcomes of social programs” (Werner, 2004). Implementation has an independent impact on the outcomes of a policy or program, including reaching intended targets or goals (Vedung, 1997). Implementation research involves observing program or policy operations and measuring the degree to which they are operating as planned and it considers a program’s practical and theoretical feasibility, including if the agency has the resources and capacity available to implement the program as planned (Vedung, 1997; Lennon and Corbett, 2003; Werner, 2004). This type of research can go by many names, such as process analysis, management research or organizational analysis, but these generally lack definition and are often used interchangeably (Lennon and Corbett, 2003).

Implementation studies are commonly used to generalize conditions to a broader application, to develop typologies and to develop best practices (Lennon and Corbett, 2003). There are several key dimensions that characterize implementation studies, including that they seek to understand issues with policies or programs rather than just describe them. They employ both qualitative and quantitative analysis and seek to understand the wider environment in which a program is operating and they focus on implementation (rather than impact) by using the program, institution or organization as the unit of analysis (Lennon and Corbett, 2003). Analysis of implementation recognizes the dynamic environment in which policies are enacted and seeks to recognize


when discrepancies between program design and implementation occur due to normal operational responses versus failure of implementation (Holcomb and Nightingale, 2003). One of the advantages of implementation research is its flexibility. New lines of inquiry will unfold as more information about the program is understood (Werner, 2004).

There is no standard design of an implementation study. They can range from a top-down orientation focused on analyzing policy development and program structure to a street-level approach that focuses on the service delivery of the policy or program (Holcomb and Nightingale, 2003). A main theme is to provide an understanding of issues of interest, “such as how policy is interpreted in practice; how practice affects program performance; and what similarities and differences exist across program, across staff and work units, across locations, and over time� (Holcomb and Nightingale, 2003). Multiple data sources and types of analysis should be used in implementation studies in order to avoid the tendency toward becoming anecdotal (Holcomb and Nightingale, 2003).




Five Canadian cities were chosen as case studies in order to uncover the success and barriers that have been encountered in Canadian cities’ attempts to implement community energy plans.

3.1 Calgary The city of Calgary has a population of about 1,040,000 and is located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta (City of Calgary, 2009). A number of mountain resorts near the city draw tourists and much of the economic activity of Calgary is based on the oil and gas industry (Calgary, 2010).

Calgary adopted its community energy plan, called the ‘Calgary Climate Change Action Plan Target Minus 50’, in 2006 and set greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of 50% from 1990 levels by 2012 for municipal operations and 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2050 from 2005 levels for the entire community. Calgary’s CEP recommended action on energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation from a range of technologies in residential, commercial and municipal applications (Calgary, 2006; St. Denis and Parker, 2009).

3.2 Halifax The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) has a population of 350,000 (HRM, 2007). HRM is located on the southeast shore of Nova Scotia on the Atlantic Ocean and encompasses both larger urban centres (the former City of Halifax)


and small fishing and farming communities. The urban area of HRM is the largest urban area in Atlantic Canada (HRM, 2010). The port of Halifax and various resource-based industries are an important element of Halifax’s economic base (HRM, 2010).

The Regional Plan developed by HRM called for the establishment of a community energy plan. HRM followed this directive and published its ‘Community Energy Plan’ in 2007 and set greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of 20% below 2002 levels by 2012 for municipal operations and as well as for the entire community. Halifax’s CEP recommended research into possibilities for energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation. The renewable energies determined to be of interest were the use of biofuel, wood, solar thermal, solar PV and micro-hydro for municipal operations. Land use planning and transportation management were also important components of Halifax’s CEP (HRM, 2007).

3.3 Vancouver The city of Vancouver has a population of about 600,000, although there are 2.1 million in the Vancouver region (St. Denis and Parker, 2009; Vancouver, 2010). The City of Vancouver is one of 23 communities governed by the regional authority Metro Vancouver. Located on the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, the city of Vancouver has a mild coastal climate and is an important point for international trading through its port. Nature and sustainability as well as progressive social programs are prominent themes in Vancouver, which is sometimes advertised as “one of the world’s most liveable cities with one of the smallest carbon footprints of any major city in North America” (Vancouver, 2010).

The city of Vancouver developed greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in 1990 and 2000 through the Partners for Climate Protection program sponsored


by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In 2003, the Council of Vancouver formed a ‘Cool Vancouver Taskforce’, bringing together a range of experts and stakeholders from community, industry and government positions in order to make recommendations on addressing climate change because the mayor at the time wanted to adopt the Kyoto targets locally. As a result of these recommendations, Vancouver created the Corporate Climate Change Action Plan (referring to municipal operation’s emissions) and the Community Climate Change Action Plan (for community-wide emissions) in 2005. These plans set greenhouse gas reduction goals of 20% below 1990 levels by 2010 for municipal operations and 6% below 1990 levels by 2012 for the larger community. Vancouver’s plans recommended increased energy efficiency and conservation and bulk purchase of green power in all sectors and recommended solar PV and bio-energy for municipal operations (Vancouver, 2005; St. Denis and Parker, 2009). Transportation planning was also included in the plan, but land use planning was not due to its inclusion in other plans (Vancouver, 2005).

3.4 Guelph Guelph has a population of 118,000 and is located about 90km west of Toronto in Ontario (Guelph, 2010). With roots as a small farming community, Guelph still hosts a number of agriculture and agri-business related industries, a school of veterinary medicine and the University of Guelph which is known for science and agriculture programs. Guelph is experiencing rapid population growth, partially as a commuter community for people that work in the Greater Toronto Area. In general, Guelph has a reputation for being a ‘green’ community (Guelph, 2010).

Guelph adopted its ‘Community Energy Plan’ in 2007 after a long community and stakeholder engagement process. While it set some targets (such as at least 30% of Guelph’s anticipated electricity requirements will be associated with combined heat and power by 2031), it did not determine greenhouse gas


emission reduction targets (Garforth, 2007; St. Denis and Parker, 2009). Guelph’s CEP recommended efficiency and conservation in all sectors and research into the potential for bioenergy use in the community and research into wind, bioenergy, solar hot water and PV, and micro-hydro for use in municipal operations. Transportation management was also included (Garforth, 2007; St. Denis and Parker, 2005).

3.5 Pickering Pickering has a population of about 92,000. It is located on Lake Ontario, east of Toronto, and is part of the Greater Toronto Area (Pickering, 2010). Pickering has a mixed economic base and hosts the Pickering Nuclear Power Station, which is operating at a capacity of 3,100 MW.

Pickering’s community energy plan, the ‘PCP Local Action Plan’, was published in 2006 as a part of ICLEI’s Partners for Climate Protection program which provides a set of guidelines that municipalities can follow to develop a local climate action plan. Pickering’s plan set out targets of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1995 levels by 2016 for municipal operations and a 35% reduction by 2016 for the entire community. Pickering’s CEP recommended efficiency and conservation measures for all sectors, but did not make any recommendations about renewable energy generation (Pickering, 2006; St. Denis and Parker, 2009).




The primary methods of collecting data for this study were key informant interviews as well as analysis of any evaluation documentation that had been produced by the community.

4.1 Case Study Methodology and Implementation Research The content of Canadian community energy plans has been analyzed to summarize the types of activities that have been included (St. Denis and Parker, 2009), but an in-depth analysis of success and barriers realized in the implementation of CEPs in Canada has not been carried out. Therefore, this research employed a qualitative approach to broadly identify key barriers that cities in Canada are facing. Five Canadian cities were chosen as case studies. The small number of locations allowed for in-depth qualitative research to be carried out, a method which allows for the holistic understanding of social phenomenon (Creswell, 2003). Case studies can be particularly relevant when the phenomenon is currently unfolding in a real-life context (Yin, 1985). The five cities selected represent a relatively geographically and demographically representative selection of Canadian cities so that the findings could be generalized as a typology of barriers. Implementation research is often used in this way to expand a qualitative understanding of how policies are working in practice into a generalized typology that can be the basis for further research or policy development (Lennon and Corbett, 2003).


This research employed a top-down implementation research approach where municipal employees, politicians and other stakeholders that are heavily involved in energy issues in the community were targeted for key informant interviews. Implementation research allows for an assessment of success and barriers being encountered in a program or policy that is currently in the process of being put into practice, which is well suited to the burgeoning field of community energy planning in Canada (Lennon and Corbett, 2003).

Multiple methods of data collection are necessary for case study and implementation research in order to expand the information base (Yin, 1985; Lennon and Corbett, 2003). Document analysis was also used in order to analyze the CEPs and to assess any implementation or evaluation documents that have been issued since the inception of the CEP. Follow-up studies included subsequently formed policies or programs that incorporated the CEP principles, implementation documents that went into further detail about a particular energy management activity, and evaluation reports that reported to the city council on progress in implementation.

4.2 Research Locations and Participants The focus of this research paper is an assessment of the progress made on implementing the CEPs published by five Canadian cities; Calgary, Halifax, Vancouver, Guelph and Pickering. These five cities were chosen because they have developed community energy plans, they are early adopters of CEPs who have had at least three years to begin implementation, and they were part of St. Denis and Parker’s (2009) original assessment of the content of Canadian CEPs. Only the large communities from the St. Denis and Parker (2009) study were assessed due to research constraints. Additional research could assess CEP implementation in smaller Canadian municipalities and municipalities that have followed the example of these early adopter communities.


Participants in the research included municipal employees (n=11), politicians (n=2), utility employees (n=2) and staff or volunteers with community groups (n=2), which amounted to three to four representatives per community for a total of seventeen interviews. Three to four participants sufficiently represented relevant experiences in each community because such specialized experience was sought and not all sectors were important players in CEP implementation in each community. It was clear that few people in each community interacted frequently enough with the CEP to be able to provide a level of detail that was relevant to this research.

4.3 Recruitment Strategy A key informant recruitment strategy was the starting point for this research, where people that were most likely to have in-depth experience with the community energy plan’s formation and/or implementation were targeted. The preliminary target was the municipal employee or office that holds oversight or management responsibility for the implementation of environmental policy in that municipality. Often there was a single point person identified within municipal staff and this person was contacted using the recruitment letter in Appendix B. From this point, a snowball sampling method was employed in order to identify other potential participants. Participants usually identified municipal staff, but participants were also specifically asked to identify potential participants with other experiences or from different sectors (politicians, community groups, the local utility etc.). Potential participants that were identified were contacted with the recruitment letter and invited to participate in the research.

4.4 Interview Methods The interviews employed in this research were semi-structured and included many open-ended questions. While there was a guideline and general questions


were prepared, most of the interviews took a conversational tone that allowed the participant to bring up topics of interest tangentially.

The interviews focused on understanding how the CEP was working in practice. General questions about the participant’s background, experience and position related to the CEP were asked to open the interview and establish context. Additional topics included: 

In what areas has your community made progress toward some of the goals that were set in the CEP?

What barriers have been encountered in the implementation process?

Have the costs of implementation been meeting expectations?

How is the CEP integrated into municipal governance?

How much participation from the community was there in the formation or implementation of the CEP and how important was it to achieving success in implementation?

Are there any evaluation criteria or benchmarks to assess progress?

Questions such as these were included in the interview guide (Appendix D) and served as launching points for further discussion. Focus areas were first brought up generally (‘What barriers exist?’) to allow the participant to volunteer his or her own information, and then more specific barriers were followed up on if they were mentioned (for example, ‘You mentioned that up-front cost has been an issue, how has this influenced the type of projects that have been successfully implemented?’).

4.4 Data Collection and Analysis Phone interviews were conducted between June 1, 2010 and July 21, 2010 usually during the participant’s regular business hours. Interviews were an


average of 30 minutes in length. Participants were emailed a copy of the consent form (Appendix C) and indicated their consent via email. Interviews were tape recorded with the participant’s consent, which allowed for a conversational tone to be achieved due to the researcher’s ability to engage and respond to the participant’s answers. Interviews were then transcribed and interpreted using the qualitative analysis software QSR NVivo. Sentences and phrases were coded using a range of categories in order to allow for the emergence of themes.

4.5 Research Strengths and Limitations A research design that stretched more comprehensively across Canada would have allowed for a more representative construction of a typology of barriers. Unfortunately, time and cost constraints prevented this type of research design. Key informant interviews with several key municipalities could have been combined with a more wide-reaching survey to more municipalities across Canada. This would provide a better conception of how many municipalities have adopted a local energy management framework and how far along they are in its implementation, which would have allowed the typology of barriers to be scaled up and generalized more effectively. In addition, the research was carried out by telephone due to constraints faced by the researcher, which meant that the contact of a face-to-face meeting and observation of any physical policy outcomes in practice was not possible.

In terms of research strengths, the use of key informant interviews and an implementation research approach allowed the research to assess success and barriers in policy implementation while the CEP was still in the process of being implemented. This real-life assessment allows the research to focus on phenomenon as they are unfolding. Also, the snowball interview sample method allows for a flexible structure that can be adjusted to suit each community. The level of involvement of the local utility or the community was unclear externally


and snowball sampling helped to uncover which groups were likely to have experience with the implementation of the community energy plan. In some cases the community had many engaged parties from different sectors, and in other cases only municipal employees were in a position to comment on the community energy plan specifically.




There is widespread scientific consensus that more than two degrees of warming above the pre-industrial level will result in dangerous climate change (IPCC, 2007; Bramley et al., 2009). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that a 25-40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries by 2020 from 1990 levels is necessary to have a chance of staying below two degrees of warming (IPCC, 2007). Recent findings have concluded that the world is warming faster than even the most extreme of the IPCC’s projections and that impacts forecasted by the IPCC to occur in the longterm are already taking place (McMullen, 2009). Therefore, the emission reduction targets that must be adopted to avoid dangerous climate change are likely to be at least at the high end of the IPCC’s 25-40% range.

The targets set by the cities in this research fall short of the scientific findings, as shown in Table 1.


Calgary, AB

Year Baseline GHG of Year Targets Plan municipal 2006 1990 for 50% by municipal 2012 2005 for community

GHG Targets community 20% by 2020 50% by 2050

Vancouver, BC

2005 1990

20% by 2010

6% by 2012

Halifax, NS

2007 2002

20% by 2012

20% by 2012

Guelph, ON Pickering, ON

2007 N/A 2006 1995

N/A 50% by 2016

N/A 35% by 2016

Recent Emissions

Municipality: 33.7% below 1990 levels in 20081 Community: 31% above 1990 levels in 20032 Municipality: 33% below 1990 levels in 2008 Community: 0.2% above 1990 levels in 20083 Municipality: ~10% below 2002 levels4 Community: Unknown Unknown Municipality: 35.2% above 1995 levels in 20085 Community: 18% above 1995 levels in 20086

Table 1 The greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and the recent emissions of the case study cities

5.1 Continued Relevance of Community Energy Plans Commitment to a community energy planning framework varied in this research. In some cases, the community energy plan is commonly referred to in daily work and in regular reporting to the council. In other cases, the CEP is recognized distantly as a launching point and a new structure guides day-to-day actions and

1 (City of Calgary, 2010)   2 (Calgary, 2006)   3 (City of Vancouver, 2008b)   4 Informant 4, Halifax  5 (Melymuk, 2010)   6 (Durham Sustain Ability, 2010) 


reporting. The degree to which the case studies have been successful in efforts to implement energy management activities is summarized in Figure 2 and the recent evolution of energy management in each of the case cities is summarized in the following sections. Municipal Operations Calgary Halifax Pickering Guelph Vancouver Efficiency Conservation Generation Transportation Land Use Planning






Community Calgary Halifax Pickering Guelph Vancouver Efficiency Conservation Generation Transportation Land Use Planning Advanced: well beyond pilot projects, implementation is broad and consistently applied Preliminary: pilot projects or partial implementation Research: further knowledge is being pursued in preparation for implementation, or information is being provided Attempted: implementation is being attempted but no headway is being made None: no implementation of this activity Figure 2 Degree of implementation of energy management activities at the municipal operations and community level for the five case study cities.


Energy efficiency refers to both the supply side focused on the efficiency of energy technologies as well as demand side efficiency with measures such as retrofitting old buildings and instituting building standards. Energy conservation is the reduction of the energy that is demanded in the provision of services and largely includes awareness-raising and behaviour change campaigns. Generation is focused on renewable energy development as well as local energy systems such as combined heat and power and district energy. Transportation includes measures such as transport demand management and transit infrastructure for a less energy intensive transportation system. Land-use planning can be highly influential in shaping the local energy system and can include measures such as urban densification.

5.1.1 Guelph Guelph’s Community Energy Plan was originally spearheaded by the mayor and supported by the municipally owned utility, Guelph Hydro. The CEP focused specifically on energy management, making no greenhouse gas goals, because at the time the focus on energy rather than climate change allowed them to “create a bigger tent” (Informant 17, Guelph) and work with a greater diversity of people. Municipalities have had success bundling together related issues in this manner in the implementation of environmental policies in the past as well (Betsill, 2001; Allman et al., 2004). Public perception has changed since then and follow-up documents reengage with climate change rationale. For example, the district energy feasibility study says, “The driver of this report is the City of Guelph’s Community Energy Plan (CEP) prepared in response to the global impact of Climate Change and recognizes the need for a reduction in society’s carbon emissions to secure a sustainable future” (MCW Associates, 2010). Goals for the reduction in per capita energy use were set, however, and these are sometimes verbally translated into what that reduction would mean in terms of greenhouse gas emission reductions. The Guelph Community Energy Plan is still regularly referred to among municipal staff and politicians and used as a


guiding document. In particular, the idea that all public investments must demonstrate how they advance the CEP has advanced implementation. In this way, all public investments become CEP projects.

Because Guelph is partly focused on transformative change to its energy system and long term planning, success to this stage has largely been in research, laying groundwork and creating partnerships in governance to move forward. A particular area of work has been the development of a Mayor’s Task Force on Community Energy which includes not only municipal staff, but also representatives from the Ontario Power Authority, Guelph Hydro, Ontario Centres of Excellence, some industry associations and others. They have created this forum in order to overcome implementation barriers that have been experienced and obstacles they predict they will have to overcome. One of the integral areas of interest to Guelph where this applies is in district energy work. A key follow-up document to Guelph’s CEP is a district energy feasibility study completed by Guelph Hydro (MCW Associates, 2010). The feasibility study found that: (1) cogeneration would be economically feasible in the hospital district with government funding and a feed-in-tariff, (2) district heating could be cumulatively integrated into developments in the downtown over the next 20-30 years and would be economically feasible with government funding and a feedin-tariff, and (3) a heat recovery system could be developed on the university campus with no government funding but with a feed-in-tariff (MCW Associates, 2010). Participants in the research noted that no regulations exist for district energy in Ontario and highlighted how useful the Task Force will be for working with government and industry to move from research to construction.

Guelph has made progress in conservation and efficiency in the community through the municipally owned local utility, Guelph Hydro, as well as in its own operations with LEED certified new buildings as well as fuel-switching and resizing the municipal vehicle fleet. They have also seen a lot of interest in


renewable energy generation (particularly solar PV) and seek to facilitate its development in the area through Guelph Hydro and private interests. They have had success in linking renewable energy with economic development through the pursuit of renewable energy manufacturers to locate in Guelph. ‘Green industry’ is one area that was not expressly pursued from the outset, but opportunistically targeted when the Green Energy Act began attracting the renewable energy industry to Ontario. The CEP did not include any evaluation methodology so there is no comprehensive account of how Guelph is doing in implementation. This was seen as an oversight and evaluation criteria are being developed now. A municipal employee estimated that the city has probably stopped the upward increase in energy use over time, but has not yet made reductions in energy use.

5.1.2 Calgary Calgary developed the Calgary Local Climate Change Action Plan – Target Minus 50 in 2006, which led to an expansion of the Air Quality Office in the Environmental Safety and Management Office to include climate change. An Energy Management Office was also created in 2007 to coincide with the beginning of a renewable energy power purchase agreement for municipal operations. The Energy Management Office manages energy procurement, energy policy development and energy reporting to tell the municipal departments how much energy they are using. The Office of Sustainability was established in early 2009 with a focus on the development of long-term plans with a sustainability lens. Several such plans have been created (including 30 and 60 year land use plans). The Office of Sustainability was created in recognition of the fact that implementation of energy projects was stalling due to the lack of communication between different departments. The difficulty in addressing comprehensive issues like energy with a silo department structure has been pointed out extensively in the literature (Betsill, 2001; Robinson and Gore, 2005; Burch, 2009; Dierwechter, 2010).


Calgary started with a local climate change action plan that contained many elements of energy management, but did not comprehensively describe a community energy plan. However, the evolution of planning in Calgary has moved more explicitly toward a community energy planning mentality. Calgary is working within a fairly new framework that stresses the consideration of the three lenses of sustainability – environment, social and economic – for all public decisions. City council has also adopted eleven Sustainability Principles to guide decision-making. After a Low Carbon Future summit in September 2009, the City of Calgary’s Community Energy Initiative Team worked with a range of external partners to try to incorporate a comprehensive set of actions focused on energy into the updated community greenhouse gas reduction plan that is in development (Calgary, 2009a; Calgary 2009b).

The target from the Minus 50 plan for greenhouse gas emission reduction of 50% below 1990 levels for municipal operations was met early, so the city adopted a new target in a short declaration document called the Calgary Accord. Calgary was largely able to meet its municipal greenhouse gas emission targets through power purchase agreements with a renewable energy developer. Wind farms developed by ENMAX (a developer over which Calgary has partial control) are dedicated to Calgary’s energy consumption, which has allowed the city to meet its 2012 municipal target ahead of schedule. As of January 2012, 100% of the city’s municipal operations electricity needs will be powered by renewable energy. Demand side management for municipal operations has not been as successfully implemented. There has a policy since 2007 that all new municipal buildings must be LEED gold compliant, but retrofitting has not been comprehensively pursued.

The city is in the process of writing an updated climate change plan with an increased focus on energy management goals in the broader community in


addition to municipal operations. While broad community action was included in the 2006 Minus 50 plan, these targets were not met and implementation met more barriers there than in municipal operations. Some community awareness raising and outreach has occurred, but no other significant energy or planning actions have been undertaken in the community. Participants stressed that lack of success in the community is particularly due to the urban sprawl growth patterns that the city has had difficulty in addressing. Broader community action will be particularly important if the city continues to strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions considering that Calgary has one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions among cities across the world (UNEP, 2010). A follow-up implementation document to the plan, an Energy Mapping Report completed by the Canadian Urban Institute for the city of Calgary, suggests ways that district energy, changes to building design and land use, and alternative energy use can be pursued in an integrated energy plan in order for the city to meet its community GHG reduction targets (CUI, 2008).

In terms of evaluation, Calgary undertakes regular greenhouse gas accounting through the Climate Change and Air Quality Office and energy use reporting through the Energy Management Office. Information is also aggregated into regular State of the Environment reports, the latest being in 2006 with a new one due out this year.

5.1.3 Vancouver The Vancouver local climate change action plan began with an integrative Cool Vancouver Task Force. A co-ordination unit called the Sustainability Group pulls together expertise from various departments (district energy, land use planning, built environment, and community engagement specialists) to oversee the implementation of the climate change action plan. The original climate change plan is regularly used in day-to-day activities and the actions of the sustainability group flow from the actions laid out in the original plan.


Participants said that Vancouver is making better progress with municipal operations than with community actions since they have reached the greenhouse gas emission goals for municipal operations of reducing GHG emissions 33% below 1990 levels. Most of the success is attributable to the city’s landfill gas recovery project, although building retrofits, high efficiency building standards and electric vehicle deployment have also occurred. However, success has also been achieved in the implementation of activities in the community. The city has completed a large district energy project called the Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility, which recovers waste heat from the municipal sewage on the way to the nearby sewage treatment plant for use in a new, mixed-use development. This cut the GHG emissions from the development in half from what they would have been had the development been pursued in a business as usual context (Informant 9). Through the city charter, Vancouver has the power to operate utilities and set its own rates. The community outreach part of the Sustainability Group has also been engaging citizens around sustainability and climate change action, including encouraging home and business owners to do energy retrofits. This work has faced some challenges, such as determining if any real, verifiable GHG emission reductions have resulted from the outreach efforts. There has also been work on housing efficiency in the community through amendments to the city’s building code, including ensuring that all new developments are ready for solar hot water installations and requiring that all new buildings citywide be carbon neutral by 2030. The built environment specialists in the sustainability group are also working to encourage small-scale renewable energy generation in the community.

One key element that contributed to success in implementation in Vancouver that was identified by participants was that land use planning policy in the city was already focused on reducing personal vehicle transportation and was


working with development and planning principles that would contribute to advancing the energy use and sustainability goals that came later. There was no mentality or infrastructure to fight against when it became time for implementation of the CEP – the policy and physical environment was already aligned. Land use planning continues to affect energy use in the city. New planning guidelines called EcoDensity include sustainability criteria that apply to all development in the city, including the requirement that all applicants for rezoning must meet a LEED Gold standard with their subsequent development (City of Vancouver, 2008a).

Greenhouse gas accounting is the primary method of evaluation in Vancouver and these statistics are summarized in reports that are published every two years. The latest was focused on 2008 and showed that community wide emissions had returned to 1990 levels despite a 27% population increase (City of Vancouver, 2008b). A reduction in emissions from solid waste was largely responsible for the decrease, as well as a small decrease in emissions from natural gas use in buildings (City of Vancouver, 2008b). Greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations had decreased 33% from 1990 levels in 2008, which surpassed the goal of 20% below 1990 levels. The emission reduction due to the methane capture facility at the Vancouver landfill was included in the municipal operations inventory.

5.1.4 Pickering Pickering’s Partnership for Climate Protection (PCP) plan included numerous energy management activities. A non-profit local community group, Durham Sustain Ability, was brought in to help extend the capacity of existing staff to form the plan and continues to work with the city on implementation. The completion of the plan triggered the development of a Sustainability Office, which has moved away from using the PCP plan as a reference document. Instead, the Office sees itself as manager of a sustainability program that is


opportunistic in the projects that it pursues. Informant 13 described it as an “adaptive management kind of approach.” Informant 12 said that the PCP plan “was a great starting point.” While it started people thinking about the direction they wanted to move, participants characterized it as narrow in scope.

In the implementation of the sustainability program to achieve goals such as the ones set out in the PCP plan, the focus has largely been on awareness raising and encouraging small behavioral changes in both municipal staff and the broader community. According to the draft follow-up report to council on the implementation of the PCP plan, “energy conservation is one of the cornerstones of the Sustainable Pickering plan” (Melymuk, 2010). Participants in the research described Sustainable Pickering Day, where community members can get information about conservation and efficiency from accessible booths in the community, as a particularly important activity that has been pursued. In addition, some lighting and HVAC retrofitting of municipal buildings has taken place to coincide with regular renovations and new municipal buildings must be LEED silver, although not much new building has taken place. Also, five vehicles that needed to be replaced in the municipal fleet were replaced with hybrid vehicles (Melymuk, 2010). The Sustainability Office has spent a significant amount of time developing Sustainability Indicators that will be used to evaluate progress in the implementation of its program (City of Pickering, 2010).

The targets from the PCP plan were to reduce GHG emissions by 50% per capita for corporate emissions and by 35% per capita for community emissions from 1995 levels by 2016 (Pickering, 2006). The city of Pickering is about 20% of the way to reaching the municipal target according to Informant 13 and followup documents (Melymuk, 2010). However, the approved PCP protocol for measuring GHG emissions calculates city’s emissions relative to the energy mix in the province. The provincial energy mix has become more GHG intensive


overall since 1995; therefore, the 2010 report to council recommends revised GHG goals of 22% for corporate emissions and 19% for community emissions (Melymuk, 2010). In terms of community actions, “the 2008 GHG emissions are the same as the 1995 baseline year at 6.5 t/person” (Durham Sustain Ability, 2010). Some participants expressed concern with the slow pace of implementation and the focus on awareness-raising. Larger-scale energy projects were highlighted as an area where Pickering was lacking progress due to a lack of capacity as well as institutional barriers. The implementation of land use planning for growth that better reflected its sustainability goals also faced significant jurisdictional barriers, which will be elaborated on in section 5.2. A draft follow-up report to council suggested that in the future in order to meet the municipal target, the city should focus on energy conservation in municipal facilities, light duty municipal vehicles and traffic lights. However, Pickering still has to reduce its emissions by 81% to reach its target and annually “this translates into a reduction target of 566 tonnes GHG emissions per year, which is more than double the annual impact of the initiatives implemented by the City in 2009 and 2010” (Melymuk, 2010).

5.1.5 Halifax Halifax’s Community Energy Plan was developed out of the Climate Smart work undertaken by the city in the early 2000s, which was focused on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. The CEP includes both high-level policy and detailed implementation plans and participants in the research found it to be unwieldy at 1000 pages. Some of the actions included have been pursued, but many have proved not actionable largely due to jurisdiction issues. The plan included an extensive amount on implementation, so much that Informant 1 termed the CEP “a shotgun kind of approach, versus trying to build some solid building blocks and maybe policy and then strategic implementation around that.” Because it included such a wealth of information, the CEP is being used as a policy framework to create an opportunistic environment to move projects


forward instead of being used as a point-by-point list of activities that Halifax intends to implement. Overall, people know that there are targets and the CEP principles are used as aspirational goals, but actual reference to the details of the CEP is not regular. Informant 2 from Halifax described its continued relevance as, “It’s one of those things that people sort of hold out there and work towards.” Halifax has implemented many energy projects; however, they were not always the ones that were specifically outlined in the CEP.

The Sustainable Energy Management Office is the main office of implementation and has existed since 2004. SEMO is “kind of like the glue” (Informant 4, Halifax) with no projects of their own or operational service delivery, but it coordinates implementation in other offices. The Energy Office is one operational unit with which it works closely. Another key unit of governance is the Energy and Underground Services committee of council, in which a few councilors meet regularly with energy staff to prioritize projects and plan for implementation and budget expenditures.

Halifax has improved public transit and has completed extensive retrofitting to improve the efficiency of municipal buildings. This efficiency work achieved significant financial returns on investment, reflecting the assertion in the literature that the implementation of community energy management can result in cost savings (Jaccard et al., 1997; NRCan, 2007). The city has built a district cooling system using ground source heat pumps connected to five downtown municipal buildings, which was not originally outlined in the plan but instead was pursued opportunistically when the expertise and funding became available, and they have done some solar work. Informant 2 from Halifax said that while there is significant commitment to the CEP goals, widespread implementation of large projects has not had extensive success. Informant 3 from Halifax was critical that the city is not broadly re-prioritizing its infrastructure spending to reflect the CEP goals. He noted that significant spending is still directed to improving


transit times for single occupant personal vehicles and money is not prioritized for projects like bike lanes. There has not been a strong focus on land use planning, although this may play a larger role in the updated CEP in 2011/2012. In addition, Halifax was interested in fostering renewable energy development through green power purchasing; however, it discovered that it did not have the jurisdiction to do so. While Halifax has implemented some energy projects affecting municipal operations, the focus on community action has not been strong.

Evaluation has not been consistently comprehensive. Operational units of the municipality evaluate their work on their own. For example, the Energy Office publishes benchmarking for the energy efficiency of buildings and tracks progress annually. Generally, return on investment and payback have been important tools for prioritizing which projects are pursued. Inventories for corporate greenhouse gas emissions were completed in 2002 and 2008 with annual inventories beginning in 2009, but complications around GHG accounting have made this assessment problematic. Halifax has recently made an effort to improve its GHG accounting methodologies and may reassess previous inventories. Informant 4 thought that Halifax was about 50% of the way to meeting its municipal operations 2012 target of 20% below 2002 levels and thought that they would achieve it, but Informant 2 had some doubts. It should be noted that this target is significantly lower than recommendations made by scientists (IPCC, 2007; McMullen, 2009). Council officially adopted the corporate GHG target from the CEP but the community target was never officially adopted. Community-wide emissions were inventoried in 2002 before the CEP, but GHG reporting for the community has not taken place since then.


5.2 Barriers to the Implementation of Community Energy Plans While the five case study cities took different paths of implementation as they adapted energy system management concepts to their physical and bureaucratic environment, they shared several common barriers to implementation. In some cases these barriers shaped the scale of the projects that could be successful, while in other cases the barriers shaped the actual type of activity that could be pursued. Jurisdiction, cost, capacity and experience, and behaviour change issues were all found to be barriers.

Jurisdiction Issues with jurisdiction and a lack of control were felt in Pickering, Guelph, Calgary and Halifax. Vancouver has significant control for a municipality and therefore did not encounter as many jurisdictional barriers as the other case studies. Municipalities in Canada get their powers through the province because they are not constitutionally defined, which means the amount of control they actually have can vary. Some of the case studies found that action items that were included in the original formation of the CEP could not actually be carried out by the city: A lot of the action items in the community energy plan were not within our jurisdiction and were difficult to grapple with without needing broad stakeholder support, provincial policy support, all kind of things. Informant 1, Halifax

Informant 6 from the city of Pickering described how one of the goals from Pickering’s plan was to develop sustainable development guidelines for new housing developments in Pickering. When they attempted to apply the guidelines to a particular project, however, the developer challenged the city at the Ontario Municipal Board and won. She said, “There has to be a provincial commitment to these ideas in order for them to succeed. The Planning Act needs to have provisions for sustainability in it.� The impact of the provincial


context was a common theme, particularly when it came to renewable energy generation. Alberta legislation prevents the city of Calgary from generating more electricity than what is used in municipal operations. So while the city has had some success generating energy from a landfill for its own use, the expansion of renewable energy generation into the community faces challenges. The provincial legislative context and the utility in Nova Scotia also controls generation and constrains the participation of Halifax Regional Municipality: [HRM has] facilities where the opportunity to be a power producer exists in various ways, they could use PV or wind or combined heat and power but they will always come up against a stumbling block in trying to negotiate with Nova Scotia Power in the absence of any provincial regulation like a [Feed-in-Tariff] program. So that really comes down to the provincial government directing or setting the regulations for making that happen. Informant 3, Halifax

Even with local political support, implementation cannot move forward when the province has not given the city the jurisdiction over that action: I believe there’s something in [the CEP] regarding green power purchasing opportunities. We had a commitment from our regional council to buy up to 40% of our power through green power, like wind energy contracts directly. However, the province won’t give us authority to purchase directly from a renewable energy producer, we have to purchase through Nova Scotia Power. So whatever they’re selling, we have to buy. Informant 4, Halifax

A sense of powerlessness due to jurisdictional barriers and counteractive regional policy environments have been noted in the literature as barriers to the implementation of environmental policies (Allman et al., 2004; Wheeler, 2008; Burch, 2009). Participants in this research experienced similar barriers and found that the context of the provincial government was very influential on the activities that could be successfully implemented. The relationship between provincial and local authority is not just focused on policy and legislation, but also the transfer of money. Informant 8 from Guelph noted that a lot of the


money in municipal budgets “comes from the province and the province tells us how to spend it. So again, there’s a policy context here that need to change and we do…advocate that they need to green up their infrastructure money as it flows to municipalities”. Informant 2 from Halifax agreed, saying The big issue is that municipalities and cities are really the front, the ground zero for a lot of what we implement in our communities and in our country. It's problematic when municipalities don't receive funding and support from different levels of governments to really be able to take that and make the changes that will have a significant impact on both how our residents live and on our environment. Informant 2, Halifax

The local authority is constrained when energy management actions are not considered eligible for traditional infrastructure funding from the province. Costs Costs were frequently mentioned as a barrier, although the extent to which communities felt they inhibited action varied. Some participants found that cost influenced the scale of project that was successfully implemented: It’s still a challenge coming up with the capital I think. So that’s one of the things we’re trying to focus on is how do we finance projects and strategies. There’s big large-scale opportunities within the community but how can we grapple with the finance. Informant 13, Pickering

Informant 14 from Calgary noted that the financial recession in 2008 impacted implementation and that smaller, pilot projects had to be pursued rather than full scale implementation of activities. In terms of the activities included in the CEP, Informant 4 said that, “Obviously many of these projects are capital intensive and there is a limit on the amount of capital we’re able to get.” As a result, some participants from Halifax and Pickering noted that a project had to be cost-effective with a short payback period in order to be pursued.


Participants from Guelph noted that many people consider costs to be a barrier to community energy work, however they contested whether this is actually true. Cities actually spend the majority of their money on long-term investments, they’re just traditional ones. So the idea that we don’t have any money is a bit misguided. We have lots of money. It gets spent on road repairs, it gets spent on sewers and water supply systems etc. We know how to build infrastructure and we have a lot of money to do it. Informant 8, Guelph While Informant 8 notes that cost is a “perceived barrier”, he argues that “the idea of layering on a new cost above and beyond business as usual will never work” and that “incorporating green aspects…into traditional infrastructure processes is really where you’re getting at the meat of it”. This reassessment of cost considerations is something that other cities seemed to incorporate into their practices as well. Informant 9 from Vancouver acknowledged that there were capital costs associated with a completed municipally owned district energy development but says, The approach we took to financing it was a utility model, basically we came up with a funding strategy that looked at amortizing the capital cost over a long period of time so that you could basically spread out the impact on ratepayers and basically finance the utility that way. The city did have to contribute upfront capital dollars but the understanding is that there will be a return on that investment that will extend well into the future. Informant 9, Vancouver

So while energy projects may have high capital costs, the extent to which cost acts as a barrier may depend on whether the expenditure is considered to be additional to the municipality’s regular activities or whether it is considered similarly to any other long-term infrastructure investment.

Capacity and Experience As early adopters of community energy planning principles in Canada, some of the participants discovered barriers related to capacity and experience.


Informant 10 summed it up succinctly, saying “The thing is, there are no models for this. We’re building the airplane in the air, as they say”. The case study cities have been gathering experience and information as they go, but, as the literature identifies, this lack of capacity has posed some barriers (Robinson and Gore, 2005). Participants touched on capacity in terms of both internal staff power and regional capacity for specialized knowledge. Informant 1 from Halifax noted that the renewables “industry capacity is small here and it tends to be fragmented so it doesn’t have the same policy sway as the incumbent status quo.” Informant 4 from Halifax concurred, saying There’s only a handful of people that really have this knowledge, that are project ready and ready to execute a project. We need more people to learn these things so that we can execute more projects in our time frames. Informant 4, Halifax

Informant 3 from Halifax stressed that the capacity of the person filling a municipal role significantly affected the activity in that portfolio. Pickering was also concerned about its lack of experience and capacity related to energy management. Informant 6 from Pickering commented that “[Council is] concerned because they get a lot of companies and individuals that bring new technologies to Pickering and they’re worried about snake oil ideas.” Pickering did not establish a dedicated energy office, instead relying on external capacity for energy expertise.

Behavior Change Participants also discussed barriers related to the perception that changes that they were attempting to implement were inconvenient and, as a result, they were unable to get buy-in. This barrier was not identified in the literature in studies of the implementation of other types of municipal environmental policies. In particular, efforts to change behavior within the wider community as opposed to targeting just municipal operations were associated with this barrier. Informant 2 said,


It’s either cost or inconvenience or difficulty in changes in pattern of your private lifestyle or travel or work or whatever, when these things become clear then we begin to see a bit of push back or, ‘do we really need to do this’? Informant 2, Halifax

Informant 13 also recognized barriers in this area. He said, But I still think that the community side is weaker than I’d like it to be because it’s tough to do, you have to put a lot of time and effort into it and people nowadays are confronted with all kind of options. It’s not necessarily a forefront issue for them in terms of greenhouse gas reduction. Informant 13, Pickering

Informant 14 from Calgary noted the challenges associated with influencing community members when the city has no direct control over their energy choices, and Vancouver was challenged with creating community demand management strategies that would have measurable outcomes. Community wide behavior change on issues where the municipality had no direct control was considered to be challenging across all of the case studies and resulted in these actions taking second place to changes to municipal operations that were easier to accomplish.

5.4 Success in the Implementation of Community Energy Plans The case studies had varied success in the implementation of energy management activities, which is summarized by type of activity in the following section. The participants also identified several common reasons why they were able to achieve success in the implementation of their CEPs, which is explored in the subsequent section.


5.4.1 Areas of Success Generally the community energy plans of the case studies focused their energy management activities on efficiency, conservation, generation, transportation, and land use planning.

Efficiency Success was realized in the implementation of efficiency retrofits in municipally owned buildings. In some cases these were pursued comprehensively, such as in Vancouver, Guelph and Halifax, and in other cases they were pursued more opportunistically such as in Pickering where energy efficiency was included in regularly scheduled upgrades. Efficiency was also made an important component of new municipal buildings. Calgary, for example, stressed this approach. On the community side, Guelph continued to advance efficiency through the local utility as they had before the CEP and found some success with voluntary work with developers. Informant 17 from Guelph said, “So I would say in the efficiency and conservation area we’ve had some very good uptake and it’s good for business as well.” Vancouver mandated energy efficiency in the community through amendments to the building code. Some of the other cities worked on spreading efficiency and conservation awareness into the community, but generally the other case study cities did not pursue efficiency extensively in the community.

Conservation Conservation was also broadly pursued by the case study cities. Initiatives such as telework and energy reporting to give departments feedback on their energy use are used in Calgary, but efforts to create a more comprehensive conservation plan have hit barriers. Difficulties in influencing behaviour change in the absence of regulatory tools were mentioned several times among the case study cities in relation to conservation. It was also difficult for case study


cities to attribute conservation efforts to real greenhouse gas emission or energy use reductions. Pickering particularly stressed conservation work in implementation, through targeting behaviour modification among employees by sponsoring clean air commuter programs and installing bike racks as well as awareness raising in the community with community and industry partners. An interesting point made by Informant 8 from Guelph was that, Conservation is the traditional conversation that people have around energy management. So that’s the commonly understood concept of community energy, so this is where the term gets co-opted, where conservation programs are sometimes viewed as community energy. They’re an important component but they don’t represent the whole thing. Informant 8, Guelph

Along with efficiency, conservation is cost-effective in the current market place and the case study cities broadly pursued it. However, it was clear that the CEP goals could not be achieved using conservation and efficiency alone.

Energy Generation Expansion of local energy generation using renewable energy was for many “an elusive target” (Informant 1, Halifax). It was more difficult for the cities to get a diverse group of stakeholders on board, particularly since the returns on investment are not as straightforward as they are in efficiency projects and the implementation time frames can be longer. Generation was also difficult for some of the case study cities due to issues with jurisdiction. Halifax and Calgary are not allowed to be net generators based on provincial utility legislation. Calgary circumvented this barrier and is meeting its municipal GHG emission reduction targets using power purchase agreements mostly for wind energy, but Halifax was restricted from purchasing renewable power by the provincial utility. Halifax has worked with heat instead and has completed a cutting edge district geothermal cooling system for municipal buildings. Vancouver did not face as many jurisdictional barriers and has completed a landfill gas generation


development and done some solar work. Pickering was not doing any work in local energy generation. Combined heat and power and district energy was an important element of the generation portfolio of CEP implementation. Guelph was researching both and Vancouver and Halifax had already been involved in the development of district energy systems. District energy was approached in some cities as a long term, large scale project that would demonstrate the city’s commitment to transformational change to the local energy system. In addition, Vancouver was working to encourage renewable energy development in the community through amendments to the building code and redevelopment criteria that mandate LEED gold standard construction. Pickering was putting together information for residents on how to get involved in the Ontario feed-intariff program and Guelph was also looking for ways to facilitate renewable energy development in the community.

Land Use Planning Land use planning was not stressed in the original formation of many of the case study’s community energy plans and most of the implementation to date has focused on municipal operations where land use planning does not apply. However, the growing role of land use planning is important to note. Calgary encountered some barriers in the development of its urban development plan, but there is a plan in place intended to help curb urban sprawl that “the whole organization is now geared toward” (Informant 10, Calgary). Land use planning that worked to lower vehicle use and encourage dense, mixed-use development pre-dates the climate change and energy work in Vancouver and Informant 15 said that without it they “wouldn’t, number one, be in the position [they’re] in now and, number two, [they] won’t succeed”. Pickering participants were concerned about their inability to control growth, as their efforts to institute sustainability criteria into new developments were overturned by the Ontario Municipal Board. Halifax was just coming to realize that the largest impact that it could have on


community energy use and GHG emissions was through land use planning and it will likely include elements of land use planning in the updated CEP. Transportation Transportation was not a large element of the case study cities’ CEPs. Many had made progress in municipal fleet efficiency upgrades or some fuel switching, but because CEP implementation has mostly focused on municipal operations so far, transportation has not been comprehensively approached. However, Halifax has done work to improve the public transit system, Vancouver’s land use planning also incorporated transportation planning and focused on reducing the need for personal car transportation, and Guelph has developed a multi-year transit growth strategy as part of CEP implementation that was being considered in council at the time of writing.

5.4.2 Reasons for Success Some common factors supported the success of the five case study cities in the implementation of their community energy plans. Political support from the city council and the mayor was integral to whatever success in implementation has been achieved, as well as provincial support in combination with the degree of jurisdiction that municipalities have over energy or greenhouse gas issues in their community. The institution of a decision-making mentality that broadly reflects the goals of the CEP supported successful implementation, which was helped by the cost-effectiveness of many of the projects that have been successfully implemented so far. Experience and capacity extending beyond a city’s municipal staff are important for success, combined with the crossdepartmental communication, which characterizes the CEP implementation offices of the case study cities.


Political leadership The support of the local political leadership is integral to success in implementing energy management initiatives. Informant 10 said that having a supportive CEO and general manager of the city has given them “massive leverage”. In keeping with the literature, where authors have found that the priority of the issue with the political leadership is key (Allman et al., 2004; Burch, 2009), participants from the case studies generally attributed success in the formation and implementation of the community energy plan to strong municipal political will. Informant 7 from Guelph said, Just like in a corporation, if you don’t have leadership at the top, then people pull in different directions, so once again Guelph needs to be complimented on the leadership in the community that has taken a stand and said everybody needs to move forward on this, and everybody has pulled together. But without that vision and that leadership, it never would have happened. Informant 7, Guelph

Participants from a few of the case studies stressed the importance of having the support of city council, including Informant 11 from Calgary who said that without it, energy initiatives would be “dead in the water”. Personal championship from the Mayor’s office was also key in a couple of the case studies. Informant 9 from Vancouver said, The mayor has specifically said that he is orienting his tenure toward moving the city toward environmental sustainability in all sorts of areas of focus…Those kinds of directions from that kind of leadership is really important and I think makes a big difference in terms of sending a message to staff, in terms of what kinds of projects we can and can’t get done, we can and can’t get support for. Informant 9, Vancouver

The support and, in some cases, championship of upper management for community energy projects is essential for success in implementation.


Provincial Support and Control Participants stressed that actions carried out by the province have the potential to create an environment that facilitates local action. As has been found with the implementation of other municipal environmental policies, regional co-ordination is key (Allman et al., 2004; Burch, 2009). Informant 15 from Vancouver pointed to the province’s GHG targets and said, After the province adopted the 33% target by 2020 our city council also adopted it so that’s again, with adopting it, it’s now official city policy and now we can link other work to that and justify work based on that. And then that’s also given us the go ahead to start planning and do longer term planning. I would say hats off to the province for adopting that. Informant 15, Vancouver

Informants from Guelph also noted the support that strong provincial conservation targets had for local conservation efforts. Guelph and Pickering participants both stressed the facilitating influence of Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act on the development of renewable energy. The Green Energy Act instituted a feed-in-tariff program whereby 20-40 year contracts are offered to renewable energy generators at premium rates. The Act makes renewable energy projects economically viable and supports the development of the industry, while significantly improving the province’s energy supply. It also broadened the rules on who is allowed to be involved in energy generation, allowing anyone to develop a renewable energy system. The area of renewables we initially thought would be slower to take off…but with the Green Energy Act that has really turned that over for us. So today we’re seeing a lot of activity and a lot of potential, particularly in the solar area, so that is moving quickly. Informant 17, Guelph

Informant 3 from Halifax praised the Green Energy Act in Ontario and emphasized that renewable energy development by the city of Halifax will be slow and difficult without a similar, enabling provincial legislation. Informant 1 from Halifax commented on the support from the province from Eco Trust, a


clean air, clean energy program that supported the development of local renewables. Nova Scotia also announced a voluntary offset program and Informant 4 said that they “want to see how the municipality could take advantage of or exploit that opportunity” and that they have 15-20,000 tonnes of CO2 eligible to register with a further 10,000 tonnes a year in the pipeline. These efforts to set regional targets help focus and support local actions in areas that are not fully under the control of the municipality.

The amount of control that a municipality has is a related factor that facilitated success in implementation. Pickering and Halifax emphasized the barriers they faced due to lack of control, but the high level of control of Vancouver and, to some extent, the additional control afforded to local jurisdictions in Ontario by the Green Energy Act were highlighted as enabling factors that allowed cities to succeed in implementation. Of particular note in Vancouver is the municipality’s ability to set its own building code. This allowed Vancouver to advance energy efficiency beyond municipal operations into the community itself. Calgary managed to work around its lack of jurisdiction over energy development, however, in an expression of innovation that showed how municipalities can make the best of the control that they do have. Legislation in Alberta prevents the city from generating more electricity than is used in its own operations, so the city of Alberta built a relationship with a renewable energy developer. This allowed the city to not only negotiate renewable energy power purchase agreements for its own operations, but allowed it to act as an anchor customer for a completed district energy system which will also be able to serve commercial customers in the area. Similarly, Guelph put together a Mayor’s Task Force on Community Energy to work on implementation which pulls together representatives from municipal staff, provincial governments, and the energy industry in the acknowledgement that some of the transformational changes planned will have “legislative, jurisdictional issues to work out and get through” (Informant 17, Guelph). Cities found success in moving forward with


the CEPs by thinking creatively about their influence and constructively about surpassing jurisdictional barriers as they broke new ground.

Decision-making Mentality A few of the key informants noted that the decision-making mentality engendered by the community energy plan supported successful implementation. Guelph’s CEP included a provision that all public investments must advance the work of the CEP, so all projects brought forward to council had to discuss their impact on community energy work. This mentality was embedded in decision-making and was highlighted by participants as an enabling condition. Just by having that conversation, word got out that this council was interested in this type of thing and you should think about it when bringing forward your work. And certainly that gave our staff a lot of room to have conversations with developers about their development. Informant 17, Guelph

Similarly, development for the Olympics in Vancouver incorporated a sustainability mandate that inspired the implementation of a neighbourhood district energy system. When planning was done for the Athletes’ Village, a strong sustainability mandate was built into all of the planning policies. So the energy system was one component or one opportunity to achieve some of the sustainability objectives and the objectives of reducing the greenhouse gas impact for the development. Informant 9, Vancouver

This application of the sustainability mentality fit well into the pre-existing mentality in Vancouver, particularly in land use planning. Informant 15 from Vancouver commented that it was “pretty key” that the work under the CEP “became additional on the land use plan as opposed to ‘we need to move to a new way of planning’”. Calgary also uses a sustainability, triple bottom line approach.


Informant 14 explained that Any reports that go before council are asked to relate their business case to the triple bottom line, which is the economic, social and environmental impacts. This goes across the corporation. Informant 14, Calgary

This was not a common implementation enabling factor that was identified in the literature; however, it reflects the integrative and comprehensive nature of energy planning. These overarching decision-making frameworks enabled staff to recognize and pursue unplanned project implementation opportunities, or to build the goals of the CEP into broader work being pursued by both public and private interests.

Cost effectiveness The case study cities all found that cost effectiveness was an important reason for success in implementation. Cost effective was defined in financial terms by the research participants and used to mean that the financial return on investment for an energy project was high enough to quickly pay back the investment through energy savings. Much of the work that has been successfully implemented by cities under CEPs in Canada falls into the category of low hanging fruit, where the improvement in energy efficiency provides a high return and quick payback. Informant 4 in Halifax said of the actions they have implemented so far that, “Generally what we find, it’s cheaper than we thought and the returns are larger”. Another informant from Halifax noted that, “It’s also been easy because we’ve been delivering energy efficiency projects at such great return on investment it would make no sense not to support what we’re doing” (Informant 1, Halifax). Informant 17 from Guelph said, “There has to be a business case for this. That will be the challenge moving forward is making sure that those investments can be made.” Overall, the ability to build a business case around a project was seen as a key reason for success in implementation.


Experience and communication Participants commented on the importance of accessing networks of information and experience. As early adopters, the case study cities were foraying into new areas and chose to expand their capacity in different but similar ways. Informant 12 from Pickering highlighted the learning and experience sharing available through ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Pickering also expanded its capacity by working closely with a local non-profit community group, Durham Sustain Ability, with expertise in the energy and greenhouse gas accounting rather than developing an energy management office internally. Guelph participants stressed the importance of their participation in QUEST (Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow), which is a network of industry, environmental groups and governments focused on community-based approaches to energy management, for information sharing and advocacy.

Informant 17 traces the origin of Guelph’s CEP to experiences on a tour to the Netherlands focused on community energy planning. Similarly, Informant 2 from Halifax went to Sweden with a group of employees from across the municipal departments on a tour focused on district energy, community design and sustainable transportation. She said, “That was a really important trip, to look at some projects and to really understand them and being able to work them through. That was the catalyst for people when they came back.” Access to this experience was important to give the case study cities the capacity and the inspiration to implement projects under the CEP, but shared experience was highlighted as particularly important.


Referring to the trip to Sweden, Informant 2 said, We had a group of people that were spread across different departments, so that was I think very helpful…We all went and we all saw that and people saw it from their different perspectives in terms of what they do in their day-to-day, and that helps to build those links across departments that then people can say – well, we’re talking about these types of projects with these implications, do you know what we should be doing in planning as well as actual infrastructure development. Informant 2, Halifax

Shared experiences led to the creation of interdisciplinary and cross-cutting offices, and the communication opportunities created by energy/sustainability/climate change offices in the case study cities was key to successful implementation. Informant 4 summed this up, saying Traditionally in government organizations there’s a lot of bureaucratic silos and the [Sustainable Environment Management Office] helps to knock down those walls and get people working on things on a crossdepartmental basis. Informant 4, Halifax

The importance of interdepartmental communication for environmental policy implementation is stressed extensively in the literature (Betsill, 2001; Robinson and Gore, 2005; Burch, 2009; Dierwechter, 2010). Cross-cutting municipal communication which is connected to external networks and resources was a recurring reason for successful implementation in the case study cities.

Public support It has been hypothesized in the literature that public support, built through extensive community engagement, would be an important factor influencing the success of community energy planning implementation (Hoffman and HighPippert, 2005). Results around public support were mixed. Pickering, Halifax and Calgary were largely focused on municipal operations in terms of actual energy project implementation. Municipal employees in Calgary and Halifax said


that the public actually knew very little about the CEPs since implementation was so focused on municipal operations. Community involvement was not identified as a key factor affecting success in implementation. However, Guelph cast a broader net in the formation and the implementation of its community energy plan. Informant 17 from Guelph found that, Because it was a community-based initiative, it wasn’t just a city plan, it was a community plan and so we had other groups and businesses not only involved in the process but they endorsed the final outcome. That gave, I think, Council the comfort zone to be able to support something that‌is very non-traditional. Informant 17, Guelph

Vancouver has done some work trying to get community leaders engaged in energy management activities in order to help meet its GHG emission reduction goals, so community involvement in CEP implementation was a minor aspect of Vancouver’s activities. Some of the key informants also noted that now that they have built their capacity and have examples to point to in their own operations, they were looking at moving into energy work within the broader community. The divide between energy management in municipal operations and energy management in the broader community was distinct in all cases except for Guelph, which may be why Guelph participants had a different perception of the importance of community engagement in the CEP.

5.5 Evaluation Evaluation was not usually explicitly planned from the outset, which is similar to the situation that Wheeler (2008) found in the US when studying climate change policy implementation. The case studies generally created evaluative tools as the implementation evolved, often using GHG emission reduction as a measurement of success. Other measurable outcomes were not commonly used, but Pickering has established thirty-two sustainability indicators that will be measured and the Sustainability Office in Calgary was attempting to set


measureable outcomes for each of the municipal departments. The case study cities often evaluate progress through reports to council, sometimes expressly reporting on plan implementation and sometimes bundling it into larger reports encompassing all municipal environmental activities. In terms of criteria that are used in order to prioritize which activities are pursued on a day-to-day basis, financial metrics were the most frequently employed criteria, including years to payback and financial return on investment. Prioritization is often opportunistic as energy work is incorporated into regularly scheduled upgrades or redevelopments.

Additionally, an overarching mentality incorporated into municipal decisionmaking patterns was employed as an evaluative tool. Calgary used a triple bottom line sustainability framework where project proposals brought to council had to discuss their environmental, social and economic impact. In Guelph, the CEP included the requirement that all public investments had to further the goals of the CEP. This requirement is considered seriously among council and staff and is regularly used to assess projects and activities across municipal decisions. These integrated decision-making approaches allowed cities to evaluate all projects and decisions in light of community energy planning principles.




“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Lewis Carroll (1865) Implementation is not a straightforward process. Plans hit barriers moving from rhetoric to practice and sometimes new plans can represent more of a capacity building and aspiration setting exercise than a guide to implementation. In this research, the implementation of energy management activities did not follow a consistent path across the five cities. Nonetheless, the case studies illustrated the growing pains of community energy planning in Canada, provided some insight into common barriers and successes, and allowed for an assessment of how effective this approach may be as it evolves in Canada in the future.

6.1 Shared Purpose, Different Vocabularies The case study cities took different approaches to dealing with the same issue, which was demonstrated in the language and themes employed in the written plans and in interviews. The plans largely place a strong emphasis on the concept of greenhouse gas emission reduction through redistribution or redesign of energy use, but the vocabularies that were employed differed among the case studies. While some worked with a framework associated with climate change action, others adopted themes that reflected ‘community energy’ language or ‘sustainability’ language. Some cities found a strict climate change angle to be too narrow and sought to discuss activities that were more easily conceived as cross-cutting and integrative using sustainability and community energy vocabularies. Often cities seemed to evolve from the use of relatively


narrow concepts to vocabularies that allowed them to express broader, integrative energy planning.

The case study cities tended to use the three themes of sustainability, climate change, and community energy at the same time, in whichever combination made sense given the existing departmental expertise or future goals. The case study cities adapted concepts to their goals, institutional contexts, and physical environments. In this way, it was clear that implementation is not happening in a void and energy management is being incorporated into existing municipal activities with pre-existing context weighing on how implementation unfolds. Community energy planning in practice is not an activity that neatly unpacks according to a pre-determined schedule; rather, it is negotiated by municipal staff and politicians as they function day-to-day and influence the mental and physical infrastructure of the community. However, a lack of common language can mean that there are complications in attempting to assess progress and success. The concept of co-optation of the term ‘community energy’ came up in the research and the difficulty in assessing whether a city is working on longterm transformation to the local energy system, an implicit characteristic of community energy planning in the literature, or whether the city is just targeting one or two short-term aspects of energy management with no change to the foundation of the local energy system. In some cases, overlapping plans which all included some element of energy management (or plans developed in rapid succession) made the implementation of energy management activities difficult to see as a cohesive, directional effort.

6.2 The Different Paths of Implementation The case study cities varied in their continued commitment to the original CEPs as they moved from the planning stage to the implementation stage. Pickering and Halifax developed a programmatic approach where the principles outlined in their CEPs were developed into a broader policy that took advantage of


opportunities that arose rather than following a strict menu of activities from the original plan. Participants from both communities described their original CEP efforts as a good starting point, but implementation was not necessarily unfolding as outlined in the original document. Halifax expressed interest in updating its CEP to a smaller, more nimble document including more high level policy. Pickering found the original local climate change action document narrow in scope, inflexible and potentially overreaching in goal-setting and had developed a sustainability program to implement activities that include energy conservation and efficiency measures. In both cases, the cities focused on municipal operations and did not extensively implement energy projects that affected the broader community. Calgary did not use its CEP as a day-to-day guiding document, instead using a kaleidoscope of plans that built off of one another and moving the municipal corporation towards a decision-making mentality that incorporated CEP principles. Calgary largely focused on municipal operations and struggled with land use planning, one of the big contributors to the community’s high per capita greenhouse gas emissions. Vancouver and Guelph used their CEPs as touchstone plans that guided day-to-day implementation and shaped activities in both short-term energy management and long-term transformation of local energy systems. Vancouver is farther along and had had more success in physical implementation, but Guelph had engaged in a significant amount of groundwork laying the foundation for large energy system changes. Overall, the role that the plans played in the community seemed to be reflective of how much time they had spent considering the topic. Vancouver has had climate change goals since the early 1990s and so the local action plan studied in this research represented less of a learning experience than other case studies where the topic was being considered for the first time.

The evolution of governance frameworks for CEP implementation was another prominent theme in the research. The case study cities spent a significant amount of time in the early years of implementation establishing offices or


adding new positions and expertise to municipal staff. Guelph, for example, had to wait almost two years after the CEP was adopted by council to add a position dedicated to overseeing the implementation of the CEP because new full-time positions can only be added at the beginning of the fiscal year when the budget is adopted. In this research, cities were also in the midst of developing partnerships with private and public bodies that were necessary to expand their implementation or research capacity. Governance was slightly different between the case study cities, but generally expertise in climate change and energy was established and frequently an integrative office (often associated with sustainability) was established as a cross-cutting body that was able to reach horizontally across municipal operations to establish communication and seek out expertise and opportunities. This reflects a common assertion in the literature that broad, integrative initiatives such as community energy cannot be effectively addressed using isolated departments (Allman et al., 2004; Burch, 2009). Due to the integrative nature of many energy projects, the case study cities stressed the importance of communication that crosses traditional institutional boundaries and, in many cases, sought capacity from beyond municipal staff.

6.3 A Typology of Barriers Common barriers were realized across the case studies despite the different paths of implementation. This research highlighted jurisdictional issues, cost, capacity and experience, as well as difficulties in inspiring behavioural change in the absence of regulatory tools. Cost and capacity are common barriers to the implementation of municipal environmental policy (Robinson and Gore, 2005), but behavioural change is not touched on in the literature and jurisdiction has been highlighted slightly differently. Studies have identified how local authorities sometimes feel that environmental issues are beyond the scope of their control and therefore refocus their goals (Betsill, 2001; Wheeler, 2008), but participants in this research highlighted how individual activities were challenged by the


jurisdictional control of the city. Their overarching goals remained the same despite jurisdictional challenges, but the cities often had to rethink the methods with which they would get there. In this way jurisdiction was not a high-level barrier that left municipalities questioning whether they could affect their energy system, but was an operational barrier that shaped the scale and type of activity they could accomplish on the path to their energy goals. Nonetheless, there were issues that were beyond the jurisdictional control of the cities and demonstrated that aggressive federal and provincial greenhouse gas reduction and energy policies are necessary to achieve swift and extensive change. While municipalities may find ways to work around barriers to achieve preliminary greenhouse gas emission reductions, jurisdictional issues will be a significant barrier to the implementation of deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

Many of the reasons that cities experienced some success in implementation were actually successful responses to the encountered barriers. Cities extended their capacity beyond municipal staff experience into networks in order to find their way as they broke new ground, and evolved the internal governance of CEP implementation into crosscutting units that sought to break down institutional barriers related to siloed communication. Similar to other studies of municipal policy implementation (Allman et al., 2004; Burch, 2009), strong leadership from the mayor and city council was highlighted as a key enabling factor that had a significant effect on whatever successes in implementation were achieved. Case study cities that achieved some success often had to think creatively about their spheres of influence and constructively about partnerships and innovative approaches to funding. The fact that there is still significant opportunity in Canada to improve energy management in ways that are very cost effective in the short term aided some cities in garnering support for their efforts. However, if the focus is only on measures with short-term paybacks, long-term energy savings will be undervalued and transformational change to the energy systems will not be pursued. Cities should consider bundling energy


projects with a range of payback periods together in proposals so that 3-5 year payback projects are bundled with 20-30 year payback projects to achieve an energy package with a 10 year payback. This will minimize implementation barriers that may occur in the future if only projects with longer and longer paybacks remain and will get the long implementation process started for investments that will transform the energy system over the longer term. An exclusive focus on financial cost effectiveness for short-term paybacks is short sighted and will not allow for the full achievement of the goals of community energy planning.

Cost is not a straightforward consideration, and the research demonstrated the impact that a reconsideration of the concept of cost can have. A key finding is that when the goals of the CEP are broadly integrated into decision making and municipal expenditures, CEP implementation is more comprehensively successful, particularly in the establishment of a base for long-term transformative action. Some of the case studies experienced barriers due to cost, but when the energy management costs were not considered as additional activities above and beyond business as usual but were instead integrated into the activities that were already being pursued, implementation was more consistent and extensive. This is a more nuanced understanding of cost as a barrier than has been identified in the literature (Allman et al., 2004; Robinson and Gore, 2005). It is not just that one new flagship building is built to LEED gold standards, for example, but that all building stock expenditures must meet the highest efficiency standard available and be compatible with renewable energy generation technologies.

In this research, a distinction arose between efforts to implement activities that are financially cost-effective in the short-term and efforts to affect long-term transformational change of the local energy system. Guelph, for example, has laid the foundation for transformational change with long term energy


infrastructure planning and multi-sectoral and jurisdictional communication pathways. However, it became clear that not all of the case study cities had reached a stage where they considered both incremental and transformative energy planning with equal weight. In some cases, municipalities felt that they had so much to do in improving municipal operations’ energy use and greenhouse gas emissions that longer term changes in the community energy system were secondary. Many participants did note that their city intended to increase the implementation of energy actions that impacted the broader community in the future. The case study cities recognized that actions that affected the city’s whole energy system were integral to the successful implementation of their community energy plans.

6.4 Expanding Community Energy Planning This research highlighted several initiatives that could be adopted by all municipalities in a community energy planning framework. The case study cities had success in completing energy efficiency retrofits for municipally owned buildings, and municipalities can also combine this effort with enhanced purchasing and building guidelines so that all new expenditures meet a high level of energy efficiency and increase renewable energy opportunities. Another key initiative is the consideration of a municipality’s assets. A municipally owned landfill, for example, is a significant opportunity for local energy generation and a planned business park development can be assessed for the feasibility of a combined heat and power system. Each municipality will have a different set of assets, but all will have opportunities to apply improved local energy management to entities over which they have significant control. These opportunities will arise from across municipal operations, however, which is why the case study cities present important ‘lessons learned’ for governance. Municipalities can address the integral issue of communication by creating a municipal office with a mandate to focus on a long-term, integrated picture of the city’s energy management activities and to build cross-cutting communication


across municipal structures. This effort can be further advanced through the development of a culture within municipal operations that reflects CEP principles. Municipalities can strive to build CEP principles right into decisionmaking to consistently show municipal employees which kinds of activities will receive support. This internal culture can help municipalities move beyond municipal operations to support transformational change in the whole local energy system by holding all issues that come to council for approval to the CEP principles. The amount of regulation versus outreach and partnership building that a municipality uses to expand energy management into the community will depend on the amount of control that a municipality has. Not all municipalities can regulate development with their own building code, for example. Nonetheless, all municipalities can influence the energy system of the broader community through outreach programs and strategic partnerships, such as acting as the anchor tenant for a private district heating development that will then attract commercial customers. Finally, land use planning that incorporates CEP principles will also be a crucial element of long term transformative change to the local energy system and will determine if the CEP shapes the way that the city grows and functions in the long-term.

6.5 Concluding Remarks Community energy planning has not seen full expression in Canadian cities and will continue to evolve. In particular, most of the cities were largely working on incremental shaving of their greenhouse gas emissions rather re-thinking their energy system in ways that would result in transformative change. However, the case study cities did demonstrate the appetite for improved local energy management among municipalities in Canada. The early adopters of community energy planning principles in Canada have achieved some success in energy management in municipal operations despite barriers in jurisdiction, perception of cost, and capacity, but energy management in the community has not been comprehensively pursued or fully implemented due to barriers in jurisdiction,


behavioural change and lack of direct control. Energy management in municipal operations often focused on activities that are cost effective in the short-term and relatively easy to accomplish in the current market, such as conservation and efficiency. In the community, energy management also included transformational change involving infrastructure investments like cogeneration and district energy systems, which will shape local energy systems for decades into the future. In the case study cities, energy planning is generally moving away from the identification of specific projects at the outset of plan formation and more toward an integrated approach that recognizes unanticipated opportunities, affected all decision-making, and made all municipal expenditures reflective of the CEP principles. It was also found that evaluation of progress is inconsistent and tends to evolve during the implementation process.

Further research could be pursued with a more comprehensive research design that stretched across Canada and included municipalities of all sizes. A survey could be used to ascertain how widespread community energy planning is in Canada, which would allow for conclusions to be scaled up more extensively. In addition, further research could encompass communities at different stages of the energy planning process to discover the approaches taken in the next generation of community energy plans developed by communities following in the footsteps of the early adopter communities.

Some cities in Canada have demonstrated their concern over looming climate change and energy threats and are working to harness their position as the closet government to the community and arbiter of multi-sectoral and jurisdictional partnerships in order to meet those challenges. The case study cities encountered barriers that limited and shaped the work that they were able to accomplish, but each of the cities found ways to circumvent some obstructions, often with the help of strong political leadership. The cities found ways to integrate community energy planning principles into decision-making so


that implementation actions were flexible and took advantage of opportunities, and they reached beyond their current capacity to expand their knowledge and impact. The case study cities thought creatively about their ability to influence their energy system and in some ways broke new ground. However, community energy planning will not be effective in Canada if municipalities continue to focus on municipal operations and quick payback actions. While some municipalities made commendable strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations, most did not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the whole community. Furthermore, the targets set by the case study cities did not reflect the deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions that the scientific research recommends. If community energy planning is to have a significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, it will be essential that municipalities transition to a community wide focus where implemented energy management activities build toward transformational change to local energy systems.




APPENDIX B: RECRUITMENT EMAIL Dear (name), My name is Laura Tozer and I am a Masters student at the University of Toronto studying Geography and Environmental Studies. For my thesis research, I’m studying how different municipalities in Canada are making plans for local energy management due to climate change concerns. I’m interested in learning more about (community)’s Community Energy Plan and the work that is being done to implement it. I hope to schedule a few interviews with people that have been heavily involved in the formation or implementation of (community)’s Community Energy Plan. I’d love to hear more about your knowledge of the plan and how you’ve been involved in its implementation. I’d like to schedule a few short phone interviews between (date) and (date). Would you be available for an interview? If you are unavailable or if you think there is someone else that I should talk to, please let me know. I’m also talking to people from (list other communities) in June for a few interviews in order to get a picture of what municipalities across Canada are doing in their Community Energy Plans. I look forward to speaking with you further and please let me know if you have any questions. Best wishes, Laura -Laura Tozer MA Candidate Department of Geography Centre for Environment University of Toronto



Department of Geography & Planning 100 St. George Street, Room 5047 Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 3G3 Telephone: (416) 978-3375 Fax: (416) 946-3886

Interview Consent Form  I have been introduced to the study being conducted by Laura Tozer to interview 25-30 people about Community Energy Plans in municipalities across Canada in order to find out if community energy planning is effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  I am aware that my interview will range in length from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the topics covered.  I may decline to answer questions and I have the option to withdraw from the interview at any point.  My opinions will remain anonymous in any publication of the research results and the information that I provide will be kept strictly confidential. This consent form, with my name on it, will be kept separate from the interview results, which will only be identified with a number rather than my name. Although these precautions will be taken, the small size of the sample (ie. the relatively small number of people who are known to have been involved with the Community Energy Plan) means that there is a risk that my identity could become known. With acknowledgement of these points, I agree to participate. I agree to have my interview tape recorded.



Name _________________________ Signature ________________________ Date: ________________ No signature, verbal consent given:


Once the project is complete, I wish to access/receive the results of the project. YES NO A copy of project results will be available late 2010. If you prefer internet or mail, please leave your address and results will be sent to you. You may contact the lead researcher, Laura Tozer, by phone at (416) 727-0524, or by email at You may contact Laura Tozer’s supervising professor at: Virginia Maclaren, (416) 978-4977, You may contact the University of Toronto’s Ethics Review Office at or at (416) 946-3273 if you have questions about your rights as a participant in this study.


APPENDIX D: INTERVIEW GUIDE Municipal Employee/Politician When did your community start the process of making a CEP? Was there a precursor plan? What conditions motivated the creation of a new plan? Did the original CEP include all of the elements that you thought that it should include? What did community participation look like during the CEP formation process? Who in your department/office was involved in the creation of the plan? How did you go from vision setting to an implementation plan? Have more detailed implementation plans been developed for internal use? Are you still using the community energy plan as a guiding structure for action? In what way has your approach changed or evolved? In what areas have you made progress toward some of the goals that were set in the CEP? Is there an emphasis on any particular aspect of the plan (local energy generation, efficiency, conservation)? What barriers have been encountered in the implementation process? How has this influenced the community's commitment to implementing the CEP? Has this influenced the type of projects or policies that have gone forward? How was the CEP integrated into governance? Is there one department that is monitoring and motivating CEP implementation? Is it integrated into a broader range of departments? What organizational structures or practices have been set in place as a result of the CEP? Have the costs of implementation been meeting expectations? Are there any evaluation criteria? Who is responsible for the evaluation process? Are there benchmarks or is it ongoing? How did you reconcile desires to incorporate systems sustainability thinking into operations with the need to work with measurable criteria? Do you think that the actions being implemented are on track to reaching the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals that were set in your plan?


Community Organization/Industry/Other Role When did your community start the process of making a CEP? Was there a precursor plan? What conditions motivated the creation of a new plan? What motivated your community’s involvement in the plan? Did the original CEP include all of the elements that your organization thought that it should include? What did community participation look like during the CEP formation process? Who in your organization was involved in the creation of the plan? Has community engagement continued throughout the implementation process? In what areas have the municipality or other organizations made progress toward some of the goals that were set in the CEP? Is there an emphasis on any particular aspect of the plan (local energy generation, efficiency, conservation)? Do you think this is the right emphasis for your community? What barriers have been encountered in the implementation process? How has this influenced the community's commitment to implementing the CEP? Has this influenced the type of projects or policies that have gone forward? What is your sense of the costs of implementation? Has your organization encountered any costs? Are there any evaluation criteria? Who is responsible for the evaluation process? Are there benchmarks or is it ongoing? Are community members brought into the evaluation process? Do you think that the actions being implemented are on track to reaching the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals that were set in the plan? Do you think these goals are adequate?


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Community Energy Plans: Implementation Success and Barriers in Canadian Cities  

Community Energy Plans: Implementation Success and Barriers in Canadian Cities