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Ministry responsible: Environment and Parks
The Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel was created to make recommendations on the types of energy savings programs that Energy Efficiency Alberta can start to deliver in the short and medium-term, as well as help set out a long-term vision.
Energy Efficiency Alberta is a new provincial agency that will promote and support energy efficiency and community energy systems (including micro-generation and small-scale generation) for homes, businesses and communities.
Alberta's Climate Leadership Plan includes a commitment to reinvest all revenue from the carbon levy into Alberta's economy, including $645 million over 5 years to Energy Efficiency Alberta. Investment in energy efficiency and community energy system programs will help to reduce energy use and associated costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and support green jobs for:
- small businesses
- building owners
- community organizations
The panel's final report was produced following engagement with the public, Indigenous communities, non-profit organizations and municipal and technical stakeholders in 2016. The panel also reviewed energy efficiency and community energy efforts of other jurisdictions including other provincial and territorial governments.
The panel's advice will enable energy efficiency programs to launch in early 2017 - programs to help Albertans reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money.
Public and stakeholder engagement
Engagement assisted in understanding the needs and opportunities across Alberta and within targeted sectors to ensure new programs will deliver the desired outcomes of the Climate Leadership Plan. The panel’s work included:
- identifying energy efficiency and community energy opportunities for Alberta
- potential delivery approaches that are appropriate for Alberta
- long-term vision considerations for promoting energy efficiency and community energy systems
The engagement process focused on overall objectives and programs for energy efficiency and community energy systems, including initial education, outreach and financial incentive programs.
- Energy Efficiency Advisory Panel Established (June 2016)
- Public, Indigenous and Technical Engagements ( July – September 2016)
- Report to Minister (Fall 2016)
- Energy Efficiency Alberta launch of energy efficiency programs (January 2017)
Alberta’s Climate Change Advisory Panel Findings
Alberta's Climate Change Advisory Panel, chaired by Dr. Andrew Leach, provided recommendations to government in November 2015, which informed the Alberta government’s Climate Leadership Plan.
In its report, the Climate Change Advisory Panel highlighted energy efficiency and community energy systems as important complementary policy to the economy-wide price on carbon. Energy efficiency and community energy systems were identified as a means for all Albertans to help contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to empower citizens, small businesses and communities to reduce their energy use and associated energy costs.
"By fostering energy efficiency and energy resilient communities, Alberta has an opportunity to achieve significant emission reductions, to empower action by individual citizens, small business and communities, and to support the implementation of community energy plans."
-Climate Change Advisory Panel, Report to Minister, November 2015
Energy efficiency allows energy users to break through barriers to adopting cost-effective efficiency and conservation measures. These barriers can include upfront capital costs, lack of knowledge of best practices and technologies, and access to products and services. The Panel noted that “Energy efficiency goes well beyond the efficiency of appliances. The design of cities and neighbourhoods matters profoundly.”
The Panel also highlighted the benefits of reducing energy demand in the province, such as avoided costs of energy builds and reducing air pollution. The Climate Change Advisory Panel recommended that “Alberta’s new climate change strategy should ensure we look at (energy efficiency) as an opportunity for enhanced prosperity and well-being."
The Panel heard strong support for micro-scale generation as well as a new class of community-scale generation, noting that any new policies would depend on careful assessment of criteria, eligible technologies, impacts on the stability of the grid and conditions for market integration.
The Panel made specific recommendations on implementing new integrated energy efficiency and community-scale energy programs, implementing a regulatory agenda to support energy efficiency, and fostering municipal partnerships. New integrated programs should:
- ensure incremental spending on energy efficiency and small-scale community generation meets standard tests for return on public investment
- investigate the feasibility of a small-scale community generation regulation, funded within the Community Energy Strategy
- ensure low-income households are not left behind in the transition to a lower carbon economy, and have opportunities to adopt the same new energy technologies as higher income households
- ensure collaboration with municipal programs that are already in place or in the planning stages