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Saving money while building a green economy

Proposed legislation would stimulate local economies, create jobs and help Albertans save money on their energy bills.

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Minister Anderson visits Mill Creek NetZero home with (L-R) Paul Verhesen, Alberta Construction Association, David Dodge, Energy Efficiency Alberta, Wendy Jabusch, BILD Alberta, Mayor Iveson and Conrad Nobert, homeowner.

If passed, An Act to Enable Clean Energy Improvements would give municipalities the option to establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. The initiative would allow home and business owners to make their spaces more energy-efficient, without putting any money down.

Financing for energy-efficient upgrades or renewable energy systems such as solar panels, high-insulation windows and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems would be repaid through the building owner’s property taxes. Often, the savings generated by the PACE upgrades would be greater than the annual repayment.

“We know that Albertans care about taking action on climate change, and PACE will make it more affordable for them to do just that. This is a win for our municipalities that will be able to implement these programs, a win for home and business owners, and a win for our economy.”  

Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs

The PACE program would also stimulate local economies and help create jobs. In North America, every $1 million in PACE project spending has resulted in at least 15 new jobs and $2.5 million in economic output. 

“When we make it easier for people to invest in their homes or their businesses, we’re creating good green jobs and diversifying the economy.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office

Since first implemented in California in 2008, PACE programs have expanded to every region in the United States, generating nearly $6 billion in economic activity. A number of Canadian jurisdictions, including Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec, have also adopted PACE legislation, increasing economic activity and creating local jobs.

“BILD Alberta is pleased to support the PACE program and the opportunity for Albertans to access energy efficiency upgrades with less financial burden. PACE will allow BILD Alberta renovator, developer, builder and supplier members increased ability to offer consumers efficient and renewable energy choices in a more affordable way.”

Wendy Jabusch, chair, Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) Alberta

“ACA feels strongly that PACE programs offer a financially viable way to retrofit older buildings, or for new buildings to meet future environmental standards. It also offers a method for investment which does not create costs to the taxpayer.”

Paul Verhesen, past president, Alberta Construction Association

“We are really excited about the possibility of a PACE program in Alberta. I think this holds tremendous potential for the residential, commercial and non-profit solar markets here in Alberta.”

David Vonesch, COO, SkyFire Energy Inc.

Increased demand for energy efficiency upgrades means more opportunities in Alberta’s green jobs sector. For instance, retrofitting every home that needs it in Alberta could put 6,500 to 14,000 Albertans to work over the next two years.

“The government’s leadership in implementing programs such as PACE underscores the importance of ensuring the affordability of energy efficient homes and businesses throughout the province. SAIT looks forward to supporting PACE through our unique applied learning environment— offering relevant applied research, programming and training to create career-ready graduates immediately able to meet industry demand in the green and clean-tech sector.”

Alex Zahavich, SAIT vice-president, Corporate Development, Applied Research and International

An Act to Enable Clean Energy Improvements is in response to requests from municipalities across Alberta who have asked for PACE-enabling legislation to ensure there are more options for Albertans to make energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades.

“This proposed legislation would be another tool for municipalities to help us empower our citizens. It gives the City of Calgary the option to establish a PACE program that would support Calgarians in their own energy efficiency decisions.”

Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

“We've been advocating to the province for quite some time to put this type of mechanism in place. Today's announcement recognizes that they've heard us and will work with us to reduce financial barriers associated with making energy-related property improvements.”  

Don Iveson, mayor, City of Edmonton

Municipalities would have the choice as to whether to offer a clean energy improvement program.

 Quick facts

  • If the legislation is passed, government will consult with municipalities, lenders, real estate associations and other stakeholders to develop a regulation.
  • The regulation would cover details such as:
  • the scope of eligible projects
  • disclosure requirements for purchasers of property
  • financial criteria for property owners
  • consumer protection and quality assurance requirements
  • The Alberta Climate Change Office and Energy Efficiency Alberta will work together over the summer and fall to design a PACE program, which will include a number of tools to assist municipalities.
  • If passed, it is expected the legislation would come into force in early 2019.
  • Municipalities would then need to pass a PACE bylaw before making the program available to residents.

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