5 Things Community Energy can do for your Community

Reason 1: Economic resilience and energy price



As BC Hydro’s electricity rates increase, and cheap natural gas from fracking will eventually be phased out for home heating, we will need to find more innovative solutions to energy affordability and energy capacity. What if we could save more money on household energy? What if this money stayed in the community?

cee-thumbnail Projected increase in household energy costs by 2020

Local example: Surrey citizens could collectively spend more than $1.3 billion on household energy by 2020.

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A community energy system based on renewables can be less vulnerable to global energy markets, because after the initial investment, operation costs remain generally low.

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The neighbourhood scale has the highest opportunity and lowest cost to save energy with:

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cee-thumbnail Stable energy prices
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5 Things Community Energy can do for your Community

Reason 2: Energy security through local energy supply



Much of the energy currently used in Metro Vancouver homes comes from remote suppliers in BC and Alberta, at least 400-1000 kilometers away. Metro Vancouver is also crossed by railways and pipelines which ship coal and oil from the oilsands for export. A small portion of the oil that is exported is imported back to Canada to meet our transportation needs.

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With increasing climate change disruptions in Metro Vancouver, such as windstorms, landslides, floods, and heat-waves, what would communities do if the energy supply became disconnected? We need to act on how to localize energy at an appropriate scale for different energy supplies, from site to region.

Types of Scale
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5 Things Community Energy can do for your Community

Reason 3.1: Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions



Fossil-fuel energy resources release greenhouse gases that cause global warming and endanger current and future generations. The main sources of greenhouse gas emissions are:

Vancouver

Metro Vancouver

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Burning Fossil Fuels
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Agriculture
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Waste & Landfills
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Buildings account for 40% of regional carbon emissions
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Greenhouse gas emissions from your fridge can be responsible for:

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Reason 3.2: Climate change impacts



Scientists have determined that a global warming beyond 2 degrees celsius is a serious threat to the lives of current and future generations, especially among the world’s poorest populations. In order to avoid the most serious impacts of global warming we must substantially reduce the greenhouse gases that we emit into the atmosphere.
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Increased vulnerability and risk of flooding
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Increased forest fires in Kelowna, BC
Climate change impacts are already here, and getting worse.
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Cooling Degree Days - Past vs. Future Projected increase in air conditioning requirements, deadly heat waves and energy bills
Especially with heat waves and energy bills, buildings are requiring more air conditioning for people to cool down. This is where the natural systems, such as trees, play an important role in cooling buildings and communities if there are more planted, managed, and maintained throughout communities.

Greenhouse gas emissions from your fridge can be responsible for:

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Click here to go to interactive videogame and images showing local projected climate impacts

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Future Delta
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Images of Change

Reason 3.3: British Columbia’s greenhouse gas reduction targets

Under the Greenhouse Gas reduction Targets Act, B.C.'s GHG emissions are to be reduced by at least 33 percent below 2007 levels by 2020. A further emission reduction target of 80 percent below 2007 levels is set for 2050.

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Modified from British Columbia’s Climate Leadership Plan 2016
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Credit: City of Vancouver

Why cities? Municipality targets?

In response to the reality of climate change, British Columbia committed to taking action, and in 2007 showed world-wide leadership by legislated greenhouse gas emissions targets and other provincial and local government policies to help mitigate climate change.

Municipalities in BC were quick to follow suit, and many have pledged to reduce their community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% by 2050—our share of the worldwide reduction necessary to maintain an average global warming of 2 degrees.

Some cities are introducing low carbon energy targets, such as Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy that will ensure the city derives all of its energy from renewable sources prior to 2050.

5 Things Community Energy can do for your Community

Reason 4: Growing energy demand



Municipalities across the region use different total amount of energy for electricity, heating and transportation. municipalities with higher density and lower vehicle use tend to use less energy per person.

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Municipalities with higher density and lower vehicle use tend to use less energy per person (Credit: CALP)

As we look towards the future of energy demand, municipalities will need to find solutions to increase capacity of their energy supply from fossil-fuels to more renewable resources.

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5 Things Community Energy can do for your Community

Reason 5. ENERGY EFFICIENCY



Vancouver residents and businesses could save over $90 million and 160,000 tonnes of GHGs per year by 2020 through improved energy efficiency.

Benefits of Energy Efficiency

Stimulation of the economy

  • Every $1 million increase in energy efficiency generates $3-4 million of economic growth
  • 13 jobs are created for every $1 million invested in energy efficiency

Money in your pocket

  • Living in an energy efficient building can lower your heating bills by more than 50%
  • Energy efficient buildings and homes experience higher resale value and last longer

Comfortable buildings

  • Canadians spend 50% of their time indoors. An energy efficient building keeps you warmer in winter and cooler in summer
  • Energy efficient buildings stay more comfortable and safe during a power-failure or natural disaster
Improved energy efficiency helps B.C.'s households, businesses and institutions save money, be more competitive and have a better quality of life. It is also the cleanest way to meet increasing demand for energy, so is good for our natural environment and is one of the more affordable ways to reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions.
cee-thumbnailNearly a quarter of planned GHG reduction is from building retrofits cee-thumbnail Click here to go to tools and resources