Closing The Planning Gap: Towards 100% Renewable Energy Communities
MetadataShow full item record
As municipalities in Canada seek out ways in which to address the issues related to climate change, urbanization, and increase in population, energy is an ever-increasing concern. It's connection to land use, urban forms and infrastructure highlights the importance of local governments role in addressing these related issues. Many local governments are considering community energy plans as a solution to address issues related to the energy sector at the community level. The purpose of this paper is to understand and create a draft manual on how to close the planning gap that exists in community energy plans through understanding the development of proper policy frameworks primarily for planners and other municipal staff interested in renewable communities. It further seeks the methods a municipality should consider in planning to achieve 100% renewable community. Given the interdisciplinary nature of planning towards RE communities, a mixedmethods approach was followed. Municipalities in British Columbia have been studied, successful cases have been reviewed, interviews with municipal staff have been taken place, and literature review and non-academic papers have been read to yield important practical lessons regarding required steps to develop policy frameworks that would result in the increase in energy efficiency targets and increase in RE implementations at the local level. The predominant challenge for local governments in addressing climate change issues is that the adopted community energy plans, as mitigation and adaptation strategies, have targets in regards to the energy efficiency and RE that are not being fully implemented. Lack of internal alignment, capacity, funding, and policy frameworks have been identified as main barriers. In this paper steps required in developing policy frameworks have been studied to better guide communities that aim to achieve RE communities. Planning for 100% RE communities can build the leadership and commitment that is necessary to move towards implementation of energy targets in the absence of national regulatory support. There is a substantial opportunity to close the gap between energy planning and the implementation of energy targets at the local level. However, as there is no one size fits all, each municipality has to develop their own policy actions using local policy tools. The policy frameworks provide the general information on how to best develop a successful policy. However, using incentives and political buy-in have been identified to play a key role in the implementation of energy targets to achieve 100% RE communities.