County emissions reduction strategy will promote efficient use of energy

GUELPH –  An update on the development of a Wellington County Corporate and Community Emissions Reduction Strategy was provided to members of the county’s planning committee on June 3.

Manager of planning and environment Linda Redmond explained in a report the county received a grant in February from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to complete a corporate and community energy and emissions reduction strategy by spring 2021.

The corporate strategy focuses on county-owned assets where the county has direct influence on energy use and supply sources.

The community strategy focuses on energy use by partner municipalities, residences and businesses within the county jurisdiction.

“The county and its partner municipalities have already completed portions of this project through their work on their respective energy conservation and management plans,” states a memo from Wellington County climate change coordinator Karen Chisholme.

“Information gathered through the development and reporting for these plans will be integrated into the energy and emissions reduction strategy.”

Chisholme joined the county staff in May in a new position funded partially by the $125,000 FCM grant.

In her memo she stated the project will complete the first three milestones of a five-milestone framework set out by the Partners for Climate Protection, a program of FCM.

Milestone one is creation of  a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory and forecast for corporate emissions and community emissions. Milestones two and three are setting an emissions reduction target and  developing a local action plan.

The fourth and fifth milestones would see the implementation of the local action plan and monitoring of its progress.

“The success of this project is dependent on the collective desire to achieve its goals,” noted Chisholme.

“Both internal and external stakeholders need to buy in to what this project is trying to achieve: more efficient use of energy for the long-term health and prosperity of our communities.”

Goals and actions of the project will include:

– improved climate change and energy systems literacy;

– engagement with industry experts to advise on risks of climate change to municipalities and communities, mitigation measures, scenario modeling and other areas;

– consultation with partner municipalities to understand individual municipal needs and identify opportunities for partnerships;

– consultation with stakeholders to understand individual stakeholder needs and identification of opportunities for partnerships;

– community engagement to share information, empower community action, and solicit feedback; and

– participation in the Partners for Climate Protection community.

Chisholme stated a communication strategy will be developed to support the goal of gaining community and partner support for the local action plan.