Energy Efficiency Regional SpotlightWebinar on December 2, 2022
Find Out What’s Happening on the Ground across the country, from the lens of energy efficiency champions.
Following the release of our 2022 Canadian Energy Efficiency Scorecard, some of our Regional Champions will share their thoughts on latest news, and upcoming progress they foresee for each of their provinces and territories. Join us to get a glimpse of the what’s what in energy efficiency in parts Canada.
Our regional champions
Allison Mostowich, Director of Engagement, Efficiency Canada
Allison Mostowich: Good afternoon, everybody.
We have invited our regional champions to share what is going on in their specific provinces, above and beyond what was published in the scorecard that we just released. So a bit about our regional champions. Regional champions are volunteer leaders that facilitate these connections between sector members, local advocates, government officials, and many more. Regional Champions connect monthly to share local knowledge on key concerns of our sector, celebrate wins, and discuss ways to further support regional initiatives.
Our combined efforts will develop a stronger network of energy efficiency advocates from coast to coast. So that’s why we are here. With that we are gonna get started. We’re gonna start from the north and then loop our way west to east. Some of our regional champions weren’t able to be with us today, however they did send some notes.
You won’t see all the provinces. Some were just not able to join us at all. But I will try to read some of the notes that our regional champions shared with us and we will get going.
Okay, so our first territory is Nunavut. So Heather is the director for NNC which is Nunavut’s first 100% Inuit owned renewable energy developer. She is responsible for leading the development and implementation of a number of energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives across Nunavut. To this day, the territory remains almost completely dependent on importing diesel for electricity and heating as part of an energy system that is unreportable and unreliable, which is also a major source of pollution. And this is the major threat and challenge they’re facing in Nunavut right now.
So the federal government has a goal of eliminating diesel powered electricity generation in remote communities by 2030. Ottawa has announced 300 million in additional funding over the next five years to help rural, remote, and indigenous communities shift from diesel power plants to cleaner sources of electricity.
So this includes solar and wind projects that are slowly starting to replace some of the reliance on diesel, but, Those are not without their challenges. Right now there are major disagreements with the utilities about how the utility will pay for the renewable electricity the projects produce. This is a major barrier for these projects.
So the Q E C, so it’s a Cooley Energy Corporation currently does not have a policy in place for how to purchase electricity from independent producers. And in addition to this, there are also some bureaucratic battles about fuel switching from this reliable source of energy. There is a notion that what’s working works and there’s a lot of hesitation to change.
However, Heather did mention to me that she is optimistic these challenges can be overcome and is working towards more reliable energy projects in Nunavut every day. So those are some notes that came from Heather. Next we are going to move over to BC.
Christine Gustafson: Good morning everyone. I just wanna say a quick thanks to the Efficiency Canada Scorecard team for this huge piece of work. It’s so interesting to see where we are as a country, as individual provinces and compare that to where we’ve been and where we think we might need to go next. So I’m Christine Gustafson.
I’m the owner and principal consultant at Harbor Green Consulting, where I work with governments and utilities on energy management and greenhouse gas emission reduction. I’m also the Efficiency Canada regional champion for BC. So I will give you my thoughts on BC
BC headline reads, “British Columbia leads in scorecard rankings for the fourth year in a row, having earned 55 points out of a hundred. And the province continues to be a place to watch for best practices and policies.” So my initial reaction to this is, “oh, that’s so nice. I like being first. Who doesn’t like being first?”
But efficiency Canada notes that we have a strong climate plan and municipal empowerment, and I agree with this assessment, that’s great. But if we’re being honest my son brought home a 55 on his test. That would be a C minus. He’s actually still in elementary school, so they’d be a little bit gentler, and they would say he’s developing or he needs improvement.
And Efficiency Canada notes this too. Our areas for improvement are there on the screen. I’m happy to report that there are some proposed changes to the DSM regulation that is in consultation right now. We’re in the consultation phase and among other things it would change the primary cost effectiveness test from the TRC MTRC model that we have currently to the uct, which is exciting.
But a couple notes on my opinion. I still think there’s a few more areas that BC can improve on. We need to work together with people of varying perspectives, knowledge and positions. The goal is greenhouse gas emission reduction. I think we can all agree on that. With respect to how we get there, engaging diverse opinions will strengthen our critical thinking skills and ensure that we have the best solutions coming.
We also need to follow the building science and promote a systems approach. There’s no silver bullet technology. Efficient electrification, embodied energy, life cycle analysis and sufficiency should all become corridor lexicon. And finally, I think we need to change our frame of reference and look internationally for inspiration.
Canada scored 13th outta 25 countries ranked in ACEEE’s 2022 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard. And Canada, as we know, is one of the 10 most polluting countries in the world, both in absolute terms and per capita. So there’s a lot to be learned from other people that are doing really great things. And certainly there’s a lot more work to be done. Still. I just wanna just one more thing, just happy that BC’s number one, obviously in a big shout out to all the good folks working on energy efficiency in bc. It’s definitely a team effort and thanks again to Efficiency Canada.
Allison Mostowich: Awesome, thanks Christine. Okay, so next we’re going to Alberta. So these are just a few notes from the scorecard that Sandra wanted me to show today. So Alberta remains one of the only jurisdictions in North America that does not allow its utility providers to undertake demand side management activities to lower energy system costs, and reduce customer bills.
This is evident in its ninth place finish, which hits me particularly hard because I’m in Calgary. So a report released in May showed that provincial programs enabling these activities would create 11 billion in net benefits over 20 years within the projects. That’s a fair amount of money, even for oil and gas companies.
So the need for energy efficiency is urgent, particularly since Alberta’s fossil fuel heavy electricity system needs to reach nets or emissions by 2035. Under a federal clean electricity standard. As energy costs rise, Alberta is also the only province without energy efficiency programs for low income households.
They have had them in the past. We have worked very closely with Empower Me. But right now there are none, which is so unfortunate. And Alberta has had industrial energy management programs in place since 2018 with more than 130 participants. Mrs. Sandra Moore, she is our regional champion for Alberta.
She’s the Dean of business environment and technology at Northwest College. So these are some of her additional thought. As Alberta’s regional champion with Efficiency Canada, I would have appreciated Alberta bringing home some better grades this year – likewise – and not dropping two spots, but appreciated seeing that one of Alberta’s strengths is in building codes.
Alberta automatically adopts national model codes 12 months after their publication date, which means the province is scheduled to adopt the new 2020 codes earlier than most provinces. The province’s next step is to establish a date for all new buildings to be net zero energy ready. Alberta has a lot of room to improve in low income, energy efficiency programs and energy labeling as noted on the previous slide.
And she also noted that Alberta excels in energy, including oil and gas and renewables. We can also excel in energy efficiency and we will, thanks to the amazing innovative work being done in this province and around energy efficiency. So a message of hope, and I can definitely echo that message from Calgary.
So next up we have got Ontario.
Jeff Floyd: So I’m Jeff Floyd. I’m the Ontario Regional Champion, but working day to day at London Hydro. I’ll share that energy efficiency has been a lifetime passion and career for me, and now that’s under a bigger carbon tent, I’m glad to see it’s part of a more integrated approach to climate change mitigation.
My email tagline is often “there is so much great work to be done”, and I believe it, and I’m excited to see so many fresh people coming into the industry.
So Ontario. Our scorecard was pretty bang on, but the cutoff missed some wins. Drawing on the title of Efficiency Canada’s one pager, energy Efficiency to the Rescue for Ontario.
Overall, we’re on the upswing and program dollars are king. As cyclical as the industry is, the same provincial government that cut electricity efficiency programming financing four years ago has this October added 342 million to the ISOs conservation budget for the 2124 framework, bringing up to a billion for the framework’s four year life.
That’s good news. It’s still below the gold standard Conservation first framework of 2015 to 2020. That was cut down in 2019. Deploying that additional funding in the short two years left on the current framework may be a challenge. ISO had already been planning to both reintroduce and offer some new initiatives, strategic energy management, being dear to my heart, but they’re not known for speed, so let’s see where they take it. The other big influencer, Enbridge, our main gas player, has been waiting on a response to their energy efficiency filing with the Ontario Energy Board. The November OEB ruling cut their proposed framework from five years down to three, but provided a slightly expanded budget while asking them to adjust some program requirements that they deemed problematic.
One of the wins here I’d like to highlight is on the residential land, and it starts next year in ’23 where the Federal Greener Homes program and Enbridge is similar home efficiency rob rebate plus program with slightly different rules will now be administered through one window. I don’t have a perfect analogy, but think of having a choice of filing your taxes in two different places, but with different outcomes.
How do you choose? Maybe you put it off. One window now, some rule changes that remove the need for the work to be done at a primary residence in most cases. Less program friction. I love that. Plus Enbridge has more experience than the feds in executing this kind of thing. I don’t think I need to mention federal software deployment issues.
My last but most important update. Potentially the biggest future game changer is that Ontario has just finalized the makeup of the electrification and energy transition panel first announced in April. This has been known as the CLI panel, not as in border, but David who chairs it reading from the materials.
The panel would advise government on the highest value to time opportunities for the energy sector to help Ontario’s economy prepare for electrification and the energy transition. So finally we have a provincial group tasked with advising on big picture pieces and coordinating all of the conservation and electrification efforts. Our gas and electricity efficiency frameworks, and to a degree, other federal and provincial initiatives have been operating in attribution silos for years.
So let’s hope the panel efforts amount to thoughtful, integrated and effective future efficiency operatings. By and large, this is a serious move in the right direction.
Allison Mostowich: Thanks Jeff for the information and the jokes. Okay, so next up we have got Mathieu who is representing Quebec.
Mathieu Côte: Thank you Allison. Welcome everyone. Thank you to Efficiency Canada for putting this massive work into the scorecard. I’ve had the opportunity of being peer reviewer for the scorecard since the first one in 2019 or 2020 and can definitely testify the hard work required to pull this off. Good job on to Efficiency Canada for this. So I’m Mathieu Cote. I’m the executive director at the Canadian Institute for Energy Training, C I E T that provide energy efficiency training across the country. I’m also representing Quebec as a regional energy champion for Efficiency Canada.
While Quebec is very happy, I guess to be third, we have always been second in this scorecard. And now Nova Scotia, kudos to Nova Scotia, has taken the second spot this year. And just just like Christine said 48 out of a hundred is not a fantastic score.
So we hope we could do better. And there are rooms for improvement that I’ll discuss in a few seconds. Moving on to strengths because there are great strengths. Quebec, like BC is a rather mature market for energy efficiency and there are great things here. One is public transit funding that was highlighted by Efficiency Canada.
Quebec has the highest per capita public transit funding. And one thing that can surprise you it does surprise me, it has the highest per capita public transit ridership. You could think that Toronto would be high in terms of public transit ridership but maybe the lack of many lines you guys in Toronto are building new relief lines and others because you only have two subway lines.
So that’s great to see that high per capita public transit ridership in Quebec as well. One thing that I believe is potentially game changer is the dual energy program by Energir for gas and hydro Quebec for electricity. That joint program that they’ve proposed is trying to make the best of both energy sources by enticing, roughly speaking, enticing Energir customers to switch fuel to electricity but keep gas to meet peak. So that’s a very interesting program to see. Looking forward to see how it goes in real life. But I think that just having two utilities work together is a great thing. And that’s really what we need to look at energy as a whole and not electricity and gas in two different places.
So I think that Sophie Bohu, the current Hydro Quebec ceo, who used to be Energir’s ceo, she’s really making this possible, so kudos to her as well.
In terms of areas for improvement. I think that copying what Montreal has launched recently where they have military public disclosure, energy efficiency, and GHG performance that will be increased toward 2040 with carbon neutral buildings coming up in 2040.
That’s their expectation. So the Quebec government could definitely copy that playbook and apply this at a wider level, at a provincial level. And also that was one of the suggestions here by efficiency Canada that trying to approach decarbonization and electrification with systems that have at least a hundred percent efficiency rate, which is a level that can be achieved by heat pumps.
So not only switching to all those resistive systems you got from Ontario, for example, might be always laughing at people in Quebec where we have those resistive heating baseboards. Almost no one has that in Ontario, but it’s extremely frequent here in Quebec, but it doesn’t mean that they are extremely efficient.
Last thoughts for in terms of my opinion, I think that we should definitely focus on programs. The one with the joint program between Energir and Hydro Quebec is a great step forward and I’m biased here, but I think we need to ensure that there’s capacity for whatever we want to undertake in the future.
Promoting training, making sure that people are aware of what they can do, how their organizations can lead the decarbonization initiatives. And I think that we all hope in Quebec that we will be just moving forward, not going back like we’ve been doing since 1997 when the first energy efficiency agency Quebec was created.
It was created in ’97, went back to the energy Ministry in 2011. They recreated an agency in 2017 Quebec. Brought it back again in the ministry in 2020 and now changed the ministry. And the same team of energy efficiency experts are in the Ministry of economy now. So I hope it’s their final destination and that they can I’m sure they’re working hard, that’s not the point.
But hopefully they will be working hard to making things happen, not changing business cards and and things like that. So hopefully, I’m sure they all want that as well.
Allison Mostowich: Thanks Mathieu. Okay, so next we have Chantal in New Brunswick.
Chantal Daigle Verrier: Thanks. My name is Chantal Daigle Verrier I’m the New Brunswick representative and I work at NB Power.
New Brunswick earned three more points than last year, and that should continue to rise because a lot is happening in our beautiful province. The province released a progress report of the previous climate Action Plan showing 55% of municipalities already have a climate plan and G HG emissions reduced by 37% below 2005 levels.
And here’s the view on climate action plans from FCM and ICLEI partners for climate protection. We can see there’s a lot of activity and a lot of municipalities. There was also the launch of EV incentives. Tens of millions of dollars invested exceeded a requirement of 40% of electricity from renewable sources hitting 51% in the last fiscal year.
The province has been making good progress on lowering emissions already and is meeting goals to date as shown here from the new Climate Action Plan for 2022 to 2027. It identifies the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and we see that some good progress has been made.
And this is the updated pie chart for emissions in New Brunswick. Our province does have a large proportion of buildings using electric heat, similar to the comments by Mathieu for Quebec, which makes transitioning to cold climate heat pumps easier than in some other provinces. Here are some of the highlights of the new five year plan that are relevant to this discussion of the scorecard.
We’re adopting NECB 2020 very soon, expected to be within the next year phasing out oil with off oil programs already starting, building energy performance labeling and continuing GHG reporting within the province’s output based pricing system. We’re setting new performance targets. Supporting low income, indigenous and non-electric programs, starting to offer financing, continuing to offer training in capacity building, and establishing sustainable funding sources for the programs.
On areas for improvement, changes to the electricity act will enable new targets. And on low income we just launched new programs at NB Power with new funds. 40 million being announced recently for low and moderate income homeowners. These funds will provide free air sealing installation and heat pumps for those heating with baseboards or oil.
On the Save Energy NB landing page there are programs for homes, for business, for Community. We also have web services for Energy Star Portfolio Manager, and there are a variety of education opportunities posted. Our commercial program now has larger incentives and the business rebate program provides 25% back against construction costs and has been very popular.
We have soft launched a new construction program for the commercial and industrial sector and ECP 2020 will be the reference building and is providing up to $125 per square meter for net zero energy buildings.
Allison Mostowich: So let’s get into the questions. Can you elaborate on the change for greener homes to Enbridge administration? Do you have any info on that one?
Jeff Floyd: It’s high level at this point. I know that NRCAN and Enbridge have been in conversations about how to pair down not the program itself, but the customer interface side of things.
So I expect that in the new year from what I’ve heard, that it will be a single point of entry from a portal standpoint.
Craig Fernandes: Just this past couple weeks we’ve had a lot of things going on here in Ontario with Enbridge. So effectively we have an agreement with NRCAN. So starting in January, we will be the program administrator. And effectively what the program does is we will try and put a single program face to the end consumer and a single portal. But the funding from the federal level and from Enbridge’s DSM programming comes together and we have an attribution agreement on the back end of how we will fund particular measures across the province. And, so the consumer doesn’t necessarily need to worry about two separate programs. They have one entry point, and for all intensive purposes the two programs used to provide differing incentive levels across a variety of measures. Enbridge’s were exclusively to Enbridge gas customers and the federal was across all primary residences. So now there are a few complications on what will be happening, but instead of being able to go through this program or go through that program, you’ll go through a single one. Incentives are stacked in many cases, and in many cases, instead of having a maximum cap at 5,000, it can go up to 10,000. Consumers are generally going to be no worse off than either of the other programs.
And in, in many cases, probably most cases, they’re substantially better off. So we have that agreement that goes out till 2027 and roughly aligns with our new dsm program term, if that’s helpful.
Allison Mostowich: Thanks, Craig. I appreciate it. I am interested to know, is there anything coming down that you’ve heard of from the federal government that you see as particularly beneficial to your jurisdiction upcoming?
Some of the things we know that are going to be coming out are the green building strategy. We know. They’re also going to have a building code adoption fund. I’m curious to know from everybody’s perspective, what do you see that the federal government’s doing that is going to particularly impact your jurisdiction?
Chantal Daigle Verrier: I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming up with the coats in 2025 in particular but also for 2030 so that we can see and plan if you want to do a deep retrofit now that you don’t have to do it again in 2030.
Christine Gustafson: I think the new supports for low income programs are great.
Jeff Floyd: Yeah I’d agree. There’s finally some action. I think I’ve personally been frustrated that this stuff has been announced in concept, but taken so long to actually turn into policy coming down. I’m understanding how the programs and what’s going on interrelates and gets launched, like that’s where the rubber hits the road.
And seems to be where we get stuck and lose time. And time is money. Time is carbon. I don’t think that was in what Wall Street in the eighties, but maybe there’ll be a new Wall Street about saving the planet. Who knows? But certainly glad to see the movement and just want to get things moving.
Mathieu Côte: I think we alluded to that earlier, but the the recently announced program from NRCAN for affordable residential transition from oil to heat pumps. I’m not sure exactly how they call it, but I think that would be a big thing.
The key question is how can it work and absorb that as well. And how can the residential sector, they are already overwhelmed with everything happening with greener homes. I think the government itself is overwhelmed with their own program. So everyone is overwhelmed. So I’m just curious to, to see how this will unfold.
It’s not a fantastically big investment either, it’s 250 million. It’s a lot of money, but not that much. So I hope it doesn’t confuse the market more than it already is. But that’s an important thing to monitor.
Allison Mostowich: I just want to thank our regional champions again for presenting today. Our scorecard doesn’t capture everything and the information is historical. Although we try to capture some things that have happened since 2021 because it does come out quite late in 2022.
It’s nice to hear the commentary and understand on the ground what’s happening. So thank you so much for today and we will see everybody next week.