Regional council endorses Durham Community Energy Plan

Regional council has officially endorsed the Durham Community Energy Plan (DCEP). The DCEP aims to improve energy efficiency, reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and encourage green energy solutions at the local level, and will guide Durham’s future growth and development, energy generation, delivery and use to the year 2050.

The plan was developed in partnership with all eight area municipalities and five energy utilities serving Durham.

“Imagine a future Durham where houses and buildings have significantly reduced their energy consumption and have the ability to produce on-site energy. A community where you can get to work without a long, car-based commute. Energy dollars and jobs remain in our community; strengthening our local economy,” said John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “This plan brings multiple economic, environmental, employment and social benefits to the residents of the region, and will help us to plan ahead for future growth and development.”

Three future energy scenarios were developed for the region, taking into consideration Durham’s projected growth patterns in population, households, employment and development. These scenarios were then analysed for common outcomes, including energy consumption, costs, emissions, and economic and employment implications. Based on these outcomes, the Low Carbon Pathway (LCP) was selected as the preferred scenario. The LCP promotes an accelerated transition to non-carbon emitting energy production alternatives. The DCEP proposes six implementation programs to get to the LCP scenario:

  1. The Durham Green Standard program, which will aim to enhance the energy performance for new buildings in the region.
  2. The Durham Deep Retrofit program looks at retrofitting existing buildings, leading to a significant reduction in energy consumption, a switch in fuel towards electricity and on-site energy production.
  3. The Renewable Energy Co-operative will be a new organization focused on bringing public and private investment to the renewable energy opportunities identified in the DCEP.
  4. The Electric Vehicle Joint Venture program will help to realize the electrification of Durham’s transportation sector through targets, promotion, incentives and government leadership.
  5. An ongoing Education and Outreach program will educate the public, the business sector and various stakeholder groups on the benefits of the LCP, their roles in the plan, and the progress being made.
  6. Co-ordinating Land-Use Policies will help to imbed measures, such as solar orientation and access, district energy systems, electric vehicle infrastructure, low-energy subdivisions, new public transit and walkable communities into Regional and Local Official Plans and Secondary Plans.

The plan will now be presented to the councils of local area municipalities and to the boards of the local energy utilities for their support. The plan will then move into the implementation stage with the development and approval of the six programs.

The DCEP is an extension of the Region’s Community Climate Change Local Action Plan (2012) and Durham Community Climate Adaptation Plan (2016). All three plans, in part, look at ways in which the region, its residents and businesses can work together to reduce GHG emissions, protect the environment, grow the economy and adapt to a changing climate.

To learn more about the Durham Community Energy Plan and to read the plan: “The Clean Energy Economy in Durham: Seizing the Opportunity” visit durham.ca/CommunityEnergyPlan.

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