Energy experts gather in Guelph for Transatlantic Urban Climate Dialogue workshop

Community Energy Initiative focus of international discussion

Guelph, On, May 16, 2013 – Today, the City of Guelph and Guelph Hydro, hosted a Transatlantic Urban Climate Dialogue workshop to discuss community energy projects and the impact they have on economic development.

As keynote speaker, Mayor Karen Farbridge spoke about the importance of integrated community energy systems for sustainable city building, competitiveness, and economic development.

“Managing our community’s energy future is foundational to achieving our vision to make a difference, our mission to build an exceptional city by providing outstanding municipal service and value, and our mandate for proud, progressive and pragmatic city building.”

She added, “We are making history today as we continue a discussion that seeks integrated community energy solutions to global challenges. This Dialogue has proven to be an excellent opportunity for us to deepen our understanding about shared transatlantic challenges with local energy and climate policy development and implementation.”

The morning session, held at Cutten Fields, was an opportunity for a select group of policy makers, municipal leaders, energy experts and academics from Canada, Germany and the United States to exchange ideas and learn from leading communities that have successfully adopted:

  • Renewable energy
  • Green transportation technologies
  • Energy conservation programs including low-energy use communities
  • Energy efficient building standards and initiatives
  • Community-based energy projects as catalysts for economic development
  • District energy systems

One question often asked of the City is why can’t Guelph use energy like they do in Germany where per capita energy use is at least half what it is in here. “Through this Dialogue we are finding useful answers to that question and the challenges it represents,” said Mayor Farbridge.

Last week, the Ontario government announced that communities will be engaged in regional energy plans that, through strong public consultation, will lead to better decision making so future electricity generation contracts site energy infrastructure in the right location, right from the beginning.

In addressing the group, Barry Chuddy, chief executive officer of Guelph Hydro Inc. said, “Guelph Hydro applauds the Ontario government for taking the step to develop a new regional energy planning process based on formal input from municipalities, communities and the energy sector—and we are volunteering to help.”

He continued, “Guelph Hydro believes regional energy planning that considers district energy and thermal energy networks as part of the energy mix is critical to ensure the sustainability and resiliency of the Ontario grid.”

“Consultation is critical to ensure distributive, integrated and system-based decisions are made and it was in multi-stakeholder gatherings like this one today where we started to develop Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative,” Mayor Farbridge added. “Our progress has been supported by many. So sharing our journey has been central to how we work. The Transatlantic Urban Climate Dialogue is one expression of that principle of sharing.”

Today’s workshop was to be the last in a series of four workshops that have taken place over the course of the two-year dialogue. The other workshops were held in Northern Virginia, and in Germany’s Ruhr region and the city of Stuttgart. However, during her speech, Mayor Farbridge said she was pleased to learn that two more international workshops are being planned.

About Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative

The Community Energy Initiative is Guelph’s commitment to create a healthy, reliable and sustainable energy future by continually increasing the effectiveness of how we use and manage our energy and water resources. To read more, visit guelph.ca/energy.

About Guelph Hydro Inc.

Wholly owned by Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. which is, in turn, 100 per cent owned by the City of Guelph, Guelph Hydro Inc. is the holding company for Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc., the local electricity distribution company serving 52,000 customers in Guelph and Rockwood, Ontario, Canada, and for Envida Community Energy Inc., an alternative energy company, also located in Guelph.

Guelph Hydro Inc., named Large Company of the Year by the Ontario Energy Association in 2011 and awarded the Environmental Stewardship award by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce in 2012, is helping to create a reliable, diversified and sustainable energy supply to ensure the long-term competitiveness and prosperity of the communities it serves. The company is actively developing sustainable energy projects as a key implementer of the City of Guelph’s internationally renowned Community Energy Initiative. For more information, visit guelphhydroinc.com.

For more information

Rob Kerr
Corporate Manager, Community Energy
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 x 2079
rob.kerr@guelph.ca

Sandy Manners
Director, Corporate Communications
Guelph Hydro Inc.
519-837-4703
226-218-0157 (cell)
smanners@guelphhydro.com