In 2018, Council approved a goal for the City of Guelph to achieve 100 per cent of its energy needs through renewable sources by 2050. This was further reinforced through Council approvals in 2019 to develop a funding strategy and through the Strategic Plan and performance framework approval in 2020.
By investing in energy efficiency projects and initiatives such as those highlighted in the City’s 2020 annual environmental sustainability report, we continue to make progress across the corporation towards our 100RE goal:
- Decreased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 13 per cent since the 100RE Target was set in 2018.
- Reduced annual facilities energy use by 13 million kilowatt hours equivalent (kW-he) and annual fleet energy use by seven million kW-he.
- Increased renewable energy generation by more than 250 per cent.
This financial strategy is in the early development stages as the City is costing out the long-term initiatives planned; however, we know it will require significant financial investment to achieve the strategic goal. This funding is not all from tax-supported sources and will also include other level of government grants, and investment from the City’s user rate models. Each year, the City is incrementally increasing the investment to the 100RE Reserve Fund through the budget in order to reach Council’s goals. But even with this investment, we are still projecting a reserve fund deficit by 2031. The budget includes $500,000 increases annually through to 2024 and then increases transfers $1 million annually in 2025 to accommodate the plans for transit fleet electrification and the corporate energy priority plan.
100RE in the 2022 and 2023 Budget
There are a number of places you can see the investment in 100RE through the budget. We know that both tax supported and rate funding sources are required to fund project outcomes that get us closer to the 100RE goal. A climate lens is applied across all capital projects including planned lifecycle replacements, new construction and energy optimization initiatives. Capital funds are also used to leverage federal and provincial energy grants.
The City is currently underway electrifying the transit bus fleet. This is one of the most impactful ways to reach the 100RE goal and reduce GHG emissions. The capital budget includes the pilot-scale charger upgrades at the existing transit facility and purchasing more new electric buses to replace old diesel buses on a lifecycle basis.
The City Operations Campus site master plan work continues following comprehensive study and environmental monitoring that is currently underway. The City Operations Campus will host the new electric Guelph Transit facility that will begin design stages in the coming year and will meet the Zero Carbon Building Design standard.
Construction of the multi-year aeration blowers upgrade project at the wastewater treatment plant has begun. This will improve control of air supplied to the treatment process and significantly reduce energy demands by 6.75 million kW-h per year—enough to power 750 homes a year.
The West End Community Centre is undergoing heating and cooling system upgrades that involve replacing conventional gas fired heating systems to air source heat pumps with heat recovery equipment to significantly reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
New construction projects will begin in 2022: South End Community Centre and library in the Baker District redevelopment will both meet the Zero Carbon Building Design standard. These facilities conserve energy by investing in the building envelope, using cleaner fuels and energy-efficient equipment, and generate renewable energy to offset energy use and cost.