Canada Needs a National Energy Efficiency Strategy
This is the conclusion of a stakeholder dialogue hosted by CanREA and the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance (CEEA).
Representatives from the energy efficiency industry, NGOs, labour and academics met in May this year to come up with recommendations for a national energy efficiency plan – focusing particularly on the role of the federal government in leading and coordinating such a plan. CanREA and CEEA are now pleased to publish the results of these discussions. At the same time CEEA is publishing its 2009 Report Card on provincial and federal energy efficiency programs.
Our vision for energy in Canada is one where:
- Canadians and their governments accept the significant value and benefits of energy efficiency.
- Reduction in energy use through efficiency is established as a national goal with targets that are regularly met.
- Canada as a nation has collaboratively put in place successful nationwide energy efficiency initiatives that are transforming the way we all use energy in every sector.
The federal government has built a strong foundation for investment in energy efficiency through initiatives like the successful EnerGuide home rating system and regulations under the Energy Efficiency Act. However, Canada is falling far short of its efficiency potential. Only 8 % of homes have had a retrofit. Many buildings operate at 50% below their efficiency potential. Most of us still commute by car. Support policies vary considerably across the country and many Canadian homes and businesses are not enjoying the benefits of efficient energy use throughout the economy. Much more needs to be done.
We recommend that the federal government increase its support for national energy conservation and efficiency initiatives across Canada by immediately taking steps to set targets, maintain and strengthen national support services, accelerate the regulation of efficiency, lead the efficiency market through procurement, and support national initiatives on housing, buildings, communities, industry, and transport.
The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance 2009 Report Card awards ‘A+’s to Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, while giving a ‘B+’ to Alberta for its improvement over D+ in 2007. The Report Card also gives the federal government a ‘B+” although this is mostly due to the strong 2009 EcoEnergy efficiency programs which all end in 2011. Another reason why we need a new national efficiency strategy now, with sound targets, new innovative support programs, and more national collaboration. This is also the conclusion of the International Energy Agency in its review of Canada’s energy policy.
For more information please contact CanREA members Roger Peters (rogerp @ cyberus.ca), Tim Weis (timw @ pembina.org), or Clifford Maynes (cmaynes @ greencommunitiescanada.org).