December 15, 2016

Methods for Measuring the Economics of Community Energy Plans

Publish Date
December 2016
Stephanie Cairns, Smart Prosperity Institute
Community Energy Planning - Getting to Implementation in Canada

The value proposition for Community Energy Plan (CEP) implementation is compelling: opportunities to strengthen local economies, reduce current and future energy costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and create local jobs. The ability to demonstrate this economic potential, through economic analysis, is a critical ingredient for securing the required investment and the political, staff, and stakeholder support for CEP implementation. Economic analysis can also help with developing a CEP that maximizes economic, environmental, and social benefits.

This report introduces six major methods of economic analysis: community energy cost, financial feasibility, levelized unit energy cost, marginal abatement cost curve, community socioeconomic benefits, and cost-benefits. Each method includes advice on consideration in interpretation of results, the need for specialized expertise, the approximate cost and level of effort, and data requirements. Each method is also illustrated with an example drawn from a Canadian CEP analysis.


  • Energy
  • Energy Planning