The Regulation of District Energy Systems

This paper examines nine diverse systems, four under BCUC jurisdiction and five regulated by municipalities, to elicit the type and level of economic regulation that can encourage financial sustainability while providing customers with reasonably priced energy services.

This paper concludes with a number of key findings and recommendations:

  • The preferred regulatory approach is a cost-of-service regulatory model with a
    levelized rate structure to provide more affordable prices in early years, with a
    revenue deficiency deferral account to be repaid in later years as more customers
  • A deemed capital structure, target risk premium and, in early years, a disproportionately high fixed charge rate component, round out the preferred model;
  • Up-front subsidies to offset capital costs can keep rates competitive and significantly enhance long-term financial viability.
  • Particularly for mature, well-managed systems without exclusivity provisions, a “light handed” regulatory framework should be pursued, while still maintaining procedural fairness and decisions based on evidence.


Sustainable Neighbourhood Development

This guide provides top-line, how-to information about the planning and development of sustainable neighbourhoods, offering practical solutions to common challenges. It answers
important questions about sustainable neighbourhood development:

  1. What is a sustainable neighbourhood, and how can I make the case for pursuing this kind of development?
  2. What are the major challenges, and how can they be overcome?
  3. Where else in Canada has this been done successfully, and what factors led to that success?
  4. Where can I go for more in-depth information?

Small-Scale Biomass District Heating Guide – A Guide for BC Communities

The purpose of this Guide is to support the growing number of small communities across British Columbia interested in making a business case for biomass district heating. There may be substantial benefits for communities that approach local energy projects having developed an integrated strategy on clean energy, energy independence, and the transition to a green economy. Small-scale biomass district heating systems can be a centerpiece of such a strategy.

Primary benefits include:

  • potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
  • local economic development through attracting investment, clean energy job creation,
    infrastructure development and keeping energy dollars circulating locally, and
  • increased local energy reliability, resilience and security.

Small-Scale Biomass District Heating Handbook A Reference for Alberta & BC Local Governments

The purpose of this handbook is to support a growing number of small communities across British Columbia and Alberta interested in making a business case for biomass district heating (DH). Small-scale biomass DH systems can be a centerpiece of an integrated strategy on clean energy, energy independence and a transition to a green economy. Primary benefits include:

  • potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
  • local economic development through attracting investment, clean energy job creation,
    infrastructure development and keeping energy dollars circulating locally, and
  • increased energy security.

Small Wind Siting and Zoning Study 

This study consists of five sections. Section 1 sums up the current treatment of small wind turbines in Canada, relying upon interviews, surveys and other research to paint a picture of how small wind turbine applications fare in the current regulatory environment, the definition of “small wind,” and how provincial and municipal government regulations impact these proposed electricity generators. Lessons learned from the U.S., where a few states have fairly mature planning and permitting systems in place, are also incorporated into this analysis. It is clear that at present, few, if any, Canadian municipalities, regions, provinces or other governmental structures possess an ideal package of policies governing small wind turbines.

Secondary Indicators for Community Inventory Interpretation

This project was initiated to review and propose ‘secondary’ or influence indicators of progress related to energy and GHG emissions at the community level.

Specific objectives of the project are to: 
  • Identify practical indicators to support the CEEI sectors – land use, transportation, buildings, solid waste, and agriculture – to provide local and provincial government representatives with enhanced indicators for monitoring the effectiveness of local government policy changes;
  • Review currently used community-based indicators focused on energy and GHG emissions including those established for regional growth strategies and community energy plans, as well as identify suitable benchmarks appropriate to the local government in BC energy and GHG emissions reduction context; and
  • Define those indicators for which targets may be suitable and are also within the control or sphere of influence of local governments.

Green Energy as a Rural Economic Development Tool

The purpose of this project was to undertake a series of activities that will help rural BC communities and First Nations affected by the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) epidemic, better understand the potential opportunities of Green Energy development and its potential contribution to rural economic development and diversification. The project was designed to work directly with a number of small rural communities in the interior of BC. Many rural communities in BC have expressed an interest in learning more about green energy development and in potentially developing their own Green energy project (e.g. a micro-hydro IPP).

Resources From Waste: Integrated Resource Recovery

This guide to Integrated Resource Recovery (IRR) emerged from an independent report released by the Government of British Columbia in May 2008. That report, entitled Resources from Waste: Integrated Resource Management Study examined approaches local governments across British Columbia might consider in using solid and liquid waste to create energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, and recover nutrients. This IRR Guide is intended for those who plan, design, and fund infrastructure – including water, wastewater, transportation, energy, and solid waste. Although it is technical in nature, it is also intended to be a resource for the broader community which uses this infrastructure.

Powering our Province

This report seeks to identify opportunities for rural communities in BC to become engaged in the clean energy sector.

The findings for this study are based on extensive secondary research supplemented by opinions and insights gathered through in-depth interviews with a representative sample of Independent Power Producer (IPP) companies in BC, as well as clean energy technology developers/ manufacturers, provincial and municipal government agencies, First Nations communities, power utilities, and other key stakeholders.

Many rural communities and First Nations, as well as the provincial government, are interested in exploring how the development of clean energy resources can contribute to economic growth and diversification. This is especially true for forestry-dependent communities in the interior of the province in areas affected by the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic and the collapse of the US housing market.

This report identifies five immediate business and employment opportunity areas for rural communities related to clean energy development. These are:

  1.  Skilled trades and construction;
  2.  Community and First Nations engagement;
  3.  Scientific and environmental monitoring;
  4.  Plant operations and maintenance; and
  5.  Indirect business support.

Renewable Energy Guide for Local Governments in British Columbia

The guide looks into renewable energy. Renewable energy includes sources of energy that are neither derived from fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, natural gas and propane) nor from nuclear power. Renewable energy also includes the recovery of waste heat that would otherwise be lost, even if that heat is produced by non-renewable energy sources.

This guide does not address energy efficiency, which can often provide cost-effective emissions reductions and savings. Renewable energy should be considered alongside other energy initiatives, including energy efficiency, sustainable transportation and sustainable community planning.