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.


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.

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.

Policy and Governance Tools for Renewable Energy

Local governments around the world have been leaders in tackling climate change by promoting renewable energy at the community level, with innovative policies and programs that have made an impact on national energy policy.

Local governments can bring substantial benefits to their communities by encouraging and supporting the development of 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 should be considered alongside other energy initiatives, including energy efficiency, sustainable transportation and sustainable community planning.

Local governments are well placed to champion renewable energy. Opportunities outlined in this guide include:

  • Local government policy frameworks that encourage or require developers to incorporate neighbourhood-scale renewable energy technologies (or ‘microgeneration’) into new developments
  • Removing barriers to renewable energy in the planning and permitting systems
  • Encouraging independent power producers to develop local renewable energy projects
  • Encouraging renewable energy utility companies to develop local renewable energy projects, such as ground-source heating and renewable district energy.

Community Energy Planning: Getting to Implementation in Canada

Community Energy Planning: Getting to Implementation in Canada  is a national, collaborative initiative accelerating the implementation of CEPs across Canada that can support the GHG reduction efforts of federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Life-Cycle Cost Analysis

A thorough article on LCC applied to buildings, with links to further resources. Life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is a method for assessing the total cost of facility ownership. It takes into account all costs of acquiring, owning, and disposing of a building or building system. LCCA is especially useful when project alternatives that fulfill the same performance requirements, but differ with respect to initial costs and operating costs, have to be compared in order to select the one that maximizes net savings.

Jurisdiction Options for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Buildings

This paper discusses research reports that provide technical information for the Green Building Leaders Project. The purpose of the Project is to generate technical and legal information to help participating local governments (both municipalities and regional districts) understand how existing local government jurisdiction can be used to implement high energy performance in buildings, and to engage with the provincial government on possibilities to enable local governments to take leadership in this area. The ultimate goal is to increase energy efficiency in buildings, reduce the amount of energy the building uses, and reduce GHG production