Retooling Community Energy Planning – Workshop Report

In the fall of 2017, CEKAP conducted a series of workshops across Canada aimed at facilitating conversation surrounding the use of analytical tools in the community energy planning process.  The goal of the workshops – to share expertise across the CEKAP partnership in order to identify potential improvements to analytical tools – will better enable decision-makers in the energy planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation processes.

The workshop included 3 presentations on different community energy planning and policy analytical tools:

  • Morgan Bragelwicz (Simon Fraser University) – Energy economy decision support tools –This presentation shared a recent case study from Vancouver which demonstrated the use of analytical tools to estimate the effects of energy policy at the municipal scale.
    Morgan’s presentation is available here.
  • Dr Kirby Calvert (University of Guelph) – Geo-spatial analysis of renewable energy potentials – Energy mapping typically focuses on the demand side. This presentation explored the use of GIS tools to evaluate energy supply potentials at the landscape scale.
    Dr. Calvert’s presentation is available here. 
  • Michael Lee (QUEST Canada) – Cost-benefit analysis tools – This presentation shared a tool developed by the City of London (Ontario) for evaluating community energy investment opportunities.
    Michael’s presentation is available here.

Following the workshops, a voluntary survey consisting of 25 questions was distributed to energy practitioners in Canada in an effort to identify opportunities to improve data-driven decisions and the use of decision-support tools within community energy planning and local policy making.

Two key conclusions emerged from the workshops and survey:

  1. There is a need to coordinate technical analysis with stakeholder and community-wide engagement so as to build more trust and buy-in to the results emerging from analytical tools
  2. Where possible, analytical tools need to tie into geographic information systems

CEKAP researchers are undertaking two projects that will build on these conclusions. Dr. Calvert and the TRCA are developing a GIS toolkit to support technically rigorous and community-informed spatial plans for renewable energy development at local and regional scales. Dr. Jaccard and the Energy and Materials Working Group (Simon Fraser University) are refining the GIS module of their energy-economy modeling platform CIMS model to add a spatial visualization component to the work and to better incorporate key spatial information into the analysis (e.g., bus routes, spatial distribution of heat demand relative to heat sources, etc).

Looking forward, CEKAP will aim to undertake projects that link technical data analysis to community and stakeholder engagement initiatives and other capacity building activities through case-study research.

For a more comprehensive analysis of workshop and survey analyses, please visit our summary report


Date Published: April 27, 2018
Written by: Jenessa Doherty
Category: Blog