Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals

Description of the model

Across the globe, the MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals) is increasingly looking at generating and/or incentivizing renewable energy as a means to saving energy and money, securing local energy supply, creating local employment, improving community resilience, and addressing local and global ecological issues.

Municipalities’ (M) close proximity and accountability to their constituents makes them appropriate agents for planning and responding to a community’s economic, ecological and energy-related needs in locally appropriate ways.For instance, as the International Energy Agency points out, cities in lower-latitudes and high sunshine regions can choose solar PV technologies, whereas geothermal power suits cities located near the tectonic plates, and areas with a forest industry nearby can benefit significantly from bioenergy. Besides investing in and/or incentivizing renewable energy generation, local governments can also help accelerate the transition towards a renewable energy future by investing in and/or supporting the proliferation of smart meters, intelligent grids, power storage units, etc.

In recent years, universities (U) and schools (S) have also increased their investments in clean energy projects on a global scale with the aim of simultaneously achieving energy savings and providing hands-on education opportunities for their students. For hospitals (H), on-site renewable energy projects make much more than economic sense; they provide supply security during times of crisis.

Enabling policies and application of the model across Canada

Municipalities

Municipalities are involved in renewable energy generation in two main ways:

  1. Ownership of Generation: An increasing number of municipalities across Canada are installing renewable energy (especially solar energy) systems on their facilities. Here are some inspiring examples:

 

Local Government Jurisdiction Technology
Guysborough Nova Scotia, Canada Wind
Markham Ontario, Canada Solar
Calgary Alberta, Canada Solar
Banff Alberta, Canada Solar
Vancouver British Columbia, Canada Heat from waste

 

Municipalities across Canada interested in developing renewable energy projects can apply to The Green Municipal Fund, which is a $550-million program administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) that offers below-market loans and grants to Canadian municipal governments to improve environmental performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For more examples of renewable energy projects developed by municipalities, from across the world, you can visit this link.

 

  1. Incentivizing local ownership: Municipalities can also incentivize renewable energy (RE) generation through various mechanisms including preferential procurement programs (such as the Feed-In Tariff or FIT for short), improving building and land codes, and offering loan and/or grant schemes. One of the most innovative incentive structures in Canada has been developed by the City of Banff in Alberta. Banff is the first municipality in Canada to introduce a FIT program in February 2015, following the lead of Aachen, Germany (1993) and Gainesville, Florida (2009). The Banff City Council allocated $300,000 of its environmental reserve fund (fed by the municipal franchise fee paid by local utilities) to a FIT program that aims to add 165 kilowatts of solar PV installed on residences, multi-family units and businesses.

It is also worth mentioning that numerous municipalities across Canada are implementing “community energy plans” with the aim of reducing their carbon emissions. These plans generally include strategies to increase RE generation, but also address issues such as energy efficiency, transportation, and infrastructure. Here are some examples from across Canada:

For more case studies of municipalities implementing projects, targets and/or incentive structures related to renewable energy across the world, you can visit the links below:

Universities, Schools and Hospitals

The increasing uptake of renewable energy projects by schools across Canada is most evident in Ontario. Since the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program in 2009, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) received 311 contracts as part of their Solar Schools Program, while the Ottawa District School Board installed solar projects at 41 schools and plans to do so at 24 more. With the exception of few projects, such as the solar installation at the New Oakville Hospital, the uptake of renewable energy projects by universities and hospitals has been rather slow across Canada.

In the following links, you can find more examples of renewable energy projects developed by universities, schools and hospitals from across the world.

Summary

  • The MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals) is increasingly looking at renewable energy as a means to saving energy and money while addressing economic and ecological issues at both the local and global scales;
  • Municipalities’ close proximity and accountability to the local population gives them a key role in the decentralization and democratization of the energy sector;
  • Municipalities are increasingly involved in renewable energy generation in two main ways: ownership of generation and incentive structures, or a combination thereof;
  • While municipalities and schools are increasingly investing in renewable energy projects across Canada, the uptake by hospitals and universities has rather been slow.

 

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