Growth Plan 2017: accelerating the energy transition

May 19, 2017

This Ontario’s recently released four updated land use plans.  They will help accelerate the transition to low carbon communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The four reports include the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.  Coordination ensured the plans worked together. Alignment with the Ontario Climate Change Strategy (2015) and Action Plan (2016) was also a priority.

New Growth Plan 2017 policies are good news for those working in the trenches to promote community energy planning.

A data-driven community energy plan puts conservation first.  Growth Plan 2017 does the same.  So, it requires municipal official plan policies and strategies to support energy conservation in existing buildings and planned new developments, including municipal facilities.  Growth Plan 2017 identifies conservation, energy efficiency and demand management.  The Plan also identifies district energy generation, renewable energy systems, and alternative energy systems and distribution to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

Research confirms land use patterns are the most important determinant of a community’s greenhouse gas emissions. This knowledge informs Growth Plan 2017.

Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities (i.e., upper – and single-tier) will also require official plan policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Municipal alignment with Ontario’s Climate Change Strategy is the goal.

The number of municipalities who have developed community energy plans has grown in the last few years.  Community energy planning is a data-driven approach to understanding how and where energy is used in a community.  It provides a platform to engage broadly within a community.  In doing so, municipal government bring problem solvers together.  They empower them to be part of the solution to climate change – to think globally and act locally.

Our communities hold the solution to climate change and local governments are uniquely positioned to facilitate their engagement and to remove obstacles along the way that get in the way of making a difference.