Strategy trumps shiny new objects

March 11, 2015

The recent story of Blind River’s failed green energy plans is a sad one.

One sentence stood out for me in the Globe and Mail story: “The solar farm couldn’t get approval to hook into the provincial grid.”  It appears this might have been when the project began to go off the rails.  It is not the only solar project in the province that shared such a fate and others lost money too; it a telling example of the risks associated with a fragmented energy system.

The story also evokes for me the tension between pursuing the “shiny new object” and investing the time it takes to build the right strategy to inform decision making.

Culture might trump strategy but nothing replaces a well-crafted strategy to inform a plan of action. Community energy planning done well provides such a framework.

We can’t let failures like this detract us from thinking about energy as communities – it is more than solar panels, wind turbines or biomass. Communities need to think about how they generate, use and conserve energy in homes, business, hockey rinks and classrooms. Renewable energy is just one part of the bigger energy puzzle.