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Council approves Community Energy and Emissions Action Plan

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
October 14th, 2011

Nelsonites could become more resilient to global warming and rising energy prices as a result of a new Community Energy and Emissions Action Plan.

One recommended action the City is looking into is low-interest loans for home energy retrofits, with Nelson having a much older building stock than many other communities.

The up-front cost of an energy retrofit is a major disincentive to most building owners. The City is currently in contact with the Municipal Finance Authority and Natural Resources Canada over establishing a low-interest loan home retrofit program in the new year.

“This is a situation where we are really in a unique position,” said Mayor John Dooley. “We already have the Nelson Hydro billing infrastructure in place. We can do this easily, and this kind of program can have a great influence.”

Currently, Nelson residents and businesses are spending approximately $5,150 per household on energy. While future energy prices are difficult to predict, most long-term projections show large increases, with the price of fuel and electricity likely doubling by 2030.

Rising costs, combined with increasing population, could bring annual energy costs to an average of $15,000 per household by 2040.

“For the most part this is money that leaves town,” said Mayor Dooley. “So not only are we looking at keeping these costs in check for Nelson residents, but there is also the benefit that more money will stay in town, supporting local businesses, instead of going to pay for rising energy costs.”

City council approved the plan at Tuesday’s regular meeting that looks at all major energy sectors, including land use, transportation, buildings, energy supply, solid waste and community-wide priorities.

It recommends specific strategies to strengthen the community in the face of expected increases in energy prices over the next 30 years.

By following the steps outlined in the plan, Nelson will be able to achieve the following targets, over a 2007 baseline, by 2040:

  • 57 per cent reduction in per capita GHG emissions
  • 43 per cent reduction in community-wide GHG emissions
  • 26 per cent reduction in community-wide energy use.

The project was guided by a steering committee — including City councilors, staff and community stakeholders — and was completed by HB Lanarc, with funding from the Union of BC Municipalities, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.

The complete plan can be downloaded from the City’s website at: www.nelson.ca/sustainability.

 

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