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Our Smart Energy Impact in 2020

Look at what we have achieved together over the past year! Watch the short video below to get a snapshot of our impact in 2020.

As a non-profit, we could not do this important work without the support of you – our network! We hope you will consider getting involved so that we can continue to accelerate Smart Energy Communities together.


from our network

About the Accelerating Implementation of Renewable Energy (AI-RE) project:

“The City of Moncton will benefit from the tools developed as part of this study during future planning exercises, including the development of a Community Energy and Emissions Plan in 2021.”

— Elaine Aucoin, Director of Environmental Planning and Management, City of Moncton

“Thanks for all of your hard work to keep these meetings happening through COVID! They are a great way to gain perspective outside of our specific projects to get inspired and to think outside of the box.”

— QUEST Working Group participant

About the Alberta Resilience Project:

“The Town of Raymond appreciates being included in this initiative. The more information you have, the better decisions you can make, and this report will help us prepare for whatever challenges or opportunities that may accompany our changing climate.”

— Kurtis Pratt, CAO, Town of Raymond

“The agenda of the Nova Scotia Municipal Energy Learning Group (MELG) is peripheral to the work of the planning team and the level of commitment for attending the meetings is quite high. We are supportive of the goals of Quest and the learning group in general, however, we have had to pull back due to overall time commitments and lack of direct relevance to our work.”

— QUEST Working Group participant

About the Accelerating Implementation of Renewable Energy (AI-RE) project:

“From our Community Energy Investment Strategy, we know that supporting the future implementation of renewable energy will provide significant opportunities both for economic development and for responding to the climate emergency,” said Rod Regier, Commissioner of Planning, Development and Legislative Services for the Region of Waterloo. “The AI-RE project has enabled Waterloo Region to work with municipalities across Canada to further the collaborative research and policy review that will allow our municipalities to support the transition of our energy system and help us to thrive in a low-carbon future.”

— Region of Waterloo

“I believe QUEST is working hard and have been a great asset in helping our community move forward with our GHG Reduction plans.”

— QUEST Working Group participant

About the Alberta Resilience Project:

“This project gave us a path to implementation. The results will be taken to council to be added to the strategic plan and integrated into the Town’s operations. It was great to be involved with the other participants and the project implementation team.”

— Les Quinton, Parks and Recreation Manager, Town of Black Diamond

“It’s really helpful to be included in these meetings. Municipalities are a key partner for Clean and the more we can connect with them and hear their interests the better. Thank you for facilitating that!”

— QUEST Working Group participant

“Overall, joining QUEST working group calls has been largely beneficial. It keeps me at the forefront of sustainable energy developments in Canada.”

— QUEST Working Group participant


because together we are stronger

Working Group participants from 10+ sectors

Working Groups held virtually to collaborate, learn, and evaluate how to implement on-the-ground smart energy solutions

Workshops in 8 provinces and territories bringing together key sectors to improve the resilience of community energy systems in the face of climate change

Supporters across provincial, national, and international organizations


of QUEST Working Group participants said that it helped them make new connections and strengthened partnerships

“I was able to connect with municipalities interested in EVs and supporting electrification. We submitted a funding application together. And we were able to reflect the input of the MELG in our letter to NS environment.”

“Understanding aspects of Alberta’s Policies that were holding back projects that we were looking to support. It gave us an opportunity to work with those lobbying the government to help our customers projects become realities.”

“The OEG aims to replicate its model in other communities. CEPIN has provided a forum to connect with climate action professionals in other jurisdictions, to learn where they are in the process of community energy planning, and to reach out with ideas on how we can collaborate.”

“The CEPIN meetings tend to have a core group of about 15 people that attend each meeting – I have furthered my relationship with each of these people – leading to better partnerships on joint initiatives.”


and support

active projects, 14 completed and 6 still underway

municipalities directly engaged in energy capacity building through QUEST projects and services

registrants to our 18 webinars

municipalities receiving direct support from QUEST as the Atlantic Canada Regional Climate Advisor for FCM-ICLEI Partners for Climate Protection with 1-on-1 coaching and technical support on climate adaptation and mitigation plans


of QUEST Working Group participants said that it increased their knowledge, capacity and confidence

“I was able to triangulate information from other sources to gain new insight into government policy debates.”

“With respect to organizational changes, I was able to follow-up with one of the relevant presenters on a project they shared around renewable language in Official Plans. That helped my team put forward impact content to our planning team that this can and has been done! Otherwise, I am constantly learning from my bright and passionate peers. There are too many examples to list.”

“Subject matter experts and experiences of CEPIN members increased my knowledge of programs and potential ways Peterborough could implement new climate action strategies.”

“Being involved in QUEST’s working groups has helped me by providing a safe space to ask questions and develop best practices related to various aspects of my role with the Municipality.”

New online resources

Reports released in 2020


and inspire

Canadian governments, regulators, industry and associations represented by senior executives and decision-makers, gathered as part of QUEST’s Smart Energy Leaders’ Dialogue to explore and strategize approaches to current and upcoming energy transition challenges, learn from other sectors’ experiences, and align on policy innovation priorities.

QUEST mentions by media and governments across Canada

submissions submitted to Federal and Provincial policymakers and regulators, seeking to influence policy development and/or refinement

energy-related committees involving QUEST team members at Federal and Provincial levels


of QUEST Working Group (WG) participants said that it resulted in changes or improvements to policies or programs

“QUEST Working Groups influenced the IESO decision to extend the SaveOnEnergy program for CHP projects.”

“Thanks to QUEST Working Groups, we have implemented GHG targets, both community and corporate and we’re currently building a Net Zero-ready new Utility Building.”

“As a small municipality, we don’t have subject matter expertise on staff so the working groups have helped build my understanding of CHP, DE and DERs. No direct projects have been implemented but the working groups have helped inform recommendations I’ll make for moving forward.”

“My job is to ensure the pipe network remains relevant in the future. QUEST has helped me refine my understanding of where pipe fits and allowed me to take the necessary steps to initiate projects that will strengthen it.”

our policy influence

Emissions Reduction Alberta's Energy Savings for Business Program

QUEST was very happy to see Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) launch the new Energy Savings for Business Program, focused on increasing the adoption of targeted commercially available energy-efficient technologies for small- and medium-scale businesses. The QUEST Alberta Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Working Group has long been advocating for energy efficiency programs in Alberta and is providing ERA with feedback on how they can improve program uptake among Alberta businesses.

Streamlined Approvals for CHP projects in Ontario

QUEST has been making recommendations and working with Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks on streamlining approvals for low-risk combined heat and power (CHP) projects. In 2020, our efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on these low-risk projects saw some promising results, with a Ministry proposal posted to the environment registry that included exemptions for lower risk reciprocating and turbine CHP projects under 500 kW, and a streamlined sector registry (EASR) approval for CHP projects up to 25 MW. The proposal also includes streamlined approvals for biomass-based CHP projects, with exemptions for projects between 50 kW and 150 kW, and a streamlined EASR for biomass-based CHP under 3 MW.

QUEST applauds the announcement of the Climate Adaptation Program in Alberta. This program will enable communities to better prepare for and respond to climate-related risks, which have been identified as an area of need in the province.

QUEST’s projects are gaining traction in industry. The Innovation Sandboxes research we are jointly conducting with Pollution Probe was referenced during NRCan and ISED’s Innovation & Electricity Regulation Initiative (IERI) webinar in November 2020. The initiative brings together regulators, federal, provincial and territorial governments, utilities and other electricity and clean tech sector stakeholders.

Sustainable Development organization, ICLEI referenced our work. QUEST’s Building Community Resilience: Key Considerations and Lessons Learned from Twelve Canadian Communities Report was used as a case study for their network.

QUEST has been published in the Policy Options magazine

Aïda Nciri from QUEST & Richard Carlson from Pollution Probe found that most current energy innovation programs neglect the importance of creating conditions and capacity to get technological innovations, research initiatives and pilot projects into the real world, from interviews conducted with provincial and federal agencies. Their article about Innovation Sandboxes has been published in Policy Options magazine.


across sectors and jurisdictions
reach map mobile

monthly newsletters both regional and national

in the QUEST network connected to our projects, working groups, events, and  communications

provinces represented by bilingual staff for nationwide engagement

Smart Energy events where QUEST was invited to speak

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