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Energy Community of Practice


Project Overview

For many municipalities, there is a disconnect between broader provincial planning policies and programs and local energy planning efforts, adding a layer of complexity and uncertainty to community energy planning activities.

The Ontario Energy Community of Practice (ECOP) initiative ran from 2015-2016 and focused on providing education and capacity building for Ontario municipalities, utilities, and other local stakeholders to develop and implement community energy plans. The intent was to help better align local, regional, and provincial energy planning activities.

ECOP was led by QUEST and the Clean Air Partnership with support from Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator.

Project Objectives

The objectives of the ECOP initiative were to:

  • Build an understanding of the benefits of community energy plans (CEPs) to accelerate energy efficiency and advance economic development opportunities
  • Provide municipalities with training, resources, and skills to develop and implement CEPs
  • Foster improved partnerships and collaborations with key stakeholders (especially utilities) and better enable these communities to identify priority local energy projects
  • Help municipalities understand the link between community energy planning and the IESO’s regional electricity planning program

ECOP Training Modules and Resources

ECOP resources include four Training Modules and a set of video presentations to support community energy planning activities in Ontario. These resources were tested and refined with feedback from stakeholders in the GTA North regional planning area.

ECOP Training Modules

The following ECOP Training Modules are provided in PowerPoint format, giving you the flexibility to use and modify the content according to your specific needs. The content of the modules is catered to the project’s two target stakeholder groups – municipalities and utilities – however they may be useful to a variety of community stakeholders interested in supporting and engaging in community energy planning.

Module 1: Community Energy Planning Benefits and Applications

Module 1 provides information on the rationale for why a municipality would engage in community energy planning, the benefits that can result from developing and implementing a Community Energy Plan (CEP) and how CEPs can support other municipal priorities.

Module 2: Community Energy Planning within the Broader Provincial Energy Planning Framework

Module 2 focuses on the relationship between the IESO’s regional planning process and community energy planning. This module delves into the regional planning process and examines the electricity planning landscape including key actors and policy considerations.

Module 3: Community Energy Plan Implementation

Module 3 includes insights from the Community Energy Planning: Getting to Implementation in Canada initiative being led by the Community Energy Association, QUEST and the Smart Prosperity Institute. It examines key success factors and challenges for CEP implementation and includes information about how municipal planning tools can be leveraged to support CEP implementation.

Module 4: Community Energy in Action

Module 4 showcases key features of some of the most successful community energy projects in action across Canada. The module is intended to guide your community toward an implementation-focused conversation on energy.

ECOP Symposium

In September 2015, the ECOP initiative hosted a Symposium in Markham, Ontario. The objective of the Symposium was to present and obtain feedback on the ECOP Training Modules. . This report contains an overview of the Symposium proceedings, including a project summary, notes from guest presentations and a summary of the facilitated roundtable discussions.
Update on Active IRRPs
External Stakeholder Identification and Engagement Presentation
CEP Actions Identification, Selection & Accountability Presentation
Implementing a CEP: Many Hands Make Light Work Presentation

Project Partners

Empowering Canadian Communities

QUEST Canada develops and implements projects with the aim to nurture strategic partnerships, facilitate connections, empower community champions, and influence decisions makers, supporting communities across Canada on their pathway to net-zero. Find out more about our projects:

Accelerating Implementation of Renewable Energy for Indigenous Communities

Accelerating Implementation of Renewable Energy for Indigenous Communities

Accelerating Implementation of Renewable Energy (AIRE) for Indigenous Communities is a three-year project designed to help rural and remote Indigenous communities reach emission reduction targets by increasing their capacity to plan and implement land-based renewable energy initiatives (solar, wind, biomass, and geo-thermal). This project supports rural, remote Indigenous communities on their pathway to net-zero.

Equitable Engagement

Equitable Engagement

The Equitable Engagement project works to incorporate Indigenous knowledge as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) considerations into QUEST Canada’s capacity building-based initiatives. The aim of this project is to ensure current and future participating communities are equipped with the tools, resources, and knowledge required to engage all stakeholders on the pathway to a durable and just net-zero future.

Partnering for Indigenous Community Energy Capacity

Partnering for Indigenous Community Energy Capacity

Partnering for Indigenous Community Energy Capacity (PICEC) is an Indigenous, community-led initiative aimed at strengthening the understanding and knowledge of priorities, needs, and challenges surrounding community energy planning.