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QUEST Canada and Partnering Organizations Launch the NCA Program’s Inaugural Prairies Cohort of Participating Communities

QUEST Canada and four partnering organizations announce the launch of the inaugural Prairies Cohort, consisting of 10 communities who will participate in the Net-Zero Communities Accelerator (NCA) Program.

QUEST Canada launches signature Net-Zero Communities Accelerator Program

QUEST Canada recently announced the launch of its signature program, the Net-Zero Communities Accelerator, a program designed to equip participating communities across Canada with the knowledge necessary to develop and continuously implement community energy and emissions plans. 

About the Program

The Net-Zero Communities Accelerator (NCA) program leverages proven tools and services, equipping participating communities with the knowledge necessary to develop and continuously implement community energy and emissions plans (CEEPs). The program provides a robust suite of resources and guidance, enabling communities to attain the economic, environmental, and social benefits associated with their CEEPs. What makes the NCA program distinct is its prioritization of integrated CEEPs, including all relevant stakeholders, its inclusivity of communities of all sizes, and its adaptability to the unique context of each participating community. The program introduces communities to new ways of thinking and working, supporting them on their pathway to net-zero.

Program Services and Tools

The NCA program offers two stream options for all participating communities: foundation building or project initiation. There are dedicated tools and services specific to each stream as well as shared supports and services within both stream options.


Foundation Building

The foundation building stream involves building the foundational knowledge and plans a community needs to action local energy and emissions plans and initiatives. It also provides coaching and navigating services, connecting communities with others who are also learning about and actioning community energy and emissions planning.


  • Customized Accelerator Plan
  • Smart Energy Communities Benchmark Assessment (initial + final)
  • Community Energy Mapping Workshop
  • Community Energy Development and Climate Action Planning Workshops
  • Energy and Emissions Inventory
  • Community Energy & Emissions Plan Implementation Workshop
  • Community Energy & Emissions Plan Economic Impact Analysis

Project Initiation

The project initiation stream involves building the foundation to launch a program (such as community-wide retrofits), a project (such as a regional electric vehicle charging network) or a policy that will result in reduced energy usage and emissions across the community or region. It also includes coaching and navigational services, connecting communities with others learning about and actioning community energy and emissions planning.


  • Readiness Assessment
  • Build the Case (Estimation of emissions reduction potential, economic development potential, energy cost savings potential, risks, and examples from other communities)
  • Internal Alignment (One-on-one and group meetings to develop staff support and assistance in council / board presentation)
  • External Alignment (One-on-one meetings or up to two online workshops to convene and engage stakeholders to develop understanding and momentum. Stakeholders may include neighbouring local governments, industry, other levels of government, residents, and/or utilities)
  • Project Plan (Refining project / program / policy definition and workplan to get to launch)
  • Funding (Identification of grants and support in grant development)
  • Contracting (Development of requests for proposal and management of the procurement process, if needed at an additional cost)

Shared Suppports

Though there are dedicated tools and services specific to each stream (foundation building and project initiation) there are also shared supports and services that both streams will be able to access and utilize. 

Shared Services

  • Recommendation and Prioritization Report
  • Virtual Community Energy and Emissions Planning (CEEP) Course for Planners
  • Support and Navigation Services (existing tools, resources, energy advisors, funding from partners, webinars) and Personalised Coaching for Staff and Elected Officials (highly variable dependent on participant needs)
  • Powered by Communities (story telling, publications, social media)
  • Participation in relevant Working Groups
  • Webinar Series

“The QUEST Canada Accelerator Program has aided the Town of Saint Andrews, through the development of the Community Energy Emissions Plan (CEEP), to achieve our community net-zero goals. As a municipality with a population of approximately 3,000, QUEST Canada understood and embraced our limited staff resource capabilities in energy management and energy reduction strategic planning. Utilizing QUEST’s dedicated staff, resources, knowledge, and expertise, we have jointly planned and developed a community strategy to execute our goals of achieving net zero before 2050.”

Clerk – Senior Administrator, Town of St. Andrews

“The Town of Oromocto’s partnership with QUEST Canada enabled us to develop a robust and realistic community energy and emissions plan (CEEP). QUEST Canada’s knowledge and experience make it possible for small municipalities like ours to develop a plan that reflects our own unique characteristics and moves us towards a net-zero future. Through the partnership with QUEST Canada [,] the Town of Oromocto significantly increased our benchmark scoring and reached Step 3 of the FCM Partners for Climate Protection Milestone Framework within one year. “

Director of Planning and Compliance, Town of Oromocto

“…without organisations like QUEST [Canada], we would not have been able to advance our goals of improved environmental and financial stability for our community.”

Building Inspection Superintendent, Town of Quispamsis

Find Your Community

Prairies Cohort

New Brunswick (SECA) Pilot Communities

Couldn’t find your community? Get Involved!

Community Resources

Community Energy and Emissions Planning (CEEP) Overview

Resource Guide for Community Net-Zero Action

CEEP Value to Communities

Partners for Climate Protection Milestone Tool

CEEP Framework for Success

Funders and Key Partners

Energie NB Power

In the News

SEC Benchmark website

QUEST Canada Helps Saint Andrews, St. Stephen Find Smart-Energy Solutions For Their Environments And Economies

Huddle, April 4, 2022
Read the article

SEC Benchmark website

Communities Pass Halfway Mark in the New Brunswick Smart Energy Community Accelerator Program

News Release, March 31, 2022
Read the news release

SEC Benchmark website

Creating Smart Energy Communities in Atlantic Canada

Blog by NB Power and Nova Scotia Power, March 10, 2022
Read the article

SEC Benchmark website

Dodging the Peak: Smart grid to cut carbon and incorporate renewables

Environmental Journal by Zack Metcalf, February 14, 2022 
Read the article
SEC Benchmark website

Sussex Partners with QUEST To Create Lower-Cost Renewable Energy

Huddle, September 21, 2021 
Read the article
SEC Benchmark website

New Brunswick’s Smart Energy Community Accelerator Communities Enter a New Phase

News Release, Nov. 15, 2022 
Read the news release
SEC Benchmark website

Announcing the launch of the New Brunswick Smart Energy Communities Accelerator Program

News Release, April 21, 2021
Read the news release


Program Inquires

Seth Leon, Manager of Programs and Projects at QUEST Canada

Media Inquiries

Donald Wiedman, Senior Lead, Communications at QUEST Canada