New City Energy Plan Nearing Approval

A new Community Energy Plan for Windsor needs to clear one more hurdle before becoming city policy.

The Environment, Transportation and Public Safety Standing committee unanimously approved the plan on Wednesday.

"I'm pleased and we'll see where this goes at city council, but I'm pretty confident council will get their heads around this as well," says Bill Marra, committee chair and councillor for Ward 8.

Council now needs to sign off on the CEP.

The plan looks at ways to save on energy costs through different strategies including energy mapping, retrofits for homes and businesses as well as education and outreach.

Administration's report to the committee outlines $842-million was spent on energy in Windsor in 2014. By 2041, those costs are expected to jump by at least 120% and as much as 280% — that would bring the annual cost of energy to between $1.8-billion and $3.1-billion.

The report advises the faster the city can adopt the CEP strategies — the greater potential savings and economic benefit.

Marra says the plan is about more than simply saving money.

"Certainly from an economic perspective it's not just the savings, but [the consultants] spoke to some of the potential employment opportunities that can be created by virtue of this community energy plan," says Marra. "If I remember the number correctly, it's something in the range of 3,000 jobs that can be created over a number of years."

Marra says the plan will build upon some of the work the city has already done such as the street light conversion to energy-efficient LED bulbs.

"I think it was my second or third term on council, we adopted the creation of the environment committee and smog days, so we've been taking baby steps towards it and I think this plan here is very comprehensive," says Marra.

He feels approving the plan is about building a modern city.

"Cities around the world have done community energy plans for years, in fact one could argue Windsor is a little behind the trend, but that's okay — we're here now," says Marra.

Council approval of the CEP would see the city chase a number of grants including from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Independent Electricity System Operator and higher levels of government.

The recommendation going to council would see the city commit $126,788 towards the CEP.