5 things to know about P.E.I.'s new energy strategy

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Alberta power grid operator prepares to accept green energy bids

The provincial government released its long-awaited 10-year energy strategy Friday.

The report is 80 pages thick with a lot of recommendations.

Here are five highlights:

1. Energy efficiency

The strategy pointed to the goal of wanting to achieve electricity savings of two per cent each year.

"This means that two per cent of each year's expected electricity requirements will be planned to be met through energy efficiency," says the report, which sets out a goal of meeting the two per cent per year target by 2020.

To achieve that, government is looking at implementing more programs to encourage Islanders to make their homes more efficient, and tailor the programs to include all fuel sources.

It also wants to make it easier for Islanders to access programs.

One suggestion is to set up an independent energy efficiency utility that could work on future initiatives.

Government is also looking at a low-income residential program and more commercial programs for businesses, which would also be designed to save Islanders money.

2. Construction

The big recommendation here is to make the National Building Code and the National Energy Code apply province-wide.

Right now it only applies to Charlottetown, Summerside and Stratford.

The government is acting quickly on this recommendation by tabling a bill that is expected in the spring sitting of the legislature.

Government also wants to look at rating and labeling buildings when they go up for sale, after an energy audit.

3. Alternative energy

There is a big promise for wind energy — specifically, to build two new wind farms, one by 2019 and one by 2025.

The report made note that if the province wanted to sell the wind power, there would be a lot of infrastructure considerations.

The report recommended that P.E.I. work with the other Atlantic Provinces to get around some of the barriers — such as tariffs — in order to someday sell the power.

The report also looked at solar energy.

One action item was for the province to develop a policy for larger ground-mounted solar projects to avoid land-use conflicts.

It also wants to look at ways to ensure new construction programs are solar-ready. 

The strategy didn't have much on tidal energy, but explained that's because there isn't much developed yet. Government said it will continue to monitor the developments on tidal energy and see if it would work for P.E.I. in the future.

Along with alternative energy sources comes energy storage. There were action items about expanding battery storage and looking for federal funding for building more energy storage projects.

4. Transportation

The report looks at how to make electric cars more popular on the Island.

Action items included developing an appropriate incentive for buying the vehicles and to look for federal funding to improve the charging infrastructure.

The government wants to lead by example and purchase electric vehicles for government needs and even look at electric school buses.

Another action item includes lobbying car rental and taxi companies to switch to electric vehicles.

There weren't many specifics for active transportation — such as bicycles — but the report did look at developing cycling infrastructure — including ideas like connecting to the Confederation Trail system to include coastal roads, dirt and heritage roads, and city streets.

It also called for developing another strategy dedicated to sustainable transportation.

5. Everyone together

The strategy pointed to the importance of consulting with municipalities to ensure everyone working toward a common goal.

This would include incorporating energy-related topics into municipal planning discussions.

In addition, one action item suggested enacting legislation to remove the ability to pass bylaws that counteract energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts.

The report also came out in conjunction with another report with recommendations around climate change.

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