City of Regina presents framework to help reach renewable, net-zero goal

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WATCH: Regina has released its "city's energy & sustainability framework," outlining a plan for the city to become a renewable, net-zero city by 2050 to mitigate climate change – Mar 15, 2022

“A dynamic and living plan” is how the City of Regina describes its new energy and sustainability framework to become a net-zero, renewable city by 2050.

The framework, which was introduced at a technical briefing on Monday morning at city hall, identifies what the city calls seven “big moves” and 31 related actions needed to achieve the city’s renewable goal.

The “big moves” include retrofitting existing buildings, net-zero new construction, fuel switching heating, renewable energy generation, reducing vehicle emissions, increasing active transportation and transit use and cleaning and re-energizing industry.

Read more: City of Regina to release energy and sustainability framework this week

Each recommendation has an objective of reducing emissions, improving energy consumption and switching to renewable or low-carbon energy sources.

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“This is an important milestone in our journey to become a renewable city,” stated Louise Folk, the city’s executive director of people and transformation. “The energy and sustainability framework is ambitious and requires sustained effort from the City of Regina, residents and all sectors of the community.”

City officials say the seven moves and their accompanying actions are all based on existing, available and proven technology while considering current legislation and other factors that could impact consumer markets.

“While the framework provides a community-wide plan, the city will play a leadership role in modelling the changes and behaviours that are needed to reach our goals through advocacy, partnership, education and direct action in municipal operations,” Folk added.

Even with the projected population growth, the city anticipates that actions taken from the plan are expected to lower Regina’s emissions by 52 per cent and cut energy use by 24 per cent.

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Brittany MacLean, a senior consultant with consulting firm Sustainability Solutions Group, who was the lead analyst on the framework project, noted that the plan will also introduce a number of economic benefits in the end for the city.

“Regina can achieve its targets. This is a realistic plan,” said MacLean.

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“All the technology is there. It requires investment, but the work needs to start now in order to achieve this. It’s going to take capital investment, but there is a return that is larger than the investment.”

The city estimates financial returns of $12.5 billion by 2050 and an average net growth of over 4,000 jobs per year.

“The framework provides an action plan to cut back on our energy use and continue switching to more energy efficient products and technologies,” said the city’s manager for energy and sustainability solutions Greg Kuntz.

“While these actions are consistent with the moves other cities are making to reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate climate change, Regina has set an ambitious timeline which could result in a significant return on investment.”

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Work on this plan started in the fall of 2020 in collaboration with SSG. Development of the strategy was achieved through community and stakeholder reach-outs to ensure a diverse cross-section of residents, business sectors and community groups, the city said Monday.

Residents will have an opportunity to attend a virtual community information session regarding the framework on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. More information and the link to join the online event is available at the city’s website.

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The plan will be considered by members of executive committee during a special meeting on March 24.

If given the green light, it will then be discussed by city council at its meeting on March 30.

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