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City debates framework for renewable Regina and sustainable energy plans

Click to play video: 'City debates framework for renewable Regina and sustainable energy plans' City debates framework for renewable Regina and sustainable energy plans
At a special executive committee meeting residents and city council members discussed the framework of Regina's plans to become a renewable energy, net-zero city by 2050 – Mar 24, 2022

The City of Regina took another step towards finalizing the framework for a plan to become a renewable energy city by the year 2050 at a special council meeting Thursday.

The delegates who spoke at the meeting were very supportive of the city’s attempt to become a more eco-friendly community.

Per capita, Regina produces 1.7 times more emissions than the national average (23.5 tonnes of CO2e compared to 14.2 tonnes of CO2e) and 4.7 times more than the global average (5 tonnes of CO2e).

For context, one tonne of CO2e is equal to emissions from driving 4,500 km, which is approximately nine round trips from Regina to Saskatoon.

However, as the city decides on its plan to become a renewable, net-zero city by 2050, it has already made $6 million in strategic investments to advance their actions on the “low-carbon pathway” in 2022.

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

The City of Regina’s Director of Innovation, Energy and Technology outlined a few of their actions below

“1) Reduce energy consumption and save utility costs. 2) We will improve energy efficiency by actions such as installing LED lights where we haven’t already done so. 3) We will look for opportunities to switch to electric heat systems,” noted Cara Simpson.

Click to play video: 'City of Regina presents framework to help reach renewable, net-zero goal' City of Regina presents framework to help reach renewable, net-zero goal
City of Regina presents framework to help reach renewable, net-zero goal – Mar 15, 2022

The city is focused on reducing, improving and switching aims to reduce emissions by 97 per cent and energy consumption by 38 per cent in Regina by 2050.

One of the main ways the framework suggests doing that is through electric vehicles including public transit which has also already done an on-demand bus pilot program that runs in the evenings Monday through Saturday.

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“The results from the pilot are extremely positive. For example, the service that was once done by two buses is now done by one bus. Resulting in an operational cost savings of $60,000,” said Simpson.

Simply encouraging an increased usage of public transit is also part of the framework.

“Electric buses are currently being adopted in other cities like Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon. They also have environmental benefits and over the long run are significantly cheaper than their diesel counterparts. Now is the time for the city of Regina to switch to electric,” said Matt Pointer of the Saskatchewan Electric Vehicle Association.

Read more: How are Saskatchewan oil and gas companies preparing for the future?

The city wants to shift its fleet toward electric vehicles which would also include installing charging stations around the city.

“Recently a study was done by the University of Toronto that discovered that each electric vehicle replacing a gas one brings nearly $10,000 in social benefits. These benefits are shared by everyone. Not just the people buying the cars,” said Pointer.

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While this sustainability change will cost billions of dollars it’s also projected to create thousands of jobs and net billions of dollars of financial benefit. But to some it’s just about a shift in the way we think, even if it’s just about how you water your lawn.

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“There are going to need to be changed in the way we use water and lawns … but there are ways that we have improved tremendously in the last 10-20 years,” said former Regina city councillor, Fred Clipsham.

Recommendations regarding the framework are subject to approval on March 30th.

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