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2014 Energy

City of Guelph, Ontario

The City of Guelph Community Energy Initiative

Population:  Project duration:  Total project value:
137,000 2007‒2031 $230,000


The City of Guelph's Community Energy Initiative (CEI) is the implementation phase of its 25-year Community Energy Plan. With a projected 50 per cent population growth by 2031, the city aims to reduce energy use by 50 per cent and cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 60 per cent. The initiative will see energy generated locally through renewable sources, combined heat and power, and waste heat recovery; and distribution through local systems using thermal energy networks and smart grid technologies. The city will accelerate conservation and efficiency measures in all sectors, accommodating population growth through increased density rather than expansion.

The CEI will have a significant impact on the local economy by ensuring a reliable and sustainable energy supply that keeps energy dollars local, attracts investment, and creates jobs. The initiative is integrated with Guelph's Community Engagement Framework and its Wellness Strategy. The Mayor's Task Force on Community Energy, a multi-stakeholder group that forms the core governance structure for the CEI, will ensure ongoing community engagement.

This project received support from FCM's Green Municipal Fund (GMF 7281).


Environmental Economic Social
  • 17% decrease in 2012 per capita GHG emissions compared to 2006, with population growth of 21.7%

  • 25% decrease in per capita energy use compared to 2006

  • Water consumption reduced by 6 million litres per day

  • 25% reduction in per capita energy use and expenditure since 2006

  • Almost 500 new jobs created with Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. head operations located in Guelph

  • Competitive advantage in attracting investment and jobs

  • Efficient urban design and transportation systems to accommodate anticipated population growth

  • Ongoing community engagement is integral to reaching local long-term goals CEI integrated into the city's Wellness Strategy


  • The city faces many growth-related pressures and will have to build an estimated 20,000 homes and 400,000 – 500,000 square metres of non-residential construction.
  • Energy policy is set at the provincial level. Aligning municipal goals with provincial goals is an ongoing challenge.
  • Diligence is required to build and maintain relationships in the community, and align partnership activities with the CEI's goals.

Lessons learned

  • Identify data and information sources and establish long-term relationships to ensure consistent monitoring and reporting.

  • Work closely with a wide range of private-sector partners and understand their criteria and strategies for investment to access products and services that meet project-specific needs.

  • Establish relationships with provincial policy makers and regulators early in the planning process.

  • Create a collaborative governance structure to manage partnerships and oversee community-level implementation.

Page Updated: 13/02/2015