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CEEA Ranking on Energy Efficiency

Wednesday, November 1st 2006 8:33:42am

The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance’s sixth annual ranking of Canadian jurisdictions on energy efficiency

Ontario has the highest positive performance jump - New Brunswick sees the largest decline - Manitoba remains the shining star!

(Mississauga, Ontario, November 1, 2006)  This is the sixth annual report card issued by the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance (CEEA), Canada’s leading non-governmental, energy efficiency advocacy organization.  This report card highlights the progress of the federal government and the provinces to reduce energy demand and consumption.  The report also recognizes the role that efficiency and conservation have in improving Canada’s competitiveness and reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The following grades are based on the performance of the provinces between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2005.

Ken Elsey, President & CEO of CEEA, stated that, “No jurisdiction received a failing grade.  The federal government and Manitoba were both awarded A’s, New Brunswick dropped from a B+ to a C+, Ontario leaped up from a C- to a B+, and Alberta failed to live up to its potential, receiving a D+.”

The scoring for each of the 14 Canadian jurisdictions is a product of 12 parameters, including how the jurisdiction supported activities such as energy efficiency and public outreach, the existence of public/private partnerships to support energy efficiency, and the existence and responsiveness to energy efficiency issues in key legislation, such as building codes and energy efficiency acts.  The report also examined whether the government led by example and how it regulated the energy market.  Criteria detail can be found at www.energyefficiency.org.

Mr. Elsey noted that in preparing the report card, several issues were identified as significant influences: Canada’s falling short of Kyoto targets, energy grid capacity issues and aging infrastructure (particularly in Ontario and eastern Canada), and energy price fluctuations which drive the need for greater understanding of energy consumption patterns and habits.

When asked to predict how jurisdictions would score next year, Mr. Elsey said, “The volatility of energy prices and supply issues has kick-started many energy efficiency initiatives and appears to have spurred the adoption of new policy and regulations.  This needs to be tempered by significant program reductions at the federal level.”  Mr. Elsey also observed that, “It is early November and there is still time to make positive changes that will be considered in the report card next year.”

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REPORT CARD ATTACHED

For more information or to arrange interviews with Mr. Elsey, please contact Brent Kulba, Environmental Communications Options, 416-972-7401

The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance (CEEA), a broad based, not-for-profit organization, was established (1995) to respond to the lack of a coordinated multi-stakeholder effort to promote energy efficiency in Canada, leading to enhanced competitiveness and improved environmental protection. The Alliance works in partnership with manufacturers, utilities, governments, builders, labour, consumer groups, and environmental organizations to facilitate the adoption of energy efficiency measures in Canada. The Alliance is supported through fees and project contributions from members.  


Key CEEA Observations

Current conditions within some of the evaluated governments warrant discussion, as there is some disparity in what has been done, what is in the works, and where governments are heading.  As well, it is important to stress that the focus is on 2005 activities.  Announcements and developments occurring in 2006, while noteworthy in some cases, do not affect the 2005 scores.  Some important highlights include the following:

Manitoba:  Manitoba demonstrates success in all energy efficiency initiatives. That success can be attributed almost entirely to Manitoba Hydro’s excellent job of promoting and supporting energy efficiency.  CEEA believes that governments do have a role to play, regardless of the capabilities of the utilities, and there is room for improvement in terms of government activities within the energy efficiency arena. In spite of this, Manitoba again receives the highest ranking.  Congratulations Manitoba.

The Federal Government:  It has received a mark that reflects a strong commitment toward supporting energy efficiency across the country for 2005 and is worthy of its rating.  Unfortunately, many of those efforts are in jeopardy, with the cancellation of funding for some important energy efficiency programs in 2006.  As we near the end of 2006, CEEA is concerned that new programs are not being considered to replace those which were cancelled.    

Ontario:  One province that is noteworthy for a turnaround in its approach and support for energy efficiency is Ontario.  The rating increase is tied to the appointment of a Chief Energy Conservation Officer and an engaged Premier and Minister.  With major new funding available for conservation and demand management (CDM) programs in the electricity sector, matching those already delivered by the natural gas utilities, Ontario is poised to moved to the top of the class next year.

Alberta:  Given the economic boom, and the source of that boom, Alberta’s support for energy efficiency activities is disappointing.  While the government has funded some initiatives, Alberta could be doing much more.  This concern has been expressed by CEEA in the past and it continues to be a problem.  But we feel Alberta has listened to us and is on the edge of a major breakthrough.  Major industry, municipalities, government agencies and NGO’s have met several times in recent weeks to develop the first provincial division of CEEA and to recommend an energy efficient strategy for Alberta.  


What are jurisdictions really doing?

British Columbia (www.gov.bc.ca)
The BC submission was not organized in correspondence with CEEA’s report card template, which made it difficult to accurately evaluate their overall energy efficiency endeavours.  Generally, BC rates well in all areas except reporting and evaluation.  The government demonstrates strong support for codes, energy efficiency standards, and a positive regulatory environment.  The utilities in BC are also to be commended in their support and delivery of energy efficiency efforts.  There appears to be a need for greater attention to housekeeping/in-house efforts.

Alberta (www.gov.ab.ca)
Alberta has not implemented any building codes that specify energy efficiency, and there is little regulatory pressure to promote energy efficiency.  The province does support municipalities and the use of higher efficiency standards for its own buildings.  In its current economic boom, Alberta is not adequately capitalizing on either the opportunities for energy efficiency or the benefits that they bring.  Much more could be done, given the strong economy and Alberta’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.  It was also felt that their submission fell short and failed to take into account all that is actually being done in the province.  

Saskatchewan (www.gov.sk.ca)
Saskatchewan has continued to make significant advancements in the energy efficiency arena over the past few years, and does a solid job of tracking its efforts.  Although Saskatchewan is the only province without a public utilities board, they do have a Rate Review Panel, and its cabinet can choose to make the final decision on rates and other utility matters.  In addition, there is evidence from related policy efforts that Saskatchewan is heightening its overall prioritization of energy efficiency.  The turnaround in Saskatchewan’s score in 4 years is impressive.

Manitoba (www.gov.mb.ca)
Manitoba’s primary energy efficiency program delivery agent is Manitoba Hydro (which includes natural gas programs delivered through Central Manitoba).  A full suite of well-rounded programs are offered and backed up by a thorough reporting of program performance and evaluation.  CEEA notes that the government may wish to take a more active role in supporting codes and standards in the province.  Manitoba again sets a high standard for the rest of the country.

Ontario (www.energy.gov.on.ca)
The Ontario government scores highly with respect to a more progressive approach to energy efficiency, including new program offerings focused on electricity which are delivered through the Ontario Power Authority’s Conservation Bureau.  New legislation introduced in 2005 intended to strengthen the Energy Efficiency Act and the energy provisions in the building codes bode well for the future.  2005 witnessed the early results of a suite of new programs delivered in partnership with Ontario’s electricity distributors that, when combined with the well-established activities of the natural gas utilities, gave Ontario its highest score yet.  

Québec (www.aee.gouv.qc.ca)
L’Agence de l’efficacité énergétique (AEE), in conjunction with the three utilities in Quebec, offer a broad suite of conservation and demand management initiatives that engage all sectors. The programs have demonstrated significant savings in terms of both energy and greenhouse gas emissions in the past; however, reduced funding for the AEE has impacted the government’s role in program delivery negatively.  The reduced funding continues a trend identified in the last Report Card, reflected in Quebec’s score.  CEEA notes recent announcements regarding a comprehensive energy efficiency plan that should put Quebec back on track.


Newfoundland and Labrador (www.gov.nf.ca)
Newfoundland traditionally has largely ignored public energy efficiency initiatives, and the score for 2005 is a testament to the lack of support. This year, CEEA notes what appears to be a growing concern for the state of energy efficiency and we are encouraged that new programs and initiatives are being contemplated.  We will be following the efforts closely and expect to see real results in 2007 and beyond.  

Prince Edward Island (www.gov.pe.ca)
PEI reports an impressive list of activities, however, CEEA notes that previous years’ programming plans do not seem to have come to fruition.  Related activities focused on supply side renewable alternatives are solid, however, the same focus on energy efficiency does not appear to be happening.  While PEI did well to improve consistently over the preceding four years of the Report Card, that improvement has not been repeated this year.

Nova Scotia (www.gov.ns.ca)
Nova Scotia continues to offer strong energy efficiency programs, by partnering with a mix of both private and NGO/NPO organizations and demonstrating a good regulatory climate in support of energy efficiency efforts.  But, analysis of program results and evaluation are lacking. CEEA encourages Nova Scotia to focus on this important part of the energy efficiency program continuum.

New Brunswick (www.gov.nb.ca)
A new conservation agency has been established which is a very positive development.  However, New Brunswick's 2005 submission does not demonstrate any measurable improvements over previous years beyond the creation of the Agency.  There is a need to implement the planned efforts and develop evaluation metrics specific to each programming area to determine the impacts of the various programs.  Otherwise, it is difficult to determine where and when energy and greenhouse gas savings have been made.  

Northwest Territories (www.gov.nt.ca)
After failing to report in 2004, NWT did submit a report this year which is a positive sign that the Northwest Territories is back in the process.  CEEA notes an apparent decrease in the amount of energy efficiency activities from the levels of effort observed in 2002-2003. Emphasis on program performance, and evaluation in particular, needs to be developed if a better understanding of program success and gaps is to be established to aid in the evolution of more amplified energy efficiency efforts.

Yukon (www.gov.yk.ca)
Yukon remains in the top 3, a position it has held since 2000, demonstrating a serious commitment and interest in energy efficiency.  Worth noting, Yukon has the highest per capita R-2000 homes in Canada, and local architect and design firms have won national and international awards for energy efficient building designs.  While energy efficiency initiatives are demonstrated to be of importance to the government, greater attention needs to go into program performance and evaluation strategies.

Nunavut (www.gov.nu.ca)
Nunavut is still in the infant stages of energy efficiency policy and program development, and the low score reflects the largely start-up type activities being undertaken.  Nunavut has made the effort of establishing the Nunavut Energy Centre, and we look forward to witnessing some program results for 2006.

Federal Government (www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca)
The federal government continued to deliver a broad range of programs and financial support through the OEE, CANMET and others in 2005.  Programs have demonstrated success in reaching significant greenhouse gas and kilowatt-hour reductions.  While 2005 results are favourable and the federal government should be commended for continually placing at the top, unless recently dropped programs are renewed or replaced, 2006 does not hold the same promise.