bureaucrats embrace conservation

Love helps bureaucrats embrace conservation

Friday, August 31, 2018

It’s no surprise that Love would pull Canada’s energy geeks and policy wonks together. That’s Peter Love, of course — Ontario’s former chief conservation officer, current member of Energy Efficiency Alberta’s board of directors, a professor in York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies and a respected consultant of longstanding. His latest role is textbook author.

Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency: Policy, Programs and Best Practices is a new online resource for academic instructors, students and others interested in exploring how goals and targets can be translated into energy-saving action. Drawing on Love’s own experience and insight from his industry peers, it’s an effort to better inform current and future policy makers and provide strategies for groups making the case for funding.

“Although there are many excellent textbooks that deal with energy-efficiency technologies, the impact of energy on the environment, energy in Canada and public policy, there are no textbooks on the design, implementation and evaluation of energy-efficiency policies and programs,” he observes in the book’s preface.

Content is available in three free downloadable sections, providing a comprehensive primer of the components of energy efficiency — conservation behaviour, system operations, technology and demand response — an overview of effective supporting measures and a tally of the deliverables. In this, Love stresses the three E’s: employment, economy and environment.

Case studies provide further examples of successes and challenges in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia. There is also detailed guidance on drafting policy documents, business cases and regulatory submissions.

Presenting energy efficiency through the lens of policy and program development arguably reduces some of the intimidating aspects of the issue for those who do not have formal technical training in energy management. It also recognizes that bureaucrats embrace conservation in the shadow of their political masters. A practical grasp of the principles and paybacks of energy efficiency should support a higher calibre of defensible advice, which can work to any government’s benefit.

This could be particularly important if the new Ontario government follows up on its election campaign promise to transfer funding for conservation programs from the electricity rate structure to the provincial tax base — a prospect that, among other concerns, has energy management proponents wary of program administration shifting away from the local distribution companies with which they’ve established working relationships. However, Love more optimistically zeroes in on the recent throne speech promise to Ontarians to “lower your hydro bills”.

“I find the use of the word ‘bills’, not ‘rates’, very interesting and important,” he muses. “That is because there are two ways to reduce hydro bills — reducing the hydro rates or by reducing hydro consumption. Encouraging energy conservation and efficiency has been proven to be a very cost-effective way of reducing hydro and other forms of energy consumption.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *