For many municipalities and utilities, having a ‘green’ strategy has gone from optional to essential. These strategies include a wide range of tactics aimed at reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. Here are three of the most popular we’ve observed:
- Electricity Source Management
Utilities can support green initiatives by shifting electricity sources toward renewable energy and purchasing non-regulated renewable assets such as solar, wind, run-of-river, and tidal. For example, EPCOR, the City of Edmonton’s wholly-owned utility, has introduced a Green Power Initiative for all water cycle utilities it owns and operates on the city’s behalf. ¹
- Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging
Utilities are supporting the transition to EV by making charging stations more widely available and promoting the use of electric vehicles in their fleet and among their employees. And, by incentivizing EV owners to charge at night, utilities are able to manage demand.
Municipalities are implementing strategies such as: subsidies for EV purchases and EV chargers; bans on the future production or sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles; working with utilities to build out electrification infrastructure; and EV-ready building codes.
- LED Lighting
Street lighting can account for 25% or more of a municipality’s electricity usage. Converting to LEDs can decrease costs, reduce emissions, and improve safety. While some municipalities are simply converting traditional bulbs to LED, others are installing smart controllers that further reduce energy consumption, or smart poles with things like weather sensors, WIFI connectivity, EV chargers, and electronic advertising displays.
Overall, utilities play a critical role in supporting, leading, and contributing to municipal green strategies--a role that will continue to grow along with consumer awareness and demand.
To learn more, reach out to Angie Brown, Director, Transactions, Grant Thornton LLP (Canada) at Angie.Brown@ca.gt.com.