- Jay Heaman, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Oxford County (Presentation)
- Anna Leidreiter, Senior Programme Manager- Climate, Energy and Cities, World Future Council (Presentation)
- Peter Moser, Head of Sustainable Development; Partner and Senior Scientist, Institute Decentralised Energy Technologies (IdE); KMK (Presentation)
In response to cities needing guidance on planning for and implementing 100% renewable energy targets, the Global 100% Renewable Energy Platform designed the Building Blocks tool to map, track, and evaluate implementation progress. The platform also provides a common language to improve communication and knowledge sharing between global peers. The tool has 10 Building Blocks, and they are:
- Activate Local Resources Potential
- Develop the 100% RE Blueprint
- Formalize Aims and Functions
- Promote Energy Conservation and Efficiency
- Increase and Integrate RE across sectors
- Identify Financial Resources
- Support Decentralization and Inclusion
- Nurture Vertical and Horizontal Cooperation and Integration
- Promote Knowledge Generation and Capacity Building
- Engage in Networks
To be useful globally, the designers recognized the tool must be flexible and allow for customizable metrics, according to Anna Leidreiter, who leads development and maintenance of the Building Blocks. Most importantly, this tool illustrates that 100% RE targets lead to more than just fuel-switching and can be used by local governments to identify what is already contributing to the 100% RE target and to leverage support for further actions.
In his role at the Institute of Decentralized Energy Technologies, Peter Moser heads up the 100% RE Regions Network in Germany (100ee-Regionen http://www.100-ee.de). He is helping communities in the North Hesse region in Germany map actions to reach 100% RE based on an early version of the Building Blocks. For each municipality, Moser is evaluating the degree of achievement in each of what he calls “Fields of Action” through monitoring using approximately 60 indicators. Moser helps develop regional partnerships for sharing and support through RegioTwin, a Local Partnership for Climate Protection program, which pairs communities to improve knowledge sharing.
While Peter Moser is testing this tool in Germany, Jay Heaman is applying it to Oxford County in Ontario. Heaman described the value of being able to compare strategies and progress using common language and markers, which is what he said the Building Blocks provide. Oxford County has committed to reaching 100% renewable energy by 2050. The steps to reaching this goal are:
- Identify the components: transportation, buildings, and electricity
- Establish a base-load energy map (as close to ‘real-time’ as possible)
- Create pilot projects
Heaman explained that pilot projects engage stakeholders in an innovation cluster, spurring discussion and research through to implementation. Anna Leidreiter credited Oxford’s application of the original Fields of Action with helping revision the Building Blocks in their current form.
There was interest among the dialogue participants to garner federal government support for an organization in Canada like Germany’s RE Regions Network—although the funding landscape is changing in Germany and universities and local energy companies are contributing more.
One participant asked about the overlap between renewable energy and resilience planning, and Moser reiterated that the Building Blocks are written to be flexible and complement, but not replace existing municipal strategies.
Participants were interested to learn how the Building Blocks looked at heating demands and how the role of natural gas is treated. This led to a discussion on the Passive House standard, and other energy efficiency/conservation technologies, demonstrating the breadth of planning covered by the Building Blocks framework. To a question about transportation, Heaman noted that the technology is moving very quickly and speculated that electric tractors are not far off.
Shifting to a discussion on social barriers, a participant asked how to garner the support for the 100% renewable energy target from municipalities in a region. One approach that was described is to take advantage of existing groups and initiatives. Another was to encourage city networks to go beyond general climate action and incorporate 100% RE into their programing.
Wolfhagen, Germany, is an example of a municipality that transitioned from 0% to 100% renewable energy because of the leadership and support from all parties involved. To generate capital for developing renewable energy, 20% of the public utility is owned by 400 cooperative members, each of whom now earns a small annual profit.
Developing and implementing the Building Blocks has shown:
- The Building Blocks foster locally unique strategies that can be communicated using a globally common language.
- The first steps of planning for 100% renewable energy are to
- Know your energy baseline;
- Leverage existing groups and actions; and
- Install pilot projects to engage the public.
- Leadership and political will lead to solutions on the ground, even before a path to 100% renewable energy has been mapped.
- The value of participating in networks and partnerships to share successes and failures.