IN THE NEWS ~ Guelph's innovative green energy plan draws national attention

rogrant@guelpmercury.com ILLUS: NDP MPs (from left) Jamie Nicholls, Peter Julian, Laurin Liu and Claude Gravelle toured Guelph Hydro on Friday as part of an NDP committee's research into sustainable energy.

By Robin Grant, Special to the Guelph Mercury, Local Page A6

While the federal government is keen to develop 'dirty' energy in the Alberta oilsands, Guelph's green energy plan is a model for cities across the country, say visiting NDP parliamentarians.

On Friday morning, four NDP MPs toured the city as part of the party's national research into green energy innovation across the country.

The members heard Guelph Hydro chief executive officer Barry Chuddy speak about the plan to develop efficient, low-carbon sources of energy to help cut green house gas emissions, as part of the city-wide effort to meet the goals in the city's community energy initiative.

NDP natural resources critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminister) said Guelph-based companies lead the way in developing a greener economy. He praised the city's community energy initiative as an important first step in developing a potentially lucrative green economy.

In 2007, city council approved the community energy initiative. The goal is to use less energy in 25 years than the city did when the plan was implemented. The plan will involve consuming less energy per capita than comparable municipalities and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the global average.

"What we see is a municipality that is really looking to move forward on renewable energy, is looking at energy efficiency, and the framework of issues around the green energy transition," Julian said, referring to the community energy initiative. It is "exceedingly important for potential communities across the country."

The NDP critic was quick to point out problems with the federal government regarding sustainable energy.

"The problem is that the federal government just is not showing any leadership at all in green energy," he said. "Canada is internationally a real laggard."

New Democrat MP Jamie Nicholls said energy security should be a priority in Canada.

"Even in terms of jobs and employment, imagine what is happening in Guelph and multiply that by 500 in small cities in Canada," Nicholls said. "It's a job creator that hasn't been explored by the federal government."

Also in attendance were NDP MPs Laurin Liu (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles) and Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt), and corporate manager of the community energy initiative Rob Kerr.

The meeting at Guelph Hydro was followed by site visits to the Eastview Landfill Gas Capture and Generation Facility and the Waste Innovation Resource Centre.

rogrant@guelpmercury.com ILLUS: NDP MPs (from left) Jamie Nicholls, Peter Julian, Laurin Liu and Claude Gravelle toured Guelph Hydro on Friday as part of an NDP committee's research into sustainable energy. Robin Grant, Mercury staff

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