The green economy

August 19, 2011

Community Energy Planning

Five or ten years ago, having a reputation as a “green” city might have been viewed as a barrier to economic development and business attraction. But today, being green is good for business. In Guelph, we have proven that prosperity and sustainability go hand in hand.

Our Community Energy Initiative is a perfect example.

The Initiative’s energy and environmental objectives are very clear – reducing per capita energy use by 50% and greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2031, while growing by 50,000 more citizens. But its first two goals are economic in nature: “Guelph will be the place to invest, supported by its commitment to a sustainable energy future” and “Guelph will have a variety of reliable, competitive energy, water, and transport services available to all.”

We have already seen the effect the Community Energy Initiative, in coordination with Provincial policy and programming, has had in growing our local economy:

  • Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. and Sustainable Energy Technologies have both chosen Guelph as the location for their major manufacturing, bringing more than 500 new jobs to Guelph.
  • Innovation Guelph has established a rapidly growing solar cluster with dozens of local members.
  • Two large (over 8 Megawatts total)  solar energy projects have been announced that will be developed as cooperatives
  • Guelph Hydro has announced its intention to develop up to 28 Megawatts of cogeneration or combined heat and power plants within the City boundaries.

And this is just the beginning. Guelph is seen as a place where investments in renewable energy and energy services will succeed. As this sector continues to grow, we will be well-positioned as a location of choice.

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

View all posts by Karen Farbridge

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2 Comments on “The green economy”

  1. Jim Grant Says:

    Karen – A little concerned here about Cdn Solar. Media has reported that they have hired only 330, not 500 and now they are throwing up the red flag to their very existence, should the PC’s win this upcoming election. Doesn’t sound very good to the long range planning of this company. How will the current Council handle this should they, Cdn Solar, close up shop? Maybe more emphasis should be made with a long standing company like Linamar who seem to be moving into the old Engel plant.

  2. kfarbridge Says:

    Jim,
    I don’t see it as an either/or issue. Guelph has a strong manufacturing base and, as our largest employer, Linamar is a big part of the strength of that sector. Our Economic Development Department assists Linamar with any expansion plans in Guelph. Our Economic Development Strategy recommends further diversification of our local economy and the energy sector is one of several sectors that we are pursuing in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Guelph.

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