Regina making ‘big moves’ to become net-zero

The City of Regina has released framework to make the City net-zero by 2050.

The Energy and Sustainability Framework outlines a dynamic living plan for Regina. It includes seven “Big Moves” and 31 related actions to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions, improving energy consumption, and switching to renewable or low-carbon energy sources.

The seven “Big Moves” are:

1) Building retrofits
2) Clean heating
3) Net-zero new construction
4) Renewable energy generation
5) Low-emissions vehicles
6) Increase active transportation and transit use
7) Clean and re-energize the industry

Brittany MacLean, a consultant with Sustainability Solutions Group, said that the actions are needed for the City to become more environmentally friendly long-term.

“Regina’s community emissions in 2016 were over five million tonnes. There are no signs of those emissions decreasing out to 2050 using today’s policies and practices, and that is combined with expected population growth,” she said.

By 2030, the actions taken in the framework are expected to reduce Regina’s emissions by 52 per cent and cut energy use by 24 per cent, even with projected population growth.

They are also expected to generate an estimated $12.5 billion in financial returns for the community by 2050. The implementation of the framework is expected to create over 123,000 person-years of employment between now and 2050. This is equivalent to more than 4,000 full-time jobs per year existing in the community.

MacLean said the average Regina resident would benefit from the net-zero plan.

“In 2020, household energy expenditures were over $6,000; in 2050, they are projected to be just over $4,000 if this plan is implemented because we are using more efficient technologies and you need less energy.”

She added that becoming net-zero is very realistic and possible for the City to achieve.

With the framework, the City joins Saskatoon, Halifax, Vancouver, Guelph, and Charlottetown as Canadian cities have declared that they will be 100 per cent renewable by 2050. These include Saskatoon, Halifax, Vancouver, Guelph, and Charlottetown.

Louise Folk, the executive director of people and transformation with the City, said it would be a team effort to achieve net-zero.

“The framework is ambitious and requires sustained efforts from the City of Regina, residents, and all sectors of the community,” she said. “As the City of Regina, we recognize that we do not have jurisdiction over consumer choices and decisions throughout all sectors, but we can do act as a catalyst by taking a leadership role, implementing actions within our direct, setting a community target, reporting out on that target, building partnerships and providing information so the community can make informed choices and decisions.”

The City of Regina will host a virtual public information meeting about the framework on Tuesday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m.

The framework will be considered at a special executive committee meeting on March 24 and presented to the city council on March 30.

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