November 5, 2015 – Vancouver City Council approved a new Renewable City Strategy for Vancouver to shift to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 or sooner.
“Vancouver creates enormous economic opportunity by shifting to 100 per cent renewable energy and leading the world’s cities on climate change,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“Today over 30 per cent of the energy used in our city is renewable. With a pragmatic approach to buildings and transportation, we eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels and make Vancouver a cleaner, healthier, and more resilient city.”
Principles and actions of the strategy
The 100% Renewable Energy Strategy approved by Council is based on three key principles:
- Reduce energy use
- Increase the use of renewable energy
- Increase the supply of renewable energy
The City of Vancouver can be the catalyst for change through its own internal operations, by:
- Adopting zero emission standards for new City buildings
- Transitioning the City’s vehicle fleet to renewable sources of energy
Other actions the City can take to move towards 100 per cent renewable energy are to:
- Establish greenhouse gas intensity limits for new buildings
- Enable the conversion of the downtown and hospital steam systems from natural gas to renewable energy
- Streamline the process for installing rooftop solar panels
- Support increased car-sharing and the uptake of renewably powered vehicles in car-sharing fleets
- Pricing carbon pollution into the decision-making process for municipal operations
Vancouver’s Potential Energy System Transformation
Below are the modelled effects of implementing the Renewable City Strategy. The cumulative effect of the strategy is to reduce total energy use by one third over 2014 levels, saving 21 million GJ of energy a year, a reduction over business-as-usual energy demand of more than 50%, saving 39 million GJ of energy annually.
Improvements in building performance, reductions in personal vehicle use through active transport, and improvements in vehicle efficiency account for 45% of total city-wide energy system changes.
The increased use of existing renewable energy sources like the expansion of neighbourhood renewable energy systems, increased transit use and the expansion of car-sharing could account for about 20% of city-wide energy use changes.
Finally, the increase of renewable energy supply through new neighbourhood renewable energy systems and the use of biofuels, biomethane and hydrogen could account for 35% of changes in Vancouver’s energy system.