Lacombe County selected to participate in the 2022 Municipal Energy Champions program

(File photo)

Lacombe County is one of six municipalities selected to participate in the 2022 Municipal Energy Champions (MEC) program.

Over the next nine months, the county of Lacombe, the village of Berwyn, Canmore, Devon, the Summer Village of Birch Cove, and the Kananaskis Improvement District will receive education, technical support, and coaching – for their staff as energy champions within their municipality.

The MEC program is free and put on by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC). It offers support to municipalities that are interested in developing Municipal Energy Champions by building the municipality’s internal capacity to better manage and reduce its energy consumption.

“Protecting the environment is a strategic priority in our 2018 – 2023 Strategic Plan. This strategic priority supports our goal of identifying environmentally sensitive practices and integrating them into our operations and environmental management plan,” said Lacombe County manager Tim Timmons.

This year, the program will include a baseline assessment, an energy consumption inventory, and a presentation of the findings to internal stakeholders. The baseline assessment will look at the county’s current energy use and management practices, and then find ways to track the use and identify efficiencies or renewable energy projects.

Then, working with the MCCAC, the Lacombe County environmental coordinator they will take these findings to develop an energy project, trend analysis, and create a made-for-Lacombe-County approach to energy management initiatives.

With the involvement of the Lacombe County environmental coordinator, the MEC program will identify new ways to manage municipal energy use, as well as opportunities to reduce energy consumption and save money, and ways to build and implement these programs in the future.

“Over the past few years, we have had the opportunity to work with the MCCAC on several projects, including our solar panel project in 2021, and public awareness workshops in 2020. Our involvement as a Municipal Energy Champion will solidify this relationship and environmental commitment further,” said Timmons.

“Lacombe County understands the importance of being an environmental leader. Being selected as a Municipal Energy Champion will complement the many programs and initiatives that we have underway,” said Reeve Barb Shepherd.

In the 2021 to 2016 environmental management plan, the county identified several priority areas, including energy efficiency.

“Our target under this area is to reduce net energy use at county buildings and fleet by 10 per cent by 2025. We hope our involvement with the Municipal Energy Champion program will identify specific goals to help us reach this goal,” said Timmons.

The MCCAC was founded in 2009 as a collaborative initiative of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Rural Municipalities of Alberta, and the Government of Alberta.

They deliver funding, technical assistance, and education to help Alberta municipalities, school authorities and community-related organizations advance actions that lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve climate resilience.

Over the past 13 years, the centre has granted $29.5 million funding to 387 organizations and $73.3 million in energy-related investments have been generated.

In 2020, the MCCAC delivered a pilot of the Municipal Energy Champions Program to six municipalities and nine municipalities in 2021.

For more information on the Municipal Energy Champion program, visit mccac.ca.