Thank you Guest Lecturers! ENVS 6121: Community, Energy and Planning

Professor Christina Hoicka and her students are very grateful for the guest lectures in the graduate course ENVS 6121: Community, Energy and Planning that was delivered for the first time in the Fall 2014. By demonstrating theory in practice, these lectures added value to the students’ understanding of community energy planning. We would like to thank the following guest lecturers for their time and expertise.

Fernando Carou, Senior Engineer at the City of Toronto in the Environment and Energy Division, discussed the municipal approach to energy planning and stressed the importance of energy resilience, as power outages caused by recent extreme weather events revealed Toronto's vulnerable energy system. We learned that it is important for Toronto to develop a community approach to energy planning as there has been significant growth and intensification in the City, which causes electricity pressures as demand increases.

Yvonne Rollins, MES alumni and PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at Western University, discussed the implications for Ontario communities of recovering energy from waste, an important local issue as residual waste has grown almost 10% from 2006-2012 in both Toronto (42.3%-51.4%) and Peel (39.5%-48.4%) and more than 12% in Durham (41.1%-53.6%). Yvonne is a member of Realizing Waste’s Resource Potential (ReWARP) an organization that studies how to incorporate waste to energy led by faculty and students from Western University and the University of Toronto.

Devon Calder, MES student at York University, spoke to the class about his research in understanding energy production and energy consumption spatially for transitioning to a sustainable energy future. His analysis considered a spatial understanding of energy production and consumption, tools for analyzing energy production spatially, and transitioning towards a sustainable energy future.

Julie Greenspoon, an MES alumni who works at the Ministry of Energy, spoke to the class about the Municipal Energy Plan (MEP) Program, a comprehensive plan to align energy, the built environment and land use planning that identifies community-wide energy efficiency and green energy options that support economic development or opportunities.

Alex Chapman, Acting Corporate Manager of Community Energy for the City of Guelph, spoke to the class about the City of Guelph’s Community Energy Plan, that was driven to be implemented to offer significant economic opportunities by adapting to district energy which will keep $200 million annually in the city. Guelph hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per person by 60% by 2031.

David MacMillian, a recent MES grad, now employed by the City of Toronto in the Environment and Energy division, gave students useful advice of how to progress after attaining their MES degrees with such suggestions as attending events and talks within students' area of interest and networking, especially with presenters speaking at an event.

Richard Laszlo, an MES alumni and Director of Research and Education at QUEST Canada, spoke about smart energy communities which integrate conventional energy networks, make smart land use decisions, and harness local energy opportunities. Although a challenging task, facilitating community engagement is vital to creating a smart energy community and is also necessary when implementing a community energy plan.

Julia Zeeman, Fellow at Studio Y, spoke with the class about key energy programs and tools that affect community energy plans and the business models that can aid the process of grassroots energy organizations such as crowd funding and decentralized banking.

Dr. Judith Lipp, Executive Director of TREC, and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, facilitated a workshop with students to brainstorm the effects of energy projects on local economic development. Dr. Lipp also worked with the students to organize a business model for a Community Owned Wind Project.