At a special council meeting on Thursday, the City of Regina took another step toward finalizing the framework for a plan to make Regina a renewable energy city by 2050.
The delegates who spoke during the conference were enthusiastic about the city’s efforts to become a more environmentally conscious community.
Regina emits 1.7 times more CO2e per capita than the national average (14.2 tonnes CO2e vs. 23.5 tonnes CO2e) and 4.7 times more than the global average (5 tonnes of CO2e).
To put things in perspective, one tonne of CO2e equals emissions from driving 4,500 kilometers, or around nine round trips from Regina to Saskatoon.
However, the city has already spent $6 million in strategic investments to progress their efforts on the “low-carbon road” in 2022, as it decides on its goal to become a renewable, net-zero city by 2050.
The Director of Innovation, Energy, and Technology for the City of Regina detailed a number of their initiatives below.
“1) Lower your energy consumption and save money on utilities. 2) Where we haven’t already done so, we’ll increase energy efficiency by installing LED lights. 3) We’ll look for ways to move to electric heating systems,” Cara Simpson said.
Regina is focusing on lowering, improving, and transitioning with the goal of cutting emissions by 97% and energy usage by 38% by 2050.
One of the key options suggested in the framework is to use electric vehicles, such as public transportation, which has already implemented an on-demand bus pilot program that operates Monday through Saturday evenings.
“The pilot’s outcomes have been quite encouraging. For example, a service that used to be provided by two buses is now provided by a single bus. “This resulted in a $60,000 operational cost savings,” Simpson added.
The strategy also includes just encouraging more people to use public transportation.
“Electric buses are now being used in cities such as Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon.” They also offer environmental benefits and are substantially less expensive in the long term than their diesel counterparts. The time has come for Regina to make the switch to electric vehicles, according to Matt Pointer of the Saskatchewan Electric Vehicle Association.
The city aims to transition its fleet to electric vehicles and provide charging stations throughout the city.
“A recent research by the University of Toronto found that replacing a gas vehicle with an electric vehicle generates approximately $10,000 in societal benefits. Everyone benefits from these advantages. “It’s not only the folks who buy the autos,” Pointer explained.
While the cost of this sustainable transformation is expected to be in the billions of dollars, it is also expected to result in the creation of thousands of employment and a net financial benefit of billions of dollars. However, for some, it’s only a shift in mindset, even if it’s just about how you water your lawn.
“There will need to be changes in the way we use water and grass… but there are ways that we have much improved in the last 10-20 years,” said Fred Clipsham, a former Regina city councillor.
On March 30th, the recommendations for the framework must be approved.