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Report card gives B.C., Manitoba
top marks for energy efficiency

Canadian Press, August 13, 2008

OTTAWA — British Columbia and Manitoba score highest in a report card released Tuesday grading federal, provincial and territorial governments on energy efficiency.

The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, an industry group that compiles the ratings, says the two western provinces received an A-plus grades because they have the most stringent policies on energy efficiency.

Every two years the group releases a report card grading governments on nine weighted parameters, including their energy plans, codes and standards and spending on efficiency initiatives.

The report card covers the period from January 2006 to December 2007. Manitoba’s government introduced legislation earlier this year setting energy-efficiency requirements for new home furnaces and government-funded buildings.

Manitoba Energy Minister Jim Rondeau said in a statement the report card highlights the province’s environmental achievements.

British Columbia, meanwhile, introduced a plan last year designed to make the province self-sufficient in electricity by 2016 through conservation and new technology.

Ontario and Quebec scored A’s for their energy-efficiency efforts.

A spokeswoman for Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman attributed the high mark to measures such as a plan to save 6,300 megawatts of electricity by 2025 and a ban on inefficient light bulbs.

“It’s come with some hard work over the past five years to become a jurisdiction that has gone from mediocre to a province that now leads on energy conservation and is starting to get results,” Amy Tang said.

Alliance president Ken Elsey says the four top provinces are driving energy efficiency across the country.

Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba have joined several U.S. states in the Western Climate Initiative, a market-based system designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

“I’m across the country on a regular basis looking at various issues and seeing who’s at the table. Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, B.C. — consistently there. Consistently there,” Elsey said. “We need to see more participation from some of the other provinces.”

Last month, Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders agreed to boost energy conservation efforts to lower consumer power bills, emissions and overall demand.

The premiers committed to a 20-per-cent increase in energy efficiency by 2020 in their provinces and territories through measures such as sharing best practices and adopting green policies for any new government-funded construction.

Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nova Scotia made up the next tier in the survey by all scoring B-plus grades.

The alliance gives the federal government a B for its suite of eco-energy initiatives — but says the Conservatives need to improve their communications and delivery.

Elsey says the Tories came late to energy efficiency and are only now starting to catch up to some of the provinces.

“It wasn’t until some time later, where environment became a key issue in the minds of Canadians, that the government really realized that they had to re-address and re-prioritize energy efficiency,” he said

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said the bulk of the Harper government’s energy-efficiency measures were rolled out after the reporting period ended last December.

“By and large, this report is really grading programs that were left over by the previous government,” he said in an interview.

“Ours did not come into effect until after the timing of this report.”

Conservative amendments to the Energy Efficiency Act introduced earlier this year would let the government regulate products that use energy or affect power consumption.

New Brunswick and the Yukon get B-minus grades, Nunavut scores a C, and Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta earn D-plus marks.

Prince Edward Island gets the lowest grade, a D, for putting energy efficiency on the back burner and focusing on public transit.