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AEEA Takes on Challenges and Opportunities for Energy Efficiency in Alberta

Energy Efficiency Q & A: Jesse Row, Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance

Jesse Row is the executive director of the Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance (AEEA) which is based in Calgary. Established in 2007, AEEA represents Alberta-based industry, associations, municipal and non-profit organizations, including Enmax, Suncor, C3, City of Calgary, City of Edmonton and the Pembina Institute. AEEA is also a member of CEEA.

AEEA’s Jesse Row says their new report shows how Alberta could meet half of its 2020 climate change target through energy efficiency.

Q. What’s the focus for your upcoming energy efficiency conference on January 29?

A. We want to get Alberta’s new Minister of Environment, Robin Campbell, familiar with energy efficiency. He was previously the Aboriginal Relations minister in Alberta. We want to do a bit of a get to know you. He’ll say a few remarks. We also have Peter Kujawinski the US consul in Calgary confirmed, he’ll talk about what’s going on in the US, and will give his perspective on energy efficiency in Alberta. There will be presentations from various people in Alberta about what they’re doing in different sectors.

Q. The Alberta government wants to be the national leader in energy efficiency, how can that happen?

A. There are two opportunities that they can start with. One is incorporating the national standards for energy efficiency into the Alberta Energy Code, that’s the National Energy Code for Buildings and the National Building Code for 2012. We need to see those being adopted. The other one is to fund energy efficiency programs for the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. The [Alberta] government has greenhouse gas regulations and companies that don’t meet their target pay into a fund. It’s currently being used for funding new technologies. A portion should go to programs for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the short-term. While the new technologies fund is for developing something that’s not yet commercialized, we want them to fund the uptake of existing technologies. We want to invest in things like buildings.

We’ve just released a report on the energy efficiency potential in Alberta. It shows how Alberta could meet half of its 2020 climate change target and create $1.5 billion a year in energy savings for Albertans. It also shows that if the province initiated only economic opportunities for efficiency, Alberta could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 27 megatonnes by 2020.

Q. How does AEEA apply energy efficiency to the Oil Sands?

A. We look at all sectors. There are opportunities in the Oil Sands, in commercial sectors, in transportation, so it’s one of many things we look at. The Oil Sands is a big opportunity, because it’s a big energy user. But the other sectors are just as important, there’s lots of room for improvement. The work we’re trying to do here is not just picking this or that but trying to get all of it done.

Q. How are the energy efficiency challenges different in Alberta?

A. The barriers to energy efficiency are very universal, we see them in all jurisdictions — whether it’s raising awareness or price signals. In Alberta the unique challenge is we haven’t done a lot on energy efficiency in the past 20 years. So it takes a lot more to get into that mode. What could be possible here in Alberta? Look at other success stories in other jurisdictions. The leaders out there are BC, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec — and certainly Nova Scotia has done a lot in the last couple of years. Looking south [to the US], they have a different climate, but their energy efficiency programs are quite substantial. We’re looking for things that can be transferred here.

Q. How are you facing those energy efficiency challenges?

A. It requires time to get things started. The idea behind AEEA was to make the opportunity for energy efficiency policy, to make it more visible. We spend time going to decision-makers, we engage with them on a regular basis. I think we’re going to see some success on that over the next year. In the long-term I think our energy efficiency report addresses what we’ll be doing.  Jurisdictions have to meet their growth and energy needs, and to have half of it met through energy efficiency would be doable and save a lot of money for Albertans.

Q. What do you personally do to be energy efficient?

A. We just moved into a new house. I need to add more insulation to the attic. We did the inspection and saw we have to do that. The furnaces are original and the house is 30 years-old. So we’ll be looking at that- all those tweaks to keep the cold out and the warm in.

Q. What energy efficient tasks do you find too difficult?

A. The time it takes to do these things, making time for anything. I’m a big fan of trying to figure out how to institutionalize the things we need to be energy efficient. The majority of Albertans are supportive of new building standards, 80 per cent say they just want their house to be energy efficient. We have to make it more automatic.

Posted January 14, 2014

Elizabeth is the president of CEEA.

One thought on “AEEA Takes on Challenges and Opportunities for Energy Efficiency in Alberta

  1. Mr. Row
    I have left in your voice mail a few messages, looking for a return call.
    I am an Alberta boy, born in LA.

    We want to help Alberta meet it’s environmental goals.
    1) Reducing Global warming
    2) Reducing CO2 emissions
    3) Water conservation

    There are ways to increase Alberta’s energy efficiency.
    Fort. McMurray is needing to reduce GHG emissions to comply and they also need water.
    We want to help. Alberta is still very important to the Abma families.
    I look forward to your reply.
    Sid Abma

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