Implementing Community Energy Plans Grows Markets for Energy Products and Services and Boosts Local Economy


Community Energy Planning is all too often seen as solely focused on the environmental imperative to reduce energy use and emissions.  The equally important role of accelerating market growth for energy products and services is often underestimated and inadequately quantified.  Using the twelve years’ experience since the City of Guelph (Ontario) approved its pioneering Community Energy Plan, the presentation will highlight examples of how new local energy markets and associated employment have been, and are still being, created.

Examples include the economic and market impacts of large-scale retrofits of buildings, implementation of municipal district energy systems and distributed clean and renewable energy supplies, and the ways new industry and major employers are attracted to communities aggressively pursuing breakthrough energy plans.

Not all initiatives were as successful as they could have been.  These “lessons learned” will also be presented along with recommendations for other communities to improve the process in their own plans.

Presented By

Robert Kerr
Robert J. Kerr & Associates

Rob Kerr has over 35 years of experience in many facets of the energy industry with a focus on policy development and implementation of energy and climate change projects/programs in the municipal sector.

Rob Kerr is currently President of Robert J. Kerr and Associates, an independent consultancy, based in Guelph, Ontario, providing municipal and community energy services. Previously he was the Community Energy Manager at the City of Guelph, from 2009 to 2017. He provides support services to cities, communities, property developers and policy makers in developing and implementing community energy plans.

Mr. Kerr’s work experience has been a balance between private and public sector having worked with the Cities of Guelph and Mississauga, Honeywell, Hydro Quebec, Toronto Hydro Energy Services Inc., Energy Advantage. For 10 years between 1995 and 2005, Mr. Kerr held senior positions at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability where he provided policy and program support to cities around the world committed to energy management at the community level as well as mitigation and adaptation activities related to climate change.

Throughout his career, Mr. Kerr has developed expertise in managing inter-governmental relationships to the benefit of local governments and communities – from his advocacy work at the global level (staring with the UN Climate Conference in Kyoto, Japan in 1997) to advisory relationships with the federal and provincial governments and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.