NWEP hosting AGM and Energy Resiliency and Energy Transition Planning Forum

2011 NWEP AGM Poster
2011 NWEP AGM Poster

Never heard of energy resiliency or energy transition planning?  Neither had I until a few weeks ago, however will become a growing topic of importance in New Westminster over the coming years.

New Westminster Environmental Partners (NWEP) would like to invite the public to learn more at a forum on Energy Resiliency and Energy Transition Planning on Monday December 5th. This forum will be preceded by the NWEP’s Annual General Meeting and election of directors for 2012. The AGM will start at 6:00 with the public forum presentations starting after 6:30pm. The event will take place at the New Westminster River Market.

The economy is foremost in most people’s minds these days as news of a possible financial meltdown in the European Union mingle with the spectre of out-of-control debt in the USA, and uncertainty how these events might impact Canada’s export-based economy. Just below the surface is the awareness of ever increasing energy prices. While the prospects for the   development of new energy sources remain good, more of these new supplies will go towards the growing appetite in developing countries, leaving ever-depleting traditional sources on which our economy has depended. The environmental costs of these new sources of energy – tar sands extraction, natural gas fracking, pipelines and tankers, – are significant, though typically out of sight of consumers. Yet, the bill has yet to come in for our green house gas emissions, and their impacts on climate change. The net effect is the end of traditional sources of cheap, abundant and reliable energy to power our economy into the next generation. We will be less able to control the price and impacts of our own energy supply. The resulting social impacts of energy uncertainty range from the cost of living, quality of life and the types of employment which are generally available.

Energy is at the heart of the sustainability agenda promoted by the NWEP and binds sustainability’s three pillars of environment, economy, and society. Increasingly, policy makers are speaking of the need for “energy resiliency” in our society, and the need to plan an orderly transition to a less energy intensive economy. In 2011 the City of New Westminster embarked upon a Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP). The CEEP aims to put in place programs and practices which enable residents, businesses and the City Corporation to reduce their energy consumption and green house gas emissions over the next 20 years to significantly below 2007 levels while at the same time growing in population, employment and business activity. The impacts of such a plan can have a profound influence on how we live, move about, carry out business and the types of employment we might find in the City 20 years from now.

The NWEP supports the City’s CEEP developments and would like to promote Energy Resiliency and Energy Transition Planning as topics to engage and promote in 2012. For our AGM public forum we have invited two local speakers with significant experience on energy, energy policy and energy transition solutions. Together our speakers have considerable experience on transportation and building energy use, by far the two greatest demands for energy and sources of green house gas emissions in New Westminster.

Leading the evening will be Stuart Ramsey, a transportation engineer with over 25 years of experience working in the private and public sectors and has focused on urban transportation issues in Metro Vancouver for several years. Mr. Ramsey was involved with research for a local municipal report which was the first “peak oil” report to be received by any government in Canada. He is a regular speaker on transportation topics.

The second speaker will be Steven Bishop, a curriculum developer and instructor with the Building Energy and Resource Management Program at Douglas College, and a consultant for sustainable building practices. Mr. Bishop has 35 years experience in the building industry in roles ranging from residential builder to commercial and institutional construction project management. He is an accredited professional LEED sustainable building advisor and is currently involved with designing the curriculum for the Provincial Instructors Diploma program for sustainable building advisors.

The presentations will be followed by Q&A and open discussion about the evening’s topics.

To learn more about NWEP and other issues we’re addressing visit our website at http://nwep.ca