January 29, 2007

Efficiency, renewables added to federal ecoEnergy funding initiatives

Following up on the $230-million ecoEnergy Technology Initiative (EcoWeek January 22, 2007), federal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn unveiled two more ecoEnergy initiatives aimed at reducing smog and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They include:

*the ecoEnergy Efficiency Initiative, which will direct approximately $300 million to promote smarter energy use; and

*the ecoEnergy Renewable Initiative, an investment of more than $1.5 billion to boost Canada's renewable energy supplies.

This brings the federal government's total allocation in clean energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency to just over $2 billion.

Lunn said the ecoEnergy Initiatives "complement the regulatory approach of our proposed Clean Air Act. They will deliver real results in the short term and drive the improvements in energy efficiency and use of clean energy that are needed to support upcoming regulations."

The ecoEnergy Efficiency Initiative will direct approximately $300 million over the next four years toward smarter energy use. Within this initiative are three components:

*The $220-million ecoEnergy Retrofit program will offer homeowners, along with smaller businesses and organizations, the support and information they need to retrofit their homes, buildings and industrial processes. This support will be particularly helpful to Canada's smaller manufacturing businesses, which have been doubly affected by high energy prices and the impact of a strong Canadian dollar on their ability to sell their products abroad.

*The $60-million ecoEnergy for Buildings and Houses will encourage the construction and retrofit of more energy-efficient buildings and houses through information-sharing, standard-setting and related initiatives and training.

*The ecoEnergy for Industry program aims to accelerate energy-saving investments and the exchange of best practices information within Canada's industrial sector. It will devote approximately $20 million over four years to encourage information-sharing on new technologies and best practices in energy use; training for energy managers to identify and put in place energy-saving projects; and cost-shared assistance for energy assessments that identify a wide range of ways to improve energy use.

The ecoEnergy Renewable Initiative will create up to 4000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy and is expected to reduce GHG emissions equivalent to taking one million cars off the road, in addition to significantly reducing other air pollutants. This initiative has two components:

*The ecoEnergy for Renewable Power component will invest $1.48 billion to increase Canada's supply of clean electricity from renewable sources such as wind, biomass, small hydro and ocean energy. A ten-year incentive program will be established to fund eligible projects to be constructed over the next four years.

*The second component, ecoEnergy for Renewable Heat, will provide more than $35 million in incentives and industry support to increase the adoption of clean renewable thermal technologies for water and space heating in buildings such as solar air and hot water heating. In addition, projects for residential solar heating technologies will be explored with utilities, community organizations and other non-government partners.

"There are more than 13 million homes and 380,000 buildings in this country. They use 30% of our energy and are responsible for almost 30% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Canada's industries account for 38% of energy demand and are responsible for 34% of our greenhouse gases," said Lunn. "These are challenges that we must address."

houses through information sharing, standard setting and related initiatives and training.

Program details, including information about how to apply for ecoEnergy grants, will be available when the program starts on April 1, 2007. ecoENERGY for Industry will be managed by Natural Resources Canada's industrial programs division under the auspices of the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC).

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