Edmonton councillors agree to cut greenhouse gases by 50 per cent by 2030
Plan estimated to cost $67 million up front but save $76 million in 12 years, committee hears
The city of Edmonton is crafting a new plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The urban planning committee, made up of several councillors, agreed to one of three scenarios presented Tuesday by city staff — to cut GHGs in half by that year.
Two other scenarios introduced by staff suggested cutting GHGs by 30 per cent or setting a full carbon-neutral target by the same year.
The report shows the middle option is the best and that cutting GHGs by 50 per cent would require an investment of $67 million over the next three years but would save $76 million within 12 years.
Mayor Don Iveson said making the city's more than 900 buildings more energy efficient will mean lower utility bills in the end.
The plan also calls for the city to purchase 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 — solar, wind, biomass and hydro.
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Coun. Jon Dziadyk doesn't think the city should own green electricity, calling the scenario "an aggressive target full of risk and increased expenses to taxpayers."
He said the city should focus on rehabilitating older buildings and switching to LED bulbs.
"We will make significant strides in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions with a balanced approach," Dziadyk said.
David Dodge, a co-chair with the city's energy transition advisory committee, said green electricity is the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for municipalities.
Coun. Michael Walters agreed that paying now will save in the long run.
"If we don't pay here, we're going to pay there," he said.
Iveson wants to make sure Edmonton uses as many local sources as possible when buying renewable energy.
"I don't want to buy it from B.C. right now."
Staff are expected to return on June 18 with a report on how wind power could be used in Edmonton.
Council will need to approve funding for the plan in the 2019-2022 budget, up for debate this fall.