Saskatoon

Saskatoon's Low Emissions Community Plan suggests city fleet turn to electricity by 2030

Saskatoon streets could get a lot quieter if the city goes electric with all of its vehicles by 2030. That’s just one of the action plans set forth in the just released The Low Emissions Community (LEC) Plan.

Plan is a 30-year road map to help Saskatoon reduce greenhouse gas emissions

One suggestion in the plan is to have the city's fleet of vehicles all be electric by 2030. REUTERS/Chris Helgren - RC11A364AF50 (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Saskatoon streets could get a lot quieter if the city goes electric with all of its vehicles by 2030, one of the action plans set forth in the just released The Low Emissions Community (LEC) Plan.

The LEC Plan is a 30-year road map to help Saskatoon reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The plan identifies 40 possible actions to lower community and corporate emissions as a way to slow the effects of climate change.

One of those actions is to have the city's fleet of vehicles all be electric by 2030 but this is only in the preliminary stages. It still needs to go before council and then be studied. In the near term the city is looking at how they can reduce fuel consumption.

"So we would be looking at what we call 'right-sizing' vehicles,"  said Jeanna South, Saskatoon's director of sustainability.

"Making sure that we're driving the right vehicle within the right context.

"But then also looking at a broader plan for possibly electrifying the city fleet, and that means in the shorter term looking at possible electric vehicles for light and medium uses — mostly road vehicles — and then heavy duty vehicles would be much further down the road as those technologies develop."

In the meantime, South said the city has ongoing programs like a GPS project that is looking at how to optimize and better understand how the city uses fuel. She added that the city's transit department is looking into electric buses on a preliminary basis.

"The things that we would be looking at over the course of the next year or so would be what kind of plan do we need to develop in order to do this work around right sizing and route optimization as well as electric vehicles," she said.

The LEC Plan also suggests Transit look at having electric buses to be phased in alongside the transition to Bus Rapid Transit. (City of Ottawa)

The plan suggests electrifying the 140 buses in the fleet could take place over the next decade and be phased in alongside the transition to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). 

"There's efficiencies in clean energy," South said. 

She said the proposed projects could reduce expenses for the municipality and ultimately reduce expenses for residents and businesses.

The LEC Plan has near, middle and long-term actions to be taken between 2020 and 2050.

Back in June of 2017, council set GHG reduction targets for the city at 40 per cent below 2014 levels by 2023; and 80 per cent by 2050. 

If the city chooses electric vehicles, that could influence private citizens and businesses to do the same. (Kim Garritty/CBC)

"At this point because the low emissions community is really about setting a roadmap for emissions reductions, it sets out 40 large actions that would get us to our emissions reductions commitment," South said. 

Some of the other 40 actions suggested in the (LEC) Plan include energy retrofits of municipal buildings, exploiting solar energy to a larger extent, and incentives for homeowners and businesses to do the same.

Besides lowering emissions, the report said city and its citizens will see benefits in many areas if these action plans are put into practice.

"When we bring all those benefits together we're hoping to see a better quality of life because we have improved housing quality, food security, poverty alleviation," said South.

 New jobs in sectors like renewable energy and clean technology would be created, theoretically.

"The nice thing about this roadmap that we've created in models where to invest in climate change infrastructure in order to optimize operational savings and generate new streams of revenue." 

The plan will be presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services on Aug. 6.

To learn more about Saskatoon's Climate Action Plan visit saskatoon.ca/climatechange.

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