Energy Exchange hosts forum for participants engaged in energy policy and program delivery

On October 23, 2014, Energy Exchange hosted an energetic and passionate group of 20 participants engaged in energy policy and program delivery at the municipal, provincial and federal level.

The following outlines the key learnings from the event.

1. Key Government Needs

  • Municipal/provincial relations can be strong but siloed. Result is that communication between levels in any specific issue can become overly dependent on personal relationships.
  • Energy issues cut across many sectors, but the members find it difficult to get energy systems issues on the agenda with departments not specifically focused on energy planning mandates.
  • Participants are frustrated by fragmented, inconsistent or unavailable data.
  • Difficulty communicating the context and costs/benefits of major infrastructure. Lack of balance and context in public debate.
  • Need to engage stakeholders earlier and more meaningfully in consultation process.
  • Strong call for continued networking opportunities to share ideas and best practices.
  • Connections are localized – consider opportunities to promote linkages and dialogue nationally, across jurisdictions.

2. Other stakeholder POV

General Public

  • Public are both voters and taxpayers. They need tools to provide them with context to understand major energy planning issues, infrastructure investment decisions, and build support for energy innovation.
  • Energy efficiency is driven by innovation and marketing… purchasing power influences policy and innovation. Individuals change the world.

Industry

  • Don’t presume industry has uniformly high levels of literacy about energy systems. Improved energy literacy in industry can raise awareness of the economic potential of reduced energy usage.
  • Industry drives innovation and the additional benefits of economic prosperity.
  • Industry can lead the way in terms of conservation and implementing corporate social responsibility in terms of energy usage.

3. How can energy literacy help?

Translate and simplify:

  • Need for a “common language” – different stakeholders have different needs, vocabulary sets and reference points.
  • Strong call for common tools that can be used by all to establish a common language and set of concepts to enhance dialogue between government department and key stakeholder groups within industry and the public.

Building engagement and trust: 

  • Energy literacy and energy systems thinking can help people and organizations understand the broader context for projects and initiatives and a basis for balanced risk analysis regarding full range of options to help people align decisions with community vision.
  • Help people clarify their role and connection to energy systems – individuals have trouble seeing their connection to broad issues or major initiatives.

Leading edge learning:

  • Content that is engaging, dynamic; neither too complex nor condescendingly simple.
  • Different tools for different audiences.  Take different learning needs and styles into account.
  • Leverage electronic tools.
  • Seek input from training/educational experts.
  • Different audiences have different motivations – e.g., keeping up with your neighbours versus rate pricing.

Establish metrics to help establish the value of energy literacy.

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