June 22, 2016
One year after Council’s historic motion, the Draft Plan lays out a pathway to achieving 100% renewable energy in Oxford County
One year after a unanimous decision by County Council to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050, Oxford County is releasing its Draft 100% Renewable Energy Plan to the community.
The original June 24, 2015, motion put forward by Woodstock Mayor and County Councillor Trevor Birtch placed Oxford as the first municipal government in Ontario to commit to a renewable energy target and only the second in Canada after Vancouver, BC.
The Draft 100% Renewable Energy Plan lays out a framework for how community, business, government, academic, national and international partners can work together to support Oxford in becoming a “100% RE” community. When fully developed, the plan will also include specific targets, milestones and actions.
As a 100% RE community, Oxford County would meet 100% or more of its energy demands from renewable sources. This means other sources of energy may still be used but, overall, Oxford would produce more renewable energy than its total energy usage as a community.
The Draft Plan uses as its framework 12 internationally endorsed criteria from the Kassel International Dialogue on 100% Renewable Energy report released in November 2015. The criteria are intended to serve as guideposts for local governments in planning to meet their 100% RE goals, from implementation to target setting through to strategies that enable 100% renewable energy.
Smart Energy Oxford was launched in 2015 to help advance the 100% RE goal in Oxford. The group brings together municipalities, businesses, utilities, energy advocates and local citizens committed to building a local renewable energy economy.
Oxford has also been working with, and has been supported by, key partners over the past 18 months, when it first began exploring 100% renewable energy as a sustainability goal that would bring economic, environmental and community benefits. Partners include York University’s Sustainable Energy Initiative; the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC); Renewable Cities, based out of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia; World Future Council, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany; and the Global 100% RE initiative, which promotes that being powered by 100% sustainable renewable energy is urgent and achievable.
Members of the community can read the Draft Plan and submit their questions, comments and feedback over the next 60 days at www.oxfordcounty.ca/speakup. The final version of the Plan is expected to be released in the fall of 2016.
David Mayberry, Warden, County of Oxford
“Oxford has chosen, through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan, to create a better vision and then engage the community in creating the initiatives that will get us there. The 100% renewable energy target is one of the most ambitious tasks we’ve taken on as a local government, but I have every confidence that by continuing to work together, and with our partners, we are on track to becoming one of Canada’s first renewable communities.”
Trevor Birtch, Mayor, City of Woodstock & Oxford County Councillor
“One year ago, Council took a definitive stand on one of the key goals of its new community sustainability plan; specifically, to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050. On that day we signaled to our community, neighbours, and the world that we were willing to take on the risks and opportunities that come with forging new pathways to build a better future.”
Jay Heaman, Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Oxford County
“Humankind, in its relatively short period of time on the earth, has made significant and long-lasting environmental impacts that will last for perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. The transition to a low-carbon global economy is essential and achievable, and Oxford is at the forefront of this change. The Draft 100% Renewable Energy Plan represents our first steps towards a cost-effective and efficient path forward that will empower our citizens and businesses to join with us and become leaders in their own areas of expertise.”
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About Oxford County
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County has a population of approximately 111,700 people across eight municipalities that are “growing stronger together” through a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government incorporated as the County of Oxford. Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050 and becoming a zero waste community. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture forms a cornerstone of the County’s economy, which boasts 55,000 jobs in a rapidly expanding commercial and industrial sector bolstered by its location at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403. The County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock. Visit www.oxfordcounty.ca or follow our social media sites at www.oxfordcounty.ca/social.Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at oxfordcounty.ca/strategicplan.
Tommasina Conte | Strategic Communication & Engagement