Local governments have traditionally played a central role in providing many essential services for their residents, such as water and sewage. Energy, however, has historically been provided by large, centralized energy utilities. This model is now starting to change, as opportunities provided by new technologies, and the pressures of climate change, prompt local governments and others to explore new ways to provide energy. In particular, the emergence of smallscale renewable energy technologies creates alternatives to traditional models of energy services provision.
Utilities & Financing Reneable Energy Guide for Local Governments in British Columbiaprovides information about opportunities, rational, ownership options and financing. The following is an excerpt from the introduction:
…Opportunities outlined in this guide include:
• Local government ownership and operation of heating utilities, providing district or decentralized heating to buildings in the community
• Use of small-scale renewable energy technologies to heat and power municipal buildings
• Local government ownership and operation of power projects.
…Utilities and Financing provides an introduction to the ways in which local governments can promote and fi nance the use of renewable energy in their communities. The focus of this module is to:
• Outline why local governments are considering becoming involved in the provision of energy services, heating, cooling and electricity
• Briefl y introduce the policy and legislative contexts that enable and limit local government action to foster renewable energy
• Outline opportunities for the use of renewable energy within corporate operations
• Describe how local governments can actively deliver renewable energy themselves, through the formation of a local government utility or energy services company
• Outline different business models of ownership, operation and fi nancing renewable energy projects.