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From Boutique to Big

By Tonja Leach, Interim Executive Director, QUEST


The ‘Smart Energy Community’ is no longer a head scratcher for policymakers, utilities, and industry. From coast to coast to coast, it’s fast becoming the new normal.

 


THE SECRET IS OUT. In the past year, all of the various players in Canada’s energy-sector ecosystem—transportation innovators, power producers, big- and small-city mayors, battery makers, utility regulators, you name it—have concluded that massive change is underway. In response, growing numbers of them are coalescing around a positive and compelling vision of Canada’s energy future.

That vision is local—in fact, it’s as local as it gets. Because while large energy infrastructure projects still steal the headlines, the really exciting story is unfolding down on Main Street, out of sight and out of mind. It’s yielding stronger local economies, lower energy costs for citizens and corporations, improved resilience and security—and, almost as a happy accident, cleaner air, lands, and waters.

We can see glimpses of this future today. In multiple vibrant communities across Canada, many of us are already working closer to home in high performance buildings, and spending less time, money, and effort getting where we need to go. Eventually, all the requirements of daily life, all of the services that energy provides and the things that make neighbourhoods function—transportation; building heating, cooling, and hot water; lighting; wireless data networks; resource-recovery operations—will be working together in a kind of “invisible symphony.” For those of you just joining us, we’re describing the core characteristics of a smart energy community.

QUEST first articulated this exciting vision back in 2007, and still serves as its leading advocate. We’re a neutral, non-partisan, and business friendly non-profit service organization. We help governments identify and lower barriers, we help utilities adapt to change, and we help companies identify and leverage emerging opportunities in the growing smart energy community marketplace.

We’ve helped hundreds of policy makers, utility leaders, regulators, and corporate executives position their communities and organizations for success in this new world.

Here’s what we do today:

 

We Educate and Advise

We’re continuing our work on Canada’s first Smart Energy Communities Scorecard. Once completed in late 2019, the scorecard will benchmark Canada’s Smart Energy Communities and allow them to evaluate their progress towards their ultimate goal. The scorecard will serve as a de facto Smart Energy Community roadmap, and a powerful tool for leaders across multiple sectors.

We provide trusted and independent Advisory Services to help businesses succeed in the Smart Energy Communities marketplace. Starting with a needs assessment of your organization, the menu includes energy mapping workshops, community energy planning support, and custom a la carte services. Drawing on our experienced multi-disciplinary team, all our offerings aim to help you evolve and adapt your business model to ensure your success in the emerging marketplace.

 

We Facilitate Connections

QUEST Subscribers benefit from advanced tools and services to establish themselves as Smart Energy Community market leaders. They gain entry into a network of working groups that focus on Community Energy Plan implementation, infrastructure, clean tech, and smart tech, our term for products and services that enable advances in the Internet of Things world. Participants represent all levels of government, utilities, energy service providers, the building development sector, just to name a few.

We also connect our broader network through a regional networking and accelerator series called “QUESTtalks: Disruption and the Smart Energy Solution.” These events bring together experts from the world of government, utilities, energy service providers, real estate development, and the product and professional-services sector to dig in on the forces disrupting markets and communities.

 

We Inform Leadership

Our research projects help inform policy making and investment decisions. Our working groups are active in each region of the country, offering peer learning opportunities, advice, and recommendations to government stakeholder sessions. Our PLUS Level subscribers have the added benefit of gaining entry to the Smart Energy Leaders’ Dialogue —an intimate and exclusive quarterly forum for senior decision-makers.

If you’d like to learn more about how your jurisdiction or organization can position itself for success in the Smart Energy Communities market, please get in touch. We would be pleased to discuss your needs!

 

In our vision, by 2030 every Canadian community is a Smart Energy Community.

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