CEP Oversight

Determine which department and staff person(s) will oversee CEP Implementation

The department in which a CEP sits can significantly impact implementation. For example, a CEP can be led by the planning, community development or the economic development department. CEPs may also be led by local NGOs or by the provincial/territorial government.

Consider the following questions:

  • What department (or organization) should oversee the CEP?
  • What staff person should act as the lead for CEP development and implementation?

What Department (Or Organization) Should Oversee The CEP?

Recognizing that collaboration and coordination among political, staff and community stakeholders is central for community energy planning, the department in which a CEP is housed should be well-positioned to communicate and liaise with political, staff and community stakeholders
The department should be well-positioned to communicate the widespread economic, environmental, health, social and resilience benefits of CEP implementation.
CEPs are often housed within the planning department due to the strong links that community energy holds with planning and development.
Some communities house their CEP in the economic development department, recognizing the strong link between economic growth and community energy transition.
In some cases the following types of organizations may be well-suited to lead CEP development and implementation:
A local NGO organization with a mandate related to community energy
Regional government, if applicable
Territorial/provincial government, particularly for rural and remote communities

What Staff Person Should Act At The Lead For CEP Development And Implementation?

The CEP will have significantly more success if there is a dedicated staff person overseeing CEP development and implementation. Without a dedicated staff person, implementation often falls to the sides of many desks and eventually loses momentum. Assign a dedicated staff person to oversee implementation, such as a Community Energy Manager, Planner or an Economic Development Officer. The staff person should have adequate capacity to manage oversight of the CEP
A staff person that sits at a management level is often well-suited to oversee CEP development and implementation. A manager remains equally as close to senior management/council as it does to staff and stakeholders working to implement the plan on the ground. If this is not possible, try to appoint a staff person with the ability to communicate and liaise with political, staff and community stakeholders, and who possesses some of the knowledge, skills and academic credentials listed below

Skills and Credentials for CEP Implementation

Knowledge and Skills of the Designated Staff Person

  • Communication
  • Stakeholder and community engagement
  • Project management and facilitation
  • Research and writing
  • Energy literacy
  • Change management
  • Leadership
  • Strategic planning
  • Familiarity with local government processes and legislation
  • Policy and program development
  • Sustainability practices
  • Quantitative data analyses (spreadsheet software)
  • Mapping (geographical information system software)
  • Business case development
  • Feasibility/financial analysis

Academic Credentials and Certifications32

  • Degree in planning, public policy, engineering, sustainability, environmental science, resource management, business
  • Degree, diploma or certificate in communication
  • Registered Professional Planner / Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners
  • Registered Professional Engineer
  • Certified Community Energy Manager (CCEM)
  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
  • Registered Engineering Technologist
  • LEED Professional Accreditation (LEED AP)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)


Consider Developing the CEP at a Different Scale

While CEPs are often led by a local government, they do not have to be. CEPs can be developed at different scales, for example at a regional or neighbourhood scale. Developing a CEP at an alternative scale may be an effective approach for your community if:

  • You are a small community with little capacity to develop a CEP
  • You are a large community whereby a CEP may not be an effective way to meet the highly varying needs across the community
  • You live within the jurisdiction of a regional government and can find efficiencies by coordinating among communities in the region

How to Get Started

  • Refer to Appendix IV – Provincial/Territorial Municipal Organizations that may have Community Energy Planning Resources. Many organizations across Canada provide community energy planning support and can connect communities with the resources or contacts needed to get started
  • Consider reaching out to local government staff, regional government staff or neighbouring communities as well as local energy distributors, to begin discussions about possible models for community energy planning
  • Consider that many local energy distributors or provincial/territorial governments provide or match funding to support the development and implementation of a CEP
  • Consider risks associated with staff turnover and attrition. Many communities, and most often rural and remote communities, face high staff turnover. High staff turnover can lead to a fragmented implementation process and the loss of relationships and corporate knowledge with respect to implementation. In addition, all communities face the risk of losing corporate knowledge as a result of staff attrition
  • Consider the approaches listed in Strategy 3: Develop a Governance Model that Supports a Community Energy Transition. The focus of this strategy is to embed the CEP within the processes of the local government and focus on building a network of champions, and redundancy in staff involvement in the CEP
  • If possible, provide incentives to reduce staff turnover, such as:
    • Provide professional development opportunities such as training programs
    • Offer frequent formal and informal recognition and/or awards based on performance to improve employee morale and motivation
    • Provide employee engagement opportunities to improve employee contentment and loyalty
  • Sometimes, corporate knowledge may lie with a contractor that has been retained for community energy planning consulting services for the community. Consider engaging or re-engaging with former consultants if your community is facing a loss of internal corporate knowledge about previous efforts related to the CEP

Case Studies

Case Study 6

Establishing a Committee of Council in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

The Community Energy Planning Committee was established by City Council on September 10, 2007, following the completion of the Community Energy Plan (CEP).79 The Committee is chaired by the Mayor and includes representatives from across the Community. The primary purpose of the Committee is to assist the City of Yellowknife in an advisory capacity to ensure the CEP is implemented and evolves in an effective manner. The scope of the Committee is to report and make recommendations to City Council through the appropriate standing Committee of Council on the progress and direction of the CEP implementation.80

Case Study 7

Establishing a Governance Framework for Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy, Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton City Council formed an Energy Transition Advisory Committee.81 Committee members serve two year terms and sets out to encourage and promote the strategy, provide advice to Council regarding the implementation of the strategy and assist Council in developing performance measures.

Case Study 16

Monitoring and Reporting on Implementation Progress in the City of Guelph, Ontario

CEP reporting is coordinated annually by the Community Energy division of the Business Development and Enterprise department, and presented to the Corporate Administration, Finance & Enterprise Committee (this Committee is appointed by Council and made up of Councillors). A dashboard is used to display progress within eight key activity categories, plus a description of the status for each individual activity.

See the Guelph Community Energy Plan here.

Case Study 18

Efficiency One, Nova Scotia

Efficiency One in Nova Scotia, formerly Efficiency Nova Scotia, has provided on-site energy managers for organizations such as Cape Breton University, Capital District Health Authority, Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Community College. These embedded energy managers help to identify and coordinate projects to achieve substantial energy efficiency savings. For example after first six months of the partnership between Efficiency One and Capital Health in 2012, several projects were initiated totalling savings of $118,000 per year.91

Case Study 19

Community Energy Planning Alternatives for Small Communities – Eco-Ouest

Eco-Ouest, led in partnership with CDEM, SSD, has developed a program designed to help provide expertise to smaller municipalities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta that face resource and capacity constraints for CEP development and implementation. Eco-Ouest has partnered with rural municipalities in each of these provinces to create energy and GHG emissions inventories and Climate Change Local Action Plans such as the inventory for the Rural Municipality of St. Clements and plans for the Rural Municipality of Saint-Laurent and Rural Municipality of Taché. CDEM also incorporates a regional perspective by comparing neighbouring communities’ energy and emissions performances and sharing successful projects and case studies.92CDEM. (n.d.). Eco-West. Retrieved from CDEM Website:

Case Study 20

Yukon Energy Solutions Centre

The Yukon Energy Solutions Centre is part of the Energy branch in the Government of Yukon Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.

The Energy Solutions Centre offers community-level energy services to such as:

  • Providing technical information and financial incentives to encourage the use of energy efficient appliances and heating systems at the local level
  • Providing comprehensive energy planning services, including energy baseline assessments and policy reviews
  • Providing training courses to build local technical capacity to implement community energy plans and projects
  • Participating in outreach and public education on the health, safety, economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy

To learn more about the Energy Solutions Centre visit