Resources | Community Energy Planning Governance

GovernanceCommunity energy initiatives span across multiple sectors and involve a wide variety of organizations and individuals in our communities.

Some individuals or institutions within communities possess strengths and resources that add value to the development and implementation of community energy initiatives. It is essential that these community capacity-holders are identified and involved in co-governing the development and implementation of initiatives, in addition to other engagement activities with stakeholders (i.e. those who will be impacted by initiatives).

Capacity-holders typically include staff from local governments and energy utilities, as well as elected officials, financial institutions, community organizations, academic institutions, and developers. While one organization or individual may undertake a primary role in the coordination in a community leadership team, it is critical that representation from a broad set of capacity-holder groups are at the table to inform decision-making, raise important perspectives, and act as champions within their respective organizations.

Governance structures must provide a platform for community capacity-holders to convene regularly. In some cases, they provide the legal framework needed to implement projects.

Key Considerations for Communities

  • Is there a community energy leadership team set up to co-govern community energy initiatives?
  • Is there cross departmental coordination within the local government?
  • Is there strategic alignment within the local energy utility(ies)?
  • Is knowledge being exchanged with other communities?


Community Examples

Our Energy Guelph

A not-for-profit set up by the City of Guelph as the implementer of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative

Calgary’s Climate Panel

A collaboration between the City, industry, and community to provide support for the implementation of Calgary’s Climate Resilience Strategy


A clear mandate to support community energy initiatives and partnerships


Useful Links

Primer on Stakeholder Engagement

A primer sharing best-practices and state-of-art stakeholder engagement activities in the context of community energy planning

Getting to Implementation

Strategies for governance models including information and case studies

Implementing Sustainable Community Plans

University of Waterloo research on cross-sectoral partnerships for implementing community energy/sustainability plans

Crosswalk Document

A municipal climate planning tool for inter-departmental alignment & stakeholder engagement

Establish and Charge a Leadership Team

US Department of Energy Guide to Community Strategic Planning Chapter 1 on putting in place a Leadership team


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