Guelph delegation travels to Germany to promote economic development, community energy

Guelph will promote itself as a gateway to the North American market for energy-related businesses in a mission to Berlin and Bottrop, Germany next week.
The trip builds on Guelph’s longstanding ties with Germany as part of its Foreign Direct Investment program and community energy initiative. Participants in the delegation include Mayor Karen Farbridge, Guelph Chamber of Commerce President Lloyd Longfield, and Rob Kerr, General Manager of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc.
“Guelph is a recognized North American leader in energy planning and management – a distinction that was reinforced just this week with a Sustainable Communities Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities,” said Mayor Farbridge. “The purpose of this trip is to leverage that leadership position to attract investment and jobs. At the same time, we will be learning about energy policies and practices from German regions that are well ahead of North America in implementation.”
A focus of the trip will be the Transatlantic Urban Climate Dialogue (TUCD) workshop, at which Mayor Farbridge and Mr. Kerr will be presenting. The TUCD is a forum for exchanging sustainable energy policies and practices between cities in Germany and North America that has also helped Guelph forge economic development relationships. Guelph is the only Canadian member of the TUCD, which also includes Northern Virginia and two German regions.
During the trip, the delegation will meet with a number of cleantech and energy-sector companies that are interested in the North American market.
Other items on the agenda include a reception hosted by the Canadian Embassy, meetings with senior trade commissioners, and a visit to Bottrop, a city that is a model of community energy implementation and home to several leading energy-sector companies.
“Germany informed the benchmarks of Guelph’s original Community Energy Plan back in 2007,” said Rob Kerr, General Manager of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. “The TUCD supports the implementation of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative by providing a platform for us to learn about sustainable energy and climate practices that work in an urban context, from those who have been down this path before us.”
Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative seeks to reduce per capita energy use by 50%, and per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 60% even as Guelph’s population increases by 50%. This includes generating energy locally through renewable sources, combined heat and power, and waste heat recovery; and distributing it through local systems using thermal energy networks and smart grid technologies. Last month, the City, Guelph Hydro, and Envida announced that Guelph has developed a strategy to develop North America’s first city-wide District Energy network.

The Guelph delegation will be in Germany from February 16 to 21. The TUCD is covering the majority of costs for travel, accommodation and meals with the exception of airfare.