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Clean Energy Improvement Program out of cash after one day

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St. Albert’s Clean Energy Improvement Program is out of cash for the year after just one day, say city officials — a sign the initiative needs more money, according to one green energy advocate.

The CEIP allows St. Albert residents to get around the often-high upfront costs of energy efficiency home retrofits by paying for them over time through property taxes. Advocates consider the program an important tool to address greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, which account for about 18 per cent of Canada’s carbon footprint. Some $5 million has been allocated to it over four years.

St. Albert opened CEIP for applications on Nov. 22 at 8:30 a.m., said acting city environment manager Meghan Myers.

“By the next day, almost within 24 hours, we had reached our threshold for the year,” she said, with some $1.4 million earmarked for 50 applications.

“It just shows there’s a demand within our community for this kind of program.”

Leigh Bond, president of Boundless Renewables Consulting in St. Albert, was not surprised when informed about how fast CEIP filled up in St. Albert.

“I knew it wouldn’t last,” he said, adding that he had warned city officials.

Bond said the funding shortage would mean more delays for city contractors hoping to find work through CEIP.

“It’s not viable the way they’ve set it up, because they’re not funding it,” he said.

Myers said residents who didn’t make this year’s round of funding could get on a wait-list for next year. She encouraged applicants to get their energy audits done in the meantime, as well as any energy upgrades they could afford without the help of CEIP.

Bond, who was still waiting to hear back on the status of his CEIP application, encouraged residents to tap into the federal Greener Homes program to get grants and interest-free loans for home energy retrofits.

Myers said the city planned to launch a grant program for lower-cost home energy improvements this winter modelled on Edmonton’s Home Energy Retrofit Accelerator program.

Visit ceip.abmunis.ca for details on CEIP.


Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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