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Guests and locals alike no longer need a car to explore the Town of Canmore. Access to quaint shops and restaurants along the banks of the Bow River has gotten easier.

Transit in the community has been free since April 2022, one way the town is trying to encourage ridership to relieve congestion and lower emissions.

Canmore is one of many Alberta communities and businesses looking to use more renewable energy sources. But these kinds of initiatives can be complex, which is where the Business Renewables Centre (BRC) Canada comes in. They’re a non-profit that helps organizations navigate these transitions to improve the environment and their bottom line.

According to Amy Fournier, Canmore’s energy and climate action co-ordinator, the town’s energy transition efforts have been helped greatly by their work with the renewables centre. The free local transit program has many advantages, including helping the town reach its climate change goals.

“It’s an environmental win and it’s a greenhouse gas reduction win,” Fournier said. “It gets our streets flowing better and offers transportation options to people who might not have a personal vehicle.”

Canmore has a number of other emissions-reduction programs, including the town’s solar incentive, which has been in place since 2014. It provides money to residents who install solar panels on their rooftops and also helps residents who want to install a charger for electric vehicles. 

Improvement of essential town infrastructure

Canmore also plans to expand the walking and cycling paths in the community, and improve other essential town infrastructure. The new fire station uses air source heat pumps coupled with solar power, making it the community’s first net zero public building.

“That’ll be an exciting new technology that we haven’t experienced before,” Fournier said. 

The town also launched its new Clean Energy Improvement Program, which provides eligible homeowners with upfront financing for energy efficiency retrofits — like new windows and insulation — or renewable energy installations. The homeowner then repays the loan through their property tax.

However, with only a few short years to rapidly decrease emissions there is still much more to be done, according to Fournier.  

As the United Nations warned through its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 to prevent devastation to fragile ecosystems from climate change. 

Fournier is currently developing a renewable energy feasibility assessment, which looks at various strategies for greenhouse gas reduction, the cost per tonne and what climate change policies make the most sense for a municipality of Canmore’s size.  

Fournier said the Business Renewables Centre-Canada, has been a valuable source of information in this process.

“I would definitely recommend to other municipalities to join the BRC,” Fournier said. “We got a lot of value from their work and I would recommend them as the go to if anyone is interested in this area and needs to understand it.”

Saving energy

BRC-Canada is based in an unassuming brown brick building in downtown Calgary, the heart of Canada’s oil and gas sector.

The 1980s exterior leads to a simple eighth floor office with an open desk plan, where computers line the tables in rows of three. Most of the computers remain off, as the work-from-home model is successful here, yet the air is filled with tangible energy. 


BRC helps by sharing knowledge, supplying tools, and creating a dealmaking community for corporations and municipalities who want to do their part to reduce carbon emissions and meet net-zero targets through renewable energy.

While oil and gas have dominated for decades, BRC-Canada analyst, Calvin Ng, has long believed in the potential of renewable resources.

 “The solution to energy scarcity would solve a lot of issues in the world and that was my passion,” Ng said.

Alberta is well known for its fossil fuel economy, but Ng sees the province as a new leading force in energy transition. There is huge potential in Alberta for striking renewable energy deals for a couple of key reasons, Ng said.

First, Alberta’s wealth of wind and sunshine can fuel the energy transition. As the only province with a deregulated electricity market, new wind and solar power producers can generate and distribute power with greater jurisdictional opportunities, according to Ng.

Business Renewables Centre-Canada Deal Tracker, Q3 2022. Photo Credit BRC-   Canada

 “That’s the biggest differentiator and that’s what gives Alberta currently the advantage of being competitive in that sense,” said Ng.

With 4,500 jobs, $3.75 billion in deals to date, and enough energy to power 640,000 homes, Alberta’s renewables future looks bright. 

Ng states that other sectors, including the banking and financial sector, telecommunications, technology, food, beverage, and even cryptocurrency are striving toward greener businesses. Big name buyers in BRC-Canada’s community directory suh as Amazon, Canadian Tire, Maple Leaf Foods, RBC and Starbucks suggest that renewables not only provide emissions reductions but make financial sense.

The organization recently announced that they’ve met their initial goal of two gigawatts of renewable energy deals by 2025, nearly three years ahead of their target. Now, BRC-Canada aims to foster 10 gigawatts in renewable deals by 2030 by expanding deals beyond Alberta and into Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

If the markets in these other provinces open to corporate renewable energy deals, Canada could meet net-zero energy grid targets by 2035, as stated in a post by BRC-Canada . Through BRC-Canada’s goals and current achievements, Alberta is set to pave a new path in its energy market, giving Canada the potential to become a world leader in the renewable energy economy.

“The outlook is very positive. I think Alberta is, should be and will be a leader in Canada when it comes to energy change,” Ng said.

As Canmore shows, it’s not the size of the community that matters, but it’s determination to change.  

 “I really have been impressed by the council and community of Canmore because they genuinely care and they have put this as one of their main priorities,” Fournier said.

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