Big Lakes County, Alberta – January 28, 2020 — Big Lakes County has been chosen as one of four communities to participate in the QUEST Planning for Resilient Energy Infrastructure in Alberta project. 

This project will assist municipalities and energy utilities to adapt their energy infrastructure to more frequent extreme weather events and mitigate the risk of energy outage and impacts associated with prolonged energy outages. By building resilient local energy systems and increasing collaboration between municipalities and their utilities, the project will support the development of Smart Energy Communities in Alberta. 

The four municipalities that have been chosen are Big Lake County, Ponoka County, the Town of Black Diamond, and the Town of Raymond. These municipalities were chosen because of their leadership and interest in becoming a Smart Energy Community.     

The project will combine cutting-edge research on how more frequent extreme weather events disrupt the province’s energy system and the potential role of new technologies, with on-the-ground, participatory workshops that will bring together multiple community stakeholders, including energy utilities. 

The project will help Big Lakes County better plan for resilience by informing asset management, energy, and emergency planning through a cross-departmental and integrated approach, and enhanced collaboration with energy utilities.   

The lessons and findings from Big Lakes County will be shared with other communities and utilities in Alberta so that they can learn from this work. The learning will provide information on how other communities can improve their energy resilience plans to mitigate the negative economic impacts of prolonged power outages and energy supply disruptions due to climate change impacts.

This project is being delivered by QUEST, a national non-government organization that works to accelerate the adoption of efficient and integrated community-scale energy systems in Canada. QUEST is best known for its work to advance Smart Energy Communities in Canada. Smart Energy Communities plan energy services and infrastructure in a way that makes them more resilient and mitigates risk from extreme weather.

This project is made possible by funding from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). CEC’s NAPECA grant program supports nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations in Canada, Mexico and the United States that work closely with local and indigenous communities to improve environmental conditions at the local level. To learn more about NAPECA, visit Project partners include the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) and EQUS. 

Learn more about Quest


 “Municipalities and utilities are on the front lines when it comes to responding to energy and grid-related impacts of climate change and QUEST is committed to developing Canadian based tools and processes so that we are all better prepared. We are looking forward to working with Big Lake County, Ponoka County, the Town of Black Diamond, and the Town of Raymond. Lessons learned in these communities will serve to inform other communities in Alberta as well as across Canada to advance Smart Energy Communities.” Tonja Leach, Executive Director, QUEST
 “Big Lakes County is very excited to be working with QUEST to help increase our knowledge of resilient energy infrastructure and to assess the risks to our community’s energy systems. By working with QUEST we can help to plan for these risks and build community resilience.” Richard Simard, Reeve Big Lakes County
 Black Diamond has had a history of adapting energy infrastructure with the establishment of our renewable energy (first systems installed 2007) and continued investment with our “green fund”.  We have just over 30 kw spread through the Town on three of our municipal buildings.  We take pride in our various energy management programs that reduce our total load on provincial wide systems.  By participating in and planning for  “ Resilient Energy Infrastructure”  we will provide another avenue whereby Black Diamond and our energy partners have additional tools to strengthen our internal municipal operations to ensure continued services to our community and region while reducing our carbon footprint and GHG emissions”  Mayor, Ruth Goodwin
 “The year 2020 is a fitting year to be fortunate enough to have Ponoka County participate in such a worthwhile project. With advances in energy technology coupled with the noticeable changes in severe weather events in Alberta, Ponoka County looks forward to improving collaboration, integration and planning as it relates to municipal and energy services.  It is only with collaboration at a local level in addition to new ways of thinking can we ensure citizens of municipalities that critical infrastructure is protected or quickly re-established from disrupting events.  We, Ponoka County, look forward to the opportunity to share and to learn through this worthwhile project.” Paul McLauchlin, Reeve Ponoka County

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