The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) recently launched a unique national forum to create strategic pathways for utilities to support the deployment of zero-emission buses across North America.

In the wake of publishing a comprehensive market scan of Canadian utilities’ transit electrification strategies, and after five years of leading a Power Providers Working Group, the CUTRIC launched the Power Providers & Utilities Transit Decarbonization Committee.

The national forum is undertaking the following activities: sharing up-to-date data and information on utility sector experiments, pilots and regulatory outcomes; informing stakeholders about relevant legislative and regulatory decision-making; and, identifying and overcoming challenges within funding and financing programs.

“A cement wall blocking transit agency electrification across Canada today is the lack of utility leadership in transit initiatives overall,” said Josipa Petrunic, president and CEO of CUTRIC.  “That leadership is impeded by provincial governments, which need to provide new climate-oriented energy laws that open regulatory windows for electricity regulators and utilities to invest in zero-emission transit fuelling programs, such as special rates for overnight charging, demand charge holidays and other programs meant to distribute the cost of electrification on day one.”

Chaired by Tecium’s Sherena Hussain, the bi-monthly Power Providers and Transit Decarbonization Committee already includes major players in Canada’s energy market, including BC Hydro, Enbridge, Manitoba Hydro, Hydro One, and Alectra among others.

“Aligning the interests of transit agencies with those of regulated utilities will accelerate transit decarbonization in the most cost-effective manner for taxpayers and rate payers alike,” Petrunic said.

“Utilities with robust strategies for transportation electrification are hugely beneficial to the provinces in which they operate because they foster technology development and efficient energy systems that reduce long-term burdens on both tax payers and rate payers. Most importantly, they help solve the problem of climate change and planetary warming.”

Featured image by Bruno van der Kran @unsplash.

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