QUEST’s Municipalities and Utilities Partnering for Community Resilience initiative aimed to foster collaboration between municipalities, energy utilities, and other key community stakeholders to undertake a climate risk and vulnerability assessment using several tools, and to work together to select climate adaptation measures, including: adopting policies and practices, augmenting risk-based decision-making, improving infrastructure, land-use planning, asset planning, energy planning and reliability measures, increasing public education, communication, coordination, and emergency preparedness and response during prolonged power outages. Whether located inland or on the coast, the major types of climate hazards participating communities are exposed to include: 1. Hydrological hazards (e.g., flooding, sea level rise, and coastal erosion and storms), and 2. Atmospheric hazards, especially ice storms, wind storms, blizzards, hail, and hurricanes on the east coast, and associated power outages and interruptions to services. Other increasingly important climate hazards of concern to municipalities include extended heat waves, water deficits, and forest/bush fires, interruptions to food and medicine supply, and hazardous material spills due to inclement weather. Both hydrological and atmospheric hazards pose significant risks to municipal infrastructure (e.g. storm water systems, water and wastewater systems, municipal roads, shelters, communications, etc.), as well as energy distribution systems, continuity of essential services, not to mention impacts to private property, public health and safety, and the local economy. Historical and projected climate data and maps for this report were extracted from the Climate Change Hazards Information Portal (CCHIP). The climate data for each community was extracted into spreadsheets and relevant data was used to develop the climate data summaries for each community.
QUEST, a national non-government organization advancing Smart Energy Communities, led a two-year initiative, Municipalities and Utilities Partnering for Community Resilience, which aims to address the impacts of extreme weather events (e.g., high winds, ice storms, floods, and forest fires) on community energy resilience and energy utilities across the country. Almost 90 percent of Canadian energy utilities have been significantly impacted by extreme weather in the past decade; and, despite the need for reliable energy supply, there are limited tools and assessment processes to help local governments and utilities to collaborate and plan effectively for risk mitigation and climate adaptation. This two-year initiative involved twelve Canadian municipalities in the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, and Alberta and maintains the following objectives: 1) to foster collaboration between municipalities, energy utilities, and other community stakeholders, 2) to conduct climate risk and vulnerability assessments using endorsed methodologies, and 3) to inform climate adaptation measures and emergency preparedness.