The Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ 2003 Community Energy Planning (CEP) Mission to the Netherlands has taken on new importance following the largest electricity blackout in North American history. The 2003 CEP Mission, which began Sunday, is currently in progress through August 30.Ottawa, Canada – August 25, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “The 2003 CEP Mission will investigate practical options for investing in distributed energy systems that can make communities more resilient and energy self-sufficient,” said FCM President, Gatineau Mayor Yves Ducharme. The 36 leaders from 26 municipal governments across Canada participating in the mission are assessing strategies needed to successfully develop alternative green energy resources. Along with helping secure supply, these strategies will better enable Canada to meet its Kyoto commitments. The Netherlands is a world leader in adopting sustainable community development strategies. The mission will study renewable energy options for urban environments, community energy systems and waste management installations for their economic, social and environmental benefits. Through site visits and presentations participants will examine planning practices, building and infrastructure design and energy supply options available to municipalities. For the past eight years, FCM has facilitated community energy missions to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Finland. A number of projects that resulted from previous missions are being supported by the Green Municipal Funds. The Government of Canada has endowed CAD$250 million (US$178 million) to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to establish and manage the Green Municipal Funds. The Funds support partnerships and leveraging of both public and private sector funding to reach higher standards of air, water and soil quality and climate protection. To date in Canada, 226 Green Municipal Funds projects have been approved for funding of CAD$36 million (US$26 million), leveraging more than $134 million (US$96 million) in total spending. Community energy missions are funded by sponsors and delegate registration fees. This year’s sponsors include: Natural Resources Canada, the Green Municipal Funds, Canadian District Energy Association, Enwave District Energy Ltd., and FVB Energy Inc. The Mission’s itinerary was developed in co-operation with the Netherlands Foreign Trade Agency EVD, part of their Ministry of Economic Affairs.