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3ThoughtThursday – Private sector and EVs, CNA conference and NII Explore heads to Hanover

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

1) The Plugging In report continues to have traction. As my pun filled colleague Chad would say, the study continues to drive a lot of discussion. Hardy-har-har.

Another article surfaced on August 20 and is reflective of our conversation with Bruce County Council. The inquiry from a County Councillor regarding the role of private sector was a point well taken. From an economic development perspective, there is an opportunity to ask traditional gas stations what their plan is – are local owners or operators aware and planning for the shift (pun not intended)?

A traditional business retention and expansion (BR&E) interview could help support dialogue with the private sector with regards to preparing our communities for the EV future. In addition to sharing the Plugging In report which holds original data from southern Ontario, local economic development offices could engage with local gas stations to learn more and offer support.

Consider asking:

a) How is your corporation or your locally owned business preparing for the future of electric vehicles?

b) How can the municipality support your shifting business model?

c) Are you aware of funding programs to support this shift?

Conversations and following up with meaningful resources help to foster relationships and build trust. When it comes to business retention and expansion efforts, a conversation with a business owner or operator goes a long way.

Communities with strong relationships with business owners and developers have nice things.

2) For the last number of years I have attended the Canadian Nuclear Association conference. The Mayor of the municipality I worked for, the CAO and myself would attend Ottawa with the objective to connect with nuclear suppliers and support them as they land in the region to support Bruce Power. The community we represented is the fastest growing in the region, a hub for innovation, with developers pulling permits everyday for residential and commercial builds. We offered lots of opportunity for suppliers and incredible quality of life for employees and their families.

While we were in Ottawa we would meet with MPs from across Canada to speak about community concerns, such as the labour shortage in service and retail, and the lack of affordable housing (and the lack of funding flowing to private developers in the community). Needless to say, the annual trips to Ottawa helped to shape the community we see today. This was career highlight stuff (it helped to be beside a brilliant Mayor and talented CAO!).

This year, I’m signing into the conference with a different lens. My objective this year is to listen and learn. I am looking forward to reconnecting with nuclear suppliers and learning how suppliers are doing by asking questions (similar to BR&E mentioned above), and to learn how I can support suppliers in the tri-county region.

The agenda is inspiring – with a theme of “Leading Innovations to Achieve a Net Zero World”, sessions range from indigenous inclusion to diversity allyship, Canada’s role in the SMR world to public attitudes and solutions for engagement. It seems to me we all have a lot to learn this year.

3) I’m heading to Hanover! NII Explore has been spending the week in the Town of Hanover, in Grey County, doing science experiments with local kids. Today is my day to pitch in and have a bit of fun.

NII Explore has been fortunate to have the hired bright and engaging summer students. The students are leading this important engagement work with local youth of the tri-county region, and I’m looking forward to doing some hands on work with them.

Wish me luck!


Jessica Linthorne is the Director of the Clean Energy Frontier.


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