WINNIPEG -- The game of golf could help the city save the environment and save some money – that’s what a pilot project from the city suggests, after finding electric golf carts may be a cost-effective way to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

During the past summer months, the city introduced 13 electric golf carts at the Kildonan Park Golf Course and measured costs, customer satisfaction, and greenhouse gas emissions. Today, the city released its findings from the pilot project.

“As the City of Winnipeg continues to explore opportunities to become more sustainable and to reduce harmful emissions, it is important for Golf Services to consider its current fleet of golf carts,” a report with the findings reads.

Currently, the city has a fleet of 100 gas-powered golf carts at three city golf courses. The report shows the fuel costs for one 18-hole round of golf is $1.05 for the gas powered carts, and only eight cents for the electric carts. The report said if Kildonan Place fully switched over to electric golf carts, it would save over $10,000.

During the pilot project, the electric golf carts reduced greenhouse gasses by 3.53 tonnes eCO2. The report said if the entire Kildonan Place course fleet went electric, it would reduce greenhouse gases by roughly 23.5 tonnes. This would be equivalent to removing four cars from the roads each year, the report said. 

Customers seemed to get behind the project as well. In a satisfaction survey of 371 people, about 74 per cent said the electric golf cart contributed positively to their golfing experience. Another 69 per cent said they would be more likely to golf at city courses if they all used electric powered golf carts.

City golf services leases 53 gas powered carts annually for $57,000, the report said, but the lease expires at the end of 2021. The report said switching to electric carts would not change the lease cost, but would benefit the golf service by around $156,000.

But there is one catch, the report said. Right now, the city does not have a building large enough to house all the carts, plus the charging stations. An estimate showed the construction costs for this kind of building is around $150,000. 

The pilot project said the conversion of the city’s entire fleet to electric carts would only be possible if they could get a capital loan and grant funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund. Without this funding, the program would cost nearly $240,000.

The report said the next opportunity to apply for the fund will be in the spring. The goal is to fully convert Kildonan Park golf course to electric, and then begin the conversion at the Windsor Park golf course.

The report will be tabled at the Standing Policy Committee on Innovation and Economic Development on Nov. 4