Green economy promises money and jobs, legislature committee told

An all-party committee of the Nova Scotia legislature heard Tuesday that going green makes more than environmental sense.

A solar industry representative and a Nova Scotia-based environmental group both told the committee there is money to be made and jobs to be created as the world gets greener.

Emma Norton of the Ecology Action Centre presented members of the natural resources and economic development committee with a preview of a soon-to-be-released report on the benefits of going green.

She told provincial politicians the Gardner Pinford Consulting cost-benefit analysis suggests there could be as many as 185,500 jobs created by 2030. That's if the province adopted measures to shift from fossil fuels and toward sustainable resources, or by reducing energy consumption.

Ron Kube/Supplied

"That's about 15,000 jobs per year," Norton told committee members.

According to the study, those jobs would result if:

  • Nova Scotia Power supplied 90 per cent of electricity from renewable sources.
  • The Nova Scotia government retrofitted 100 per cent of the multi-unit residential buildings owned by Housing Nova Scotia.
  • Electricity consumption was reduced by three per cent a year.
  • 50,000 Nova Scotians drove an electric vehicle.
  • 150,000 Nova Scotians drove a hybrid vehicle 
  • there were 400 electric buses in the province.

"We have found some really exciting numbers [through] the cost-benefit analysis," said Norton.

Lyle Goldberg, a representative of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, also offered a rosy picture of life in a greener economy.

Jean Laroche/CBC

He predicted the creation of up to 1,170 jobs by 2030 if Nova Scotia Power were to have 1.8 per cent solar generation and 22,000 homes were equipped with solar panels.

Those jobs would extend from Yarmouth to Cape Breton.

According to Goldberg, half the solar home installations are taking place outside the Halifax region.

He predicted the cost of those installations would also continue to drop as more and more people converted their homes to solar power.

"The cost of solar has dropped over 70 per cent in the last 10 years and continues to drop," said Goldberg.

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