Provincial ‘green’ announcement in step with MODG’s renewable energy investments

·3 min read

GUYSBOROUGH – One of the first announcements to come out of Premier Iain Rankin’s office outlined the province’s commitment to the environment and fighting climate change through an investment of “$19 million in rebates to support low-income families in making their homes more comfortable and energy-efficient and help Nova Scotians buy clean, reliable electric vehicles.”

The news release, issued Feb. 24, also stated the province would “move toward a new renewable energy standard, with 80 per cent of Nova Scotia’s energy coming from renewable sources by 2030.”

While the new premier is showing signs that he’s sticking to his environmental platform with this announcement, that’s a playbook the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) has been following for the last decade.

Guysborough has been going green on a number of fronts for years. MODG warden Vernon Pitts said, “We as a municipal unit, have been blazing trails the last number of years in regard to renewables.” He points to the Sable Wind project in Canso/Hazel Hill, the Guysborough Waste Management Facility’s gas capturing plant (featured in this newspaper in January) and the COMFIT wind turbine program.

The MODG has also installed solar panels to heat the swimming pool in Guysborough and to supply energy to the offices at the waste management facility. And they’re not stopping there.

Pitts said, “I’d also like to see recreation tap into an electric vehicle; in the very near future I’m hoping … I think this is the way we should be going, be it wind or solar. I would also like to look at a solar project for the CLC (Chedabucto Lifestyle Centre), get weaned off electricity from Nova Scotia Power… If we could green that facility up a bit that would be another positive step going forward.”

MODG’s CAO Barry Carroll told The Journal in an email interview, “We have been monitoring electric vehicle development and will look to move in that direction as quickly as it makes sense for the vehicle uses that we have … We have jointly applied for funding for an electric vehicle as part of a new NS Power application to Government for a pilot project. The intent is to supply the vehicle to our Food Bank for their use; and for it to be connected to the building to supply power to the building in the event of a power outage.”

Carroll also stated that the investment in existing housing was good news, “As we have quite a bit of older housing stock and that should [be] of great help to homeowners.”

Apart from the MODG’s in-house projects, Pitts is enthusiastic about Port Hawkesbury Paper’s (PHP) update last month on its plans to install a 112-megawatt wind farm in Guysborough County, across from Point Tupper in Richmond County, to supply green power directly to PHP; the largest energy consumer on the Nova Scotia grid.

In a Feb. 12 news release, PHP stated construction could begin on the project in 2022, “Subject to all appropriate legislative and regulatory requirements … Construction of the farm would generate local employment and significant ongoing tax revenues in the province.”

If the PHP project moves ahead, it will be the largest wind farm in the province. Pitts said, “We are really looking forward to that if it goes … to me that is a phenomenal project.”

That said, Pitts cautioned that a diversity of renewable energy sources were needed, all the eggs shouldn’t be in one basket. “I think we have to do a combination of wind and solar… It’s the way of the future.”

Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal