FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 14, 2017
Kjipuktuk (Halifax)– Mid-May in a small, northern Swedish town, Skellefteå, representatives from across Europe met for two days to discuss how they can make five communities in the Northern Periphery of Europe “smarter energy communities”. Two staff people from the Ecology Action Centre’s Energy Action Team, Emma Norton and Stephen Thomas, accepted an invitation to represent Nova Scotia as a “mature region”, and to contribute ideas and expertise.
“A smarter energy community is a community where energy is used as efficiently as possible and where the energy sources are low-carbon,” explains Emma Norton, Energy Efficiency Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, and the EAC’s lead in the SECURE project. “From a global perspective, Nova Scotia has done a lot to become a smarter energy region. Nova Scotians should be proud of that.”
The other partners in the project are Derry City and Strabane District Council, UK; Donegal County Council, Ireland; Leitrim County Council, Ireland; Umhvørvisstovan (Environment Agency), Faroe Islands; Association of Local Authorities in Västernorrland, Sweden; and Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Finland. The project, funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Program, and lead by ERNACT (European Regions Network for Application of Communications Technology) will run until Spring 2019. This was the third meeting of the three year-long project.
Through this project the EAC has highlighted the excellent work that has already taken plan in Nova Scotia. Some of best practices highlighted include Halifax’s Solar City Program, the Energize Bridgewater Program, and Efficiency Nova Scotia. This meeting was partly focused on community renewable energy, and the EAC presented on Nova Scotia’s now cancelled Community Feed in Tariff (COMFIT) program. Due to the COMFIT program, community-owned projects now power over 70,000 Nova Scotia homes, and Nova Scotia built more wind projects in 2016 than any other province in Canada. The program was cancelled in 2015 by the provincial government, and the Ecology Action would like to see it re-instated.
“COMFIT is one of the things that Nova Scotia has really done well and that we can celebrate. It’s a world-class program. At least $45 million of direct investments took place, and over $135 million of local contracts were awarded under the COMFIT program and much of that stayed in our province to build up an industry, and to invest in ourselves.” Explains Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre. “On top of that, it has helped ensure that people have ownership over renewable technology as it enters the province.”
SECURE aims to transfer & implement innovative energy solutions for housing & public infrastructure across NPA regions with different maturity levels. For more information follow the project on Facebook or Twitter. @SECURE_npa
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For further information, please contact:
Energy Conservation Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre