Western Region Energy Investment Plan

Over the last few weeks, Western REN CEO Angelique LeBlanc and Economic Development Officer Evan Nemeth have been presenting the Western Region Energy Investment Plan (WREIP) to our seven municipal units. We want to thank the councils for taking the time to learn about this opportunity and for being positive and engaged in its implementation.

Western Nova Scotia is rich in opportunity for green energy projects. It is the sunniest region within NS, which provides great photovoltaic potential. As a coastal area, the region also receives a fair amount of wind and has some of the highest performing wind energy locations in our province. Additionally, the Bay of Fundy boasts the highest tides in the world, welcoming testing opportunities for multiple tidal energy generators in the region. Finally, our region’s Université Sainte-Anne is considered the greenest little campus in Canada, with a wood chip-based heating system that offers opportunity for our province’s forestry industry, which is currently at a crossroads.

The work outlined in the WREIP document identifies multiple actions to strengthen our local economy, create green jobs, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Some of these actions are focused on strengthening energy efficiencies, thereby lowering energy expenditures for residents and businesses. Other actions focus on local green energy generation and storage, which after short-term timelines can be paid off and generate revenue. Combined, these actions would aim to strengthen the region’s energy security, resulting in fewer and shorter power outages.

Energy efficiency and clean energy are huge opportunities for the region. They can help the economy recover from the COVID-19 downturn by creating new jobs and reducing energy costs. The transmission lines that enter our region are aging, and limit opportunities for new industries, and local business expansions. The actions in the WREIP document have the potential to overcome these limitations. With increasing carbon taxes, and reduced global demand for carbon-based fuels, these actions will also help protect the residents and businesses in our region from projected oil and gas price increases, and fluctuations.

The Western REN has recently hired consultants to assist in the implementation of the top actions identified in the WREIP. Our staff continue to be committed to finding opportunities and solutions to barriers to enhance the economic growth in our communities. There is no quick fix for infrastructure barriers, but each of the actions in the WREIP document would make a strong positive difference. The world is going green, and there is opportunity for our communities to be leaders in this transition.