The Energy Team at the Ecology Action Centre recently returned from Letterkenny, Ireland, where they participated in the launch of a three-year long international smart energy community project called SECURE (Smarter Energy Communities in Northern and Arctic Regions). The EAC presented one of the keynotes at the conference. Other speakers included the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and Duncan Stewart, a well-known Irish environmental activist.
“Nova Scotia is a leader in energy efficiency, and this project gives us a chance to celebrate that and share lessons learned,” said Emma Norton, Energy Conservation Coordinator, from the Ecology Action Centre. “We are honoured to be part of a project that will implement some of these policies and projects in European communities.”
Along with Canada’s first and only energy efficiency utility, Nova Scotia boasts many energy efficiency financing pilots across the province, inspiring examples of community energy planning, and an effective energy efficiency program for low-income homeowners.
“In Nova Scotia, energy efficiency is a key part of our electricity mix. It is just as much a fuel as wind, solar, hydro, or fossil fuels. It’s also our cheapest source of electricity, costing only 3 cents to save a kilowatt hour, while it costs at least 8 cents to generate one with other sources of electricity like fossil fuels. The concept of energy efficiency as a fuel caught the attention of the conference attendees, who represented all kinds of energy stakeholders in Ireland.”
“We’ve had innovative, world-class energy programs in Nova Scotia that have taken us into the future of low-carbon energy. With the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, it is crucial that we strengthen and expand this process. We’ve recently seen some of our best programs be weakened or even cancelled. We need to remain ahead of the energy transition curve in order to stay competitive and protect the thousands of jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries that have been built here. With the cancellation of COMFIT and upcoming net metering changes, we are seeing wind companies leave the province and solar companies nervous about their future.“
The Energy Team was invited to be part of this project to share best smart energy practices from Nova Scotia with 5 communities in the Northern Periphery of Europe. The communities represented are Derry City and Strabane District Council, UK; County Donegal, Ireland; County Leitrim, Ireland; Faroe Islands; Västernorrland, Sweden; and North Karelia, Finland. The project, funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Program, will run until Spring 2018.
For more information contact:
Emma Norton, Energy Conservation Coordinator