Bridgewater’s solution to energy poverty

Image may contain: cloud, sky, tree, plant, grass, outdoor and natureWhite Pines turbines, Prince Edward County, which successfully completed all provincial environmental checks, have been ordered speedly removed or face stiff fines by the Ford Government and the entire project has been cancelled. Photo: Rob Garden Photography

In Prince Edward County a large percentage of housing is unoccupied by actual owners. Houses and condominiums are seen as a lucrative investment opportunity. This has resulted in huge price increases in real estate, rents, and taxes. Businesses find it challenging to hire staff because  their staff can’t afford County rents.

Added to this dilemma, actual residents are faced with tax increases and face energy poverty. Prince Edward Council cerainly didn’t help this situation by declaring it was an “unwilling host” to a project that could have substantiallly reduced energy costs with renewable energy.

In Contrast

Bridgewater, Nova Scotia (population 8,700) set itself 3 accomplishments for sustainable energy:

    1. “Our community has reduced the energy needed to build, maintain, and power our built environment
    2. Our energy needs are met through secure sources of renewable energy
    3. All people can afford energy for their homes, businesses, and transportation means

The town entered the  Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge. In March, the community submitted a comprehensive proposal for an Energy Poverty Reduction Program designed to lift residents out of energy poverty, starting by reducing the energy poverty rate 20% by 2025.

Bridgewater submitted its Smart Cities Challenge Finalist application to Infrastructure Canada. Watch the following  video and you will understand why they emerged as winners and pocketed the $5M prize towards reducing energy poverty.

As you can see, this type of leadership required the appointment of a  Sustainability Planner/Project Coordinator  to guide the process.

EnergyPovertyOutcomes

The vision:

“Bridgewater envisions an Energy Poverty
Reduction Program that uses data and connected
technology to bring together and drive energy
savings to create financial returns for households and property owners. This system also provides coordinated access to community supports for households experiencing energy poverty. And finally, a financial system that supports extensive investment in energy efficiency solutions. Bridgewater’s impactful, comprehensive approach to community-based problem solving and transformational change is highly transferrable to communities across the country that are struggling with energy poverty challenges of their own.”

Prince Edward Councillors take note.

RELATED:

PEC’s Expensive art installment, formerly known as the White Pines Wind Project.