Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ENERGY: Time for communities to focus on windpower and reap the rewards.

NB: The time to focus on wind power is now, says Swift

By Katie Tower, Transcontinental Media

Source: The Sackville Tribune, October 15, 2010

[SACKVILLE, NB] — Small communities like Sackville are now in a better position to reap the rewards if a multi-billion dollar, multi-national company comes calling to develop a wind farm in their municipality.

That was the message heard last week from the town’s economic director Bonnie Swift, as she reported to council last week on a recent Canadian Wind Energy Association seminar she attended in Moncton.

Swift said much of the discussion at the seminar centred around the economic development opportunities that are being created now that these companies are more willing to collaborate with local communities.

Swift said she learned, for example, that the town of Lameque negotiated a profit-sharing deal with Acciona Energy as well as dozens of long-term local jobs before agreeing to the wind farm project.

And that’s only one example out of a number of communities that have been speaking out about “how they made these companies work for them,” during these multi-million dollar projects, said Swift. “I think a lot of these companies have come to realize it’s not going to work unless they work with the communities.”

Swift said wind energy is bound to come to the southeastern New Brunswick region in the near future and the town needs to consider how it might approach companies like Acciona to gain an economic advantage.

“Wind power is coming and we have to be prepared for it.”

Councillor Margaret Tusz-King agreed and suggested a committee could be established to develop a proposed list of priorities if these companies come back to the table.

“And with the new community wind policies in place, we have greater leverage than the last time they were here,” she said.

The CanWEA seminar, which focused on Growing Wind Energy in Atlantic Canada, was held September 22-23 in Moncton. CanWea, a national non-profit association, serves as Canada’s leading source of information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits.

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