Sustainable communities initiative
A new approach to energy generation will help Island communities take the lead on how they power their homes and businesses. Energy independence for PEI communities will require diverse, local solutions and there is no one size fits all solution. The sustainable communities initiative will tap great ideas from Island communities so that energy generation is designed to fit the need in that community and use the resources they have available.
What is the sustainable communities initiative?
The sustainable communities initiative encourages interested communities to explore opportunities for energy generation models that suits their unique needs. This could consist of micro-scale electricity generation, centralized heating and cooling, cogeneration, community energy efficiency, or energy from waste.
For the purposes of this initiative, communities are defined as any group of like-minded PEI residents willing to collectively pursue, champion and even own a renewable energy project. Ownership of these systems may be through a municipality, a community within a larger municipality, a registered not-for-profit, or not-for-profit cooperative.
An example of a sustainable communities initiative in Samso Island in Denmark where they reduced their heating costs by 40 per cent. It has created local energy businesses without relying on imported oil. They have four district heating plants, burning straw or waste wood and using solar or wind power. Waste from their district heating plant even goes to fertilize crops to complete the sustainable cycle.
In Gottingen, Germany a co-generation power plant produces electricity and district heat from burning corn providing energy for the town. There are 9000 such plants in Germany. Sustainable communities exist and are successful. And we are working to make them a reality here.
How do communities benefit?
Tailor-made to Island communities, government will assist communities in implementing these sustainable energy models. The goal is for communities get more involved in their own heat and energy systems; solar, wind or whatever would work for them. As a result, communities will directly benefit from this energy independence and economic development. Once communities express an interest in participating, government will assist with the development of detailed project proposal.
Based on feasibility and community support, select communities will meet with experts on sustainability, renewable energy, waste management, and research will share knowledge to support the development of the community's energy project.
The provincial government will be a partner in funding, seek out additional funding partners, and assist with the organization and start-up of community-based energy generation that will see communities directly benefit from their own energy generation, own their own infrastructure, and secure environmental, financial and community sustainability over the long term.
In addition to community energy generation, government will offer custom, wrap-around supports to improve the energy efficiency of communities. If a community can reduce the amount of energy it uses to heat and power homes, businesses and community spaces, this will minimize the cost of energy generation infrastructure, saving more money for the community and its residents, while benefiting the environment. Energy efficiency supports are cost-shared with the Government of Canada under the Low Carbon Economy Fund.