People in the Nova Scotia communities of Antigonish and the nearby Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation will have more clean energy to power their homes and businesses with two new projects funded by the Province’s Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund.

“The Town of Antigonish and Paqtnkek are leaders in climate response. Their work to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 is an inspiration to all of us,” said Agriculture Minister Greg Morrow, MLA for Guysborough-Tracadie. “Across Nova Scotia, communities are taking action to protect themselves from, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change, and the Province is pleased to support them through the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund. The Province also recognizes that reconciliation with First Nations can be advanced by supporting their work to self-determine their energy sources.”

The Town of Antigonish, in partnership with St. Francis Xavier University, will explore a community district energy system that would heat and cool buildings on campus using cleaner energy. While allowing the university to discontinue its central heating plant, it could also provide low carbon thermal energy to the community. The town owns and operates its own municipal electricity utility, with about 63 per cent of its energy coming from renewable sources, including power generated from the Ellershouse Wind Farm.

“Nova Scotia’s future is clean, renewable energy. Across the province, communities are ramping up solar, onshore and offshore wind, thermal, green hydrogen and other innovative solutions to green our grid. This will help make Nova Scotia energy-independent, which will save people money on their energy bills and make our grid more resilient to storms and other events. It will also help us switch from fossil fuels to clean energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is our best defence in the face of the globe’s changing climate,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables.

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Paqtnkek will look at ways to supply its residents with solar energy. The solar feasibility study will explore what kind of solar energy system is most suitable and beneficial for the community and recommend the best location for solar panels.

“The Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities, through the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund, is delighted to take part in today’s announcement for the Town of Antigonish and Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation. The projects announced today will lead to studies that will help make informed decisions on renewable energy resources, the development of a community solar garden, energy efficiency upgrades and more. We are pleased to support these initiatives, which can have a positive impact on communities for generations to come,” said Juanita Spencer, CEO, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities.

The Town of Antigonish is receiving $300,000 from the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund, while Paqtnkek is receiving $77,382.

“We’re making significant investments to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We can’t reach our goal of becoming Canada’s first net-zero community without the partnership of St. Francis Xavier University. By eliminating the emissions from their central heating plant with a new community district energy system, we take a big step forward in reaching our goal. We are proud of our efforts in navigating towards a sustainable future and are committed to being a leader in the province in combatting climate change,” said Willie Cormier, Deputy Mayor, Town of Antigonish.

“The renewable development is a leading example of energy sovereignty and being the stewardess of the land and resources. Working towards net-zero goals is an opportunity to be at the forefront of an industry that aligns with our values of sustainable development while bringing social and economic opportunities to our communities,” said Rose Paul, CEO, Bayside Development Corporation.

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Featured image: (L to R) Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables; Rose Paul, CEO, Bayside Development Corporation; Deputy Mayor Willie Cormier, Town of Antigonish; Juanita Spencer, CEO, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities; Chief Cory Jullian, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation; and Greg Morrow, MLA for Guysborough-Tracadie and Minister of Agriculture, following the announcement. (Communications Nova Scotia)

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