Investment plan

Western REN moves forward with energy investment plan

The Western Regional Enterprise Network (WREN) is taking the necessary first step in hopefully implementing a recently created energy investment plan aimed at helping homeowners in its region with energy costs.

This first step is to apply to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Community Energy Fund to receive funding for a home energy retrofit program.

The Western Region Energy Investment Plan (WREIP) – called “A Roadmap to Combat Climate Change and Build a Clean Energy Economy” – describes the baseline energy consumption in the region. It also highlights opportunities to reduce local energy consumption, which can help reduce energy costs in the region.

The plan also aims to generate renewable energy in the region, “which can then generate income,” says Evan Nemeth, head of economic development and project manager at WREN.

The application to FCM will help WREN to better define the opportunities and solutions needed to implement renovations in the region it covers.

It will also help, says Nemeth, “to identify the necessary funding mechanisms to enable homeowners to implement the recommendations for their residences.”

The average household energy expenditure in the WREN West region of Nova Scotia was identified to be $ 5,800 in 2016.

With around 22,800 households in the region, this means that households were spending a total of $ 132 million per year on energy.

This amount is expected to increase with the federal carbon tax.

Most of the energy consumed in the WREN region is largely imported from other parts of the world (in the case of oil and gas) and within the province (in the case of l ‘electricity).

This means that most of the $ 132 million spent leaves the local economy each year, reads a backgrounder sent to the seven municipal units that are part of WREN.

These municipal units are the municipalities of Argyle, Barrington, Clare, Digby and Yarmouth, and the towns of Digby and Yarmouth. Letters of support are requested from units to accompany the FCM funding request.

AN AGING HOUSING STOCK

There is an aging housing stock in the western region.

The number of households that meet the definition of fuel poverty, that is to say that their expenditure on heating and electricity is greater than 6% of their family income after tax, is:

• 58 percent of households in Digby County;

• 52 percent of Shelburne County households;

• and 51 percent of Yarmouth County households.

The WREIP document states that residential buildings account for 60% of the energy consumption of all buildings in the Western region, which also takes into account commercial and industrial properties.

“As such, widespread residential renovations represent an important opportunity to help create space on the transportation network, while reducing energy poverty and keeping money in the hands of residents,” the document states. .

Nemeth says that once letters of support are received from the seven municipal units, WREN will apply for funding.

“We submitted a pre-request to FCM and incorporated their comments. We plan to submit the full application shortly after receiving the requested letters of support, ”he said. “From there, we expect we will know if we are successful in securing the funding by early 2022.”

QUICK VIEW

• The WREIP document includes references to current energy consumption data for the entire Western region.

• It describes 28 energy actions that would reduce energy consumption through efficiency improvements and increase local production of sustainable energy.

• If implemented, these energy efficiency and production actions would reduce energy costs for businesses, institutions and residents.

• If implemented, it will also increase energy revenues, thus keeping more money in the local economy, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


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