Renewable energy can create jobs

Miramichi Leader 
by Katie Smith
May 6, 2015

Renewable energy can create jobs, event organizer says
Public invited to Our Energy Future in Doaktown on May 28

When the term "renewable energy" is mentioned, it often conjures up images of windmills or houses covered in solar panels.

But there's much more to renewable energy than that, according to the organizer of an event called "Our Energy Future," to which the public is invited to learn about what's being done in this sector within the province.

Mary de La Valette, a member of the Doaktown Energy Group, in co-operation with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, helped organize the event, which takes place at the Salmon Museum in Doaktown on May 28.

The public will have the chance to watch two films on renewable energy, Our Energy Future and Moving Forward, and listen to four speakers who will touch on issues on the new technologies within the renewable energy sector. These are technologies that will create jobs and lower energy bills, de La Valette said. "It's about the change that is happening to provide more jobs and to lower the cost of electricity in the area." 

Speakers include David Coon, Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South, who has an energy background; Lois Corbett, executive director of the Conservation Council for New Brunswick, who also has a background in energy, specifically in Toronto, where she helped create the city's green plan; Garth Hood, who designs and builds sustainable buildings with recycled materials, including the Naugler House in Fredericton, where his energy bill for the entire winter was only $77, and Gille Briand, president of EnerCheck Solutions Inc., who will answer questions on how Miramichiers can retrofit their homes to make them more efficient.

De La Valette said she hopes to see a good turnout at the event, which is free of charge.

"It's important for people to attend because they can lower their energy costs for one thing, and because this can provide an awful lot of jobs. For instance, every two jobs that's provided in the oil and gas industry in the energy area, is equal to 15 jobs in the solar industry," she said."That's the amount of jobs that we can provide. If people start to latch on to this, there will be all kinds of jobs in the local area for the local people."

She said this type of renewable energy-job creation is already happening around the world.

"This has already caught on in other countries," she said. "Germany, Denmark and Scotland are the leading countries right now and they hope to be entirely renewable-energy powered by 2050."
De La Valette said a small village in Germany about the size of Doaktown put solar panels on the roofs of all the municipal buildings and collected so much solar electricity, the people of the village were able to sell it to the grid for profit.

"But this is because in Germany, the people own the utilities. Here they do not."

She said she hopes there is government support for renewable energy.

"There should be, because oil and gas are running out," she said, adding they also cause climate change.

"The smart thing to do would be to encourage renewable energies because they don't create the emissions that oil and gas do.

"Renewable energies are, in fact, renewable. Solar, wind, water, biomass, tidal - all of these things. They are all possible and they are all being done in other countries, but the oil and gas industry has quite a hold here so we have an uphill fight, but it has to happen. Otherwise it's the end of life."

The event starts at 6:30 p.m.