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OPINION: Summerside solar plan a model for others

Ambassador Shin Maeng-ho, the Republic of Korea's representative to Canada attended the Summerside Sunbank announcement on Tuesday at Credit Union Place in Summerside. The solar project will allow the city to meet 62 per cent of its electricity needs through renewable energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 21,000 tonnes per year.
Ambassador Shin Maeng-ho, the Republic of Korea's representative to Canada attended the Summerside Sunbank announcement on Tuesday at Credit Union Place in Summerside. The solar project will allow the city to meet 62 per cent of its electricity needs through renewable energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 21,000 tonnes per year. - Colin MacLean

Robert Morrissey
Guest opinion


Across Canada and around the world, people are taking the critical steps required to reduce our carbon footprint – and combat the growing climate crisis.

We see the effects of climate change and extreme weather everywhere. In Australia, fires have devastated many parts of that country.

In Greenland, the ice is melting rapidly – and closer to home, the recent storm in Newfoundland may be the result of changing weather patterns.

While it is tempting to give into despair, the Canadian response to the climate crisis has been extremely constructive.

In my own experience, I know many people who have begun to change their habits: They are more conscious about energy use and are seeking out new ways to recycle or use products that are friendlier to the environment.

Recently, the federal government joined with the City of Summerside and the province of Prince Edward Island to announce a significant renewable energy initiative.

That $68 million solar project will sharply reduce Summerside’s carbon footprint for years to come.

It will create new jobs in the growing field of alternate energy sources and provide reliable, clean electricity to thousands of Islanders.

In my view, this project could very well serve as a model for other communities across Prince Edward Island.

The reality is this: The federal government is more than willing to work with partners on the development of clean energy sources.

In Summerside’s case, the city worked diligently for several years to identify a renewable energy concept – and then built a case with governments and the private sector to go ahead with the work.

I know from my own experience that a great deal of thoughtful, creative and difficult work went into the recent announcement – and as a result, Summerside will further enhance its growing reputation as a leading-edge Canadian city. And that is important. 

Any community that wants to attract national and global investment will need to present an image that is forward-thinking and innovative.

As we move into a new decade, these are the qualities that will make communities stand out from the rest of the pack.

For that reason, I certainly hope that communities in my own riding of Egmont – and across Prince Edward Island – take a serious look at Summerside’s experience.

The federal government is there to support initiatives like the Summerside solar farm – and I would encourage others to learn from that highly successful venture.

In the years ahead, I am very confident that Canadians will continue to bring their expertise and creativity to the task of confronting the global climate crisis.

I believe we can take advantage of that mission here on the Island – and with a little hard work, enjoy the benefits of a cleaner environment and the economic benefits that will result from the journey of getting to a more sustainable province.

Robert Morrissey is the MP for Egmont.


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