PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. - Already very close to their short-term energy reduction and waste management goals, Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) will move even closer with the Sept. 24 announcement regarding the Strait Area Campus being approved for the provincial government’s Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Program.
Nova Scotia Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette, MLA for Sydney-Whitney Pier, was at the Port Hawkesbury-based campus for the announcement.
“This program gives local organizations a chance to participate in, and benefit from, Nova Scotia's progress toward a cleaner energy future,” Mombourquette said. “Our province is, already, a leader in addressing climate change by reducing emissions and these projects will only build on our successes.”
The Strait Area Campus project involves installing 75 kilowatts of solar electricity panels on the field, next to the Fire School.
“With the addition of this solar installation, we are helping to reduce the province’s dependence on fossil fuels, while supporting the college’s nationally recognized sustainability agenda,” Monica Foster, NSCC vice-president, college services, and chief financial officer, said in a release, which accompanied the announcement.
“This resource will not only support our sustainability goals, it will also allow for an enhanced student experience by providing a hands-on learning lab for several of our programs.”
Strait Area Campus Principal Tom Gunn spoke during the announcement and noted the figures which indicate NSCC is closing in on their targets.
“Since 2008, 2009, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 39 per cent and our goal is to hit a 40 per cent reduction by 2020; so we’re pretty close to that goal,” Gunn said.
“But the college has committed now to meet our long-term goal of 60 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050.”
He talked about multiple benefits with the announcement.
“It’s exciting; not only does it help with our environmental footprint, again, but it’s also a learning environment for the students. We’re anticipating different programs can acquire data from the solar project.”
Mombourquette did the same when talking with reporters following the announcement.
“Local vendors will come in and help install and this is also a great learning experience for students, who are here on campus, who may be interested in this,” he said, noting a couple of students had just asked him about solar output.
“[These projects] enhance the programing for the students and ensure they’re ready for the workplace,” he said, noting it provides more options for students.
“Outside the more traditional sectors, you now have solar, wind, tidal and other emerging technologies that they may excess, or even become employed in when they graduate.”
Mombourquette also talked more about how the announcement aligns with the province’s goals.
“We have invested millions in families who want to reduce their carbon footprint and this is another program that we offer,” he said. “We’ve seen a number of applications come in, projects that want to be approved with our partnership, and today we’re doing that.
“We heard Principal Gunn talk about how NSCC, across the province, has reduced their carbon footprint and continues to do so; that is why today is so important. They had this project they wanted to get going and we thought it was a good one, so here we are today … this is a good announcement for the whole area.”