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“Panels installed in Alberta receive on average about 50% more sunlight than panels installed in Germany — a country where solar energy is booming.” http://solar4all.ca
“The Coming of a New Era: Solar for All in Alberta
Blogpost by Melina Laboucan Massimo – September 6, 2016 at 9:00
[link: http://youtu.be/iXUTA675NB8 ]
With Alberta’s changing political landscape, there are promising new opportunities to see solar become a tangible solution to empower our communities, meaningfully address climate change and pivot to a clean energy economy.
First Nations are leading the way in Alberta’s solar push. We have seen First Nation communities implement solar from north to south. This allows for communities to become more energy sovereign as well as decrease the staggering costs of diesel and propane that come with heating rural homes.
Last year my community in northern Alberta in the heart of the tar sands installed a 20.8 kW solar installation, which powers our community’s health center, and put additional energy back to the grid. After dealing with three decades of intensive oil, gas, logging, fracking and tar sands exploitation in our homeland, my community of Little Buffalo chose to forge a new future and become powered by the sun.
First Nation communities have been on the front lines of resource extraction for far too long and we have paid dearly for the price of humanity’s addiction to oil, but we have hope out of the crisis we are currently facing in Alberta and around the world.
To implement this project, it took our community over a year to raise independent funds to see this project to fruition. These types of renewable energy project shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of communities to implement alone, they should be supported by governments that have for decades given immense subsidies to the aging fossil fuel industry.
Jurisdictions like Alberta and Canada need to accelerate the transition from destructive, climate polluting energy sources like the tar sands towards the green, just energy economy so many of our communities so desperately want and need to see. We need green energy policies that prioritize Indigenous communities who been bearing the cost of environmental contamination for our society’s addiction to oil. Imagine how our communities would thrive if there was the support to implement more of solar projects.
Not only will this help us abate climate change, but this will also provide green jobs. Our communities will no longer be forced to choose between a job that destroys our homelands or no job at all. When we erected our solar project, we were able to train community members of various ages and trade skills. Our solar project employed local workers from start to finish. It is time our communities and the well-being of workers be put first instead of being sacrificed in the name of profits that do not remain in our communities much less inside Alberta.
Despite being the oil capital of Canada, solar energy is taking off in Alberta. Albertans want to see change, and solar is huge part of making that change happen but we need to demand this change and ensure its First Nations, Metis settlements and communities that lead the way. That is why we need Solar for All.
A just transition needs to happen not only in communities that can afford renewable technology but it must happen and begin in communities facing the brunt of the environmental, social, and health implications from the extractive industry and climate change. It is time communities benefit from the regenerative economies that empower our communities, not drain resources and concentrate the wealth elsewhere and own the power to do it.
We need to ensure that the renewable energy industry benefits the people not just a few corporations. Energy democracy can be built through the decentralization of power on our energy grid and by requiring community and/or First Nation ownership stakes in renewable energy projects. We need to see a future that is 100% renewable energy by 2050 where communities own their own power. If we do we can build a just society together and help save our planet and life here on Mother Earth in the process.
The time to act on the growing climate crisis is getting shorter by the day. Even in the heart of the tar sands we can build a different kind of economy with clean energy and green jobs without compromising our families and communities. But a just transition needs to prioritize communities like First Nations that are already impacted by dirty fossil fuels. A just transition means our communities will no longer be sacrifice zones.
Help ensure the Alberta government gets the message. Sign on today at: http://solar4all.ca/sign-solar4all-petition/ ” http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/blog/Blogentry/the-coming-of-a-new-era-solar-for-all-in-albe/blog/57420/