Town eyeing green energy

Black Diamond: Town to contact German companies

By: By Tanya Kostiw

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011 06:00 am

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The Town of Black Diamond has its sights set on clean, green energy and is looking overseas for some help.

Town council voted to endorse a letter drafted by the Town’s economic development committee that will be sent to 21 German energy companies, asking them to take a look at Black Diamond, as it explores alternative energy sources.

Councillors ensured the letter was only to showcase and introduce the community, and didn’t make any commitments.

Committee member Coun. Mike Ross said there are German towns that are able to heat homes with incinerated garbage and they use solar and other energy sources.

He said Black Diamond would be a good candidate for solar energy because of the amount of sunlight it receives – about 2,100 hours per year, according to the letter.

The committee has a list of companies and plans to get in touch with each of them to ask what they see on the horizon for alternative energy sources and whether they would be interested in coming to Black Diamond, said Ross.

“We’re curious about how they did it and would they be interested in doing something like that in Southern Alberta where there’s so much sunlight and so many possibilities,” he said after the meeting.

The idea came from one committee member who was investigating green energies and has business contacts in Austria and with contacts in Germany, said Ross.

“He found out that there’s actual cities in Germany that have gone completely off the grid and are self-sufficient heat wise and electrical wise and everything else,” he said.

Ross said the committee has also been in touch with Canadian Solar Inc., an Ontario-based solar module producer, which said it was interested in coming out to Black Diamond to look around, but he doesn’t know any details yet.

“It’s a good step in the right direction,” said Mayor Sharlene Brown, and congratulated Ross for helping the committee pursue alternative energy sources in a unique way.

“Anything to bring new businesses to our community is great and I applaud them for going outside the box and looking at new innovative ways of introducing our community to the international market,” she said after the meeting.

Brown said it ties into the town’s vision to introduce sustainability to the whole community, noting that the town has worked hard in the past six years to put together a sustainability plan.

Each year, 20 per cent of the power the town uses is from green energy, and in 2009, it helped reduce 172 tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to the letter. The Oilfields Arena operates on a combination of alternative and conventional energies and the results can be viewed on www.lassothesun.com.

Ross said pursuing alternative energy is the way to go forward and these German energy companies could not only introduce their methods to Black Diamond, but to all of Western Canada.

“If we can get somebody here that can do something that people can actually afford, perhaps we could increase the speed in which we’re staring to turn to alternative energies.”


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