Early attendance numbers at the second annual Cumberland County Energy Symposium tipped the 400-mark and continued to grow as students from across the regional joined the public to learn about the fledgling renewable energy sector being developed here.
The audience was electric with optimism as Cumberland County’s second energy symposium got underway.
Exceeding last year’s attendance record, almost 400 people crammed into the Dr. Carson and Marian Murray Community Centre for the opening address Sept. 22, of the symposium that will focus on the region’s fledgling renewable energy sector. In attendance were high school attendance from across the region and it was pointed out on more than one occasion the work being done now to develop these renewable energy sectors is for their futures.
“By developing green energy we believe we can keep our people right here and even bring back those in Alberta through job creation,” Cumberland County Chief Administrative Officer [CAO] and Cumberland Energy Authority President Rene Bugley said.
It’s a lofty ambition but not one without support. Nova Scotia has been an active supporter for developing renewable energy and has been pulling ahead as a leader in this for the nation. There’s no reason why Cumberland County can’t become a world leader as it develops its markets.
“Over the last decade no province has reduced its greenhouse emissions as much as Nova Scotia and we’re doing this all by stabilizing electricity rates,” Cumberland North MLA Terry Farrell said. “We’ve achieved one of the fastest rates of change.”
The Nova Scotia government under the NDP’s Darrell Dexter and now Liberal Stephen McNeil’s governments have put a lot of support into the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) where harnessing tidal power could mean creating a regional authority that services its constituents and beyond.
Ray Hickey, CAO for Parrsboro and vice president of the authority says Cumberland Energy recognizes its resources and are excited to be moving forward.
“We want to focus on the promotion, attraction and development of renewable energy and alternative energy sources,” Hickey said.
As the county becomes sustainable and reduces its environmental impact Hickey says communities could see economic sustainability as a spin off.
“There are young people who could potentially live and work here. The renewable energy industry is a big potential opportunity for growth that could develop opportunities for everyone,” Hickey said.
Spanning two-days, the Cumberland County Energy symposium featured keynotes from renewable industry leaders from the region and abroad, and included an evening field trip excursion to FORCE outside of Parrsboro and then to the Fundy Geological Museum for an open house with Black Rock Tidal.
Events and seminars continue Friday and end at noon.